Investigation Information

To The Saugus School Community:

Understandably, we are receiving a number of questions from concerned parents and staff members regarding the news about the music specialist who visited schools throughout Southern California and is alleged to have contaminated flutes. While we do not have answers to all the questions coming in, the purpose of this message is to provide the information that we do have at this time, and to let you know that we will continue to work to answer your questions.

Q: Which schools and classes in the Saugus Union School District received the assembly? UPDATED: October 19, 2017 at 05:11PM

The individual provided several different assemblies and workshops to many of our schools. At this time, law enforcement is focusing on workshops where students made “flutes” out of PVC pipe with a specific individual. We understand that similar workshops have taken place using bamboo flutes, but at this time law enforcement is focused on only PVC flutes. We understand that similar workshops have taken place using a different music specialist and we are not listing those workshops because, based on our knowledge, they are not part of the investigation. We can confirm that the particular music workshop was offered in the following school years at the following locations:

School Year

School Site

Grade Level

2016-2017

North Park

3

2016-2017

Tesoro del Valle

4

2016-2017 Rosedell 4

2015-2016

North Park

3

2014-2015 James Foster 5,6
2014-2015 North Park 3

2014-2015

Bridgeport

Evening Program

2014-2015

West Creek

Evening Program

2013-2014 Mountainview 3,3/4 combo
2013-2014 North Park 4
2012-2013  Mountainview 3

We continue to work at compiling a list of the schools and grades that did receive the workshop. We received the details of this investigation on Friday, just before our District employees and families left for fall break, so we did not have time to gather all these details before people left for the week. This is not an excuse; we offer this information to help explain why it will take a bit of time to gather these details. Our site administrators are gathering this information for us at this time.

We also know that the individual was at the following school sites providing different programs:

School Year

School Site

Grade Level

2016-2017

Charles Helmers

5

2016-2017

Mountainview

3,3/4 combo,5

2016-2017

Rosedell

3,5,6 (bamboo)

2016-2017

Skyblue Mesa

3

2015-2016

Rosedell

3,5,6 (bamboo)

2015-2016

Rosedell (assembly)

4,5,6

2015-2016

Skyblue Mesa

3

2014-2015

James Foster (assembly)

5

2014-2015

Charles Helmers (assembly)

2013-2014

Tesoro del Valle

2

We do not believe the individual was ever at Cedarcreek, Plum Canyon, Emblem, Highlands, Santa Clarita, or Rio Vista.

Q: Was this individual a District employee? UPDATED: September 30, 2017 at 04:00PM

No, this individual was never a District employee.

Q: Were the children ever alone with the music specialist? UPDATED: September 30, 2017 at 04:00PM

His program was an assembly or workshop, and we can confirm that our students were never without teacher supervision; they were not alone with the person being investigated.

Q: Are any Saugus Union School District students part of the investigation? UPDATED: September 30, 2017 at 04:00PM

At this time, we have not received information that any of our students are part of the investigation.

Q: Who is conducting the investigation, and how will we receive status updates? UPDATED: October 09, 2017 at 05:00PM

We have been informed that this ongoing investigation is being conducted by the United State Postal Inspection Service (Hotline Number 626-405-1352) with assistance from the California Department of Justice, Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department and multiple other law enforcement agencies. We currently do not know where additional questions regarding the investigation may be addressed. The Superintendent’s Office is in contact with the Special Victims Bureau of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department and will forward any information to our school community once we have an update.

Q: Where do we take the flutes, if our child has one? UPDATED: September 30, 2017 at 08:15PM

Please place the flute in a paper bag, not a plastic one, and call the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station at 661-255-1121, the Sheriff's Office will determine if they will send a deputy or ask to have the flute dropped off at the Sheriff's Station.

Q: Should I be worried about potential health implications? UPDATED: October 06, 2017 at 10:38AM

According to the Los Angeles Department of Public Health, "semen die quickly when exposed to air (likely under 20 minutes), there are no known cases of STDs associated with air-dried semen and the health risks are negligible."
 
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has provided this FAQ.
 
We will share any additional information from the Health Department as we receive it.   
 

Q: What is the background check process for these programs? UPDATED: September 30, 2017 at 04:00PM

Because this individual was not alone with children, he did not go through the fingerprinting process, Education Code 45125.1 outlines when we fingerprint individuals. We have been advised that the individual does not have a history that would have impeded his ability to be around children even if he was fingerprinted.

Additionally, when engaging specialists for assemblies and workshops, we vet the organizer/organizing authority, not the individuals per se. Given this situation, the Superintendent will be discussing with the Governing Board a process for amplifying the reports provided by organizing authorities on the individuals they hire.

Q: What is the District planning to change in response to this event? UPDATED: October 24, 2017 at 09:09AM

Out of an abundance of caution, the Superintendent has given direction to temporarily cease all events with outside consultants and contractors that come into contact with our children pending a comprehensive review of relevant policies and procedures.

The policies and procedures for the following events have been reviewed and updated as noted:

After School Enrichment Information
District staff has reviewed our polices and procedures for after school enrichment activities. We want to assure you that the District currently requires that each of our participating vendors fingerprint employees, provide us an affidavit and list of staff who are fingerprinted. As a new procedure, each site will be asked to confirm that only listed individuals are on campus and if not, then alternative arrangements with the vendor will occur. Sites will also notify the district so appropriate action can be taken with the vendor. After School Enrichment is expected to continue without any delay.

Fall Festivals
The District recognizes that many of our parent organizations are planning fall activities and know that these are always exciting events for families.  All activities are planned though the parent organizations who request Facilities Use Permits from the District and follow their individual bylaws regarding volunteers to assist with the event and vendors to provide various services. The District does not require fingerprints of these volunteers nor vendors and knows that parents/guardians are present with their children for these events.  We wish everyone a wonderful, memorable, treasured experience.

We are meeting with COC on October 10, 2017 and will review protocols and procedures as well as make decisions about fingerprinting, etc. so we will wait on re-instituting COC programs until after our meeting.

Q: Who is leading the investigation? UPDATED: October 09, 2017 at 05:00PM

The United States Postal Service is the lead law enforcement agency in this investigation and has not provided public information regarding the name or arrest of the individual involved in this investigation.  Their hotline number is 626-405-1352 and is set up for the public to report any information they may have regarding the case. If no one answers, please leave a message and they will call back.

Q: How will I know what happens with a flute I give the Sheriff's Department? UPDATED: October 09, 2017 at 05:00PM

The sheriff's office is cataloging flutes in their custody (Sheriff's Department file number 017-13847-0699-418). Each flute that is turned in will be given an evidence system number and provided to the parent for future reference, once booked into evidence. Please call the Santa Clarita Sheriff's Station at 661-255-1121 to arrange for pick up if your child has a flute made of PVC that was part of the Flutes Across the World program.

Q: Where can I find out new information? UPDATED: October 02, 2017 at 01:02PM

The District will continue to update this information at 10:00AM each day or as needed; if no additional information is available, we will indicate “no new information at this time” and refresh the date and time listed below.

We received the email below from the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department which was sent to them by the United States Postal Inspector:
The ecrime unit is providing an email for concerned parents to provide their contact information if they desire to CALDOJ to be added to a listserve.  At this time the email will accept parents contact information.  Dissemination of information back to parents will occur once items for public information are approved via our internal process.

Information to be provided will only be that which we as a law enforcement and prosecution agency are allowed to provide under our policy and legal guidelines.  This may differ from the level of information schools provide in excising their duty of care.

Parents should put the term "Recorder" in the subject line.  It is unlikely we will be able to provide a response to their inquiries for a minimum of 24 hours, but at least we can begin to create a state list of parent contact information.

It is for your individual district, school, or impacted entity, to decide how and if you wish to pass this email along to parents.  It is only meant to assist you and is not a requirement on your part.

In summary please note: 1) The purpose of the email is for parents to provide their contact information if and only if they wish to be added to a state email chain; 2) At this time it is for collection of contact information only; 3) It is unlikely there will be an auto response for at least 24 hours (but there will ultimately be one); and 4) Parents should list "Recorder" in the subject line.

The email is ecrimeunit@doj.ca.gov

Please continue to forward your questions to your principal or the superintendent or use the form below. We will review the questions and address them, as appropriate, in our updates.

 

UPDATED: October 24, 2017 at 09:09AM

REVIEWED: December 2, 2017 at 09:12AM

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Received from USPIS - Oct. 19, 2017 03:20PM

Letter to Families - Sept. 30, 2017 08:24PM

To The Saugus Union School District Community:
 
Understandably, we are receiving a number of questions from concerned parents and staff members regarding the news about the music specialist who visited schools throughout Southern California and is alleged to have contaminated flutes. While we do not have answers to all the questions coming in, the purpose of this message is to provide the information that we do have at this time, and to let you know that we will continue to work to answer your questions.
 
Please visit  http://www.saugususd.org/Investigation-Information/index.html or follow the link on Facebook to our constantly updating page devoted to this issue.
 
Respectfully,
 
Joan Lucid, Ed.D.
Superintendent

Letter to Families - Sept. 30, 2017 09:55AM

Dear Parent/Guardian: 
 
I regret to inform you that our District was contacted by law enforcement with some concerning information regarding a musical performer associated with the Flutes Across the World Program, a program that works with schools across Southern California, including many schools in our District. The performer distributes a flute-like musical instrument made of PVC pipe or bamboo to students during a music lesson, and the allegation is that he contaminated some of these instruments with semen. 

These allegations are deeply concerning, and I realize they raise many questions. I want to assure you that we are cooperating with law enforcement in this important on-going investigation. In an abundance of caution, we are asking families who may have had children in the District in this type of program or participated in other similar programs within the community to remove those flutes from your child's possession and place them in a sealed paper bag. The District is working with local law enforcement to determine how they wish to have these collected as evidence. If you have immediate health concerns, please seek guidance from your child's healthcare provider or your local county health agency.

As both an educator and a parent, it is difficult for me to send this message. Even though we do not have all the details, I know honest, forthright communication is the only way that our school community can deal with these concerning allegations. We will update you as we receive further communication from local and state law enforcement.

As always, the health and safety of our students remains our top priority.  Please be assured that we will cooperate fully with law enforcement on behalf of the children, families and dedicated staff in our school community.
 
Respectfully,
 
Joan Lucid, Ed.D.
Superintendent