School District Releases Statement Following MAD Academy Fallout
MAD Academy Building (Photo: MAD)
By edhat staff
The Santa Barbara Unified School District released a statement on Friday regarding the MAD Academy investigation and abuse claims.
The statement, written by Superintendent Cary Matsuoka, explained the district's communication with the Santa Barbara Police Department and District Attorney.
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 following an "amicable agreement" with the district.
In a secondary edhat report, many parents of Santa Barbara High School students commented on social media platforms and at a school board meeting alleging abuse by Pablo Sweeney, the recently resigned operations director. A video also surfaced of Williams allegedly hosting a party with students appearing to involve marijuana.
The full statement bt Matsuoka is below:
The district is taking every allegation related to the MAD Academy seriously, our investigation is on-going and we are in contact with the Santa Barbara Police Department and the District Attorney. Following first notification to a district administrator, we immediately commenced an investigation and took additional steps to ensure student safety.
The investigation is continuing and we have reported our activities to the Santa Barbara Police Department and the District Attorney, and offered to work with them to the fullest degree possible.
Our ability to share information with others has been restricted due to the requirements imposed on confidential personnel investigations. That limitation should in no way be interpreted as a lack of concern or attention to student safety.
I encourage anyone with additional information to either contact me, use the confidential STOPIt app located on the SBHS website, or call the Santa Barbara Police Department at 805-882-8900.
The following is what we can share at this time:
- Immediately after a student complaint was communicated to district officials in January 2019, the district’s legal counsel engaged Public Interest Investigations, Inc. in Los Angeles, to investigate.
- During the investigation, Academy staff member, Pablo Sweeney, resigned. MAD Academy Director, Dan Williams, reached an agreement with the district to retire and his last day of work will be June 7, 2019. The agreement with Mr. Williams did not involve any payout of money. Mr. Williams returned to work after a brief paid leave following a determination that his presence on campus posed no risk to student safety.