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[whitespace] Headmaster of Hillbrook surrenders to local police

Los Gatos--Sarah Collins Bayne, headmaster of the private Hillbrook School in Los Gatos, turned herself in to the Los Gatos-Monte Sereno Police Department on Nov. 8 on a $50,000 warrant for her arrest.

The district attorney's office had charged Bayne with the misdemeanor crime of failing to report a suspected case of child abuse. Deputy District Attorney Randy Hey filed the charge. Bayne was cited and released at the police department on a promise to answer to her charges in court on Jan. 6 in San Jose.

Last November, a Hillbrook School teacher noticed one of her third- grade students had red finger marks on his face. When questioned, the boy told the teacher that his mother had slapped him in the face when he refused to eat his breakfast, according to Sgt. Michael Barbieri in the LG-MSPD detective unit. Under state law, people in professions that deal regularly with children, such as Bayne, are required to report cases of suspected child abuse.

According to police, the incident was brought to Bayne's attention, and she claims to have spoken with the parents and teachers and to have placed an anonymous call to Child Protective Services in San Francisco on the matter.

The LG-MSPD began investigating the case this summer on anonymous tip, Barbieri said. Police detectives interviewed Bayne, the child and Hillbrook staff. According to Barbieri, investigators found no record that a call was made to Child Protective Services. Police presented the facts of the case to the district attorney's office, which then issued the warrant.

"It's not real common to see an arrest warrant put in for this kind of case," Barbieri said, noting that, in more than 20 years with the department, this is the first time he's seen a case like this lead to an arrest.

"She's absolutely disbelieving and mortified by how far this has gone," said Mike Armstrong, Bayne's lawyer. "She can't believe that after 29 years of working in education she's being charged with a crime."

Robert Dunne, president of the board of trustee's for Hillbrook School, declined to comment due to the pending court case.

Bayne, the mother of two boys and the wife of an Episcopal priest, took over as headmaster at Hillbrook School on July 1, 1998, after being selected in a yearlong nationwide search, said Ann Morrissey, coordinator for the search committee.

There has been dissention on the Hillbrook campus since Bayne became headmaster, with some parents and faculty objecting to her management style and complaining that her vision for the school differs from theirs. A number of teachers also were replaced after she took over.

Bayne is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, N.Y., and has a master's degree in history and education from Columbia University.

She is an experienced elementary schoolteacher and administrator, having taught at the Town School and Fieldston School in New York, the Orchard Country Day School in Indiana and at Shady Hill School in Cambridge, Mass., where she was also director of studies. Bayne served a year as upper-school head and academic dean at the Fessenden School in Massachusetts before moving to San Francisco in 1993. From 1993 until her move to Hillbrook, Bayne served as the upper-school headmistress at the all-girl Katherine Delmar Burke School in San Francisco.

"We are hoping to reach some reasonable resolution and hoping, from Sarah's perspective, to be able to convince Hey to dismiss the charges," Armstrong said.

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Web extra to the November 18-24, 1999 issue of Metro.

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