A Mountain View High School parent asked district board members this week to fire the school's varsity girls basketball coach for sending an "unprofessional" e-mail to her players with pictures of a shirtless man.
"This just blew me away," Shariff Estremera told the board on Monday night. "I believe it was an act of misconduct. I believe the school deserves better. Please pay special attention."
Estremera forwarded a copy of the e-mail to Mountain View-Los Altos High School District administrators and other parents, but wanted the board to take more punitive actions. Trustees would not comment on the case since Estremera spoke as a community member and the discussion was not on the agenda. After the meeting, board members told the Voice they had not yet had time to discuss the case.
After receiving a copy of the e-mail, Principal Keith Moody and Superintendent Barry Groves both spoke with the coach, Judy Auclair, and conducted an investigation, but would not comment on specifics of the case. Groves said he did not fire the coach, adding that the district and high school are "dealing with the situation."
"We have done what we feel is appropriate," Groves said. "We are moving on."
In the Jan. 5 e-mail to her players, Auclair pasted a few photos of a shirtless male model in sexy poses and asked the girls to "Guess who this is."
"Have another look!" she wrote as the e-mail scrolls down. "Still don't know?" At the end of the e-mail she wrote: "Neither do I ... but who cares?"
In an e-mail to the Voice, Auclair said only that she considered the matter to be closed.
According another parent who asked not to be named, the e-mail was based on a conversation about boys the coach had with her 10 players. She said most of the girls and parents were not upset by the photos, and added that in her opinion the e-mail did not merit the firing of Auclair, who has been coaching at Mountain View High for six years.
"It was a joke. The girls didn't think about it. They were more upset about the brouhaha of the e-mail," the parent said. "They just want to play basketball."
Disappointed with the district's reaction and the reaction by other parents, Estremera also took a copy of the e-mail to the Mountain View Police Department. He said police told him the pictures were "two inches away from being pornographic." But police concluded they weren't pornographic.
"It is definitely not criminal," said police spokesperson Liz Wylie. "There has to be criminal intent. It has to be pornographic."
Estremera came to the school board meeting on Monday, Jan. 26, asking trustees to take further action against the coach. He said his daughter, a sophomore at Mountain View High, was offended by the e-mails, and that the team should have a more professional coach. Two other parents also contacted Moody about the e-mail, Estremera said.
The girls "need to be thinking about the game and not this stuff," said Estremera, who is in the Army Reserve and will be leaving for Iraq in March.
"I believe this is not something I should have to worry about when I am there," he told the board.
Because this is a personnel matter, any further discussion among trustees would take place in closed session, according to board president Judy Hannemann. But she added that board normally "trusts the powers that be."
The board can schedule a closed meeting to discuss the issue at any time if they decide, Hannemann added.
But until then, said trustee Susan Sweeley, "Everybody is aware and will be watching."