Local News

Mar 13, 2014 2:19 PM by Kathrene Herndon, KSBY News

School district employee placed on mandatory leave without pay

A certificated employee with the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District (SMJUHSD) was placed on mandatory leave without pay during a closed session school board meeting Wednesday night, according to school officials.

While the school is not releasing the teacher's name, Pioneer Valley High School teacher and coach Brian Hook was arrested last month in Orcutt and has been charged with multiple sexual acts with a minor.

The police search warrant, released by the Santa Barbara County Superior Court, illustrates an alleged sexual relationship between Hook and a 16-year-old student since October 2013.

According to SMJUHSD Superintendent Dr. Mark Richardson, during Wednesday night's closed session, the employee was placed on mandatory leave of absence without pay in accordance with section 44940 of the education code.

That section of the education code defines mandatory leave of absence offenses. One of those offenses is an employee that has been charged with a sex crime.

The school district previously told KSBY News that in situations where a teacher has been arrested, "It is common practice for an employee to be placed on administrative leave," but would not comment on Hook's current status with the school.

Hook, who is still in custody at Santa Barbara County Jail, is due back in court for a preliminary hearing next month.

He has pleaded not guilty.

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