Oct 27 2017

High School History Teacher Resigns Following Accusations

We are writing to let you know that Piedmont High School history teacher Mark Cowherd has resigned.

A complaint against Mr. Cowherd was filed earlier this year by recent Piedmont High School graduates.  The District took the complaint very seriously, thoroughly investigated the allegations, and concluded that Mr. Cowherd engaged in inappropriate and unprofessional conduct.  The District instituted disciplinary and corrective action and cannot legally disclose any further details.

Mr. Cowherd was on leave during the investigation and, after it was concluded, returned to his teaching position.  At this week’s School Board meeting, a number of community members expressed outrage about his continuing role in the District.  We appreciate the courage and conviction of the students who shared their experiences, everyone who participated in the meeting, as well as those who shared their views through calls and emails to District staff and school board members.

On Thursday morning, our administrators spoke with all high school students to reaffirm our commitment to supporting their social, emotional and academic well-being:

  • The Wellness Center is a safe and confidential space to talk about questions, concerns, or feelings about this or any issue.
  • The academic counselors are available to talk about schoolwork concerns, as well as social and emotional issues.
  • Dr. Cheryl Wozniak, the District’s Title IX Coordinator, is available to all students to discuss and address concerns about discrimination, harassment, or violence of any kind among students or staff.
  • Middle and high school students may use the District’s “Speak Up!” form for filing signed or anonymous complaints. The Uniform Complaint form is available for all students and parents who wish to file a formal complaint, which necessitates an investigation and follow up.
  • We will continue to bring speakers, embed curriculum and improve policies to encourage students to advocate for themselves and develop social courage.

In addition to supporting our students however we can, we are working to identify qualified substitute and permanent teachers for the affected history classes and to assist seniors with pending letters of recommendation for their college applications.

We recognize that these events have deeply impacted our community. With this community’s support, we will help our students through this transition and will encourage them to use their voices for themselves and for each other.

As always, if you have questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact the school board or superintendent.


Randall Booker, RBooker@piedmont.k12.ca.us
Sarah Pearson, SPearson@piedmont.k12.ca.us
Amal Smith, Amalsmith@piemdont.k12.ca.us
Doug Ireland, DIreland@piedmont.k12.ca.us
Cory Smegal, CSmegal@piedmont.k12.ca.us
Andrea Swenson, ASwenson@piedmont.k12.ca.us

Randall Booker

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