Helix HS May Lose Charter Status

Contributory delinquency of runaway student alleged

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    NBCSanDiego.com
    The teacher sex scandals at Helix Charter High School took center stage for several years.

    The Grossmont Union High School District voted last night to set the process in motion to revoke charter status for Helix High School.

    Losing that status means the school would no longer be able to act independently of the district and still receive state money.

    The move to revoke Helix's charter comes on the heels of four cases of sexual molestation involving teachers and a fifth case involving an administrator who helped a student leave school without permission.

    Between 2006 and 2008, four teachers were arrested and convicted of sexual misconduct with students.

    Band director Jessica Kahal, 22, was arrested in October 2007 for having sexing with a 17-year old student. She pleaded guilty in February of 2008 and received three years probation.

    In December 2006, Frank Palumbo, a band teacher, received five years probation after pleading guilty to having sex with a 17-year old student.

    In May 2008 a geography teacher and coach of the girl's soccer team was arrested for having sex with a student in a hotel room. Garry Wilcox, 44, taught at the school for 13 years and was accused of having sex with the student when she was 16 or 17 years old. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced in August 2008 to one year in custody followed by probation.

    In September 2009, Jeff Wenham, a former Helix High School Advisor, pleaded guilty to committing a lewd act on a minor after his relationship with a 17-year old female student was discovered. In this case, the student had come to Wenham for help to get out of a sexual relationship with another Helix teacher. Wenham received three years probation. 

    The board is questioning whether Helix has done enough to change its culture and reputation.

     

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