California Superintendent Fired After Allegedly Bullying Daughter's Softball Team

A Southern California school district has fired a superintendent who was accused of bullying members of her daughter’s high school softball team.

The Poway Unified School District board on Tuesday voted unanimously to terminate Marian Kim Phelps after an investigation of the harassment claims.

“Based on her conduct, as revealed to the Board through the investigation, the Board has lost all confidence and trust in Dr. Phelps’ ability to continue to serve as Superintendent, as well as in her ability to continue to work collaboratively with the Board as part of Poway Unified’s governance team,” Michelle O’Connor-Ratcliff, the board’s president, said in a statement.

The scandal ― which some have dubbed “Clappergate” ― came to public attention in November after members of the softball team accused Phelps of threatening their graduation privileges because they didn’t cheer loudly enough for her daughter at an awards banquet.

“I think that sometimes maybe lines got blurred as to her role as superintendent and her role as a parent,” Michael Roberts, a local parent, told San Diego’s NBC 7 at the time.

Phelps insisted to the station that she had “never threatened any student” and ”never talked to any student about making threats about them not graduating.”

“All of those accusations are completely false and fabricated,” she added.

District spokesperson Christine Paik told NBC 7 that Tuesday marked Phelps’ last day on the job and that she will not be paid for the remainder of her contract since the termination was “for cause.”

However, Phelps’ daughter remains a student in the district, and Paik said that there are apparently no restrictions on Phelps attending school events and activities as a parent.

In addition, the district still faces a lawsuit from a softball player whom Phelps purportedly saw as a rival to her daughter.

The unnamed student has claimed that an “illegitimate and biased” investigation orchestrated by Phelps kept her from playing on the softball team during her senior year.

In a statement to the media, the student’s family said that the Poway Unified School District board took an important step with Phelps’ firing.

“We are relieved that they are starting to take responsibility for their actions,” the statement read.

“While this decision cannot undo the damage, unjust treatment, and hardships our daughter endured during her senior year, including the unwarranted removal of all her school related privileges, it is a move in the right direction.”