Butterfield Ranch Elementary

All 24 tenured teachers at Butterfield Ranch Elementary in Chino Hills have put in transfers to other schools in the Chino Valley school district. Parents are complaining about the school’s leadership. Three non-tenured teachers at the Chino Hills school have not requested transfers.   

Twenty-four of 27 teachers at Butterfield Ranch Elementary in Chino Hills put in requests to transfer out of the school, allegedly because of they are dissatisfied with the leadership of school principal Al Bennett.     

The current school environment was described as “unwelcoming, unsupportive, awful and unbearable” by school parents and teachers speaking at the Jan. 16 school board meeting. 

They said Mr. Bennett’s demeanor and actions have caused morale to plummet at the Chino Hills school and negatively affect teachers, students and parents.

Mr. Bennett came to Butterfield in 2018 after serving as assistant principal at Chino Hills High for two years. Prior to that, he served five years as assistant principal at Don Lugo High in Chino and a year as assistant principal at the Chino Valley Adult School in Chino. He joined the district in 2008 as a high school dean at Ayala High in Chino Hills.

The speakers at the board meeting were supported by a large group of teachers and parents in attendance.  

Some parents said disruptive students are not being removed from the classroom, including a kindergarten student alleged to have pushed and kicked a teacher who received medical treatment for injuries. 

The kindergartener had also physically attacked and threatened students and other staff members, according to several parents. 

Feeling unwelcome  

Parents also told the school board they are made to feel unwelcome on campus by the current administration.   

Parent volunteer Debra Johnson said the school has changed drastically over the last four years since former principal Rod Federwisch retired, and the district’s response to leadership problems at the school since then has been inadequate.  

Teachers are fed up with a lack of respect, support and communication from the school administration, she said. 

Mrs. Johnson has been involved at the school for nine years with two older children and her youngest currently in fourth grade.   

Veteran teacher Gina Crum taught two of Mrs. Johnson’s children at Butterfield, including the youngest, until she transferred this month to another school. 

A long-term substitute teacher currently teaches Ms. Crum’s former class at Butterfield 

“She was a great teacher, a strong teacher and she wouldn’t have left if there wasn’t an issue,” Ms. Johnson said.

Board support

Speaking during board member comments, trustee Andrew Cruz received applause from the audience when he said he supports a leadership change for the wellbeing of students, teachers and parents.

James Na said he was concerned about disruptive students “taking a whole campus hostage.” 

He asked Superintendent Norm Enfield to look into this matter and to “make sure let’s get it done quickly.”  

Dr. Enfield said he was working with human resources. Board member Irene Hernandez-Blair said the board had received a full update from the superintendent with efforts that are being made to improve the campus and that state laws limit what actions can be taken to address disruptive student behaviors.  

Addressing Superintendent Enfield, Ms. Hernandez-Blair said reports need to be taken of threats against students by students at Butterfield and other district schools.  

School board president Joe Schaffer told Butterfield parents that they had been “heard” at the meeting. “It is being addressed and sometimes it just takes a little time,” he added.

Mr. Bennett referred the Champion’s call to the district office, which did not respond to the request for comment.

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(4) comments


The school district failed to help Chance and this amazing and patient Kindergarten teacher. Where was/is the behavior support for Chance that everyone can clearly see that he needs. Where was the support this teacher clearly needed? There should be a behavior support specialist with proper training and BCBA certification their everyday and all school day working with Chance. Where is the school psychologist to help teach him the right way to regulate and share his fustrations in a calm and productive manner.

This school district cares more about saving money then helping kids like Chance, that are struggling. My older daughter was in similar situation at another school in district and it took over 6 months for the boy having outbursts to get the support he needed. My daughter was in fear and refused to go to school and to her classroom so was taught in principle office by untrained aide.

Chance has ADHD and is clearly out of control due to highten fight or flight response brought on usually from aniexty. I am praying for Chance to get the behavior support and good psychologist to be able to teach him to self regulate and not lash out at teacher, AP, principal, and fellow students.

Chance has been terrorizing both kindergarten classes from beginning of school year. My wife, who is a parent volunteer, has witnessed his outbursts and violance. She saw him get upset because he didn't have a snack and attack the teacher and throw a chair at her. My wife was amazed on how calm the teacher stayed and did her best to calm him down and keep other students safe. The principal has been called in daily but has not been effective in getting him or the teacher the help they need.

This kindergarten teacher has been repeatedly hit, kicked, had multiple items throw at her. She has had to go to urgent care several times due to injuries directly caused by this 5 year old. He is out of control and no behavior help has been offered to his teacher.

Chance has threatened kindergartners in both classes that he was going to shoot, beat up and cut them. What 5 year old should be saying any of those things and where did he learn to instill fear into other 5 year olds. His classmates are in fear for their lives every day Chance is there. Him threatening that he has a gun should require that police do an investigation into if he has access to a gun at minimum.

My daughter who is in his class has been not wanting to go to school even though she loves her teacher and has 5 really good girlfriends. My daughter should feel safe at school and kindergarten should be fun not a war zone.

The new law limiting a student in k thru 3 student from being expelled is teaching kid's they can do anything without a consequence. You have now taken away the one punishment and way the principal could keep the other students safe. So Chance gets to continue to terrorize the students of the school with no punishment. Poor teacher trying her best gets no recourse and much needed break from the daily stress and abuse! This is not helpful for anyone.

I am a father of an autistic daughter who's aniexty causes her flight or flight response to be triggered easily, so I have some experience. It takes getting these kids the proper behavior support to help them learn, regulate and be amazing kids. It took us over a year to get behavior support my daughter needed and 3 years to get her transferred to good school that is trained to help these special needs kids.


It would be very nice if you wouldn't use my sons name in your concerns. You have no idea the the situation at hand. Please refrain from using my childs name in any of your comments. He is a child still. Thank you


Reading what has been reported with Chance, the lack of teacher support and the principal inability to create a safe environment for the other students, unfortunately sounds like an issue with the district. We have the same issues at Oak Ridge Elementary. There is a child who has behavioral issues and has a history of physical assaults towards other students, as well as verbal threats to kill. This has been an ongoing situation since this child was in kindergarten, 5 years now. If this is happening in multiple schools within the Chino Valley District, the method of reporting and holding the school level administration (principals/vice principals) accountable needs to corrected by the district.


I would love to reach out to you and learn more. My older daughter used to be at Oakridge in Mrs Hays class and we had similar situation.

I suggest hiring an education advocate to assist in getting this child help. My is amazing Advocate Dr. Elena Watson https://abc4iep.com/meet-the-team/

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