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Chavira was suspended, but she appealed it and, it was rescinded before it took effect, after her case received national media attention.
A spokesperson for the Los Angeles Unified School District declined our interview request, but sent a statement, saying: "The district supports journalism students, while respecting the concerns of the school community."
California is one of 16 states with state laws specifically aimed at protecting student journalists.
DANVILLE – Nicholas Moseby was two months into his first-ever teaching job at San Ramon Valley High School when two freshmen girls warned campus administrators about a troubling comment he made.
“He whispered, ‘You are lucky you guys are hot,’” according to one girl’s written account in October 2021.
More complaints followed, in February from another girl and in March from a parent, reporting alleged inappropriate behavior by Moseby, a 41-year-old biology teacher who also coached cheerleaders in Danville and San Ramon. But school administrators failed to sound an alarm, keeping Moseby in the classroom and eventually transferring him to a nearby middle school.
The judgment call may have had devastating consequences. Contra Costa prosecutors now allege Moseby went on to sexually assault a 13-year-old girl in a Diablo Vista Middle School PE class, one of five young accusers to come forward. Another of them is the girl he had called “hot.”
Moseby is now in Contra Costa County jail, following his September arrest, charged with child molestation, including multiple counts of lewd acts upon a child, sending a lewd video to a girl and molesting or annoying a minor.
This news organization has previously reported that a parent of a cheerleader raised concerns to the head of the privately-run cheer organization, Nor*Cal Elites, where Moseby worked as a coach, about rumors involving his behavior with young girls, months before his arrest.
Now, a review of two dozen pages of school documents obtained through a public records act request, court records and interviews with parents and the attorney representing three accusers paint a fuller picture of the school district’s failure to protect students by disregarding federal guidance about complaint-handling and ignoring patterns that appear to have constituted grooming behavior.
Instead of removing Moseby from the classroom following the student complaints, he was transferred to neighboring Diablo Vista Middle School after the spring 2022 semester, records show. These new revelations have added to the outrage felt by parents, who were already upset Moseby was hired to teach despite criminal allegations at previous jobs that he had solicited a prostitute and supplied alcohol to a teenage girl.
“San Ramon Valley administrators knew about inappropriate sexual abuse in the classroom because female students made several written complaints against him,” said victims’ attorney Jason Runckel. “The San Ramon Valley High School administrators ignored the complaints.”
In an email, district spokesperson Tammy Herley wrote, “following this situation and as part of our commitment to continuous improvement, we are reviewing with all administration and staff the critical importance of prompt and proper responses to a student’s concerns.”
But the district is standing by the way the student reports were investigated, even though at least one of the students is now among Moseby’s five young accusers in a criminal case filed by the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office.
“In the situation that you are inquiring about, students bravely shared with site administration that they were uncomfortable about a former employee’s behavior toward them, and this was investigated,” Herley added.
But a parent of one of the girls couldn’t disagree more.
“My daughter reported Moseby three times. The school lost one of the complaints,” the mother of one of the high school students who filed the October 2021 complaint told this news organization. Her name is being withheld because it would identify her daughter.
She said Moseby repeatedly called her daughter “hot,” gave her a nickname and sat too close. “This story makes me cringe. My husband and myself tried to get involved. The school took weeks to ‘investigate’ each offense.”
The district has not provided a direct answer explaining why any of the students’ reports against Moseby were not turned over and investigated by the Title IX office, as their policy and federal regulations require.
Records show the two girls left their biology class Oct. 21, 2021, to speak with an administrator about Moseby’s behavior. No one was available, so they filled out written reports. According to the reports, Moseby had told the girls to go into a school hallway to review a class project. Following behind them, he said something “that made us feel uncomfortable,” one of the girls wrote.
The girl recounted the “you are lucky you guys are hot” comment, which records show was also heard by the second freshmen girl. Both of them asked for administrators to follow up.
But, according to the district’s records, it took a week before the administration learned of the reports – only after one of the girls sent an email asking why no one had reached out to her yet.
“Did I miss the report or did you give it to one of the (assistant principals)? I have so many damn papers on my desk just want to make sure I didn’t overlook it,” San Ramon Valley High Principal Whitney Cottrell wrote in an email to her assistant.
This led to a scramble involving an assistant, human resources, a principal and two vice principals. Ultimately, in late November, Assistant Principal Ann Marie Walters announced the outcome of her investigation, which appears to have imposed no consequences on Moseby, and shows more weight was given to statements made by Moseby and other unrelated adults over the student accusers.
Records also show Assistant Principal Nicole Chaplan involved herself in the investigation, despite having a possible conflict of interest. Moseby used her as a personal reference when he got the high school job, although the prior relationship between the two, if any, is not clear. Chaplan did not respond to multiple calls and text messages seeking comment for this article.
Moseby “recalled the incident well and was horrified to hear what it was reported,” Walters wrote. He admitted to telling the girls to go into the hallway and communicated “something along the lines of staying on task or not pestering to go out anymore.”
She invited other administrators “to reach out to him if you have further questions, he is happy to share.”
Other records produced to this news organization show that subsequent reports of inappropriate behavior by Moseby were made in February and March 2022, though little detail is provided. In the first, a student said Moseby told her “I need to find a better friend because I’m so much better than (student name redacted) and she’s not pretty.” In the second, a mother of a student emailed Principal Cottrell and Vice Principal Chaplan requesting follow-up on two reports her daughter had made about Moseby. The mother’s email said the daughter “has expressed to us she does not feel comfortable in Mr. Moseby’s class due to situations that have happened.”
It is not clear whether these reports were investigated, as the district lawyers informed this news organization that no investigatory records exist.
These two reports came around the time of an incident, previously reported by this news organization, in which a group of freshman boys taped a poster to Moseby’s classroom door with the claim that he was a “pedophile.” At the time the school deemed the incident part of a targeted harassment campaign against Moseby.
But there is no indication in the records that the administrators who received these various complaints and reports considered a possible connection between them.
Moseby was then quietly transferred to Diablo Vista Middle. Chaplan left to go to the Lafayette School District around the same time.
In a letter on behalf of Moseby filed in court by his public defender, one of his supporters said Moseby has surrounded himself with young girls for years.
At San Ramon Valley High and within the cheer community, Moseby developed a reputation of being charismatic, bubbly and trustworthy, some supporters say. According to other support letters filed in court, many of his student-athletes considered him to be a close friend.
He “talks like the girls,” one student wrote. Another said that he connected with a lot of his students and cheer athletes on Snapchat, and would communicate with them often outside of lessons.
But another parent of a Diablo Vista Middle School student told this news organization she was horrified upon learning of the allegations against Moseby. She cited previous reporting regarding Moseby’s 2009 arrest in Arizona for allegedly supplying alcohol to a minor, which the district has said he did disclose at the time he was hired, and a 2015 charge that he solicited a sex worker in Oakland, which he failed to disclose.
“I’m outraged and my blood boils just thinking about how the high school ‘protected’ him,” Kathy Makosa Anderson said. “Despite all his previous arrests and the fact he disclosed he gave alcohol to a minor, the district still hired him.”
The Biden administration is extending the pause on student loan payments until no later than June 30, 2023, as theis held up in court. President Biden announced the extension Tuesday in a video posted to the White House Twitter account.
Student loan repayments were supposed to resume Jan. 1, 2023, for the first time since thebegan. But a federal appeals court has blocked the president's student loan forgiveness program, and the administration has asked the Supreme Court to reinstate their stalled plans. For now, the fate of the program remains unclear, with millions of borrowers in limbo.
The White Housein August that Mr. Biden would be taking executive action to forgive $10,000 in loans for Americans making under $125,000 a year or $250,000 for married couples. Pell grant receipents are eligible for additional $10,000 to be forgiven.
"I'm confident that our student debt relief plan is legal," Mr. Biden tweeted. "But it's on hold because Republican officials want to block it. That's why @SecCardona is extending the payment pause to no later than June 30, 2023, giving the Supreme Court time to hear the case in its current term."
Payments would restart 60 days after the Supreme Court decision or on June 30, whichever comes first. The Supreme Court has not yet said whether they will take the case.
Since the Biden administration announced the plan, it has faced a number of legal challenges, and has beentwo federal courts. The White House has said that nearly 26 million Americans have applied for the program, and 16 million applications have already been approved.
— Kristin Brown contributed to this report
The Biden administration on Tuesday extended the pandemic-era federal student loan payment pause and interest accrual until no later than June 2023 while the administration faces legal challenges to its debt forgiveness plan.
“I&#8217;m confident that our student debt relief plan is legal. But it’s on hold because Republican officials want to block it,” President Biden&nbsp;said&nbsp;in a statement. “That&#8217;s why&nbsp;@SecCardona&nbsp;is extending the payment pause to no later than June 30, 2023, giving the Supreme Court time to hear the case in its current term.”
The pause was set to expire on Dec. 31 after Biden extended it in August around the same time he announced the student loan forgiveness program. At the time, the White House called that extension &#8220;one final time.&#8221;
The latest extension into next year will give the Supreme Court time to decide whether it will rule on whether the program can continue.
The payment pause will end “no later than June 30, 2023,” Biden said, because payments will resume 60 days after the Education Department is permitted to implement the program or the litigation is resolved, which should come before the end of June, when the Supreme Court term typically concludes.&nbsp;
Loan payments were first put on hold in March 2020 under former President Trump at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic to give individuals relief from paying their student loan bills. The freeze has since been extended six times.
Biden’s long-awaited forgiveness program has stopped accepting applications after it was blocked by several court challenges.
The&nbsp;Biden&nbsp;administration on Friday urged the Supreme Court to clear one of the legal obstacles blocking its student debt relief program, as part of the administration’s broader legal effort to have the policy reinstated.
The administration is currently fending off two separate rulings issued over the past two weeks that have effectively halted Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan, which would give federal borrowers making less than $125,000 a year up to $10,000 in debt relief.&nbsp;&nbsp;
That move came after a unanimous three-judge panel on the 8th Circuit halted Biden’s massive debt relief plan, which had already been blocked nationwide by a separate court ruling.
In an earlier legal development, a Trump-appointed federal judge in Texas invalidated the program, saying the presidential action unlawfully encroached on Congress’s power.&nbsp;
The administration has vowed to fight the challenges.&nbsp;
“We’re not going to back down though on our fight to give families breathing room,” Biden said in his announcement. “That’s why the Department of Justice is asking the Supreme Court of the United States to rule on the case. But it isn’t fair to ask tens of millions of borrowers who are eligible to relief to resume their student debt payments while the courts consider the lawsuits.”
More than 23 million people applied for student loan relief before the applications closed.
Student loan advocates called the extension announced on Tuesday a necessary step, but pushed the administration to fight back against the legal challenges.
“The least the Biden administration could do is not collect on a debt they promised they would cancel,” Braxton Brewington, spokesperson for the Debt Collective, said in a statement on Tuesday. “This pause extension is necessary, but also the bare minimum. What 45 million borrowers truly need is a Biden administration that won’t allow fringe lawsuits and right-wing courts to undermine economic relief that’s already been approved.”
Natalia Abrams, president of the Student Debt Crisis Center, applauded Biden for the move.&nbsp;
“Too many borrowers, parents, and students have yet to recover from the financial harm caused by the pandemic and the possibility of a winter surge in COVID-19 cases is proof that this crisis is not over. Student debt cancellation is essential to helping borrowers recover from the pandemic, but it remains stuck in the courts,” she said in a statement.
Updated at 4:05 p.m.
The Biden administration announced on Friday it would stop accepting student loan forgiveness applications after a federal judge ruled against the program on Thursday.&nbsp;
The site that previously led to the student loan applications now shows a message titled “Student Loan Debt Relief Is Blocked.”
“[A]t this time, we are not accepting applications,” the site reads, explaining the pause is due to the court ruling in Texas.&nbsp;
The site goes on to say the administration will fight in court for the program and the department will hold the applications of the millions of borrowers who already applied for the relief.&nbsp;
The Federal Student Aid office is encouraging individuals to sign up for updates as they will “post information as soon as further updates are available.”
President Biden’s plan, which was set to forgive up to $20,000 for some student loan borrowers, was&nbsp;struck down&nbsp;by&nbsp;U.S. District Judge Mark Pittman, a Trump appointee.
The judge said the program is “an unconstitutional exercise of Congress’s legislative power” and the administration would need approval from Congress to move forward.&nbsp;
“Whether the Program constitutes good public policy is not the role of this Court to determine,” Pittman said. “Still, no one can plausibly deny that it is either one of the largest delegations of legislative power to the executive branch, or one of the largest exercises of legislative power without congressional authority in the history of the United States.”
This is the second — and biggest —&nbsp;win yet for Republicans and conservatives who have launched multiple lawsuits against the Biden administration’s student debt relief program.&nbsp;
The first win came from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit after a judge temporarily blocked the program in October following a challenge from six GOP-led states.
The ruling Thursday is the second win for opponents of the program out of the at least six court cases around the U.S. challenging student debt relief.&nbsp;
Thomas Bennett, an associate professor of law at the University of Missouri,&nbsp;previously told The Hill&nbsp;the Supreme Court is more likely to get involved in the lawsuits against student loan forgiveness if multiple courts hand down different rulings on the program.&nbsp;
The Biden administration has made clear numerous times it will fight against the challenges to its program, but the legal fight could take months.
While borrowers wait for a final ruling on the program, student loan payments are set to begin at the beginning of 2023, with Biden previously saying he will not extend the pause on payments again.
&#8212;Updated at 11:02 a.m.
Student loan borrowers gather near The White House to tell President Biden to cancel student debt on May 12, 2020.
Paul Morigi | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images
Student loan default rates could dramatically spike if the Biden administration's loan forgiveness plan is blocked, a top official at the U.S. Department of Education said in a new court filing.
The warning came as the Department of Justice asked a federal judge in Texas to stay an order that has temporarily blocked the Biden administration's debt relief program.
"Unless the [Education] Department is allowed to provide debt relief, we anticipate there could be an historically large increase in the amount of federal student loan delinquency and defaults as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic," Education Department Undersecretary James Kvaal said in the filing.
The Biden administration stopped accepting applications for its student loan forgiveness plan last week after Judge Mark Pittman of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas called the policy "unconstitutional" and struck it down.
Meanwhile, six GOP-led states argued in another lawsuit that the president's loan relief program threatened their future tax revenues and circumvented congressional authority. Their challenge had been rejected by a federal judge, but then the states appealed and the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis issued a nationwide injunction temporarily barring the Biden administration from moving forward with its plan.
Even before the pandemic, when the U.S. economy was enjoying one of its healthiest periods in history, problems plagued the federal student loan system.
Only about half of borrowers were in repayment in 2019, according to an estimate by higher education expert Mark Kantrowitz. About 25% — or more than 10 million people — were in delinquency or default, and the rest had applied for temporary relief for struggling borrowers, including deferments or forbearances.
These grim figures led to comparisons to the 2008 mortgage crisis.
Federal student loan payments have been on pause since March 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic first hit the U.S. and crippled the economy. Resuming the bills for more than 40 million Americans will be a massive task, and the Biden administration had hoped to ease the transition by forgiving a large share of student debt first.
However, since President Joe Biden announced his plan in August to cancel up to $20,000 for tens of millions of borrowers, conservative groups and Republican states moved quickly to try to block it.
Despite offering student loan borrowers forbearances during previous natural disasters, default rates still skyrocketed, Kvaal said in the filing.
"[T]he one-time student loan debt relief program was intended to avoid" that problem, he added.
The borrowers most in jeopardy of defaulting are those for whom Biden's student loan forgiveness plan would have wiped out their balance entirely, Kvaal said. The administration estimated its policy would do so for around 18 million people.
"These student loan borrowers had the reasonable expectation and belief that they would not have to make additional payments on their federal student loans," Kvaal said. "This belief may well stop them from making payments even if the Department is prevented from effectuating debt relief."
"Unless the Department is allowed to provide one-time student loan debt relief," he went on, "we expect this group of borrowers to have higher loan default rates due to the ongoing confusion about what they owe."
The Biden administration stopped accepting applications for its popular student loan forgiveness plan on Friday, a day after a Trump-appointed federal judge blocked the program on what critics are calling dubious legal grounds.
"Republicans don't want you to get debt relief and want their judges to do their unpopular dirty work."
"We are disappointed in the decision of the Texas court to block loan relief moving forward. Amidst efforts to block our debt relief program, we are not standing down," U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said in a statement after Judge Mark Pittman of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas declared the Biden administration's debt relief plan "unconstitutional."
"Despite this decision, we will never stop fighting for the millions of hardworking students and borrowers across the country," the secretary continued. "We believe strongly that the Biden-Harris Student Debt Relief Plan is lawful and necessary to give borrowers and working families breathing room as they recover from the pandemic and to ensure they succeed when repayment restarts."
"The Department of Justice has appealed today's decision on our behalf, and we will continue to keep borrowers informed about our efforts to deliver targeted relief," he added.
According to the White House, 26 million people have already applied, and 16 million have been approved, for student loan relief. Under the program, borrowers earning up to $125,000 as an individual or $250,000 as a household are eligible for between $10,000 and $20,000 in federal student loan relief, depending upon the type of loan they received.
In his ruling, Pittman found that two plaintiffs who brought the case with the backing of the billionaire-funded Job Creators Network Foundation had standing to sue, despite neither being fully eligible for student debt relief.
The Intercept's Ken Klippenstein reported earlier this week that one of the plaintiffs, Myra Brown, did receive a $48,000 Paycheck Protection Program small business loan earlier during the Covid-19 pandemic—of which $47,996 was forgiven.
Legal experts and progressive politicians condemned Pittman's ruling.
"My first response was, this is motivated reasoning by a judge who wants to come to this result," Luke Herrine, an assistant professor of law at the University of Alabama and legal director at the Debt Collective, told NPR. "The legal analysis is flawed."
Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) tweeted: "This is a ludicrous opinion from a Trump-appointed judge. I'm glad the administration is appealing. Dems are fighting for middle-class relief while GOP special interests and judges are trying to block it on outlandish grounds."
Pittman's decision comes weeks after the conservative-dominated Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals temporarily stopped the Biden administration from "discharging any student loan debt" until the court rules on an emergency request from Republican-led states seeking to block the program.
The Biden administration has officially extended the pandemic-era student loan payment pause until June of 2023. The pause was first enacted by former President Donald Trump during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic and has been extended a number of times since. In August of 2022, when Biden announced his student loan cancelation plan, he also announced that he would extend that payment pause until December 31st, 2022 — or the final time. But now, following lawsuits that have tied the plan to cancel federal debt for borrowers up in courts, the Biden administration announced that they would extend the payment pause again.
Following a letter signed by more than 200 national, state, and local organizations warning of the disastrous outcome should it not be extended before the pause was set to end, the new date will safeguard millions of borrowers as the student loan forgiveness program waits in court limbo. Here’s what you need to know.
On November 22, 2022, the Biden administration confirmed that the pause on student loan repayment had been extended. Instead of expiring at the end of this year, when the student loan forgiveness program was set to begin in the new year, one final extension has been granted, halting payments until at least June 30, 2023.
The loan payment pause will also last at least 60 days until after the litigation is resolved, ostensibly to give borrowers time to apply for forgiveness and get those loans forgiven and have their new balances set before payments resume. If the litigation isn’t resolved and the program hasn’t been implemented by June 30, payments will begin 60 days after that — at least for now.
The new date comes as the student loan forgiveness program, which would see between $10,000 to $20,000 in debt relief per student borrower, has been stalled due to legal cases in several states. In early November, a Texas judge struck down the forgiveness plan; then, it was done again in St. Louis’ Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.
These lawsuits aim to have the Biden administration’s student loan forgiveness plan completely overturned, claiming the President is overstepping his authority with the debt forgiveness program.
“The Administration will continue to fight these baseless lawsuits by Republican officials and special interests and will never stop fighting to support working and middle-class Americans,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre previously said.
However, while Biden is “completely confident” his loan forgiveness plan is legal, he acknowledges that the time it will take for the case to be heard in the courts will financially harm thousands of Americans.
“It isn’t fair to ask tens of millions of borrowers eligible for relief to resume their student debt payments while the courts consider the lawsuit,” Biden said in a video posted to Twitter announcing the extension.
The pause on student loan repayments will give enough time for the case to be litigated in the Supreme Court in the current term, Biden said, according to CNN.
The student loan payment pause has been extended eight times since it began in March 2020.