At least one dozen girls at Mission Middle School in Escondido Union School District reported what they said was creepy behavior by a social studies teacher to at least three school workers.
Josh French, the teacher, looked down their shirts and made inappropriate comments about their looks, they told several adults. But instead of reporting French, the school workers suggested ways the girls might change their own behavior: Don’t “wear low cut shirts,” one adult suggested.
As VOSD’s Will Huntsberry and Kayla Jimenez write, “Warning signs that French did not belong in the classroom, that his students felt he treated them as sexual objects and that he harassed them appeared over and over again. But no one acted.”
Not until, that is, one student — known as Jane Doe in the case files — came forward in 2015 to say French had raped her inside a locked classroom in 2010. French denies the allegations and has never been charged with a crime.
VOSD obtained French’s case file as part of its ongoing investigation into sexual misconduct. We requested the records of all substantial and substantiated cases of sexual misconduct for all 42 school districts in San Diego County. This is the first time Jane Doe’s story has been told.
Surprise Mayoral Announcement at Women’s March
Women’s marches in Oceanside and San Diego this weekend were not, as the Union-Tribune put it, the giant collective roar of past years, but they did continue to serve as a show of solidarity and a reminder that women from all backgrounds should be represented in a democracy.
A diverse group of speakers in Waterfront Park shared their stories Saturday and several made the point that the struggle for gender equity predates the election of President Donald Trump. “Oppression did not start with this administration,” said City Councilwoman Monica Montgomery.
Tasha Williamson, a black activist who works with families of police violence, also took the opportunity to announce her candidacy for San Diego mayor in 2020. “When there’s no politician who looks like you, become one,” she said.
Housing, Housing and Also Housing
- A building boom is taking place in Grantville — a former industrial area between Mission Valley and San Diego State, located along the trolley green line — and city officials see it as a model to help alleviate the housing crisis. The Union-Tribune reports that more than 1,000 housing units, some of them market-rate and some reserved for people with low incomes, are either under construction or have recently been completed.
- The U-T also reports that Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s State of the City speech was initially greeted by home-builders with a “shock and awe” that has since settled into tempered enthusiasm. Waiving height limits and parking requirements could result in more affordable housing because the residences are cheaper to build.
- Fresh off his speech last week, Faulconer joined the VOSD podcast to answer some of our biggest questions housing density and height limits and so much more. It was a wide-ranging conversation that also touched the 2020 race to replace him, police reform, the Convention Center and SDSU West.
- In the meantime, state Treasurer Fiona Ma was in San Diego gathering feedback on how her office can play a more proactive role in the housing crisis. One idea she’s considering: subsidies for developments that incorporate food co-ops or preschools rather than traditional retail.
- Rep. Scott Peters’ decision not to run for mayor of San Diego in 2020 could open up room on the right. Peters has a lot of fans among the city’s business elite. Two names to watch: Councilman Mark Kersey and Assemblyman Brian Maienschein.
- San Diego’s Susan Davis was part of the delegation to visit U.S. troops in Afghanistan whose trip was abruptly publicized and canceled by President Donald Trump. In a statement, she chided the president for jeopardizing the group’s security: “It’s appalling that the Commander in Chief who is supposed to protect the American people is the one putting us in danger.”
- Rep. Mike Levin was among the Democratic members of Congress who publicly rejected the president’s proposal to reopen the government, saying it wasn’t a compromise and it used DACA recipients as bargaining chips. (NBC 7)
In Other News
- Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to use state funds to help migrant families arriving at the California border — money that would likely go to San Diego nonprofits and community organizations that run a temporary shelter for asylum-seeking families released by federal officials. (Union-Tribune)
- California Sunday has a lovely photo essay on the pioneering facility in Chula Vista that cares for Alzheimer’s patients by immersing them in a replica town from an earlier era.
- inewsource offers tips to members of the public who want to file records requests with local, state or federal agencies. Journalists don’t have special access to public documents, but they do have plenty of experience.
- Federal regulators say mistakes made at the decommissioned San Onofre power station last year do not rise to the level of criminal behavior, the U-T reports, but the FBI is still reviewing materials. Our last North County Report gave a sense of the complexity of moving nuclear waste out of San Diego.
- With the first ever onsite brewery at Disneyland, Ballast Point hopes to expand its Southern California footprint. (Union-Tribune)
- The U-T is still digging into UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep Khosla’s legacy, and how allegations of bullying and demeaning behavior toward staff are impacting it.
- Amid the border wall showdown, Rosarito, Mexico, businesses say tourism has never been this bad. (New York Times)
The Morning Report was written by Jesse Marx, and edited by Sara Libby.