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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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