Santa Barbara police have concluded their investigation into Harding University Partnership School’s principal and forwarded the case to the District Attorney’s Office, spokesman Sgt. Riley Harwood said Thursday.
He said the Police Department is not recommending that any criminal charges be filed.
Principal Nuh Kimbwala, who is still on paid administrative leave, was investigated for an allegation of misdemeanor child abuse of a non-sexual nature.
The incident — which Harwood would not discuss in detail — was initially reported to Santa Barbara County Child Welfare Services, which then recommended that the school file a police report instead.
The investigation was handled by the Police Department’s Crimes Against Persons Unit, which interviewed involved parties and witnesses, Harwood said.
“We have not made any recommendations to the DA’s Office in regard to filing, but we have sent it over to them,” he said. “What we want is for the DA’s Office to review our investigation objectively and then make a decision as to whether they want to pursue a charge.”
Senior Deputy District Attorney Lee Carter said no decision has been made yet.
Kimbwala started work Aug. 6 after being unanimously recommended by an 11-member panel and approved by the Board of Education. He replaced well-loved leader Sally Kingston, who left for a job with the Carpinteria Unified School District.
Kimbwala previously worked as principal for Bloomington Middle School in the Colton Joint Unified School District for four years.
He was placed on leave for undisclosed reasons in mid-November, the same week the above incident allegedly occurred. Assistant Principal Vanesha Davis has been serving as principal in his absence.
Harding parents have expressed their concerns about Kimbwala to the district since the beginning of the school year, mostly related to communication issues.
A group of parents sent a letter to the district in October, particularly concerned that no Spanish-language interpreters were available for back-to-school nights and that school-related organizations had not been meeting with any regularity.