The Student News Site of Branham High School

Bear Witness

Answers few since teacher’s arrest

Police looking into claims that more victims involved

Annalise Freimarck, News Editor

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  SAN JOSE, Calif.- At an emotional community meeting Monday evening addressing the recent arrest of music teacher Sam Neipp, San Jose Police Department officials sought to provide resources to family members and dispel the numerous rumors attached to the case.

  The meeting at the Camden Community Center gym drew a large crowd. Many there wanted to know how local schools that employed Neipp were addressing his alleged crimes.

  Neipp taught music at Dartmouth Middle School and was the assistant band director at Branham. He also had experience teaching at Del Mar, participated in his church’s musical programs and conducted private piano lessons. He is accused of blackmailing a minor with her explicit photos after she was going to come forward about their alleged sexual involvement.

  He faces 36 counts of child molestation, and his bail is set at $2.375 million, of which he’d have to pay 10%. If convicted, he faces 100 years to life in prison. Since his arrest, one former student came forward, and police say that they are investigating the possibility of two more students’ involvement. Lt. Jason Ta of the San Jose Police Department was present and provided some information to the crowd.

  “We are in the middle stages [of the investigation] right now,” said Ta.

  Along with Ta, in the middle of the packed community gym sat Sgt. Brian Spears, also from the San Jose Police Department, and Denise Clay, Union School District superintendent. The gym was filled to the brim with parents, students, and concerned members of the community, with no spare seat on the bleachers.

  The officers provided scenarios when the audience asked how to handle certain situations, and the appropriate resources for reference.

  Spears shared tips for parents on how to address the allegations against Neipp with their kids in order to encourage students who may have information to come forward. The goal was also to help families know how to handle situations like this in the future.

  He urged parents to address the alleged incident directly.

  “From parent to parent […] do yourself a favor, and have that chat with your child,” he said, with increasing emphasis. “Please take the time to discuss with your child what’s appropriate and what’s inappropriate. Please take that time.”

  Some parents in the audience believed that the schools involved had suppressed information about Neipp surrounding this case specifically, and did not properly address the possible suspicions.

  Superintendent Clay denied those rumors, stating, “No members of our staff had any suspicion, any inkling, that anything like this was happening.”

  The audience then had a chance to comment during an open mic session, which surrounded important issues like if the schools were going to change the student teacher policies and how parents could protect their kids online. One parent voiced the opinion that teachers should not be texting students at all, no matter if it was academic. Clay responded that there are social media guidelines in place.

  Some of the comments garnered applause, specifically those that discussed sexual assault awareness, displaying the rallying feelings of support for the victims.

  The night ended with community members leaving the gym with answers about what the administration, and police are planning to do to help the community cope with the allegations.

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The Student News Site of Branham High School
Answers few since teacher’s arrest