BRENTWOOD -- The Brentwood Union School District board placed Superintendent Merrill Grant on leave and took disciplinary action against three other employees after a lengthy special meeting Friday.

Though board members did not explain the reason for their action, it came in the wake of an ongoing furor over the district's handling of a case in which it continued to employ a teacher convicted of kicking an autistic child.

"This board has decided to take appropriate disciplinary action against three employees," board President Carlos Sanabria told the audience after emerging from a closed session that ran close to four hours. "This board is placing the superintendent on administrative leave, effective immediately."

Grant was not available for comment. School board members did not disclose the names of the other three employees, citing confidentiality rules related to a personnel matter.

The announcements came a day after state education authorities revoked the credential of a Brentwood district teacher Dina Holder, who was convicted of kicking an autistic student three years ago.

The California Commission of Teacher Credentialing revoked Holder's three credentials Thursday, citing education code section 44423.6. It wasn't stated what specific part of the code was violated, but one portion of that section states: "The commission shall revoke the credential of a holder when it receives notice that the ability of the holder of the credential to associate with minors has been limited as a term or condition of probation or sentencing resulting from a criminal conviction in this state ... The limitation shall include, but is not limited to, a prohibition of associating or contact with minors, or a prohibition of associating with minors unless under supervision or in the presence of another adult."


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Holder's 2011 plea deal -- in which she pleaded no contest to one count of misdemeanor child abuse -- lists as one "employer condition" that another adult must be present upon her return to the classroom.

The district has been criticized by parents and youth advocates over its handling of Holder. The district sent her to another school after she was convicted. At least 11 employees also failed to perform their legally mandated duties to report any suspicion of child abuse to authorities after either witnessing or learning of the 2010 kicking episode.

The 5-year-old autistic boy's parents sued the district, settling earlier this year for $950,000 and the removal of Holder, 52, from the classroom and her retirement at the end of the school year. As of Thursday, she had been working a desk job with the district.

A spokeswoman with the credentialing commission declined to comment further on the revocation. An email to Holder's attorney was not immediately returned.

As of Friday afternoon, 229 people had signed a Change.org petition started by Brentwood parents and asking for Grant to be fired.

A dozen people waited outside the meeting to hear the outcome of Grant's evaluation Friday afternoon.

After the board's announcement, trustees publicly thanked members of the Community Advisory Committee for their work to help the district improve its mandated reporting procedures.

"We couldn't do it without you," Trustee Jim Cushing told the audience.

The next regularly scheduled board meeting is Wednesday, with closed session starting at 6 p.m. and open session at 8 p.m.

All board meetings are at district headquarters, 255 Guthrie Lane, Brentwood.

Contact Matthias Gafni at 925-952-5026. Follow him at Twitter.com/mgafni. Paula King contributed to this report. Reach her at 925-779-7174.