TV Station Leads Witch Hunt Against Teacher at San Diego Performing Arts School

by on May 11, 2012 · 43 comments

in Civil Rights, Education, Popular, San Diego

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.

{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

Andy Cohen May 11, 2012 at 9:07 am

First the UT, then KUSI shilling for the Repubs, and now this……..If ever there was a cry for us to get the San Diego Free Press running full bore…….


Shane Finneran May 11, 2012 at 9:35 am

super weak, 10News. says much about not just the station’s integrity but its opinion of its audience.


Ken May 11, 2012 at 10:54 am

I’ve found that KGTV screws the pooch every now-and-then.


Ken May 11, 2012 at 10:58 am
Brandy May 11, 2012 at 11:59 am

Bill Doyle is a warm, kind, and generous man. He was our Music teacher at Chula Vista High School back in the 90’s. I don’t know one student in the SCPA program that did not LOVE and or have an Appreciation for Mr. Bill Doyle. I guess if you do not have an open mind, and an open heart, and an appreciation for the arts, then you do not understand people like Bill Doyle or anyone else who is passionate for their craft. It is so sad that more and more schools are losing the funding to keep the ARTS programs open and available to students. This is where creativity and imagination are lost. What a sad outlook for the future of our children. Bill is an inspiration.


jim grant May 11, 2012 at 12:48 pm

It seems 10 News aired it as an accusation ….


Cynthia Adkins May 20, 2012 at 7:59 pm

Do you work for 10News @Jim Grant? You seem to be doing a lot of apologizing for them… Regardless, 10News didn’t air an accurate or ethical story. Not researching facts about an “accusation” is the same as not researching facts. They didn’t do their homework, and instead opted for a quick flash of sensationalism based on anonymous hearsay. Thanks for this balanced report OB Rag!


jim grant May 21, 2012 at 7:26 am

No actually I do not work for them. And if you would have actually read all my remarks you probably could have ascertained that.
If you actually feel they had an intent to harm the guy sue the station. Stop watching. Organize a picketing campaign against them. But I think it’s easier to post on a blog unfortunately that’s not going to have a heck of an impact. I am not saying the news station is without blame …Go ask to speak with the news director…do someting or let it go …kicking the coals of it makes smoke and you know what they say about smoke…. where there is smoke there is fire ….As loud as you scream hes innocent , hes innocent ….A percentage of people are looking at you sideways going ” yeah right” ……
And ” they did not air an accurate or ethical story” are you in the industry or are you a media attorney to make that claim ?
You can be sure the station did research the story with what they had at the time they have a staff of attorneys and would never compromise the station with intentionally misleading information or potential lawsuits…….
Get even with the station Don’t Watch !


Lisa May 11, 2012 at 12:50 pm

This behavior by Mr. Doyle is totally inappropriate…period. He should at least be suspended for his actions. Not sure why everyone is commenting about his reputation as a teacher – that has nothing to do with POSTING pics making sexually suggestive poses with students.


Andy Cohen May 11, 2012 at 12:58 pm

If you had bothered to read, the girl in question in the photo was no longer a student. She had graduated in 2006, and the photo was taken in 2009. And they were both clearly yucking it up for the camera. There was nothing inappropriate at all going on, as the “student” would have been at least 20 years old at the time the picture was taken. Nothing but two adults having a little harmless fun acting like kids. It’s a non-story that reflects more poorly on Channel 10 and the anonymous informant than it does Bill Doyle.


doug porter May 11, 2012 at 1:58 pm

I wish you would at least read the article, Lisa.

Now read it again r-e-a-l s-l-o-w-l-y: She graduated in 2006. That would make her no longer a student. As the article clearly explains, Doyle had NOTHING TO DO with the picture appearing.


Jennifer May 11, 2012 at 5:52 pm

Mr. Doyle did NOT post the picture. The person was NOT a student, and had graduated 3 years earlier, making her at least 20 or 21, maybe 19? An adult, at any rate. PLEASE read carefully before jumping on this dangerous and damaging bandwagon.


Jane May 11, 2012 at 6:12 pm

What “behavior” and what “actions” ? Why is this pose assumed to be “sexually suggestive?” Only those with their minds in the gutter see it as anything other than what it is- 2 adults being funny and “posing” for the camera – as we theatrical folks tend to do when we’re just having fun- usually overdoing it and playing it to the hilt.
It was completely blown out of proportion by an angry parent who decided on (her/his) own to label it as inappropriate and vulgar, and unfortunately Ch. 10, which has largely become tabloid tv reporting, bought her story. You will notice none of the other stations jumped on the story- probably because they realize it was ridiculous and had no truth to it.
The reporter, Allison Ash, does not come across as a reporter with any class, talent, or writing skills. Don’t believe everything you hear on the news , Lisa, – especially on Channel 10.


Rachel May 12, 2012 at 9:36 am

As a student of the infamous school, I can say with conviction that It is people like you that tarnish reputations. This teacher had NOTHING to do with this photo other then have it taken. I am not the girl in the photo, but I was around when it was taken, and I’m not about to stand for it’s internet slander.

Now think back, I’m sure there are stupid photos that you’ve taken and stored in an album somewhere… *we all have em.* – Fastforward to the future. Facebook is the new social photo album. If the photos you had taken back when were now on the internet, don’t you think you’d be a little embarassed too. IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH CONDUCT. – It was just a slip-up, by a friendly seemingly harmless buddy who happened to post the picture online.

The girl in question was in her early 20’s and is not, and wasn’t at the time a student of his. The Photo was taken at another location, and is in fact not a educational establishment, it’s a theatre. That makes more sense, don’t you think…

For the record, Please have all your facts straight before you even decide to attack someone you’ve never met personally. He may look like a bad teacher, but he’s changed more lives for the better then most colleges ever will in their lifetimes.


jim grant May 11, 2012 at 2:03 pm

I am sure when these facts are taken to 10 news they will be more than happy to set the matter straight….But realize the more you talk about it blog about it chat about try to clarify it that can give it credence ….Maybe the best thing would be to delete this story ( unless the intent is to slam 10 news and to be honest they probably don’t have a clue who the rag is) and let it fade into the sunset with no fanfare.


Ann May 11, 2012 at 2:12 pm

@ Lisa if you have ever been the giver or receiver of birthday spankings then you are just as guilty of inappropriate behavior (because that’s what this was) 12and should be punished severely and publicly humiliated. Get a grip woman.


Joe Bettles May 11, 2012 at 3:44 pm

By the way you capitalize POSTING you give away the fact that you didn’t read the article. There is an entire paragraph dedicated to how he was “tagged” by someone else who was no longer a student in 2009. Another point made was that we should be careful to accuse and condemn. Your words do have value. I hope that you had a teacher like Bill who taught you that.


Kathy Bettles May 11, 2012 at 3:52 pm

Thanks for the beautifully written FACTUAL article. You speak for all of us parents of children who were fortunate to send their kids this special school. Mr. Doyle changes lives – period. Don’t know if I can post this here or not, but supporters should go to the Facebook page – Better Because of Bill – to show love and respect for an incredible man.


Friend of Doyle May 11, 2012 at 4:49 pm

Attention: “Lisa”, and (Joe Bettles)… Lisa, the one who commented below.. posted the same post VERBATIM on the channel 10 website yesterday! Either you are a robot or a puppet of Sally Smith an her propaganda! Or maybe you are her?


Friend of Doyle May 11, 2012 at 4:51 pm

I meant ABOVE US! Ha..anyways excellent article! Thank you for printing the truth!


Kimmie Walk May 11, 2012 at 5:08 pm

THANK YOU!! I am glad to see that this issue is getting 10News the bad publicity that it deserves!!!


Jennifer May 11, 2012 at 5:09 pm

Thank you so very much for writing this. I am disgusted with Channel 10 along with every other former student of Bill Doyle, no doubt. I am heartened by the outpouring of support for him, and I too am waiting patiently for a full apology to Mr. Doyle for this sick excuse for journalism.


Lynn E. May 11, 2012 at 8:49 pm

THANK YOU for running this article. This is my response posted to Channel 10.
I am stunned at the shoddy journalism in this piece. My son went to SCPA for 6 years and, as a very active parent, I came to know most of the teachers in the school. Bill Doyle is a BRILLIANT teacher — not just gifted in what he does in the classroom, but as a teacher who cares deeply for students, gives tirelessly and works FAR beyond the hours he is paid. I know that Bill Doyle has not just nurtured the most talented, but reached out to those most troubled. Bill Doyle has rescued troubled teens on the brink of suicide, mended fractured relationships between parents and their children, and nurtured the talented, the quirky and the confused (sometimes deeply troubled) children. Bill Doyle is the teacher ever parent PRAYS their child will have. This piece by Allison Ash is cheap and shoddy journalism. I would encourage your editor to mentor and guide her in the manner that Bill Doyle does with his students, to ensure this is the last piece she produces that is such cheap innuendo masquerading as journalism. Fix this Channel 10 News or I will turn you off.


Ken May 12, 2012 at 7:29 am

I really loved it when they attacked his profile picture of him holding a glass of wine. Oh the shame.


Nan May 12, 2012 at 8:51 am

Channel 10 news posted revisions to the article on May 10th (original posted on May 8th). If memory serves (I did not save the original article) this newer version is reworded slightly. My guess is that they went in and did some damage control, a word here a word there, to make it slightly less damning of 10 news’ reporting.

I still think that hitting them in the pocket book would do more to stop this sort of thing and, potentially, get a formal public apology to Bill Doyle. I no longer watch this station specifically because of this incident (on top of their past transgressions). I did check the website today to try to find some advertisers and noticed the change in wording. While I find no advertisers to target from a quick glance at the site, I do remember that Vons, University of Phoenix, and San Diego County Credit Union advertise on their TV newscasts.

I suggest sending a short, respectful, but very firm message to each of those entities stating that they are supporting with their advertising dollars a station that engages in character slams against innocent parties without bothering to do fact checks. Because they advertise with 10 news, the taint goes to their products…. and you will not be able to do business with them until and unless channel ten provides the formal PUBLIC and well-advertised apology to Mr. Doyle and for their actions, and retracts the story.


john May 17, 2012 at 6:05 am

Do you think such a letter writing campaign will put this issue in the past for Mr. Doyle?
It would just bring it to the attention of a LOT more people- some of whom may think there’s something to it.
The way to forget about an ugly issue… is to forget about it. Not drag it out and show it to lots more people.


Joe Bettles May 17, 2012 at 11:25 am

Hi John,

There is currently a large group of students rallying to defend Mr Doyle. The point you make is something that we seriously considered for a long time. However, we came to the conclusion that this was a fight worth fighting, acknowledging all of the potential risks including the one you mentioned.

There are several reasons:
– This looks bad not just for Mr Doyle but SCPA as a whole and all of the students past and present
– To forget about it and hope that others do the same is to acquiesce to their message
– And finally, letting this go would mean the anonymous parent and Channel 10 win. They would succeed in further establishing an environment where young teachers are too afraid to make a difference. They would add speed to the downfall of arts education. And they would give the public one more reason to associate being gay with being a criminal.

As Doug so wisely pointed out, this has more to do with the Channel 10 and the anonymous parent’s insecurity in having an openly gay educator than any legitimate concern for the welfare of the students.

For too long there has been an unspoken policy similar to “Dont Ask Dont Tell” for gay educators. Bill is one of the courageous few who makes no apologies or attempts to obscure the fact that he is in a committed marriage with another man. He acknowledges the risks and I’m sure has in some way accepted that something like this could happen.

Therefore, the students of SCPA, with his blessing, have decided to acknowledge the risk that we may further promote Channel 10’s message but to rally against it anyway. In large part this is because at a young age we were inspired by a drama teacher to live with integrity and honesty, despite how others may react.


jim grant May 12, 2012 at 9:08 am

I think most media tries to vet stories before airing them , but in honesty they all like the sizzle of a fresh one …I am sure the editor dude of the rag will agree with that …
10 News has a crew that does fact check and they are careful to present stories which are accusations AS accusation….they know they can be sued …
If you think one small mis-wording in your opinion is going to change policy sorry you are mistaken …..Just stop watching that channel find one that makes no errors.
now that I think about it I have read things on this site that sizzle real hot and solicit 20 or 40 comments and enrage people….Then the story fades away because it has no legs …So face it ” It Happens”


Nan May 12, 2012 at 9:42 am

It may “happen” – but it should not be allowed to go unchallenged. Walking away saying “oh, well, it happens” is not acceptable to me, not when there is collateral damage to an innocent man.

“Oh, well, it happens”…and they’ll do it again, and again, and again. What happens when it’s you in the cross-hairs? “Oh well, it happens?” Oh, bummer, too much effort to have to deal with it, so let’s forget it ever happened? It’s an inconvenient truth? It’ll fade in time? People will just forget about it, eventually? Yeah, they probably will. What about Mr. Doyle? How long do you think it will be before it fades for him? And the next poor soul they pull this on?

Sorry, no, it’s not ok, it’s not excusable, and I very much intend to raise as much of a stink over it as I can. It may not be much of an impact in the end, but at least I’ll be making the attempt to see that an apology is made to Mr. Doyle for Channel 10’s irresponsibility. I hope anyone who reads this will do so as well – not just sit around with friends saying how awful it is. DO something. Keep it polite and coherent, but at least try. Maybe it won’t work. But maybe it will. It’s better than rolling over for more. (Unless you’d rather.)

A reputable news organization would publish a retraction, an apology, and “man up” to what they’ve done. And stop doing it – there are other ways to get advertising revenue…. like, oh, reporting NEWS instead of manufacturing it.


jim grant May 12, 2012 at 9:59 am

I applaud your passion. We will all watch 10 news waiting for a retraction. Nice job getting even with them and affecting viewership !
Mr. Doyle probably wishes it would just die down. Most people including the media actually believe the phrase ” where there is smoke there is fire” Let it go!


Joe Bettles May 19, 2012 at 1:48 pm

Jim. We are in constant contact with Bill and have his consent in every action we have taken. And even then we do not pretend to speak on his behalf, but somehow you feel you have the right to do so.


jim grant May 19, 2012 at 4:15 pm

Joe I will be watching10 news for a follow up , good luck with that. You made a comment about winning a few posts ago….If winning is drawing more attention to a hard to prove untruth and winning is getting people to watch 10 news looking for a retraction I would say you are winning my man.
And I have the ” right ” to post anything I please in any vernacular I choose as long as I am not offensive I believe. I applaud your passion but you are as they say ……peeing into the wind.


OB Cindi July 31, 2012 at 5:17 pm

You should be ashamed of yourself Jim Grant for making up a story about a dog attacking you so you can have police target every pitbull or pitbull mix around the wall. News flash–this is a dog friendly town and you can’t change that….but nice try. The dog jumped on you to check out your camera and scratched you. Didn’t even break skin. So before you start talking about 10News not knowing about OBRag and speaking on behalf of others and arguing just to argue, maybe you should abide by your own rules and only report THE NEWS. If you were to take a poll, most locals would say that you often miss the mark with your photos and captions and that you do not represent the opinions of the MAJORITY of OB-Cians you claim to be covering. If you want to be a journalist instead of a little man running around with a camera anyone could buy off Amazon, act like a gentleman and a scholar and remember that the best journalists just shoot pictures or video…there is no need to say more than what the camera captures with technology today. Readers want facts, not tall tales Jim Grant.


Amanda Tabares May 12, 2012 at 9:20 am

This article is perfect! Finally journalism that is about the facts. Well done, and hope this keeps going until 10news issues an apology a removes the story all together


Nan May 12, 2012 at 9:24 am

Larger Advertisers on 10 News

SDGE – Sempra Energy Corporate Offices
Mon-Fri, 8am-5pm 1-619-696-2000

San Diego County Credit Union Administrative Office
6545 Sequence Drive, San Diego, CA 92121

Vons (Safeway is the parent company)

University of Phoenix – Media Relations


Nan May 13, 2012 at 4:29 pm

Bill Doyle is an amazing teacher that has changed the lives of many students. He has done nothing wrong.


P.C May 14, 2012 at 12:53 am

Channel 10 news is Scum. I realize they have the tendency to air such stories without full facts. They aired a story about my dogs randomly attacking some people. Making it worse because they’re pits. They sure didn’t air the fact that the people were junkies that tried to break in, stabbed my dog and that’s why it attacked. Nope. My dogs were almost put to sleep. But i made my own video presentation with facts and proof and submitted it to the humane society. My dogs are back home now no thanks to them. Since then i realize they’re a worthless tv station making up Bs just to get views.


OB Cindi July 31, 2012 at 5:26 pm

God bless you PC for saving your dogs–NEWS10 is the last channel I would ever go to for FACTS — and JIM GRANT and BEACON are also not representing their community nor providing us with FACTS — in fact, they make up more tall tales than my friends 8 year old daughter and her friends at a slumber party. Get your story on FACEBOOK, TWITTER and YOUTUBE. Post signs around OB asking your fellow OB-Cians to like, follow and support an online movement against harassment of certain breeds of dogs in San Diego, and to STOP POLICE VIOLENCE AGAINST FOUR-LEGGED FAMILY MEMBERS. You will get a huge following from the Dog Beach Clan and fellow animal supporters around San Diego. We all have greatness within us–it takes a situation like what you experienced to start a rallying cry.


Kathy Bettles May 15, 2012 at 12:44 pm

Time to “like” Better Because of Bill facebook page, if you haven’t already. It is your chance help in the effort to clear this amazing teacher’s name and see touching comments by alumni, parents, and current students.


john May 17, 2012 at 6:00 am

While I think Channel 10’s actions were certainly inappropriate, they were doing what could be expected of them… best to ignore it.
However let’s get real, when two adults joke around about spanking one another, you can’t tell me it’s anything but sexually suggestive. I know about this stuff.
I’ve been a very, very bad boy.


doug porter May 17, 2012 at 11:45 am

for the record–via my daughter, who prompted me to write this story–Mr Doyle says that this experience–strange as this may seem– has turned out to be one of the best things that have ever happened to him. The outpouring of support and love from the student body and the administration, combined with the district’s wise decision not be baited into a witch hunt by one anonymous accuser, have served to validate his efforts at the San Diego School for Creative and Performing Arts.


Natasha Cortes May 17, 2012 at 5:22 pm

Thank you for this article! I am the woman in the picture with Bill. I am outraged with this story on channel 10. I cannot believe such garbage even made it on the news! I attended SCPA for 6 years, and met Bill in 2001 in my 8th grade year. I am now 24 years old.
Bill is an inspiration to many people and has bonded with may students for his compassion, humor, and exceptional teaching abilities. He has seen me cry, laugh, fall behind, move ahead, give up, move on, and has supported me in my times of need when school and family issues had me very depressed and wanting to give up. He has even taken the time to take calls to recommend me for employment opportunities. (And yes, because of his reference, I got the job) He motivated me to reach for the stars and always believed in me. In my years at SCPA I have met many inspirational teachers, but Bill was at the top of my list. He taught me everything there is to know about musical theater, but also helped shape me into a better person. In my years of knowing him, I have NEVER witnessed or heard of any inappropriate or sexual behavior towards students.
Contrary to what many have said, this picture was taken in my last week at SCPA in my senior year. Although I was technically a student at SCPA for another week, I was considered an adult. Some may argue that either way this was an inappropriate picture because I was still a student. However, imagine a 25 year old college student taking the same picture with their professor. Would anyone care? No. Why? because although a student, that person is an adult. And as an adult, I CHOSE to pose in this way and was never forced or sexually approached in any way.
This picture was not meant to be sexually suggestive, nor did I even follow through with the actual slap to his rear. It was merely a pose for comedic value. Think about it, you are in a silly pose in a theater with a zany drama teacher at a performing arts school…I don’t see anything wrong with trying to have a few funny moments to remember your favorite teacher in your last days of school in which you have attended and created bonds in for 6 YEARS.
To the parents who agree with Channel 10 and their bogus accusations, maybe you should take a step back and think to yourself, If this man was really an inappropriate teacher, why would all of these students, parents of students, former students, friends, and fellow teachers be fighting so passionately in his defense? This is an embarrassment to Bill and all of us who support him and SCPA. We are all like one big family, and we will not stop in Bill’s defense. He is more than an amazing teacher who deserves to be glorified and not humiliated. We love you Bill!

if there is anything i can do or say to help please contact me


jim grant May 17, 2012 at 6:41 pm

You may not view it as suggestive , BUTT ( pun intended) many others do. As far as ” anything you can do” A little late for this But ….Don’t pose with teachers for anything.
Trying to fight a fire after it starts is really tuff….Take that as a life lesson.


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