West Contra Costa school district alters hiring policy after teacher’s arrest

Sex abuse charges against ex-Richmond middle school teacher tripled
Ronald Guinto, 32, of Vallejo (photo courtesy of Richmond Police Department)

All prospective employees of the West Contra Costa Unified School District will undergo reference checks after a teacher believed to have molested students at a Richmond elementary school scored a teaching job in El Cerrito before finally being arrested.

Ronald Guinto, 32, of Vallejo, was fired from Richmond’s Making Waves Academy in the fall following allegations that he molested several boys ages 11 to 13 in off-campus incidents. He has pleaded not guilty to 28 sexual assault-related charges.

While police were building a case against Guinto, the teacher managed to get hired on Dec. 6 at Mira Vista Elementary School in El Cerrito, where he taught English and science. Detectives reportedly sped up their investigation upon learning of the hire.

School district officials said Guinto came up clean in background checks before he was hired at Mira Vista. However, the school district didn’t call Making Waves Academy for references because he had previously worked in the district as a substitute teacher and wasn’t considered a new hire.

While the district’s human resources department apparently did not violate hiring policies, the Board of Trustees agreed to implement a new policy Wednesday that would require reference checks for all new district employees, including rehires.