More Claims of Misconduct at MAD Academy
(Photo: MAD Academy)
By edhat staff
Santa Barbara Unified School District's (SBUSD) public meeting on Tuesday revealed more claims of misconduct involving Santa Barbara High School's MAD Academy and its director.
Earlier this month edhat reported the Multimedia Arts & Design (MAD) program director Dan Williams was placed on administrative leave pending an investigation and returned to finish the school year before ultimately retiring. Williams is in his 40's.
Santa Barbara High School Principal Elise Simmons stated SBUSD and Williams came to an "amicable agreement" and the investigation is not criminal, but a confidential personnel matter.
Many parents of Santa Barbara High School students commented on edhat and social media platforms claiming there's more to the story.
At Tuesday's meeting, Mark and Tami Sherman, parents of a current MAD Academy student and a former student who graduated in 2018, stated their older son came forward with allegations of inappropriate behavior at the academy. He claims he showed Williams inappropriate text messages in January 2018 that were sent from then-MAD Operations Director Pablo Sweeney. Williams allegedly brushed off the incident and said the texts must have been sent to him in error due to crossed wires from the Montecito Debris Flow, reports Jerry Roberts.
A year later, in January 2019, Shermans' son reported the incident along with screenshots, emails, text messages, and voice recordings displaying Sweeney's "predatory behavior" to Santa Barbara High School Assistant Principal Tiffany Carson. After reporting this incident, Sweeney was subsequently barred from being on campus, reports The Independent.
"Unfortunately, we are… intimately aware of the inappropriate relationships and the reprehensible and dangerous actions and inactions that define the culture of the MAD Academy, as exhibited by their current leadership,” said Sherman during Tuesday's meeting, as reported by Jerry Roberts.
Aside from Willams being a state Mandated Reporter and allegedly failing to report such an incident, a video has surfaced allegedly showing Williams partying with underage students.
The video, provided by Ventura County Public Defender and MAD Academy parent Justin Tuttle, shows several students with a bong and a marijuana-filled glass jar with Williams in the background, reports KEYT News.
The SBUSD has yet to make a public comment about Sweeney and has not further commented on the reasons behind Williams’s temporary leave outside of it being confidential but not criminal.