San Diego Unified School District

San Diego Unified School District hires law firm for ‘personnel' investigation

According to the Voice of San Diego, Superintendent Lamont Jackson is the focus of the investigation

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The San Diego Unified School District has hired a Los Angeles law firm to handle an internal investigation, but the school district won’t say what the investigation entails. The Voice of San Diego reported the internal investigation focuses on Superintendent Lamont Jackson.

NBC 7 contacted SDUSD, and a spokesperson told us in an email, “The district is precluded from commenting on personnel matters.” We’ve also reached out to all school board members and the district’s teachers’ union, but none have commented on the investigation.

San Diego Unified School District superintendent Lamont Jackson
San Diego Unified School District superintendent Lamont Jackson

The contract from the law firm, Sanchez & Amador, LLP, states the district retained the firm April 10, 2024, for representation “in sensitive internal investigations” for a rate of up to $540 per hour. At a public school board meeting on April 30, 2024, the school board approved the contract for an anticipated cost of $100,000.

The contract says attorney Lupe Valencia will have primary responsibility for the investigation. According to the law firm’s website, Valencia “directed and/or oversaw hundreds of internal investigations arising from a variety of employment-related claims, including harassment, discrimination, whistleblower retaliation, code of conduct violations, and alleged fraudulent business practices…”

Jackson named in lawsuit filed by SDUSD police officers

While we don’t know if there is a connection, Jackson is named in a lawsuit filed by 11 police officers with the SDUSD last December. They are suing the district, Jackson and the SDUSD police chief for retaliation claims, negligence, discrimination and sexual assault.

In the complaint, one of the 11 officers, Robert Lozano, says Jackson retaliated by intimidating Lozano’s girlfriend, who is an elementary school teacher in the district. Lozano says Jackson “came in in the middle of class and sat in the back of her classroom while she taught to intimidate her. Notably, the principal of the school where she taught had no idea Jackson was even on campus nor had he ever set foot on that campus in the past. Thereafter, Jackson proceeded to give Lozano's girlfriend an unwelcomed hug and told her class she was amazing, even though the two never met before that day.

We asked the district spokesperson about this accusation in the complaint and were sent the same response – “The district is precluded from commenting on personnel matters.

Jackson was hired in 2022. He had served as the interim superintendent before that for nearly a year. Born and raised in San Diego, Jackson attended district schools before ultimately working at them and working his way up the ranks at SDUSD.

As the second-largest school district in the state, SDUSD enrolled more than 95,000 students for the 2023-2024 academic year. The majority of student households, 56%, reported an income below the federal poverty level. Hispanic students made up the largest share of the student body at 45%. Nearly a quarter of SDUSD students are white, 10% are Asian, 9% are multiracial and 7% are Black. 

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