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Court Rules ABC School District Fabricated Evidence Used to Demote Former Stowers Principal


Settlement Conference
Set for July 17

It was February 2010 when then Stowers Principal Mrs. Eileen Bladgen reported a threat on the lives of two of her teachers by a third teacher to the sheriff. Under the law Mrs. Bladgen is obligated to report any such incident to law enforcement. Her superiors and AFT President Laura Rico told her they would take care of the matter and she didn’t have to do anything more about the incident. The District then reacted to her sheriff’s report by placing her on administrative leave for the rest of the school year, demoting her to a teaching position, and worst of all using false evidence of her incompetence to justify its action.
Last month Superior Court Judge Joanne O’Donnell in Los Angeles ruled the evidence used against Mrs. Blagden to demote her was fabricated. The case now goes to a Settlement Conference on July 17.

PHOTO COURTESY OF NBC NEWS Former Stowers Magnet School Principal, Eileen Blagden, shown here with her attorney Ron Wilson, is suing the ABC Unified School District because she claims she was demoted for reporting death threats being made against two teachers. However, the school district maintains they demoted Blagden as a result of her performance.

The events leading up to Blagden’s leave of absence and subsequent demotion occurred when a teacher, Kevin Kirby, arrived at Stowers on Jan. 25, 2010 at approximately 9 am with bloodstains on his clothes and told a secretary he had been in an accident on the freeway while riding his motorcycle. Blagden told Kirby he should not report to his classroom due to his appearance and possible injuries. Kirby told her he refused medical treatment at the scene of the accident and didn’t need a doctor.
According to the sheriff’s incident report Kirby became very agitated that he was not able to go to his classroom and stated, “Nobody likes me here. Nobody loves me here. I have no friends. Maybe my acci-dent happened this morning for a purpose. I wish I was dead.” He subsequently told Blagden he was hav-ing trouble with two other Kindergarten teachers and he hated both of them, adding, “I wish something bad would happen to them! I want to hire a hit man to kill them.”
At this point the principal contacted the District office and told them what was going on. She repeated she needed help at the school and Kirby appeared suicidal and distraught and should be taken out of serv-ice,” She was told to get his union representative to her office. Short time later personnel from the District office, including Union President Laura Rico arrived along with paramedics and escorted Kirby to a medical facility. She was told by Assistant Superintendent Carol Hansen that Kirby would not be allowed to return to work without a doctor’s note
Rico later informed ABC that Kirby would not be returning to work immediately and would be of work for an extended time period. Mrs. Blagden was told not to say anything else that the District would handle it from there. However, Blagden, concerned about the safety of her teachers and students, later filed a report with the sheriff. On Feb 3, Blagden was put on “indefinite” leave for disobeying orders not to say any-thing to anybody about the incident
Blagden’s attorney Ron Wilson said former Superintendent Gary Smuts stated the day before the “Kirby incident” that he had decided to demote her and made that announcement at a cabinet meeting. Unfortunately there is no documentation of the meeting. According to Dr. Smuts the accusation was not true. Wilson said the District hired a coach for Mrs. Blagden to improve her standing. According to the coach her biggest job was to determine why she was there or what Mrs. Blagden’s deficiencies were. “No one ever told me,” she testified under oath. “No one ever talked to her.” Wilson said.
In her deposition then Deputy Superintendent Dr. Mary Sieu testified that Stowers was a great school. She said she didn’t know if it was a good thing that Mrs. Blagden reported the death threats to the Los Angles County Sheriff Department. She confirmed Assistant Superintendent Carol Hansen had told Mrs. Blagden to do nothing about the death threats. Dr Sieu also described Mrs. Blagden as an honest person. She said she was told by Dr.Smuts that Mrs. Blagden was placed on administrative leave because of the death threat incident. She also said Carol Hanson told her the same thing.
Dr. Sieu testified one of the reasons Mrs. Blagden was disciplined and demoted was for divulging con-fidential information. Asked what the information was, she replied the reporting the death threat made by teacher Kevin Kirby against two other teachers to law enforcement officials. Another issue used against Mrs. Blagden was she refused to support an illegal, school sponsored non-profit foundation, which was not properly set up in accordance with California law.


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  • Larry Andre says:

    During the spring of 2010 I had the opportunity to attend an ABC School District meeting. Eileen was supposed to be able to make her case of why the charges against her were false. The superintendent made a Freudian slip saying they had made their decision about demotion then quickly corrected himself to say we are here to listen to Ms. Blagden. Then the superintendent proceeded to impede the ability of Ms. Blagden and her attorney to make their case, limiting the time for them to speak. I placed my name on the list to make comments for a 5 minute time slot then when I arose to speak I yielded my time to the attorney for Blagden. Although, the ABC School Board uses Robert’s Rules of Order, the superintendent did not call for the parlimentarian to make a ruling but immediately ruled my yielding out of order and went on to the next person to make comments. Remember, one of the individuals that made the ruling and participated in the Kangaroo Trial of Ms. Blagden was Palido the Cerritos City Councilman. It is time for the Superintendent and Palido to be held accountable for their politically motivated decisions.

  • mark hylland says:

    What a bunch of idiots, there is so much more behind the scenes in this DRAMA—-SMUTS should get a job with the city of Norwalk, they like to cover up for child molestation coaches. He should try for the Parks and Recreation Department.

  • Sonya says:

    This makes me sick. I hope this awesome brave principal gets big compensation. I also hope the two other teachers whom lives were threatened and saved are grateful. These political administration people, sicken me, buy sweeping so much another the rug. It’s done everywhere!! Government, Jobs, & Schools this makes me sick. This is how the schools in Certitos handle dangerous situations. To think if she didn’t go to police, he could’ve done something the next day even if he was on a leave. Thank God the children were protected as well because of Eileen.
    They honestly have a screw loose to think this wasnt serious enough for Eileen (the witness to the conversation) to go straight to the police. Eileen way to go!! Fight on, GOD is proud of you for saving lives!!! If Kirby was already having issues no body liked him. He would’ve for sure had issuse for being put on leave prior to the police call. Those administration people put that school in danger.

  • Larry Andre says:

    Smuts was doing what he deemed best, protect his ass, and protect his sources of support the Unions

  • S. Burgess says:

    It would seem to me anyone including the superintendent and anyone else that supported these wrongful acts that would perform down to the level where they intended to inhibit or punish anyone that had the best interests of the school and was following common sense and the law lacks the integrity and professionalism needed fulfill the duties and responsibilities of the ABC board. If those individuals do not remove themselves, it only shows they only have their own selfish interests in mind, not the district, the kids nor the staff.


    The ONLY advocate for Teachers and Students that OPPOSED the ABC Corruption and WORKED HARD to protect the RIGHTS OF STUDENTS, TEACHERS AND PARENTS was former ABC 2o year Board Veteran Cecy Groom!!
    REMEMBER, it was Cecy that first exposed this and other corrupt practices of the ABC District. For her hard work and decency Cecy was shunned and stabbed in the back by the pack of FOOLS on the ABC Board and the Superintendent, Smuts and the current puppet Mary Sewer!

    • cecy says:

      Thank you very much for your kind recognition of Cecy Groom whoever you are. I did it for the true meaning of public service for which elected officials supposedly bound to do. But once some us get there, it becomes self service.

  • Concerned Parent says:

    As a parent of children that are in ABC, I must say I love the schools that we attend and the teaching staff as well. But it does always appear that the Board and District staff have their own agenda. Shame on them for demoting this capable woman for doing her job. Where are the parents and fellow teachers, who should be supporting her and her family at these meetings? Fill the district office with voices of support! Why do we have people on the Board who have no vested interest? They do not have children in our district. They do not care about anything other than getting their name in the press (even for shameful acts such as these)& trying desperately to climb the political ladder.

  • Rene Diedrich says:

    Thank the Gods this lady was spared . She honored her duty and did the right thing. I cannot understand why this story has been all but ignored. Well, actually I can, but it is pretty old. We must all follow her lead and do the right thing . Imagine where she’d be if this guy open fired on a bunch of kindergartners! When you don’t report, you are complicit. I seem to recall this teacher had a record as well. He was charged with lewd and lascivious misconduct. It sounds like the district leaders should be dsmoted. And recall that school board. Better yet indict them all for criminal indifference. Disgusting!