Octavio Haro, a biology teacher at Ceres High School, has been terminated from employment by Ceres Unified School District officials for inappropriate conduct with an underage female student.
The 24-year-old first-year teacher was fired just prior to the end of the school year after a police investigation and district personnel investigation.
CUSD Supt. Scott Siegel said he could not divulge details of what occurred on campus afterhours because it involves a confidential personnel matter. However, he said Ceres police took a report on the incident but said no crime had been committed to make an arrest. The district, however, determined that Haro crossed the line of ethical conduct for teachers.
Police confirmed that Haro had kissed a 15-year-old female student.
"We had a staff member who was vigilant and recognized that something did not seem right and we were able to intercede before it could escalate into something which the police would have been able to make an arrest on," said Dr. Siegel. "I'm just very proud of the fact that our staff's eyes were on it enough to prevent it from getting to a place where police could take an action on it."
It is not believed there was any misconduct between Haro and other teenage students.
Siegel said the code of ethics by which teachers are expected to operate does not allow teachers to fraternize with students.
"The school district responded very rapidly after learning about this," said Siegel.
The Ceres Unified School District Board of Trustees took action on May 28 to approve a "non-re-elect" of Haro since he was a first-year teacher. Siegel explained that current teacher dismissal laws allow school boards to take such an action on first-teachers up until June 30 in the school year. Second-year teachers can be subjected to a non-re-elect up until March 15. A "permanent" teacher can be placed on paid administrative leave and face action through a dismissal hearing which is a "very lengthy, costly process," said Siegel.
Ceres High School officials only notified the girl's parents that Haro had been dismissed.
"If we had reason to believe that there was a pattern we'd probably notify other parents," said Siegel.
In October 2012 a Ceres Unified School District teacher Matthew Beale was removed from his job after his arrest for lewd and lascivious acts with a female student.
Beale was arrested by Ceres Police detectives after a parent discovered that her 16-year-old daughter received inappropriate and explicit text messages on her cell phone from Beale. The mother reported the matter to CUSD officials on Tuesday who immediately placed Beale on leave and reported the incident to the Ceres Police School Resource Officer. After a quick investigation Beale was released from his position.