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Centerpointe Presbyterian leaders meet with preschool parents over child abuse charges

Original post made on Mar 11, 2013

Representatives of Pleasanton's Centerpointe Presbyterian Church met behind closed doors with parents of children enrolled in its independently-operated Christian preschool last night to incidents that led to possible child abuse charges at the school.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, March 11, 2013, 9:46 PM

Comments (36)

Posted by B Emmet, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Mar 11, 2013 at 10:25 pm

(Post removed by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff for containing unverified or personal information.)

Posted by Sue, a resident of Downtown
on Mar 12, 2013 at 12:01 am

(Comment removed by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff for containing unverified or personal information.)

Reading YELP, it sounds like when parents complained about all the violations, the church leadership sent out a six page letter that according to the poster on YELP, quoted scripture and said that parents who complained had caused harm. Also YELP posters indicate something along the lines that when they complained, the church replied their children would be immediately forced to leave the preschool because their contracts would would be terminated. There is more than one poster that indicates this. One says when they complained: "Then the claws came out and they verbally shredded me, blamed it on me, and I saw them take it out on my daughter."

Sounds like when the parents complained about how things were being run, the parents were the ones that were targeted for retaliation according to Web Link

This used to be a well respected preschool when it was called Kinderkirk and they were located on Mirador. Now, what a mess.

Posted by Pleasanton Parent, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Mar 12, 2013 at 12:08 am

That parent was in my child's class. The issues she brought up had nothing to do with this incident. She complained about everything; her kid got dirty playing outside. If she hated it so much, why did she wait until she was asked to leave instead of pulling her child out and going somewhere else? If I ever thought my children were in any harm I would have yanked them long before I thought something would happen. With that said, both my children are still there and because I believe this to be an isolated incident, and the individual responsible is no longer there, I am monitoring the events going on now to make my decisions. It is unfortunate that one person can destroy what was (and hopefully will be again) a very strong program.

Posted by Sue, a resident of Downtown
on Mar 12, 2013 at 12:27 am

There are multiple posters from 2009 to the present, for four years, who have negative reviews posted on Yelp regarding this preschool. This isn't an isolated incident because the State reports 4 Class A very serious violations in recent months. Children were supervised in one incident by a person who is not even an adult yet!! How ridiculous is that? Who knows how many Class B violations there are that the State has validated.

The director apparently is no longer with the preschool because his picture posted on a cached version on internet search engines from last week of the preschool's website is no longer there.

Indicating that posters over a four year period are one parent is a stretch. Blaming the chaos at this preschool when the director was just let go on one parent is ludicrous.

Posted by Sue, a resident of Downtown
on Mar 12, 2013 at 9:19 am

Pleasanton Weekly, I see you removed any reference to Tim Hunt in the two posts above as being 'unverified.'

Is the spokesperson for the Pleasanton Presbytrian church being interviewed on the TV ABC news story about this the Tim Hunt from the Pleasanton Weekly or not? You should be able to recognize one of your own editors --- Web Link

Posted by Sally , a resident of Ruby Hill
on Mar 12, 2013 at 9:31 am

I love Centerpointe and plan in keeping my children at the school. I look forward to having all the issues cleared up and taken care of and move forward. The teachers that are at the school and very loving and I hope they will stay to work through the current situation.

Posted by Chemist, a resident of Downtown
on Mar 12, 2013 at 9:41 am

It sounds like this church is cooperating with the investigation. Posters on YELP can post anything: there is no requirement that it be true, and there is nothing known about the character of the person posting. More often than not, YELP posters have a negative opinion to share, and people who are positive rarely take the time to post. I would give absolutely zero credibility to anything posted on YELP. By the way, I am also wondering why Sue seems so interested in this situation. Sounds like she may be one of the YELP posters. Or maybe she was ALL of the YELP posters.

Posted by Plesanton Parent, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Mar 12, 2013 at 9:56 am

Sue you're blending information. Not every negative review is a result of a six page letter being sent out and the parent being asked to leave. You're widening the scope of your initial discussion while maintaing the same pinpoint focus on specific events. This (taping of a childs hands and feet) is a very specific incident, the other violations are for having cleaning materials within reach of the children and for the 17 yr old helper. The 17 year old was asked to assist and is legally able to so long as another teacher is there, and she was, until she walked out of the classroom for a short period of time (I don't know how long exactly). I don't want to defend the school for these other violations as I do believe they are serious and need to be addressed, but please address them within context. Not to distract from the issue, but your comment "Children were supervised in one incident by a person who is not even an adult yet" makes me laugh; most babysitters are not adults by your definition. Again, this isn't acceptable but lets not get carried away about the severity of this and group it in with the taping of a child.

Again, I actually am very close to this as I have children in the school (do you?). I don't need to use words like "I believe" or "it sounds like" in my post because I actually know. Please stop internet armchair quarterbacking this.

Posted by Dave, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 12, 2013 at 10:04 am

I'm waiting for an answer from PW regarding Sue's question about Tim Hunt. I have found in the past that PW has been very arbitrary in their censorship of articles and when questioned have a hard time justifying their actions. So, looking forward to PW's answer on this one.

Posted by Godless, a resident of Downtown
on Mar 12, 2013 at 10:07 am

The real crime here is that religious preschools are held to a lesser standard than are secular non-profit preschools. California's rules regarding religious preschools are pretty strict. But, I know that in other states religious preschools are given carte blanche freedom to run their schools as they see fit.

This kid got off lucky. A number of kids have died at religious preschools because the staff was unqualified or because the child to teacher ratio was too high such that adequate attention could not be provided to the children in their care.

When will religious privileging end?!


Posted by Chemist, a resident of Downtown
on Mar 12, 2013 at 10:09 am

There are three negative reviews on YELP, two of them posted in March, and neither of these posters claim any direct contact with the school. One of the posters (Keely H.) is clearly just posting about something she read, she has no personal contact with the school, no direct information, and she is a regular 1 star or 5 star poster about her experiences all around town. On the other hand, there are TEN (10) 4 and 5 star YELP reviews for Centerpointe Preschool posted between 2008 and today. Come on Sue, these negative YELP posters have NO CREDIBILITY. This is a serious matter, and opinions should not be based on someone else's second hand opinions. If you have some first hand knowledge about this situation, then you should so state. Otherwise, let the investigators investigate. If Centerpoint Preschool were a restaurant that I was checking on YELP, I would definitely be heading over for dinner. 9 5-star reviews and 1 4-star review by people who have actually been to the restaurant, offset by a couple of negative reviews by people who haven't tasted the food.

Posted by Godless, a resident of Downtown
on Mar 12, 2013 at 10:15 am

BTW - Kudos to the current administration for being so open about this issue. It is better to give such problems the light of day so as to minimize the chances of them happening again - here or elsewhere.

In answer to Sue wondering if the ABC News video is showing Tim Hunt, the PW contributor, I would have to say, "Yes." That definitely looks like him on the video.

Posted by Chemist, a resident of Downtown
on Mar 12, 2013 at 10:15 am

Dear Godless (and brainless),
Other preschools, other states, and other teacher to student ratios, and your opinions about religious preschools have no bearing on this situation. As they say in Dragnet: just the facts, Maam.

Posted by Centerpointe Parent, a resident of Fairlands Elementary School
on Mar 12, 2013 at 10:58 am

We have a child attending Centerpointe and have been very happy with the care and teaching that the staff provides. We've also been satisfied with how the school has handled each of the mentioned violations. In each case they have acted promptly and appropriately and have been forthcoming in their communication with us.

As far as religion affecting this situation, we are not members of the church and have never felt pressure to be. In all of the written communications from the school, including the addressing of this new situation, I can't recall any quoted scriptures being forced upon us. Though our family doesn't attend church and don't feel the need for organized religion in our lives, I truly can't blame any of these problems on religion or any sort of preferential treatment toward religious school. The fact that these violations have been noted and addressed shows that this school is being held accountable just as a secular school would.

Our older child received her preschool education at Quarry Lane. Our younger child is doing great at Centerpointe. All of the schools in town have their differences but in our experience with these two, we feel that both are great places for children to play and learn and we don't notice any sort of deficiencies at Centerpointe.

Posted by Josh, a resident of Bordeaux Estates
on Mar 12, 2013 at 11:22 am

This is just sad..... Who do they think they are? The place should be shut down. An absolute discrace! Way to go Centerpoint Christians!
The church, Pastor, Elders and all supporters should hang their heads in shame! Spare the rod spoil the child is one thing....tape the child for not nappping is another!

Posted by Preston, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 12, 2013 at 11:43 am

Sadder still are the parents posting here trying to convince themselves and others that everything is okay. Obviously, everything is not okay....

Posted by Chemist, a resident of Downtown
on Mar 12, 2013 at 12:32 pm

The church, pastor and elders are doing everything they can to right this situation. By the way, it was ONE teacher who was guilty, not the church, pastor or elders. A few weeks ago ONE teacher in LA was involved in much more serious offenses, and I don't see all the self-righteous, armchair quarterbacks wanting to hold the school, the district, and the teacher's union responsible. Get real.

Posted by Chemist, a resident of Downtown
on Mar 12, 2013 at 12:42 pm

I do not see a single post here by anyone who says "everything is OK". You are right, everything is not OK, and the not OK things need to be fixed. Offhand, I can't think of any organization where everything is OK. If you know of something that isn't obvious to everyone reading this article, why don't you share it with us, but don't start out by telling us what you think all the other posters are trying to do.

Posted by Sue, a resident of Downtown
on Mar 12, 2013 at 12:45 pm

NBC News says that the preschool teacher has been declared a threat Web Link

Also, the school has been issued 4 other Class A violations other than this in recent months. Did this 'one' teacher cause all those as well? No.

Until the investigation is completed, we don't know whether there was just a single teacher involved. Who hired and trained the teacher to use this method to restrain children in this manner? Maybe it was standard operating procedure. And if this teacher was not being supervised appropriately, who knows what else was going on there?

Posted by Preston, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 12, 2013 at 1:12 pm

I've seen plenty of comments saying 'it's only one bad apple' (who managed to do these things undetected), and it didn't happen to my child (do they really know?), and the institution otherwise is just peachy-keen (but do they really know?). Very similar to the kinds of apologetics we hear from the Catholic Church. Repeating 'everything is fine' when one can't know until all the facts are in is simply wishful thinking. I'm suggesting people take their heads out of the sand.

Chemist, your comments reflect chemical imbalance. What does a scandel in LA have to do with this case? Why would the people bemoaning what has happened here have similar interest in bemoaning what happened in LA? Do Pleasanton parents have their kids in preschool in LA?

Personally, I'd take my kids and run from this institution as fast as my legs could carry me. The kids deserve it. We're supposed to protect them. Oh, my three year-old hasn't complained, so it must be okay, right? C'mon, get off the religio-opiates.

Posted by Centerpointe Parent, a resident of Fairlands Elementary School
on Mar 12, 2013 at 1:46 pm

Hi Preston,

Don't feel sad for me. I am an intelligent parent who holds the safety of my children above anything else. I am keeping myself informed and acting accordingly and I'm not trying to convince anyone, including myself, that everything is okay. I am simply acting as a rational person and taking the time to find out everything I can about the situation before making any decisions about my child's future.

I'm waiting and paying close attention to how the school handles this before I decide whether I'm satisfied with their actions and their organization. In the meantime I really don't have any fear that more taping incidents will occur or that my child is in any immediate danger. My biggest fear today is how disruptive all of the media attention may be to the lives of the kids. If I hear anything bothersome from my child about the day I will not send my child to school tomorrow.

I appreciate that we live in a wonderful community, filled with people who have such concern for one another. That concern is evidenced here by so many opinions. Though those opinions are widely differed they all show that you care about our community. Please don't let that concern turn into condemnation of any of us with whom you disagree.

Posted by Preston, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 12, 2013 at 2:03 pm

Dear C Parent,

You haven't convinced me. "If you hear anything bothersome....?" From your preschooler?! Are you high?! How does he/she know what's going on?! And how do you know the incident was limited merely to taping? And how could this have happened without someone putting a stop to it IMMEDIATELY?

And you're worried about the media? Sorry, but you sound like a religio-opiated wacho who wants to circle the wagons to remain hived off from the outside world. I don't think you're acting responsibly. Perhaps you should think a bit more critically of the welfare of your child?

Posted by Gina Channell-Allen, president of the Pleasanton Weekly
on Mar 12, 2013 at 2:12 pm

Gina Channell-Allen is a registered user.

Sue and Dave, Tim Hunt is a private citizen and not a staff member. Out of respect for him, we wanted to verify that he is a member of the church and if he wanted to be identified as such on the site. We would have done the same even if he was a staff member.

I have to ask, what difference does it make to this story where Tim -- or anyone -- goes to church?

Posted by Sue, a resident of Downtown
on Mar 12, 2013 at 2:38 pm

Web Link indicates in the heading that Tim Hunt is the "School spokesman." Tim Hunt is interviewed as "Spokesman" for the Preschool by the reporters on TV.

He is not being identified as a member of the church by other news outlets. He is the Spokesman. That is a big difference.

Mr. Hunt works for your newspaper as a columnist according to your web page (he writes for it, yes)?

According to NBC, this issue came out on March 1-March 4 therefore I'm assuming Hunt knew about this at this time. I would have assumed that the Weekly would have reported it around that time frame.

However, it appears the Patch broke this story yesterday and they were the lead news organization on covering.

Posted by C Parent, a resident of Fairlands Elementary School
on Mar 12, 2013 at 2:46 pm

Hi Preston,

Yes. You're correct. I am high. I'm a drug-free religio-opiated atheist with right-wing leanings of liberal whackoness. I have a sever chemical imbalance that precludes me from protecting my child and, to the adverse, compels me to fling my child into the bloody jaws of danger, with no repent or misgivings. I'm a tea-toting alcoholic who stockpiles ammunition while I push for an assault weapon ban. Yes, again. I'm everything that you hate and fear. I'm an unintelligent rube and the fact that people like me exist is why civilization as we know it is in shambles.

Now that I've agreed with your name calling and come clean on all of my charges, I'll be on my way. Your eloquence and command of vocabulary are obvious statements to your cognitive prowess. My lack of such proves why I am a terrible and uninformed parent. I have never posted to an internet forum before today and now I know why. I just don't belong in these lofty heights so Preston, I'll leave your sandbox now.

Posted by Pleasanton Parent, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Mar 12, 2013 at 3:03 pm

You clearly have an agenda, have at it. Ill be at the meeting tonight. I look forward to your link to a yelp review of what someone said about it tomorrow.

Posted by hmmm, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 12, 2013 at 3:44 pm

I don't have a child at this school and was trying to put a finger on why I found this so disturbing, other than the obvious fact that the one incident is horrible and reprehensible. But I can also see the point that it's one teacher and she's not there anymore.

What bothers me about the bigger picture is that she was talking about this behaviour at a party and even showed a photo and clearly expected that those teachers she was talking to would understand and be OK with what she had done. It makes me wonder what the others were saying in response and how she could think she could justify what she had done. What kind of culture is at work here?

Beyond this, one reason this came to light is that the photo was shown to another teacher who realised it was her child involved and went to authorities. What if it wasn't?

Posted by Sue, a resident of Downtown
on Mar 12, 2013 at 4:08 pm

Other news outlets are reporting that there have been a number of teachers (5? 7?) that have left in the last 2-3 weeks.

Tim Hunt is quoted in the San Jose Mercury News as: "Delving into why they left is something we can't do for confidentiality reasons."

I would say that since this involves a State-licensed child care facility, that whatever has gone on in there needs to be disclosed.

The 'confidentiality' line is not acceptable.

Posted by Preston, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 12, 2013 at 4:17 pm

I couldn't care less about your weak little ego. I'm talking about your child, and what kind of parental protection you seem (not) to be giving him or her.

There have been no denials. You, on the other hand, think all is okay and have faith that your preschooler will have the cognitive ability to articulate what things of a disturbing nature may have been (and may continue to be) going on. I've got news for you. Preschoolers aren't that smart. Neither are you. You need some parenting instruction.

Posted by Chemist, a resident of Downtown
on Mar 12, 2013 at 4:24 pm

Teachers, and members of other professions, leave their jobs for a number of reasons. Quite often those reasons are personal, and should not be for public consumption. Especially for consumption of those in the public who repeat what they read on YELP and hear on the news while feigning some kind of personal expertise. I don't see Sue, Preston or the Chemist posting their names, addresses and phone numbers. Confidentiality has its place. If those other news organizations are saying that "a number" of teachers have left in the past few weeks, you can rank that news with the news on YELP. It's just the news folks who don't know the numbers trying to make this into something alarming and newsworthy. After all, when you hear that "a number" of teachers have left, do you think the number may be 1? No, you jump to the conclusion that "a number" is a big number. But the news folks didn't really say that, did they?

Posted by Sue, a resident of Downtown
on Mar 12, 2013 at 5:48 pm

The Pleasanton Weekly publisher Ms. Channell-Allen announced Tim Hunt would start writing for for the Pleasanton Weekly as a journalist in this announcement "Tri-Valley veteran journalist Tim Hunt to start blog Jan. 3" at Web Link, but is not a staff member?

The Pleasanton Weekly, though at least one staff member probably knew about the investigation around the March 4th time frame, did not publish a story about this until other news entities started covering the incident yesterday. One of Pleasanton Weekly journalists is also the Spokesman for the entity that is the subject of the news stories.

How does this fit into the SPJ Code of Ethics below?

"Act Independently

Journalists should be free of obligation to any interest other than the public's right to know.

Journalists should:

— Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived.
— Remain free of associations and activities that may compromise integrity or damage credibility."

Posted by Steve, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 12, 2013 at 6:24 pm

This site (I use the word "site" because print is essentially dead) has a history of protecting its own, in defiance of generally-accepted journalistic principles. Reference the editor's outing of a local resident on the parcel tax issue a few years ago...and now this. I would welcome an explanation - and suitable apology to readers - from the publisher for once again letting internal politics trump the rightful role of the media.

Posted by Chemist, a resident of Downtown
on Mar 12, 2013 at 6:51 pm

You have pointed us to other news articles in your various posts. If you don't think the Pleasanton News is covering this adequately, due to some imaginary conflict of interest, why don't you stick with NBC. Tim Hunt does not work for NBC. Maybe NBC has a blog where you can continue to bring up a bunch of irrelevant nonsense and continue to make allegations that are based on what you read instead of what you know.

Posted by Daveg, a resident of Birdland
on Mar 12, 2013 at 8:02 pm

Daveg is a registered user.

It is notable that once the Pleasanton Weekly starts getting questioned on their impartiality, they then limit the conversation to registered members. I don' have a child in school and don't know any of the circumstances surrounding this issue, however Sue's original question was regarding why her postings were deleted by the PW as irrelevant and/or containing personal information. I think she has certainly raised some very valid questions and PW has not really answered those questions. I have had the same issues before with the PW and when I questioned Jeb Bing about what part of the PW code of ethics I had violated, he could not substantiate the reason and reinstated the posting. The "Chemist" remarks are not called for as Sue has merely raised a legitimate question and then pointed out SPW's code of ethics' in which it does not appear to feel a need to adhere to.

Posted by BobB, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 12, 2013 at 10:52 pm

BobB is a registered user.

"Chemist" said "By the way, it was ONE teacher who was guilty, "

I ask you and "Pleasanton Parent", how do you know it is only "ONE" teacher who behaved this way? How do you know this is an "isolated incident"? Isn't that what so many said in the Catholic church when allegations of abuse first surfaced?

Because this church emphasizes believing important things based on blind faith, rather than rational evaluation of facts and evidence, aren't its members in danger of missing or glossing over the facts because they want to believe that this must be an isolated incident?

Posted by Chemist, a resident of Downtown
on Mar 13, 2013 at 12:19 pm

Chemist is a registered user.

We don't know about other teachers in this school, or in any other school. The issue at hand concerns ONE teacher. Anything else is nothing but hearsay, imagination, innuendo, etc. As for blind faith, the Chemist is a scientist, Bob.

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