MAD Academy Director to be Removed from Campus Following Board Meeting

MAD Academy Director to be Removed from Campus Following Board Meeting title=
MAD Academy Director to be Removed from Campus Following Board Meeting
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MAD Academy building on Santa Barbara High School (Photo: MAD)

By edhat staff

The Santa Barbara Unified School District voted to immediately remove director Dan Williams from the MAD Academy following Tuesday's public meeting.

In a closed-door session, board member Laura Capps brought forth the motion to remove Williams while board member Kate Ford seconded it. The board voted unanimously to remove Williams from Santa Barbara High School's campus immediately and released the following statement:

"The Board gave direction in closed session to staff and legal counsel to initiate a revision to the Williams' settlement agreement to include the immediate removal from campus."

Dan Williams (Photo: MAD)

Prior to the closed-door board member session, current and former MAD Academy parents gave emotional and passionate commentary calling for William's removal and the firing of Superintendent Cary Matusoka. 

The ongoing controversy surrounding the Multimedia, Arts & Design (MAD) Academy placed on Santa Barbara High School's campus has led parents asking the SBUSD for transparency. 

The public learned earlier this month that Williams was under investigation by the district for matters that were "not criminal." The District then announced Williams will finish the remainder of the school year until June 30 and will retire. 

Current and former MAD Academy parents came forward with allegations of misconduct and a video of Williams appearing to party with underage students. Former MAD Academy Operations Director Pablo Sweeney has been accused of inappropriate communication with a former underage student. Sweeney was quietly terminated from his position. Parents expressed Williams and the SBUSD's failed to report the allegations to local law enforcement under California's "Mandated Reporter" law.

During Tuesday's public commentary, a current MAD Academy parent expressed shock in finding Williams recently on campus appearing to wrestle with a student. “I tell you right now, I walked into Dan’s office last week. I had to ask him a question …and there was a boy in there that was wrangling him around from his back, wrestling in the office [...] I was promised that there would be either a principal or an assistant principal or someone…making close observation and that hasn’t happened,” the parent stated as reported by Jerry Roberts of Newsmakers.

Williams is represented by the California Teachers Union. It's unclear what new legal agreement will be made following this decision.

RELATED ARTICLES

 May 27, 2019: School District Turns Over MAD Academy Investigation to Police

 May 25, 2019: School District Releases Statement Following MAD Academy Fallout

 May 23, 2019: Victims Retain Top Sex Abuse Law Firm in MAD Academy Scandal

 May 16, 2019: More Claims of Misconduct at MAD Academy

 May 1, 2019: MAD Academy Director to Retire Following Investigation

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a-1559151935 May 29, 2019 10:45 AM
MAD Academy Director to be Removed from Campus Following Board Meeting

I did not think this story could get any worse but yet here we are. How in the HELL could they ALL be so blind to allow Williams to pull the wool over the eyes of SBHS, MAD Academy Board, SBUSD? Where are the competent people? The flagrant behavior Williams showed this past week by “wrestling” with yet another male student, on campus is jaw dropping. Should he even be touching his students?

a-1559154158 May 29, 2019 11:22 AM
MAD Academy Director to be Removed from Campus Following Board Meeting

Just like Michael Jackson, disgusting pervs like Williams do not think what they are doing is wrong! They position themselves so they can "innocently" get close to their intended targets. Maybe Williams can find peace and forgiveness by joining the priesthood.

a-1559157345 May 29, 2019 12:15 PM
MAD Academy Director to be Removed from Campus Following Board Meeting

If you consider the fact that Dan Williams founded the MAD Academy and then appears to have used it as a play ground for himself is frightening. To all the MAD Academy parents and supporters who turned a blind eye to the red flags, and there must have been plenty! ...shame shame shame. “Oh how sweet, Dan wants to have dinner with my son.” , “Wow how lucky are you my son that Mr. Williams has agreed to chaperone you to your out of town event!”, “You got invited to hang with Dan at his house? Awesome!”

Roger May 29, 2019 11:41 AM
MAD Academy Director to be Removed from Campus Following Board Meeting

With actions like this corruption for others to turn the other way and ignore what was going on most likely in fear of losing status, or their jobs. There should be a through investigation at this point of whom knew what and if proved more people would need to be removed. Hurting a child is an unforgivable crime.

Yeti May 29, 2019 11:49 AM
MAD Academy Director to be Removed from Campus Following Board Meeting

This has been handled disgustingly similar to how the Catholic Church and the Boy Scouts of America had decided to suppress the news and NOT involve the police to protect their reputation, not the lives of the children. "Lets us handle the discovery and the disciplinary process, THEN we will contact the police". I am sure that this will play out in a similar fashion for the school. Very sad, that the local leaders do not feel the need to protect our children first, instead of their own reputation.

Bug Girl May 29, 2019 01:04 PM
MAD Academy Director to be Removed from Campus Following Board Meeting

So, what has he 'allegedly' done, I'm confused? (I've been reading these articles and the comments, please help clarify, if anyone is in the know)
So, there's photo and/or video documentation that shows that Dan Williams was present around teen boys who were drinking alcohol and/or smoking marijuana from a bong? Is this it? I completely see how that would be illegal and not appropriate, as he's a teacher, and shouldn't condone it in his students. But what else are they claiming he did? Everything is so hush hush, it's hard to get more to this story. The last part of this article talks about a parent witnessing Dan and a teen boy wrestling. Is there a layer of physical or sexual abuse and misconduct in this case? If this is true, then why are they waiting until the end of the school year to 'retire' him?

It seems like there must be more to this story that isn't publicly known, yet. Is there anyone on edhat willing to comment more on it?

gunther May 29, 2019 02:26 PM
MAD Academy Director to be Removed from Campus Following Board Meeting

Bug Girl: There are 2 main people who have been accused.

* Dan Williams is the Founder & Director of the MAD Academy. He’s been accused of partying with students and in some situations - providing alcohol. He’s also accused of mishandling the complaints against his employee, Pablo Sweeney.
* Pablo Sweeney has been accused of ‘grooming’ students with predatory behavior. An incident was reported a year ago Dan Williams didn’t report as he should have as a mandated reporter.

The district is accused of covering up this because they have not been forthcoming in communication with the public. They should have simply said, it was a confidential personnel matter but everything is being handled according to SBUSD policy.

Bug Girl May 29, 2019 03:05 PM
MAD Academy Director to be Removed from Campus Following Board Meeting

Thank you 1:29 and Gunther. I agree there's a lot of mishandling of this whole thing.
I'm in no way condoning any of it, I agree that there should have been a whole lot more reporting from mandated reporters! Grooming behavior needs to be reported immediately!!

a-1559173141 May 29, 2019 04:39 PM
MAD Academy Director to be Removed from Campus Following Board Meeting

Bug Girl - the unofficial accusations that have been made against Williams indicate that he made inappropriately close friendships over the past decade with male students, even if it was innocent of sexual misconduct (who knows) he nonetheless blurred the line between educator and friend, and that the partying with students was also chronic and a badly kept secret going back to at least 2009.

a-1559173312 May 29, 2019 04:41 PM
MAD Academy Director to be Removed from Campus Following Board Meeting

Gunther- Sweeney is accused of MUCH worse than “grooming behavior”. In fact he sent sexually inappropriate texts to apparently more than one student but one for sure. Grooming is more like what Williams was doing by going to dinner with his male students etc etc

Alexblue May 29, 2019 01:49 PM
MAD Academy Director to be Removed from Campus Following Board Meeting

SBUSD--again, their response is always cover first, then obfuscate, then eventually they may or may NOT take action.

The administration is seriously compromised. Their mission is to educate children in a safe environment, that's it. They break the law consistently with few or no ramifications.

Honestly, it's disgusting and every one of the higher level administrators need to be engaging in serious soul searching right now, while the top admins need to go.

Factotum May 29, 2019 04:34 PM
MAD Academy Director to be Removed from Campus Following Board Meeting

If the districts dare break any teacher protection laws found the ED Code, they face immediate teacher union job actions. The full story here is not and may not ever be known. But this incident is a good reminder for everyone to read the multi-volume EDCode to understand the nature of the playing field. There are plenty of consequences which ever way the district plays it. Pick your poison.

a-1559173812 May 29, 2019 04:50 PM
MAD Academy Director to be Removed from Campus Following Board Meeting

FACTOTUM - I think we can now all make the assumption that you are part of or represent the SBUSD in some way. You keep deflecting to the EDCode when in fact there is NOTHING in that code that allows a mandatory reporter NOT to report to law enforcement. NOR is there anything that prevented them from firing Williams for not reporting. The only thing it might protect is his privacy. I somehow doubt a lawsuit from a fired employee is going to be worse than the lawsuit from the parents they are facing now.

CoastWatch May 29, 2019 08:05 PM
MAD Academy Director to be Removed from Campus Following Board Meeting

Replace these ridiculous programs with SHOP /TRADE SCHOOL CLASSES...! Enough of these white-flight-BS-programs in our Public schools... Prepare this generation to be self-sustaining if College is not their path... I would venture to guess there are more kids that would be successful NOT going to College and learning a Trade.

a-1559192033 May 29, 2019 09:53 PM
MAD Academy Director to be Removed from Campus Following Board Meeting

Coastwatch - totally agree! It is where the upper class send their kids so they can pretend they are progressive and want their kids to experience the “real world” while being totally insulated from the rest of the population. I did not see too many minority or low income kids in the program when I was involved. Maybe it got better in later years.

Factotum May 29, 2019 09:15 PM
MAD Academy Director to be Removed from Campus Following Board Meeting

There is a great deal of nostalgia for the agrarian life - off the grid - grow your own food, sew your own clothes, hunt without a gun. The goal of the green new deal is subsistence, hunter-gathering life styles. Teach kids pioneer, back to nature skills. Lots of dying farm town where there is plenty of affordable real estate. Teach kids how to bloom once they get planted there.

Winner May 30, 2019 11:54 AM
MAD Academy Director to be Removed from Campus Following Board Meeting

Now that Williams has been removed, he’ll probably sing to the authorities as to how SBHS leadership and certain members of the SBUSD Cabinet worked together to cover up this mess versus following the mandated reporter policy. Historically, with public education being forced to address a multitude of social problems on campus’, sweeping items under the rug or turning a blind eye appears to be the protocol for processing illegal behavior committed by District personnel.

Ultimately, SBHS leadership and those members of the Cabinet involved must be held accountable. Letting Matsuoka go is without a doubt but the mandated reporters who failed in both January 2018 and 2019 must also be disciplined or removed in order to ensure this culture of failed leadership and complacency is abated from the District.

Lastly, what SBPD does with the internal investigation may be nothing. The pending lawsuit from the Manley firm is the closest activity towards justice. A formal complaint to the State Board of Education is also on the horizon and a perfect reason why the School Board should take swift action to clean house.

a-1559250534 May 30, 2019 02:08 PM
MAD Academy Director to be Removed from Campus Following Board Meeting

WINNER- Agree with all you say except that I highly doubt Williams, who broke the law by not reporting a mandatory reporting incident to anyone, has any knowledge of any coverup other than his own. He’s in no position to talk about anything.

Winner May 31, 2019 08:27 AM
MAD Academy Director to be Removed from Campus Following Board Meeting

I suppose when he is deposed by Manley, questions regarding his settlement and “retirement” will reveal details as to why no reporting was submitted to law enforcement. A deposition can be very stressful as counsel seeks to unravel the truth out of defendants.

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