Mission Prep bedeviled by lawsuit, Reagan trip sexual misconduct

August 23, 2015

Mission PrepBy KAREN VELIE

Officials at Mission Prep in San Luis Obispo announced last week there will not be a junior varsity football team when the season begins next week, leaving many to question why.

This fall, Mission Prep will be the only high school involved in the the two major San Luis Obispo County conferences that will not be starting with a junior varsity team. School officials contend lack of interest in the sport, only eight freshman showed up for tryouts, as the reason the team was disbanded.

Athletic director Vic Ecklund told the Tribune football participation numbers were down countywide.

However, the Tribune contacted several high school coaches who said they had increased freshman participation this season, others said the numbers vacillate from year to year.

During the past year, Mission Prep has faced scrutiny after a student who suffered brain damage during football practice sued the school, its principal, the football coaches and the football team captain.

The plaintiff in the lawsuit alleges a former teammate intentionally caused him to suffer severe injuries and then bragged and taunted him about the physical damage he caused.

During a 2013 practice, the plaintiff suffered multiple helmet-to-helmet hits, which are not allowed by California high school football rules. An assistant coach also named in the lawsuit encouraged the hits, according to the lawsuit.

In addition, the Mission Prep incoming freshman class shrunk after a group of boys were expelled because of sexual misconduct during a class field trip.

During the last weeks of the 2014/2015 school year, Old Mission School’s eight grade class took a chaperoned field trip to the Ronald Reagan Museum in a double decker bus. While on the bus, several boys draped coats to block the view, and began watching porn and masturbating, multiple parents confirmed.

While headed back to San Luis Obispo, an eighth-grade girl peeked behind the coats and yelled, “The boys are masturbating,” multiple parents confirmed. Old Misson School teacher Jeff Palaszewski — also known as Mr. P — then stopped at a fast food restaurant and took the young men into the bathroom to clean up, several students on the bus said..

In the end, three incoming freshman boys were expelled and several other parents elected to change schools, sources said. Several parents voiced concern that to date, the school has not informed the other parents about the incident.

Old Mission School Principal Tina Ballantyne did not return requests for comment.

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It takes a great deal of courage and resolve to post as you have under your actual name. You have my respect for that. Well done.


This is another gossipy bit of misinformation. There was not a single boy allowed to graduate and walk with the who was guilty of anything untoward on that bus. You are just wrong OMS parent and you should be ashamed of the rumors you have been circulating about innocent children. You have no idea the facts here. Admit that. Please reveal yourself and please reveal your source. And please get a job or a hobby.


Wow, that is sad, given the countless number of absolutely wonderful things that these two schools have help there students experience.


I think a lot of what you mentioned is due to plain old incompetence, lack of caring and to favoritism afforded those with money and secular influence. Makes for a pretty bad environment, both in the classroom and in the church.

That still doesn’t excuse the tenor of this article. An article clearly written to smear rather than inform. Something happened on that bus but it’s clear the article isn’t accurate about what really took place.

In the end the main reason these and other shenanigans are allowed to take place is the watered-down faith that is taught and publicly practiced at the schools and the adjacent church.


One thing that is sad is just how “catholic lite” both MCP and Old Mission School seem to be. One would think that being adjacent to an honest-to-goodness California Mission would lead to a fair number of students of all grades attending the daily half hour Masses at the Mission either before school or at lunch. In practice that doesn’t happen. At best there is a special “student mass” once a month.

One parent tried to explain this catholic lite condition by saying “yeah, but not all students are Catholic.” Her comment was accurate but it’s no excuse. There’s no question that both schools’ lack of authentic Catholicism negatively impacts both of them. It would be interesting to understand the true spiritual condition of both schools.


This article seems to be an example of trying to manufacture a story through muck-racking, where no story exists.


I have been a long-time supporter of CCN both by word of mouth and donations. This story really bothers me in that it keeps changing. First it was a bus driver who took the kids in the restaurant and now it is a teacher.

Why is this mixed in with a lawsuit story about MCP?

Karen, I have supported your reporting regardless the topic, but this one tends to the shade of yellow. What axe do you have to grind here? This makes me question whether I should have ever defended you at all.


Reporting on MCP stories has been very skewed, even by CCN standards. The report on the court’s ruling on the motion in the lawsuit was completely off the mark. I can only hope this was unintentional based on reporters’ lack of understanding of the nature of that motion.


As a Mission parent, I couldn’t be more pleased with the way that the school administration handled this situation. Thank you OMS for keeping our kids safe and happy and not discussing private matters with a local tabloid.


i thought that was what girlfriends were for