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Morgan Hill
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December 6, 2022

No further investigation into Feb. 2 school board incident

A further investigation into the events of Feb. 2, in which a Morgan Hill Unified School District trustee was briefly detained by local police after a false report of a concealed weapon at the public board meeting, will not be conducted after the governing body deadlocked 3-3 to squash the motion.
Trustee Rick Badillo, the target of an anonymous tipster who called police thinking he was in possession of a gun in his belt clip at the Feb. 2 meeting, as well as Trustees Gino Borgioli and David Gerard voted in favor of hiring a private law firm to lead an investigation.
“I want to show the public that we are doing something to earn their trust back,” said Borgioli prior to the 3-3 vote.
However, Board President Bob Benevento, Vice President Ron Woolf and Trustee Donna Ruebusch believed it to be a police matter outside of the school board’s authority and voted against the action.
“I’m not sure what an investigation by a private firm is going to prove,” Woolf said.
Additionally, Gerard’s motion to instruct the Morgan Hill Police Department to dig deeper into the matter was also denied by another 3-3 vote of the school board.
Two MHPD officers were dispatched to the Feb. 2 meeting. Upon arrival, they informed district staff that they needed to speak with Badillo about what he was carrying on him. Superintendent Steve Betando then asked Badillo to meet with the officers outside through the back room. Badillo instead headed for the front door, at which time one officer rushed through the audience to stop him as the other officer ran around to the front of the building. Badillo was briefly detained. He allowed the officers to search his belongings and explained he came straight from his construction job and was in possession of a utility tool attached to his belt. Badillo was not further detained after police searched him and was not charged with a crime.
There have been conflicting points of view as to how and why the events transpired as they did that night. Since then, Borgioli and Badillo requested an investigation to find out those details.
On a separate item tied to the same Feb. 2 incident, Benevento instructed Borgioli, Ruebusch and Woolf to form a subcommittee to review and suggest possible modifications to the board bylaw regarding safety procedures at board meetings.
The two factions of the board have publicly feuded over varying issues surrounding the district leadership and program initiatives with tempers flaring up in back-and-forth exchanges almost immediately following the November 2015 election.
The board will add a seventh member—either Pamela Torrisi or Thomas Arnett—after the results come in from the June 7 election.

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