Students at the San Diego School for Creative and Performing Arts are rallying to defend music teacher Bill Doyle following accusations of improper conduct by an anonymous ‘parent’ to TV 10 News. The TV station was unable to find any other complainants, anonymous or otherwise to verify the charges. No complaints have been filed with the San Diego Unified School District, according to a district representative.
Despite not being able to confirm their story with even one source, the station aired a sensationalist clip on Tuesday, May 8th. In lieu of having any real sources to interview, the station sent a reporter out to the school to ambush parents showing up to pick up their kids by showing them a cell phone picture of Doyle and alleging the picture shows misconduct. Many parents were smart enough to avoid the ruse, but eventually TV10 found a parent who was “outraged”.
The photograph, which appeared (he did NOT post the picture) on Doyle’s Facebook page after he was ‘tagged’ by an acquaintance, shows Doyle (fully clothed) apparently about to be swatted on the backside by a brunette woman (also fully clothed). It is an obviously posed picture, with both parties smiling broadly at the camera. The woman in the picture has been identified as a former student who graduated in 2006. The picture was taken in 2009. (For those of you not familiar with Facebook, being tagged means that somebody other than the person in a photograph has chosen to identify them. It’s a social media way of saying “hi!”.)
There is no indication, nor has there been any accusation that the photograph was taken on campus. Nor is there any indication or allegation that woman in the photograph was even a student at the time the picture was taken. Channel 10 News chose to characterize the photograph as “him being spanked by a student”. Meanwhile, the woman in the picture, was easily identifiable and has told friends that she is upset that 10News could not be bothered to contact her for comment.
Since TV10 News could not find any credible person to interview, and the school district refused comment because no charges or allegations have been raised, TV10 sought out long-time San Diego Unified Schools’ critic Sally Smith. Smith, who has no children in district schools, is well-known for her frequent appearances and speeches alleging a wide variety of transgressions at school board meetings. As a parent who has frequently attended school board meetings in recent years, I can attest that Smith’s mere presence at the podium is enough to trigger rolling eyes throughout the auditorium.
Meanwhile, students at SDSCPA have made literally hundreds of on line comments and phone calls directed at TV10 News defending the extremely popular teacher and castigating the station for maligning his character. Former student Kimmie Walk’s posting was typical of comments received on the TV10 website:
This school was my home for 3 years, and Doyle was my teacher for 2 of those years. Never ONCE did I ever see him act inappropriately in any way. In fact, as so many current and former students have already mentioned, Bill Doyle was nothing short of a hero. He inspired and continues to inspire all of his students to reach the potential that he knows is inside of them. This slanderous article is an embarrassment to your news station, and deserves a retraction and an on-air apology to Bill Doyle, and SDSCPA as a whole.
I’m writing this post because my daughter attends SDCPA. I’ve met Doyle on numerous occasions and believe that he is a person of great integrity. I know that he is beloved by students in my daughter’s class. However, Bill Doyle is gay. He makes no secret about it to either the students or parents, and is involved in a committed relationship.
It’s my belief that this witch hunt against Doyle was launched by a parent who is not comfortable with his sexual orientation. It is unbelievable to me in this day and age that a responsible media outlet would stoop to contrive and actually air such a story without any verification.
Doyle has now been tarred with an accusation that he cannot refute (no accuser) over a situation (somebody else posting a picture on Facebook) that he had no control over. You what really stinks about this? He can’t even sue. Nothing in the shadowy journospeak used by TV10 actually maligns him; the inference was made and aired. For this man, who is an inspiration to his students—and a really good music teacher–, there is no escape.
In the meantime, we’re working on a developing story about a local TV producer who one unidentified person says is selling crack to elementary school kids in La Jolla. Film at eleven.