A confrontation between Fresno Unified Trustee Terry Slatic and a high school Army recruiter led to a complaint being filed with the district’s constituent services department.
Slatic confirmed that an incident involving Staff Sgt. Jeremy Cooper at Bullard High School occurred in January. Slatic said that he didn’t remember the specific date.
Incident with Army Recruiter
Slatic, a retired Marine major, says he had a chance encounter with Cooper and inquired what the sergeant did on his typical day.
“On my long project list as trustee is to look into various aspects of recruiting, as there have been terrible abuses by military recruiters,” Slatic said. However, he did not accuse Cooper of any such abuses. Instead, he said he was referring to past incidents on high school campuses.
After Cooper described his day, Slatic asked for more detail.
“And the young sergeant goes, ‘Why are you asking me?’ ” Slatic said.
The trustee’s answer: “Because I’m an elected school board member and I get to.”
According to Slatic, the recruiter turned defensive in tone.
Slatic said there were no raised voices or physical contact. The trustee then spoke with Cooper’s supervisor, and later with Capt. Aaron Raidt in the Fresno recruiting office, telling him that Cooper’s behavior was “unacceptable.”
Slatic said the district informed him that Cooper filed a complaint. The school district would not confirm, citing privacy reasons.
Raidt declined to comment on his interaction with Slatic. In a prior interview with GV Wire, Raidt acknowledged that a disagreement occurred between Slatic and Cooper but said that it had been resolved.
“We are disciplined professionals. We have to live up to that,” Raidt said.
Cooper Almost Went Public
At one point, Cooper filled out a request-to-speak card at the Jan. 14 FUSD board meeting during public comment. The topic was “concerns regarding the actions on Bullard HS/Mr. Slatic towards me.”
Cooper, though, did not speak during the meeting. He did not return GV Wire requests to talk about the incident.
Occurred Prior to Student Confrontation
Although Slatic could not recall the specific date with the confrontation with Cooper, it happened before Jan. 11, the day Slatic engaged in a confrontation with a Bullard High School student.
That incident, captured on security camera footage, showed Slatic briefly engaging in a physical incident with the student by grabbing his backpack and yanking it off. Slatic said the student made threats to shoot him and his aide.
After a police investigation, the District Attorney’s office declined to prosecute either Slatic or the student.