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Community Shocked By Arrest of High School Teacher on Sex Charges

Students, parents and teachers are blindsided by the arrest of Marie Johnson, a popular Granada High math teacher accused of having sex with a former student.

Moments after Patch posted the news that , community members began reacting, flooding our site and Facebook page with comments.

And the flurry of conversations hasn't stopped yet, with roughly 190 posts and counting.

People are shocked. They're upset. And many who know Johnson can't believe it, saying the 40-year-old Livermore resident, who is married and has a son the same age as the alleged victim, would never do such a thing.

"I do not believe any of this," Patch reader Jean Hastings Thompson wrote in the comments section of . "Marie is a wonderful teacher and made a huge difference in all 3 of my teens who had her as a teacher!"

Johnson appears to be popular with students, many of whom jumped to her defense.

Mrs.J, she is not only one of the greatest people I have ever met, but also one of the strongest. She helped me through alot. We were very close. No matter guilty or not, I'll always love her like my second mom. — Patch reader "MariJane"

I've known mrs. J since my sophomore year. She has helped me through the toughest times and has always been there to talk or to hangout. I know down right that she would never do such a thing. —Patch reader "Sarah"

I had ms j for my first and beginning 2nd trimester at Granada highschool during freshman year, I moved after that. She was an amazing teacher, we all loved her as a second mom. She was there if we needed help in our class, or even just to talk about some other problem. —Patch reader "Sam"

However, other students said they felt Johnson at times overstepped her boundaries as a teacher.

Mrs Johnson was a good teacher, I had her for geometry. But it always seemed like she tried too hard to be our friends. It always made us feel a little uneasy, but so do a lot of other teachers, they all have their quirks. —Ashley Brooks wrote on our Facebook page.

Supporters say Johnson was expressing such kindness because she wanted her students to succeed.

According to a Wikipedia article about sexual abuse in the American education system, harrassment is "common and six in 10 students will suffer some form of physical sexual abuse." Based on a 2002 American Association of University Women study, of those who are abused, 38 percent were abused by teachers.

Effects of the abuse include: 

"Students experience a wide range of effects from sexual harassment that impact their academics including: have trouble sleeping, loss of appetite, decreased participation in class, avoid a study group, think about changing schools, change schools, avoid the library, change major, not going to a professor/ teaching assistant’s office hours. Students may experience multiple effects or just one..."

Superintendent Kelly Bowers said Thursday the campus has made counselors available to students.

"All adults on campus are sensitive to the situation and committed to the well-being of our students," she said.

In an interview with ABC 7, Granada High Principal Philomena Rambo says the campus is going through a difficult time.

"The staff is reeling, the students, the whole community is, and our goal is to get us all through it together," she said.

Johnson is being held at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin in lieu of $1.85 million bail. She is scheduled to be arraigned at 11 a.m. Friday in Department 701 of the Gale-Schenone Hall of Justice in Pleasanton. Court records show she is expected to be charged with unlawful sexual intercourse with a person under 18, oral copulation and committing a lewd act on a child.

If you need help or know someone who may be the victim of sexual abuse, contact the Alameda County Family Justice Center, which lists a number of East Bay resources on this webpage or click the PDF attached to this article. You can also get information from the Alameda County Child Abuse Prevention Council or call their hotline at 510-259-1800.

Keith Pickering-Walters January 15, 2012 at 11:13 AM
I’ve remained silent on this issue out of respect for the privacy of all individuals involved in this case and have done my best to wait for all of the information to be released (which it still hasn’t), but these posts have become way to ridiculous, inflammatory, and liable to the extent that it’s offensive and I must write. The recent comments made by “Dublin Mom” on the Livermore.Patch.com site are simply offensive.
Keith Pickering-Walters January 15, 2012 at 11:13 AM
Your suggestion that the case was being “investigated by school authorities at the time, and that was why [your] visit was canceled” is completely offensive. And you expect to be invited back as a speaker? (It might also be good if you can get the name of our school correct – it’s Granada, not Grenada) Disclaimer: The comments made here represent my personal views and my views only and do not represent any official position, policy, or contract of the Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District or the Livermore Education Association. I am currently employed as a teacher at Granada High School and am darned proud of our school, staff, and students. Prior to Granada, I was the president of our teacher’s union for four years, am currently the Bargaining Chair, and am darned proud of the vast majority of my fellow staff members and the work that our union does to represent the teachers of Livermore. Prior to LEA, I taught at Livermore High School and am darned proud of that school, too. Prior to LHS, I taught at Marylin Avenue until our bilingual program was dissolved and I decided to obtain my Single Subject Fine Arts Credential to teach at the High School level. And, yes, I’m darned proud of Marylin Avenue Elementary School as well.
Keith Pickering-Walters January 15, 2012 at 11:14 AM
The comments made by Dalene Barry are simply inaccurate. She was invited to speak at GHS by a classified staff member who knew her and around the time of her visit began working for her as her “Education Outreach Coordinator”. Her presentation about her personal experiences being abused to a Human Development/Relationships class was the appropriate venue. Speaking to the entire campus of Livermore High School was not – especially since it was not approved by the administration and was misrepresented to a staff member there as if it had been wholeheartedly recommended by Granada. Her book was never pulled off the library shelves because it was never on the library shelves. Books – especially books donated to the school by an individual – must be reviewed and then approved prior to being placed in libraries or classrooms. Imagine what would happen if schools just accepted any book that was given to them? What if Playboy Magazine donated a subscription, would you expect that we’d immediately make it available to students?
Keith Pickering-Walters January 15, 2012 at 11:14 AM
The articles report that the student told another staff person on campus about the accusations on Tuesday. That staff person obviously did what they were trained to do as a mandated reporter and immediately reported it. The police were involved immediately and the accused was arrested prior to the start of school. The articles have also stated that the “alleged assaults occurred in a car and other undisclosed locations in Livermore.” There is no mention that it occurred at Granada. We don’t have some secret room that everyone turns a blind eye to so that adults and children can spend time together. Your suggestions that the District and Unions knew about this sickens me and I can only imagine what your motivation is for suggesting this. If you have “never heard of a school district that chose the rights and safety of a student over the rights and safety of the employees…”, you have certainly never heard of any of our schools in the Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District because that’s what we all do – at every one of them. Your “facts” and “statistics” around employee rights, violations, employee evaluations, and what the purpose of the Union is are completely fabricated in your mind.
your father May 17, 2012 at 10:28 PM
mrs johnson was my ninth grade math teacher....i used to jerk off to her daily. she was not a looker, but there was sumthn about her i adored..i envy the kid who tapped it...lol. besides this she was a really nice teacher. my favorite at granadda actually... also, ms. lilly was fine as hell. i shoulda made a move on them both. ohhh ms. lilly

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