Brentwood school district to pay $8M to abused children

A Brentwood school district will pay an $8 million settlement to families whose children were physically and verbally abused by a teacher.
January 23, 2014 12:00:00 AM PST
Parents in Contra Costa County are talking about the $8 million payout against the Brentwood School District.

This settlement involves teacher Dina Holder, who is accused of physically and verbally abusing special needs pre-school students.

Eight families were involved in this lawsuit, which means each family will receive $1 million. What is alarming is that something similar happened at another school district nearby, Antioch, and it involved another teacher. Both cases have cost both school districts more than $16 million.

"She had come home with scratches from her forehead down to her neck," said Jennifer Plummer, a parent.

Plummer's daughter, Jordan, was only 3 years old when she entered Dina Holder's special needs class at Loma Vista Elementary in Brentwood.

Peter Alfert is one of the lawyers representing the parents who sued the district. He told us, "In addition to the reports of physical assaults, there were reports that she wasn't teaching her class, was coming in late, sat at her desk playing computer."

Despite several complaints, the district never suspended the teacher. Instead, holder was transferred to another school, Krey Elementary, and the excuses continued.

"'Well, she got into a fight with another kid. What do you want us to tell you?'" said Plummer.

Holder's deposition was recorded on Dec. 4, 2012 after she was charged with child abuse. She pleaded no contest. In that deposition, Holder described one kid saying, "He was shaking his head back and forth saying no."

On Thursday the school district has a new superintendent who has already made drastic changes.

"We've retrained each and every staff member that we have as to their duties as mandated reporters and also how to spot the signs of child abuse going forward," said Dana Eaton, Superintendent of the Brentwood Union School District.

Another nearby school district, Antioch, also settled last month with parents for $8 million after another teacher, Theresa Allen-Caulboy reportedly abused special needs kids.

"If they have reasonable suspicion that abuse is occurring, if they don't report it, it's a crime," said attorney Todd Boley.

Allen-Caulboy has been charged. Her court case is still pending.

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