Saturday, November 07, 2009

Former Helix High 16-Year-Old Says Josh Stepner "Did Nothing Wrong"

See all Josh Stepner posts.

Doesn't Bonnie Dumanis have anything better to do? Aren't there some actual bad guys she should be charging with crimes? Did Helix High and/or Grossmont Union High School District (controlled by extremist Jim Kelly) get legal advice regarding this case?

Sometimes I wonder if education attorneys intentionally create problems so that there will be a lawsuit against the school and the attorneys will be paid $100,000s to defend the school. My advice to Helix High: settle this case right now, before it really gets expensive.

Channel 6's Jeff Powers served the public well by getting this story:

Exclusive: 16-Year-Old Says Josh Stepner "Did Nothing Wrong."
Reported by: Jeff Powers
San Diego Channel 6

EL CAJON - Former Helix High assistant principal Josh Stepner was supposed to appear in court on Thursday to face a charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor for giving a female student a ride to a bus station, but his arraignment was postponed.

Dakota Garza is the student who was given that ride, and she is shocked that Stepner was even charged in the first place. She says at the time of the ride, she was no longer a student at Helix High.

"I'm a lot more comfortable now," Garza told San Diego 6 in an exclusive interview from her hometown in Medford, Oregon. "I'm in my familiar town where I was born and raised and I'm very happy to be back."

Garza says she is doing well. "Stay in all my honors classes and I'm back in soccer and enjoying school."

Garza began the school year as a student at Helix High. She had been living with relative Karen Flores and 9 others in a two bedroom home.

On August 24th, the 16-year-old took action. A court order shows Garza dissolved any legal custody to Flores. She was trying to get back to Medford and says she told Assistant Vice Principal Kevin Osborn.

Garza said, "After I had purchased the ticket I went into his office and just was letting him know that I was going to be unenrolling from the school."

Garza purchased a bus ticket on the morning of September 17th from the school computer. She says she went through the procedures Helix requires for unenrollment and says she alerted Osborn to those details. It was very clear to her that she was no longer a student.

Officials at Helix would not confirm the timing of Garza's withdrawal from school. It was later that night that Josh Stepner gave her a ride to the bus station.

Garza said she is surprised Stepner is facing a misdemeanor because, "He was really just trying to help me. He did absolutely nothing wrong. I think he was the only one who really tried to reach out to me and help me with what I was going through."

Stepner says the past couple months have been tough on him and his family. "It's been a nightmare. It's hard to watch yourself being talked about when you know you're a good person -- you know that you're a righteous person."

Garza says now it's about putting this behind her and exposing the truth. "I really think that in this whole thing he's just been more of a scapegoat. He's just been someone that people felt that they could just dump things on and you know accuse him and point the finger at him."

Stepner and his attorney are due back in court December 14th. Stepner's attorney is challenging the legitimacy of the misdemeanor complaint.

We asked to interview Helix Assistant Principal Kevin Osborn but our offer was declined.

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