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SEXUAL HARASSMENT ALLEGATIONS ROIL ABCUSD AND ABC ADULT SCHOOL

By Brian Hews

An Assistant Principal at the ABC Adult School is leveling explosive charges of sexual harassment and retaliation that has shaken up the ABC Adult School while causing dissension among the ABCUSD Board.

AP Ami Takanashi, who was hired July of last year and came with several letters of recommendation from other adult school administrators, has alleged that she was sexually harassed and subsequently retaliated against by Adult School Principal Dr. Pao Ling Guo.

The alleged harassment conversation came only ten days after Takanashi was hired, after which she took her concerns to Assistant Superintendent Susan Hixon.

Hixon did nothing about the allegations so Takanashi filed a grievance with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC); the case is currently under investigation.

Takanashi subsequently fought to have her grievance heard in front of the Board and she was granted that privilege at this week’s Board meeting.

The allegations triggered the eventual appointment of a special investigator to look into the Takanashi charges against Dr. Guo.

The Board voted to hire the special investigator 6-1, with Board member Maynard Law voting no.

While the Board voted to place Takanashi on administrative leave, they voted 4-3 to reject placing Dr. Guo on leave.

President Chris Apodaca and Board members Letty Mendoza and Lynda Johnson all voted to place Dr. Guo on leave during the investigation while the other remaining members voted no.

In her emailed statement to ABC requesting the meeting with the Board, Takanashi said, “I am a concerned ABCUSD employee who would like to speak in private to the school board regarding discrimination in the workplace and retaliation that I have been receiving from the principal at ABC Adult School, PaoLing Guo. She has used her authority to make my job difficult by not providing me with proper training and tools to succeed during my first year at a new job. She is taking advantage that I am an at-will employee and has assassinated my character. She has went as far as describing me as an animal in the workplace; a bull in a china shop as written in a legal document written by the law office representing ABCUSD which was placed in my personnel file. I am afraid that my career and livelihood will have a negative impact because of PaoLing’s retaliation against me.”

HMG-CN has obtained, from a source inside ABC, the lengthy and detailed 17-page response to allegations letter from ABC’s law firm Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud, and Romo (AALRR) to Denise Long, EEOC Enforcement Officer, arguing that Takanashi was not retaliated against by Dr. Guo.

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The letter addresses all allegations by Takanashi including the allegation that Takanashi was sexually harassed her by Dr. Guo.

In her statement Takanashi said, “ PaoLing came into my office and during the 1.5 hour meeting, she shared with me about her intimate relationship that she has with another female ABC employee. She described her trips that they have taken and one in particular was a trip where they disrobed and frequented naked hot bathtubs.”

Takanashi went on, “Guo then began asking personal questions about me: marital status, if I had children and who I was with at 3 in the morning and if I was lonely. The conversation was not professional and it made me feel very uncomfortable.”

The AALRR lettered countered Takanashi’s allegation by stating that Dr. Guo did not say anything about another female employee nor anything about bathing nude, but was using the naked hot bath example as an illustration in trying to explain the diverse cultural differences at ABC Adult School and how they must be treated differently.

The letter indicated that Takanashi “did not respond to this illustration of cultural differences or give Dr. Guo any indication she was uncomfortable.”

The letter went on to say that, “as the school year progressed concerns grew about Takanashi’s management style, her interactions with coworkers, and her resistance to directions.”

The letter took 10 pages in describing, in great detail, other concerns Dr. Guo had with Takanashi; allegations that Takanashi refuted with a letter of her own.

Finally the AALRR letter cited several precedent cases that precluded Takanashi’s case of retaliation and asked the EEOC to dismiss the case.

The case is still open and under investigation.

No one at ABC could comment on the issue with all employees contacted saying, “it’s a personnel matter we cannot discuss it.”

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10 Responses to SEXUAL HARASSMENT ALLEGATIONS ROIL ABCUSD AND ABC ADULT SCHOOL

  1. Joseph King Reply

    June 1, 2017 at 8:02 pm

    You know nothing about Ami, I’ve lived with her and she’s a pretty solid person. Perhaps it happened to some of you but never spoke up because you’re all afraid to lose your jobs.

  2. cclark Reply

    May 8, 2017 at 8:04 am

    Again and again these things go in the workplace…always people we never expected from Supreme Court justices to high level famous university coaches…we see it everyday…please let the investigators do their job

  3. Margaret Carter Reply

    May 7, 2017 at 3:55 pm

    I am writing in response to the false allegations, in my personal opinion, that were written about Dr. PaoLing Guo, Principal – ABC Adult School – ABC Unified School District in the Los Cerritos Community News.
    This sickens me! These are FALSE! I worked with Dr. Guo from 2001, when she started working at the ABC Adult School, until my retirement in June of 2010 and am still in contact with her and the ABC Adult School. She is a Wonderful Person and a Wonderful Administrator. Again these Allegations are False in my opinion.
    Dr. Guo is an outstanding Person and Principal! The Adult School Staff and Students are always first with her. She is always looking for ways to better the ABC Adult School. While working at the Adult School, Dr. Guo always had an open door policy and always made herself available to staff, students and anyone that wanted to speak with her.
    This person who has made these allegations against Dr. Guo, I do not know personally, but I can guarantee they are Unfounded and Untrue.
    I am also a community member and voted for the ABC Board Members and I would trust that they will do the right thing and find Dr. PauLing Guo innocent of these allegations.
    I can guarantee that I am not the only person that feels this way about these horrible allegations that have been made against
    Dr. Guo.

    Sincerely
    Margaret Carter

  4. Concerned Citizen Reply

    May 6, 2017 at 11:51 am

    I commend those ABC school board members for standing up for transparency and doing the right thing. Sad that loyalty can mislead some board members into allowing this to go unchallenged and prefer to act like nothing happend.

    If there was nothing wrong then why would there be a need for attorneys and investigators? We should support a non bias and fair investigation.

    The truth shall prevail and those school board trustees that do not have a back bone or moral dignity to stand up for injustice ahould resign their position.

    • Adriana Ramirez Reply

      May 8, 2017 at 12:25 pm

      I’m sorry, but do you work at ABC Adult School? I didn’t think so. We who do work at the Adult School for more than a simple year know these are just lies from someone who was told she would not come back for another year. The truth WILL prevail because there is no evidence to support this disgusting claim. This is the work of someone who knew she had no way of keeping her job and she went for the low blow. Ami, you know its a lie. I don’t have a problem calling you on it openly. I feel you betrayed us, but especially me from all you told me- this is NOT what you said to me

      • Alex Reply

        May 8, 2017 at 4:59 pm

        Ms. Ramirez

        Don’t be so defensive, I am merely speaking on the contents of this article. If you indeed work at ABC maybe then you can help address some of these concerns. Stop trying to be a teachers pet and stand for something greater. Maybe you are part of the problem as well, who knows.

  5. Concerned Citizen Reply

    May 6, 2017 at 11:39 am

    This is just another example of work place bullying, and a clear misuse of power and authority. The superintendent was willing to sweep this under the rug in order to save face. Imagine this happens to your wife, daughter, or sister? Would you be as quick to dismiss.

    A true investigation is warranted, that why there are laws that protect about this kind of behavior. These people are I trusted with the responsibility to run schools and educate our kids. They should be held accountable.

    No more deceit. No more scandalous. No more lies.

    • Adriana Ramirez Reply

      May 8, 2017 at 12:06 pm

      I’m sure this is a concerned citizen.. sounds like someone very familiar to the case.

  6. Vicki Johnson Reply

    May 5, 2017 at 12:09 pm

    I think before we decide if allegations are true or false, we should wait for the independent council or investigator to do his or her job. Yes, people can be deceiving and we may not know all what has transpired, but we should wait before throwing stones. As an adult school employee for many years, I have seen many things that have been saddening and frustrating, yet with no recourse taken to change the problems. So smearing anyone on either side does not help the issue at hand.

    • Adriana Reply

      May 5, 2017 at 2:26 pm

      I highly doubt any of us that have been working at the adult school for years need to hear the outcome from any independent or private investigation. We know Dr. Guo’s character and although SOME colleagues might not be to fond of her, mainly for not getting what they want, the truth is that the majority of us do know what kind of person she is and her character.

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