Brian Joseph, the former principal of Etiwanda High School, was arrested and jailed for allegedly having a sexual relationship with a student.COURTESY
Brian Joseph, the former principal of Etiwanda High School, was arrested and jailed for allegedly having a sexual relationship with a student. COURTESY PHOTO (COURTESY PHOTO)

Clad in a green jailhouse jumpsuit, high school principal Brian Joseph faced his boss through the detention center safety glass when he submitted his resignation this week.

Joseph, principal of Etiwanda High School in Rancho Cucamonga and a former Lakewood High School teacher, was arrested and jailed for allegedly having a sexual relationship with a student.

The girl is now 18, but was a minor who attended Etiwanda High when the alleged affair began.

Despite the arrest and the subsequent community fallout, Chaffey Joint Union High School District Superintendent Mat Holton said morale at the school is in a "good place."

"This is a terrible event for the community," said Charles J. Uhalley, a 36-year member of Chaffey Joint Union board. "This, for us, was a tremendous sense of betrayal, sadness and hurt."

It has been a whirlwind week for the district and its officials that began shortly before the arrest of the nine-year administrator early Tuesday.

"On Monday, I received information that there could be something inappropriate going on between our principal, Brian Joseph, and a former student," Holton said.

Holton said he confronted Joseph on campus the same day that he learned about the allegations.

Holton said he ordered Joseph to stay away from the campus. The superintendent then drove to the San Bernardino County sheriff's station in Rancho Cucamonga to report what he had learned.

According to Holton, school staffers had no idea Joseph, 38, was allegedly sexually involved with the then-underage student.

District officials are investigating whether other employees knew about the affair and didn't report their suspicions. Joseph is married with children.

Parents and students are still angered by Joseph's actions.

"If this man, who is supposed to be a compass to our children, was doing this, how did it go unnoticed for so long?" asked James Donovan, who has a child attending Etiwanda High.

"It's a breach of everything that is decent. ... I understand that parents are upset and they should be," Uhalley said. "That is not us. We're here to protect children and not victimize them."

Teachers have been encouraged to address the issue and answer students' questions, Holton said.

"They were given the common facts that they passed on to their students," he said. "The students were told they could come to speak to the counselors by themselves or in a group."

The district is now focusing on how to prevent something like this from happening again.

Uhalley said the district's internal training process for administrators and teachers "needs to be beefed up - and we're going to do it."

Joseph came to the district following employment at the Pomona Unified School District, Holton said.

Before being hired by Pomona Unified in 2003 as an assistant principal, Joseph taught at Lakewood High School in Long Beach Unified School District, and had worked as a substitute teacher in the district in 1997.

When asked about Joseph's prior disciplinary reviews, Long Beach Unified spokesman Chris Eftychiou declined to comment saying, "We cannot provide details on matters involving confidential personnel issues."

Joseph left Pomona Unified in June 2005 for a position with Chaffey Joint Unified.

"He was moving up the ladder very quickly," said Darren Knowles, Pomona Unified assistant superintendent.

Joseph was named principal at Etiwanda High when he was 34 years old following a five-year stint as assistant principal, Holton said.

Holton said this is the first time the district has had a principal accused of being inappropriately involved with a student.

"It's a breach of trust," he said. "It's a breach of everything decent that comes with that position. ... The parents have a right to be angry - I am."

Joseph's court date has not yet been scheduled.

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