San Diego

Former Student Speaks Out Against Sexual Misconduct at La Jolla High School

Former students at La Jolla High School are speaking out about a now retired teacher they say sexually harassed them.

The women first shared their stories with NBC 7's media partner, Voice of San Diego, in an article written by Ashley McGlone.

One of the women, Loxie Gant, now 32 years old, spoke with NBC 7 and shared how retired teacher Martin Teachworth sexually assaulted her.

She was a senior at La Jolla High at the time, and Teachworth was her advanced physics teacher. 

“He gave my butt a one-two grab and a pat," said Gant, recalling the incident. "It was very scary, very intentional, and it made me feel very uncomfortable."

Gant told the principal, who at the time was Dana Shelburne, and Shelburne called an investigator. Gant said the investigator asked if she would be willing to testify if the case should go to the legal level. She agreed.

Gant typed out a statement about Teachworth and gave it to the principal. She was then transferred out of Teachworth’s class. She assumed there was an investigation into the incident, but never heard anything from anyone.

But Gant did hear about Teachworth again in 2014.

That is when more students came forward, claiming Teachworth was sexually inappropriate with them between the years 2011 and 2013.

According to the Voice of San Diego, they complained Teachworth groped them by “grazing their chest, tickling their stomach and squeezing their hips, thighs and butt.” 

“I was devastated, I thought that then being ten years older, I thought maybe I could have protected them or I could have done more,” Gant said.

At that point, Gant decided to do more. She contacted a teacher she knew at La Jolla High to tell him it happened to her too.

“This isn’t an isolated incident," she said. "This is something that has been happening for a very long time. So my incident happened in 2002 and now we’re in 2013."

In an email to Voice of San Diego, Teachworth said he remembers Gant's complaint.

“I disputed her claims and the school district found no substantiation for them," he said in the email.

Teachworth also said accusations made by a “few female students” who graduated in 2013 and 2014 are new to him. In his statement to Voice of San Diego, Teachworth pointed out he was a Teacher of the Year for La Jolla High, and a finalist to be County Teacher of the Year.

He also wrote, “Throughout the school day, and particularly in lab settings,  I routinely interacted with students: for example, I might inadvertently contact a student while looking over his or her shoulder to assist with an assignment …However, throughout my career, I always did my best to respect my students’ physical space and privacy.” 

In response to the email, Gant told NBC 7, “It’s a lie. It’s a total lie … He admits that he was aware of my complaint and then if something was still happening in 2013, it did not heighten his awareness to his surroundings.”

In a district issued statement to Voice of San Diego it said:

The safety and wellbeing of students is a top priority for the San Diego Unified School District. The current administration expects all policies to be followed, especially those that pertain to the safety of students.

The district encourages students and/or their families to file complaints at their school - either verbally or in writing - with a teacher, counselor, administrator or other employee. Students may also file an anonymous online bullying report or file a complaint through the district’s Office of Quality Assurance. Students who feel they have been the victim of a crime should contact law enforcement.

In responding to a public records request filed by the Voice of San Diego, the district did not find any record of documented evidence that this retired teacher engaged in inappropriate behavior, nor did it uncover any record of substantiated allegations made against him. The district did not find any record of documented complaints as a result of the inquiry.

Now the mother of a two-year-old girl, Gant said she worries about school safety, given there is no record of any complaints.

“It makes me sick to my stomach that this has been happening for so long and to so many kids," Gant said. "And now in this world of Me Too, I can’t let my daughter be a hashtag Me Too."

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