On Friday October 1st, at San Marcos High School, marketing and AP physics teacher of 20 years, Jarrod Bradley, was arrested on suspicion of online solicitation of a minor (Penal Codes 288.2 and 288.3). The day before, a minor informed Santa Barbara police officers of inappropriate messages and explicit photographs sent to him through social media from Mr. Bradley. Mr. Bradley was taken into custody and booked into Santa Barbara County Jail. He has since been released from custody on bail.
Many on campus have been significantly impacted by this event, in an already challenging school year. Over sixty students are currently in Mr. Bradley’s classes, and hundreds more have been taught by him at some point in their high school lives. Some teachers in the science department have had Mr. Bradley as their colleague, mentor, and friend for their entire careers. Mr. Bradley was also the coach of the boys varsity tennis team, which he led to a Channel League title last spring. He worked for the college board as a reader for AP Physics exams, he taught summer school classes, and he served on the science curriculum development committee, representing San Marcos.
“He put a lot of time and effort into his lesson plans, and he listened to students’ needs,” said an anonymous student. “He was very deliberate in what he taught.”
While some students don’t agree with his teaching style, Mr. Bradley was well respected by many students, who felt that they left his class with a broader understanding of how the world works than when they entered. According to chemistry teacher of 10 years at San Marcos, Ms. Tilton, Mr. Bradley was a strong advocate for allowing freshmen to take AP Physics. Despite skepticism expressed by others who believed that freshmen needed more academic training prior to taking such a difficult class, Bradley believed in the students ability to succeed.
“He always held his students to a high level of rigor,” said Ms. Tilton. “He had a belief that kids could do more and learn more at a young age.”
Ms. Tilton has known Mr. Bradley for a long time, in both her personal and professional life. Her husband had Mr. Bradley as a teacher when he attended San Marcos, and Bradley has also played an influential role in her career.
“He has been a staple in my family’s life,” said Ms. Tilton. “He was my mentor and teacher. I knew him very well and for a long time.”
With Mr. Bradley on compulsory leave (meaning he is not to be on district property until further notice), Ms. Carver, who has taught physics at San Marcos for 5 years, will teach both of his AP Physics classes while Mr. LaForge will cover Ms. Carver’s 2nd period class. Ms. Carver has big shoes to fill, but she is more than qualified to take on Mr. Bradley’s classes.
“Ms. Carver is highly trained and AP certified,” said Princical Dr. Glazer. “She has stepped up to take over, and we have every confidence that she’ll do a great job.”
“It’s a challenge, but I’m excited to work with the students,” said Ms. Carver. “I have to do a lot more preparing outside of school because I don’t have a prep period anymore, but I have a lot of material to work with from colleagues and from the school and the district.”
Mr. Bradley was considered a leader in the science department, and now the roles teachers play in the department will have to change.
“The leadership structure in our department and the district is going to change,” said Ms. Tilton. “He was a prominent physics teacher. Younger folks like myself are going to start taking on that role.”
While students and staff have had different responses to the announcement, the common theme seems to be shock and sadness. It was something that nobody could have been prepared to hear, and everyone on campus has been affected.
“It’s heartbreaking from every perspective,” said Ms. Tilton. “It’s really sad to think that there could be victims of this kind of crime from any person. I’ve known the person for so long, and to think that it could be possible is really sad.”
Ms. Tilton is concerned that an incident like this doesn’t just affect individuals, it can damage a whole school community.
“It erodes children’s trust of adults,” said Ms. Tilton. “It’s really sad because you need people to look up to.”
This is an extremely challenging situation that we have to face as a school community. For all students and families who need help, the administration and counseling staff opened the Care Center in the ACR room in the main office. Counselors have been on alert to help students in need of extra support. The District’s Crisis Care Counselors will still be available and on call even though the Care Center officially closes on Friday. According to the administration, anyone wishing to provide additional information is encouraged to contact the Santa Barbara Police Detective Sergeant Larson 805-897-2347.
Dr. Glazer is confident that we can come back from this together. If we support each other and have compassion, we will weather the storm and move forward.
“I have a great team around me, and I’m thankful for support from many people,” said Dr. Glazer. “We are a very strong and caring community, and I have every confidence that we’ll get through this.”