Lobdell: Hubbard's cautionary words come back to haunt him

March 03, 2011|By William Lobdell
  • The "Good Cyber Sense" DVD on which Supt. Jeffrey Hubbard appears.
The "Good Cyber Sense" DVD on which Supt. Jeffrey… (Daily Pilot )

The Newport-Mesa Unified School District has pulled from its schools a video on the dangers of inappropriate texting and Internet posting that featured Supt. Jeffrey Hubbard.

The recall happened quietly in late January, one day after Hubbard's sexually charged e-mails to a former colleague were published in the Orange County Register.

"It would not be appropriate for us to continue to promote and use the original version [of the DVD] under the current circumstances," Laura Boss, the district's spokeswoman, said in a statement.

Prosecutors have used the flirtatious e-mails — filled with double entendres — as Hubbard's motive for allegedly giving his former subordinate at the Beverly Hills school district an unauthorized $20,000 bonus and a 233% boost in her monthly car allowance.

Hubbard, who is divorced, had told the Daily Pilot that he had no relationship with the woman outside work.

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled in January that there was enough evidence for Hubbard to stand trial on two felony counts of misappropriation of public funds.


His co-defendant, Karen Anne Christiansen, has been charged with misappropriation of public funds, illegally funneling school business to her private company and getting kickbacks from an energy company that was awarded district contracts.

Hubbard, now on paid leave, and Christiansen have pleaded not guilty.

The pulling of the DVD, titled "Good Cyber Sense," which the district had circulated among its school sites, offers a peek at some of the collateral damage the Hubbard case has inflicted on the district.

Teachers are fearful to speak publicly, but several have told me of widespread disgust in their ranks that the school board didn't reprimand Hubbard for his e-mails and later decided to continue his $284,000 annual salary for the length of his criminal case while they've faced layoffs and other cutbacks.

When viewing "Good Cyber Sense," it's tough to still charitably call Hubbard's e-mails a temporary lapse in judgment. Near the video's beginning, the narrator says, "Hubbard is deeply concerned with the choices teen are making in the Internet age."

Hubbard then explains that in the past, many times inappropriate comments — including those that were threatening — carried no consequences because they weren't captured digitally for the world to see.

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