Friday, August 29, 2014

Still holding out hope for a solution

February 13, 2011 |

Jeff Christian was fired as the Davis High School women’s basketball coach. The school district gave little reason for the firing, which sparked an outgoing public outcry.

If our local school district and Board of Education thought the case of Jeff Christian would fade quickly into the night, they might want to think again.

Supporters of Christian, the former Davis High girls basketball head coach who was unceremoniously fired mid-season, have been meeting formally and informally as they seek to correct what they see as a grievous wrong.

Already a defense fund has been established at River City Bank after a number of those seeking Christian’s reinstatement expressed interest in helping him pursue his case against the district.

Christian’s attorney Steve Boutin, however, still maintains hope that cooler heads will prevail and that a lawsuit will be unnecessary. In that regard, he e-mailed school district attorney Scot Yarnell Friday afternoon suggesting a new solution to the problem that has dominated local headlines for most of the last month.

“The District appears to be attempting to close the book on this matter,” Boutin wrote. “Please understand this matter is not going away. Neither the Davis public nor Jeff will countenance this type of terribly unfair treatment. However, we are willing to extend a second and final ‘olive branch.’ “

According to Boutin, “Despite Jeff’s treatment by the District of late, he still greatly cares for the DHS girls basketball program, and the players, past and present, who he has had the opportunity to work with over the past five-plus years. His goal has been, and continues to be, to build the character of his players and to create an athletic program of which Davis High and the community can be proud. In short, Jeff wishes to be reinstated as head coach of the girls varsity team.”

While acknowledging that that possibility has already been rejected for this season by the administration and the school board, Boutin adds “In a second effort to work out a mutually agreeable compromise, we are hereby proposing that it now be agreed that he be reinstated as head coach for next season.”

Now there’s a proposal with considerable upside. First, it doesn’t undo the action of either the administration or the board to relieve Christian of his duties for the remainder of this season, thus no one has to swallow hard and admit to making a mistake. Second, the administration has it well within its power to hire Christian back for next season without seeking formal board approval. So no board member will have to admit to violating due process in this firing.

In other words, the decision to relieve Christian of his duties for the remainder of this season will remain in force, but any action Boutin and Christian might take against the district for that decision will be dropped if the district simply agrees to hire him back next season.

“We hope the District will recognize that this is a sensible compromise and that it is certainly preferable to the alternatives,” Boutin continues. “Davis High School would be getting back an excellent role model, person and coach who will continue to give his all for his team and the players. As the Board heard from Jeff’s former players at its meeting of January 20, Jeff has had a profound positive impact on these players’ lives. He has been and will continue to be a tremendous asset to players on the Davis High School team.”

Boutin goes on to say “The District has to date refused our numerous requests to have an open hearing on the matter. However, each of the Board members should understand that the truth will come out. Absent settlement, certain employees of the District, including the Superintendent, Athletic Director and Principal, should know that, in the not too distant future, they will be testifying under penalty of perjury. At that point, the consequences will be much, much more severe for those who have not been forthright and who have betrayed the public’s trust.”

Adds Boutin: “It is our studied opinion that because the facts will show that the termination of Jeff Christian resulted from a complaint, he was statutorily entitled to receive written notice from the Board of Education. Since the Board did not afford him that written notice, and an opportunity to have his matter heard in open session, the action of the Board to terminate Jeff was statutorily ‘null and void.’ ”

Boutin concludes with one final plea for reason as this process moves forward. He writes: “We hope the District will dispassionately and expeditiously consider the compromise proposal of reinstatement for next season. If the District does not rectify this wrong, it will be precipitating what could have been unnecessary litigation and the consequences thereof. A majority of the School Board and certain members of the Administration would be ill-advised to underestimate our resolve.”

The ball is now clearly in the district’s court. It’s time for those who represent the citizens of Davis to revisit this case from the beginning and grant Jeff Christian the legally mandated full and open hearing he has been consistently denied.

If the Board is unwilling to do so, it should at the very least accept Boutin’s reasonable compromise of hiring Christian back to coach next season.

Otherwise, it is clear that ego and stubborn pride will cause the district to spend untold thousands of tax dollars defending the indefensible. Not to mention what a settlement might ultimately cost.

At this time of fiscal crisis in our schools, that would not be a wise course to take.

— Reach Bob Dunning at Comment on this column at



  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .


    Saving Putah Creek: a quiet concert at sunset

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Mr. Dolcini goes to Washington

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Winton to be feted for her many years of community work

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Davis Innovation Center team fields questions

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Researchers solve mystery of Death Valley’s moving rocks

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

    California extends review of $25B delta plan

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Assembly approves statewide ban on plastic bags

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Need a new best friend?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Equestrian eventing competition slated

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Dinner, auction benefit Yolo County CASA

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Forum explores local mental health services

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Solar-cooking workshop set at Food Co-op

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Celebrate the Senior Center at Sept. 9 luncheon

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Kids can sign up for a library card and get a free book

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Explorit Science Center: Volunteers supercharge summer camp

    By Lisa Justice | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    Tee off for Davis’ continued prosperity

    By Lily Holmes | From Page: A4

    Bodega Marine Laboratory hosts open house

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

    Local group charts a year’s worth of beauty in flowers

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Free blood pressure screenings offered

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Name Droppers: UCD honors two of its own

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

    Books, conversation and poetry at Logos

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7



    Let’s sell the MRAP on eBay

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

    Seeing both sides of ‘tank’

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

    What if we need MRAP?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

    How could tank be helpful?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: C2

    Don’t sentence our police to death

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: C2, 1 Comment

    Will Davis see river water?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

    Travel buddy is getting too fat

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5



    Returning seniors, new faces lead promising DHS links squad

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Devil golfers return from Scotland with smiles on their faces

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Devils scrimmage with Sac

    By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    UCD-Stanford: the clock is down to counting the minutes

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

    Forget the score; focus on the energy brought by Aggies

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

    Wire briefs: Aces cruise past Cats at Raley

    By Wire and staff reports | From Page: B6

    Sports briefs: DHS girls fall by the slimmest of net margins

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B6 | Gallery





    ‘The November Man’: Who can be trusted?

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    B Street’s ‘The Ladies Foursome’ is aces

    By Bev Sykes | From Page: A9 | Gallery



    Technology makes a great car better

    By Ali Arsham | From Page: C1 | Gallery



    Margarita Elizondo

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Elaine Dracia Greenberg

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4