School district fires South Tahoe High School security guard
January 13, 2010
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – A South Tahoe High School security guard who was arrested after Sheriff’s deputies allegedly found him smoking marijuana and drinking beer with a 16-year-old girl was fired this week.
Larry Brown, 63, was dismissed from his job at the high school during a closed session portion of the Lake Tahoe Unified School District board meeting on Tuesday night. Brown had been on unpaid leave since his arrest in November.
Jim Watson, the district’s Human Resources Director, declined to comment on details of Brown’s dismissal because it is a personnel matter, but confirmed Brown is no longer a security guard at the high school.
“I can verify that Larry Brown is not currently employed by Lake Tahoe Unified School District,” Watson said.
An El Dorado County Sheriff’s deputy arrested Brown during a traffic stop after allegedly smelling marijuana coming from a vehicle occupied by Brown and the teenage girl. The pair told the deputy that they had smoked marijuana and drank beer together, according to authorities.
Prosecutors have charged Brown with a single count of employing a minor for unlawful transactions, a felony. Conviction of the charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in state prison.
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A pre-preliminary hearing in the case is scheduled for Jan. 29.
Brown’s attorney, John Castellanos, did not immediately return a request for comment on Wednesday afternoon.
Conviction of a crime is not required to dismiss classified employees at the district, Watson said. Classified employees include non-certified employees like administrative assistants, janitors and security guards, Watson said.
“There are requirements for behavior and performance that may run different from a court of law, that may require dismissal or discipline,” Watson said.
The school district employs two full time security guards at the high school and is embarking on a new system where a pool of pre-screened security guards will be maintained on an as needed basis, Watson said. The system will provide security to students and staff, while reducing costs at a time that is likely to see more belt-tightening at the district, Watson said. Currently, there are four people in the security guard pool, Watson said.
South Lake Tahoe Police Aaron Crawford will also take over as the high school’s resource officer following the retirement of former school resource officer Scott Willson, Watson said.