A lot of RedState readers will be familiar with our exclusive series that focuses on the harassment and bullying Kamdin Hernandez a fourth grader from Simi Valley, California faced from administrators and teachers because the school forced him to wear a mask that completely covered his nose and mouth during the entire school day. Because of Kamdin's attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), the wearing of the mask was so distracting for him that he could not focus on his schoolwork. However, administrators and teachers were scolding him in front of the class and physically prevented him from gaining access to the school, shut him out of his classroom, pulled the mask over his nose despite his struggles, and so on.
His father, Tim Hernandez, stood in support of his son many times. He was “rewarded” with a criminal complaint for “campus disruption” on August 13, 2021. This is regardless of the fact that Kamdin left campus because teachers and the principal demanded that he leave as they could not permit the student to remain at school unless he was wearing a mask (i.e. that there was no accommodation).
However, it was revealed that the Ventura County District Attorney's Office has decided not to investigate the misdemeanor assault charges against the schoolteacher that allegedly touched Kamdin without his consent and pulled the mask over his nose, even though the teacher acknowledged doing the act and an independent investigator found that the action is “inappropriate.”
Hernandez is accused of infractions of California Penal Code Section 626.7 (a) and the Complaint alleging that he
“[D]id willfully and unlawfully enter and fail to leave, and did re-enter, the campus and facility of Garden Grove Elementary School following the direction to leave the facility by the chief administrative officer and his/her designee.”
In a nutshell, on audio and video recordings taken on the day of the incident by the accused Mr. Hernandez and statements the principal gave to an independent investigation, the evidence is conclusive the principal was not guilty. Hernandez does not have a case and should never be indicted. The evidence shows that Hernandez was requested to go to school to take Kamdin but was never told he wasn't allowed to be there or to leave and he didn't go back to the school after leaving his son at home.
The day Kamdin was present for the start of the school day, which began at 8:30 a.m. Hernandez got a phone call at 9:02 the next morning from Mrs. Prisk, a teacher at Garden Grove Elementary School, telling him that he had to pick Kamdin up as he was refusing to wear the mask.
“He's refusing to wear it, and so I'm calling to let you know that you need to pick him up.”
Prisk said to Hernandez that when she had asked Kamdin to put on his mask, Kamdin said that he “can't think” with the mask on, and “that he feels stressed about wearing it in class.” Hernandez recorded the call.
In the discussion Hernandez also inquired about why the principal was not calling to discuss the long-term strategy for his son's education because Kamdin could not learn in a face mask as well as talked about medical exemptions and mandates.
Just a few minutes later, about 9:18 a.m., Principal Perryman called Hernandez, who was in the vehicle with his spouse. Perryman stated that the only option in the face of the mandate was to ask the parents to pick Kamdin up. He also recorded that conversation.
Hernandez was returning to the school at the time she phoned. When he arrived, the call was disconnected, and he went into the building with the camera on his smartphone running. Perryman did not tell the student to leave or say that he was not allowed to be present, as shown in the video. She stated: “I'm going to contact an officer from the school for another discussion with you since currently you're not adhering to the official instructions regarding the recording process on campus.”
Hernandez's video is just one minute long and includes the entire time beginning when he first walked through the school's gates and left the office towards Kamdin's class with Perryman.
Perryman affirms that Hernandez stated at the start the video, “This lady is an abuser of my son. She's retaliating at me, my son and me. I'm going to wreck her career. I'm sure the $160,000 wage was worth the loss.”
The video clearly demonstrates that he did not say what he claimed to have said. In the clip, it appears that he claimed: “This is the lady that likes to kick kids out because they're stressed.”
The report of an independent investigator stated:
“On the 13th of August 2021, Ms. Prisk and Mrs. Perryman called the parent to ask that the parent pick up his son from school since K.H. refused to wear his mask inside as required pursuant to guidelines from California Department of Public Health and Ventura County Public Health.”
The “parent” referenced in the report is Tim Hernandez, since he was the one who submitted the report. The report further says that, the moment Hernandez and Perryman arrived at Kamdin's class, Hernandez attempted to ask the teacher in the room whether she was the one who had pulled up Kamdin's mask during the incident, however, Perryman intervened and stated that they would not discuss the issue at the time and requested that the teacher get Kamdin. After that, Hernandez and Kamdin “turned and walked away.” However, they didn't follow Perryman's instructions to go via the gate in front of them. Instead, they went to the front office (perhaps because that's how Hernandez entered and also where his car was) however, they left in peace, according to the report, which was based on statements made by Perryman as well as other school staff.
Additionally, even though school officials threatened to accuse Hernandez with trespassing within the school's campus, the date that they claim that he was present without permission was on the morning of August 16, 2021. The superintendent of the SVUSD (then the Assistant Director) Hani Youssef directed one of the School Resource Officers to visit Hernandez at home and issue him the trespassing penalty and a trespassing citation, which Hernandez was unable to accept.
Then, Hernandez complained to the Simi Valley Police Department that Kamdin's teacher had assaulted him by touching him without consent. The report of the investigator revealed that the teacher admitted she did this, however, she explained that she was used to instructing younger pupils and physically aiding them in things like knotting their shoes and untangling their hair, and that's the reason she “assisted” him with his mask without his consent. The inspector found the teacher's actions to be in line with the law while the principal was able to address the matter with the teacher.
However, the District Attorney's office did not bring allegations against the instructor even if it was a simple battery. To prove a battery that is simple pursuant to California Penal Code 242, the DA's office will be required to prove that the teacher,
- Forcefully touched someone in a deliberate manner
- that the force being used is viewed as damaging or offensive.
Although I'm no attorney, and I'm not able to determine if the force required in order to pull the mask over the face of a child who is not willing to cooperate is sufficient enough to be able to justify criminal charges, however, based on Kamdin's and his father's statements, I think they see the method used as offensive. It is also apparent that the evidence required to prove this misdemeanor is at a minimum as substantial as any campus disruption charge and possibly more evidence to support a simple battery charge than for a charge of disruption on campus.
RedState reached out to Ventura County District Attorney Erik Nasarenko's office to ask for documents related to all communications that occurred between SVUSD staff members and the District Attorney's Office regarding the case, as well as all affidavits and documents that support these charges. We also inquired as to how the incident came to the office of the District Attorney and whether accusations against the school teacher had been being considered. In response, the District Attorney's office has been currently working to make available the documents requested in accordance with the law, however, they have provided the following information to our questions:
- The case against the defendant, Mr. Hernandez] was submitted to our office to review criminal charges by SVPD (Simi Valley Police Department] the 25th of August 2021. It was placed in a list of misdemeanor cases that need to be reviewed. It is organized according to the date of the offense. Due to the backlogs created by COVID shut downs the cases aren't evaluated immediately after the submission. DDA Rayburn reviewed the case according to the order of the queue in June 15th, 2022.
- The case against the teacher was sent to our office to review Criminal charges made by SVPD on January 21, 2022 and it was put in the same queue as misdemeanors to be examined. The case was also re-examined in the order of the queue on June 15th, 2022. Following the review, criminal charges will not be made in this instance.
It's interesting that the complaint against the teacher didn't get filed until January 21, 2022, the day that Hernandez was more open about the situation with his son, however it's not the fault of the District Attorney. We're also not sure the details that were provided to the DA's office by SVPD or the school district and what data was not provided.
In our last piece on the saga, we wrote in our February issue that, on February 22nd, 2022, SVUSD Director of Elementary Education Julie Ellis contacted the Hernandez family to begin the process of evaluating Section 504 accommodations, as Kamdin's family had informed authorities that Kamdin was being treated for ADHD and was suffering from anxiety-related issues. The contact was made after Hernandez posted videos on his Instagram feed that brought attention to the issues his family was experiencing and also when the district learned that RedState was scheduled to publish the story.
Kamdin is currently in the process of preparing for fifth grade. Masks have been removed from California schools and, according to Ventura County officials, they won't be returning to this school. It appears that there isn't any evidence-based basis for legal charges against Tim Hernandez at all, however, even if there was any, when will Simi Valley Unified School District or Simi Valley Police Department, or the Ventura County District Attorney's office decide that the family has been hounded enough and allow healing process to begin? It's not about an administrator trying to protect his face. It's about a child getting an education.