San Luis High School’s long history of covering up sexual misconduct

September 5, 2023

Jeff Brandow


San Luis Obispo High School recently made headlines when its district board fired head basketball coach and history teacher Jeff Brandow amid allegations of sexual misconduct with a student. The decision to terminate a winning coach appears to be a game-changing blow to a decades-long old boys’ club mentality.

For some, however, the termination of Brandow was too little and too late. More than a dozen former students, parents and school employees said they have witnessed or experienced school officials attempting to silence those making allegations of inappropriate behavior over more than a decade.

Student A reports physical education teacher’s bad behavior

Student A, who transferred to SLO High School halfway through her senior year in 2015, said former physical education teacher Charles Deeds touched her inappropriately and said he was going to have sex with her. CalCoastNews is not providing the names of alleged victims or their parents.

Shortly after Student A started at SLO High School, Deeds wanted her and another student aide to go to his home to enter grades, saying his personal computer was faster than those at the school. After learning about a margarita recipe Deeds shared with the teen, Student A’s mother squelched his plans, the mother said.

While working with the teen, Deeds allegedly pulled Student A into the boys’ locker room and placed his hand on her thigh, she told CalCoastNews. A few weeks later, he allegedly lifted her shirt in front of a weight lifting class and touched her stomach. Though the alleged acts made the teen uncomfortable, she did not tell her mother or school officials.

A few weeks later, Student A said she was walking with Deeds and another student aide, Lauren, when he said, “You have the best ass I have ever seen. I can’t wait to fuck you.”

In a panic, Student A and Lauren told the campus security guard what had happened before she headed home to inform her parents.

Student A and her mother met with then-SLO High School Principal Leslie O’Connor who said he would look into the allegations. However, Student A said O’Connor later pulled her aside and told her Deeds was close to retirement, her allegations could ruin his life and the whole senior class would be mad at her if she moved forward with her complaint.

Concerned with O’Connor’s response, student A and her mother went to the SLO Police Department. However, Detective Amy Chastain also warned of the backlash the teen could expect if she moved forward with what the detective referred to as “he said she said allegations,” Student A’s mother said.

Shortly afterwards, the district provided Deeds, who was in his 50s, an early retirement, she said.

Student B reports student teacher’s ongoing harassment

Robert Chomicz was a student teacher in his 40s working under the supervision of Brandow last year. Even though student B was not in any of his classes, Chomicz would walk the 17-year-old senior to her classes while commenting on her looks, interactions that a campus employee found disturbing enough to report.

In March 2022, SLO High School Principal Rollin Dickinson asked Chomicz and student B to his office to discuss their alleged inappropriate relationship. Following Dickenson’s instructions to end their friendship, Student B attempted to stay away from Chomicz. At the time, school staff did not inform Student B’s mother of the meeting or the allegations.

Following the meeting, Chomicz continued following Student B around, often after she had left campus. The student teacher said he had no intention of following Dickinson’s order, the student said.

In May 2022, Student B went to the high school office to report the harassment. This time school officials informed her mother.

“The school allowed it to continue without letting me know until she went in crying to complain he would not leave her alone,” Student B’s mother said. “It basically ruined her senior year. She couldn’t wait to get out of her graduation.”

During a May 2022 meeting with Dickenson and San Luis Coastal Unified School District Director of Human Resources Dan Block, Block commented that it could be a cultural issue because Chomicz is Polish, Student B’s mother said. Block has not returned requests for comment.

As required regarding discipline issues with student teachers, SLO High School officials informed the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing of the allegations. In Feb. 2023,  the commission issued a public reproval of Chomicz “as a result of misconduct pursuant to Education Code section 44421.”

Both former male and female students have described classmates who were allegedly in intimate relationships with teachers and coaches, one of whom bragged she would marry her teacher after she graduated, allegations often withheld from the student’s parents.

Students report allegations a teacher and basketball coach is sexting students

In Oct. 2022, a group of students attended a party where one underage student allegedly shared inappropriate texts coach and teacher Jeff Brandow had sent her, according to several sources. Shortly afterwards, SLO High School administrators learned of the texts and of comments Brandow made to Student C in the classroom regarding “tits and ass.”

School officials interviewed Student C about the alleged sexual misconduct in Oct. 2022, but did not inform the student’s parents.

Brandow was not placed on paid administrative leave until March.

This delay permitted Brandow to remain coach of the varsity basketball team, which he guided to the league championship. The league then named him Coach of the Year.

At a San Luis Obsipo Unified School District Board meeting on Aug. 16, Student C’s mother and sister accused school officials of protecting Brandow instead of Student C. During the same meeting, the board voted unanimously to fire the head basketball coach and history teacher.

If you have further information about Jeff Brandow, or of a video of Brandow, or these other incidents please contact reporter Karen Velie at (805) 234-1703.

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Shameful that this kind of behavior and protection of predators is still allowed to happen. Hopefully lawsuits will happen and jobs will be lost. If the allegations are true, these creeps need to never be around minors.

Time to clean house at the SLOPD as well as the SLOUSD. Plenty of good people who would love to move here and take those highest paying jobs in the business.