Muir’s Ken Howard charged with misdemeanor battery .

By Brian Charles, Staff Writer

PASADENA – John Muir High School Ken Howard has been charged with misdemeanor battery stemming from a Sept. 28 dustup with a student at the school, according to reports.

Pasadena City Attorney Michele Beal Bagneris filed the charges.

Howard allegedly slammed Erick Rodriguez into a bank of computers, grabbed him by the neck and slammed the boy into a row of lockers. Rodriguez suffered multiple bruises due to the incident, according to medical reports.

Howard, a former security guard with the Pasadena Unified School District, was asked to perform a bag search by a Muir administrator. Howard was not a district employee at the time of the search.

He has been placed on administrative leave, indefinitely stripping Howard of his duties as head football coach. The PUSD launched an investigation, but has not released any findings.

Misdemeanor battery on schools grounds is punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2,000 fine, according to state law. Howard ‘s attorney Joe Hopkins was not available for comment.

Pasadena attorney Brian Claypool represents Rodriguez and a second student, Johnny Moreno who claims to have been “roughed up” by Los Angeles County Probation Officer Gary Johnson during the incident.

Like Howard, Johnson is a fixture on the campus, Moreno said.

Claypool applauded the move by the City Attorney.

“I think that the City Attorney followed through and pressed charges validates the perception of my clients, and other students in the classroom, that Coach Howard used unnecessary excessive force on Erick, and physically harmed him when Erick posed no threat to the coach,” Claypool said. “It also underscores the grave need for leadership at Muir and the PUSD.”

Claypool said the incident highlights the needs for policy changes across the district.

“A crime has been committed by someone who is not an on-staff security guard at the school,” Claypool said. “An immediate revamping of the protocol on who’s responsible for security is on order.”

The students filed a notice of claim with the district and threatened a lawsuit against the PUSD, if mediation wasn’t agreed to by today.

“They have not responded with a phone call or a letter to my demand letter, Claypool said. “I am going to work on filing the lawsuit next week. They think we are barking and we have no bite. They are going to get a big piece bitten out of them soon, because this federal law suit is coming.”

Claypool claims that his clients’ civil rights were violated during the incident.

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  • Stangs03

    Shaking my head! This is just a bad situation all the way around. Not condoning Coach Howard’s actions, nor am I a believer that the students weren’t disruptive, and Coach Howard didnt have probable cause to search students. My thing is, why hasnt the school administrator been held responsible for this as well. I can understand they may not have been a protocol in place, and they acted on ‘un-official’ methods, but regardless, someone asked/sent Coach to handle business, that individual is just as responsible as all parties involved. Ok, Coach Howard wasnt employed as security by PUSD – FACT! Coach Howard a nuisance on campus – FALSE! Coach Howard an asset on Muir Campus – FACT! Undisciplined, rude children on Muir campus – FACT! Im a proud Muir Alumni, and admittedly wasnt an angel on campus, but i still had respect for authority, especially coach howard, because he dignified the students and was fair. Somehow i feel these two gentlemen are being excused, for disruptive behavior, because Coach Howard allegedly used excessive force. I would look at the parents, and am curious as to these students reputation. Education, discipline starts at home folks, raise your kids, not the teachers, coaches, school personnel!!!! point blank. I think these charges will be dropped, im willing to bet that they will prove meritless! City Atty is appeasing the public… I stand behind Coach Howard! At the sametime the two young men, if they were in fact unfairly targeted, then i would look to the school admin who initiated this incident, and start from top, then go down!

  • It’s wrong

    I find it amazing what’s happening with coach Howard, who for the last decade has given his life to help those kids, and for what, for this? How many people you know get laid off, then return on a volunteer basis? That was Howard, helping the school run its security because it couldn’t afford the position. Howard did it to keep his players in check, make sure they were in school, kept up their grades, then a gutless administrator asks him to search a student who may have had weapons for Gods sake, and Howard takes the fall because this idiot kid got a little out of control. Way to go Muir, way to make the man who walks the walk for your bottom line take the fall for all of of you who just talk the talk.

  • Yeah I said it

    Deanna, just sit down and stfu. Good riddance to the both of you leeches.

  • Out of Control

    Coach Howard was informed that Rodriguez had a weapon in his possession.

    The article and the court filing seems to suggest that as a non employee on campus he should have ignored that fact and that a student with a weapon should be allowed to continue to roam campus until others in authority could respond.

    So what if Rodriguez shoots-stabs-assaults one or more students or teachers?

    Would the question now be: Why did the school delay taking action that resulted in injury or death(s)?

    Rodriguez and Moreno were resisting efforts to be detained to determine the true facts about the weapon. That clearly suggests that indeed a weapon was being possessed on campus, a serious crime.

    But like sacred cows that cannot be touched, offender students are free to wrought their destruction of Muir as an educational institution.

    I had a girl friend that attended Muir. She was from Russia. On her first day at school she made the mistake of going to the bathroom. She was assaulted and robbed by a group of she gang members. For the next 4 years she never went to the bathroom. Rodriguez and Moreno just like the she bangers,are the true villains that destroy Muir for the real students that want to learn and excel. Not Coach Howard, who by justice set upside down, will be the true victim.

  • X’s and O’s

    This is absolute BS!!!!! So someone steps up and takes care of a situation that was possibly dangerous and he gets punished. He should be applauded. If he wasn’t a district employee, then why did the administrators ask him to conduct the search? I know why, because he was the most qualified to do it and they knew that he would get the job done. This is the case on many campuses. You need something done, ask a football coach. Well if this is going to happen, then districts better start stepping up and paying their coaches a hell of a lot more as opposed to the teachers who are driving out of the parking lot running over kids at 3 pm and could careless about the kids.

  • You, have got to be kidding me, another scumbag attorney looking for a paycheck. Let him go to any school and handle things the way howard has for 17 years. This man has put his all into helping and guiding boys and girls in the right direction. The district was unable to keep these lame principals 4 in 5 years before ms. orange. Where did they run to and they call themselves educators and the district cannot wait to shutdown MUIR. The janitors do not clean up, the district allows a facilities person to okay dumping wood chips all over campus for decoration, no new landscaping most of measure tt money allocated for MUIR not spent, the girls gym has mold not yet fixed. Come on people lets deflect and concern ourselves about a person who was doing the right things to protect the entire student body. I doubt if he got outta bed saying i am going to kick some kids ass just because I am ken howard. The kid had to be found by someone and the school, kids and school admin respected ken the most. If the kid hurt someone we would be talking about why didnt someone do something when they first heard about it. I do not know about you but it is not MUIR and 99% of the wonderful kids that attend there, it is the district administration and there dislike for anything JOHN MUIR.

  • Fred Robledo

    This story also mentions Gary Johnson, who like Howard, has my total respect. Johnson is also the girls basketball coach, and he always would brag how well his girls did in the classroom, it was his badge of honor. These attorney’s and administrators are tearing down two of the best role models at the school, two men who deal with everything that is tough at Muir while other administrators and teachers take off at 3. The whole thing makes me sick to my stomach. Good thing for Howard and Johnson is when their lawyers look for character witness to take the stand, the line will be a mile long.

  • Out of Control

    Supporters of Coach Howard are planning to address the Pasadena School Board at its regularly scheduled meeting next Tuesday Nov 8th. The so called “march” is to march into the Board meeting room for members of the community to express their views on the situation. Given the likely numbers, if you wish to address the Board, I suggest you make it brief and respectful as to allow more members of the community the right to speak. Have comments organized and prepared in advance.

    Unfortunately this will do very little, other than show support for Howard, in the case of the criminal charges filed recently, as the Board has no authority in those matters.

    Meeting Times

    PUSD Board of Education meetings are generally held twice a month, on the second and fourth Tuesdays. (no time is shown-call the Board for the time and arrive early)

    Generally, meetings are held in the Board Room at:
    Elbie J. Hickambottom Board Room – 236
    Education Center
    351 South Hudson Avenue
    Pasadena, CA 91101

    This link briefly describes the process of the Board meetings

    Addressing the Board Regarding Agendized and Non-Agendized Items
    If you request to speak about a matter of school district business not on the agenda, you will be invited to make your remarks during the “Public Comment” portion of the agenda. Public comment will be limited to a total of 30 minutes at the beginning of the meeting. If you wish to address the Board, please complete a yellow speaker card located at the entrance to the meeting room and provide to the recording secretary prior to the discussion of the topic. Please limit comments to 3 minutes each. At the Boards discretion, if the time to accommodate all speakers exceeds 30 minutes, the time may be reduced to two (2) minutes per speaker in order to facilitate the efficient working of the Board.

    When You Are Recognized to Speak
    Please step to the microphone, state your name and address for the record, and direct your remarks to the President. Because of the Brown Act, neither the Board nor Administration may respond to items not on the agenda, but may ask clarifying questions only. State law provides for public comment during the course of our meeting; however, we hope that comments and criticism are directed towards issues, not individuals. We ask that all speakers be respectful of our public employees.

  • views

    MARK MY WORDS THE DAY A COLUMBINE EVENT HAPPENS AT MUIR EVERYONE WILL REMEMBER THIS DAY “posed no threat” except for the reference to a possible weapon right…? stupid comment Howard got SCREWED Dr.Park you need to be FIRED your are a conniving disgrace of a human being with no form of MAN in you, you sell everyone out to dry and the WORST ADMIN in muir history and possibly the PUSD. I honestly wished someone got hurt that day so that way we would understand the severity of the situation. look at the bigger picture one kid or the entire school? i blame the parents as well their just trying to get money for having a son who makes STUPID decisions. I hope Howard files a counter claim against the district and the ADMIN as well as the student because of the VERBAL HATE CRIME he committed the worst things always happen to the best people. HOWARD PASADENA SUPPORTS YOU REMAIN STRONG LIKE ALWAYS

  • As I stated before, unfortunately, Coach Howard and Johnson – much like the involved youth are victims of a failed policy and/or plan of action THAT day.

    I know it sounds strange, BUT COACH HOWARD IS NOT THE DEFENDANT. At trial, if it gets that far, the WHO, WHAT, WHERE and WHEN….all of which were involved or took place BEFORE Coach Howard’s or Johnson’s involvement, will have to be accounted for.

    I blame Coach Howard and Johnson for be too willing to assist i.e. nice guys. I blame the youth involved for being disrespectful i.e. immature. Either way, I’m stretching it because neither are responsible for the events that led up to the final confrontation or the outcome…responsibility comes from the top down (especially in this case)…never the bottom up.

    I would much rather see Coach Howard and the students involved apologize to each other, genuinely…but only after each received the same from those responsible for putting the wheels in motion that day.

    The outcome from all of “THIS” should be a better program or procedure for handling safety or crisis at JMHS, not a criminal indictment or monetary sanctions against the PUSD.

    Laurence Todd

  • Susan Miles

    Yeah I said it: Why would you say something like that? You are hiding behind a fake name. At least make sure you have the facts and know who you are talking to before you call someone out. I have worked with all of the people mentioned in this article and know that there is a lot missing information.

  • All day

    Before Howard there was Clyde Turner!! Muir wants another Turner apparently.

  • Stacy

    @ Yeah I Said It – You clearly aren’t saying anything. You’re a coward hiding behind a screen name talking mess. Ill be happy to offer you my info if its really that deep. Now u stfu and continue hiding, u weak biatch.

  • I am glad about one thing and that is the position will be open and I hope there will be input from the community since foolball is so important to many of the kids and they deserve to have a good X and O’s guy as well as a stern, smart,caring and what other attributes that make for a good coach. Then many of these scared of competion alumni/parents will stick around and help rebuild. It is not the academics, most kids do not get full rides anyway, academics or sports. So do not blame the classes at Muir 10-12 AP courses, test out in 20 or so, so its there. Raise your child to be strong, handle some adversity, compete and build your community people/parents/alumni.

  • Private School

    This is why I’ll sell my house before sending my kids to Muir, you defend a kid with a weapon instead of a man that tries to protect mine.

    Get a clue PUSD!