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District Says Legal Concerns Delayed Notifying Parents Of Teacher’s Arrest

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Anjali Hemphill Anjali Hemphill
Anjali Hemphill joined CBS 13 in June 2012 and she's happy to make the...
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ROCKLIN (CBS13) – A teacher of the year at Whitney High School has been accused of molesting a student, and parents are left wondering why they were kept in the dark so long about his arrest.

Parents had questions Tuesday about why the Rocklin Unified School District hadn’t said anything about the arrest of Matthew Yamamoto, which happened Monday morning.

It wasn’t until Tuesday afternoon when the district decided to give some answers.

Rocklin police say Yamamoto, 33, was having an intimate relationship with a female student at the high school where he teaches physics.

Police arrested Yamamoto Monday morning at his home, but it took two full school days for the district to inform parents.

“I’m a little disappointed,” a parent who didn’t want to give his full name said. “I think this is significant. It should have been brought forward. They have emergency systems to notify parents and I think this is one of those cases it should have been, even to quell rumors if nothing else.”

CBS13 tried to ask the school’s principal why parents hadn’t been notified yet, but we were told to call the office of Superintendent Kevin Brown. It took the superintendent several hours to call us back, only to say an email and voicemail about Yamamoto’s arrest had just been sent out Tuesday afternoon.

The superintendent said they needed legal counsel approval before they could let parents know what happened. Even then, a copy given to CBS13 of the phone message left by Principal Debra Hawkins to parents never mentions Yamamoto by name.

One parent said the only information on Yamamoto’s arrest he’d been able to get was from the news and rumors on his daughter’s social media accounts.

“I think most information she got was through her Twitter account through her friends,” he said.

He said that only made him worry the school administration was trying to keep parents in the dark.

“It happens a lot, but it’s still wrong and they still should have notified parents,” he said.

Yamamoto was supposed to be recognized at a ceremony Wednesday for winning last year’s “teacher of the year award.” However, the superintendent said his name has been pulled.

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