A recent walkout by East bay school students was led by the principal and some of the teachers according to police, who also said the school district downplayed the event even though vandalism was committed by students including three who were arrested.
East County Today reported:
On Wednesday night, Antioch Police Chief Allan Cantando addressed the Pittsburg Unified School District (PUSD) Board of Trustees highlighting how the District was downplaying what happened during an anti-Donald Trump protest.
He would now like the District to further investigate the incident and review their policies after Cantando provided additional information from both Antioch and Pittsburg Police.
Chief Cantando explained how both Antioch and Pittsburg police officers observed Principal Todd Whitmire participating and encouraging students during the rally–which last week PUSD Superintendent Janet Schulze and Principal Whitmire deny saying he was there for safety.
Schulze claims the rally was peaceful in nature which Cantando disputes.
Chief Cantando said:
I come here as the chief of police for the city of Antioch to speak of the anti-Trump rally last Thursday involving students of your district. This incident was anything but peaceful and involved more students than the small number of students the district claims.
In reality, students from your district engaged in criminal activity including vandalism, knocking over garbage cans, trespassing and attempting to incite students at Antioch High School and assaulting a police officer. All of this occurred in the presence of Pittsburg High School Principal Whitmire.
Initial information provided by Pittsburg Police Lieutenant, a school resource officer, described Mr. Whitmire as encouraging and actively involved. The Lieutenant advised the Pittsburg Police Chief, who advised me, that Mr. Whitmire was giving thumbs up to students.
Once in Antioch, one of our officers observed him chanting, pumping his fist up in the air, and clapping along with the students during the march. Additionally, on two separate occasions, two more of my officers spoke directly to Principal Whitmire asking for his assistance in controlling the crowd and getting students onto the waiting bus at Antioch High School. Both times Mr. Whitmire refused to speak to my officers, but instead gave them a blank stare, shrugged his shoulders, and walked away.
Mr. Whitmire efforts to help this endeavor consists of the following statements to the students, and I quote, if you want to get on the bus, it will take you to Pittsburg, unquote.
More from Chief Cantando:
In closing, Mr. Whitmires actions endangered his students as well as well as members of both the Pittsburg and Antioch community. He produced unnecessary and dangerous liability for the school district based on the special relationship created by his presence and involvement in this unauthorized and in times unlawful off-campus event. But instead of taking responsibility for his role of these events, he and the school Superintendent have chosen to make excuses in a blatant attempt to minimize and justify his misconduct.
But the truth is, the actions that led up and continue throughout this event, were negligent and irresponsible. The lack of integrity and accountability following the event are just as reprehensible.
I sincerely hope at some point you critically and objectively evaluate what happened that day in an effort to prevent a similar occurrence and response in the future. Our children and our community deserve better.