Mariposa Unified superintendent placed on administrative leave days after being in DUI crash, biting officer

Friday, April 19, 2019
Mariposa Unified superintendent placed on administrative leave
The superintendent of the Mariposa County Unified School District was arrested over the weekend for DUI, according to authorities.


A room full of pleading parents could not save Mariposa Unified's superintendent from disciplinary action on Thursday night.

Trustees voted unanimously to put Robin Hopper on paid administrative leave after she was arrested for driving under the influence.

But there may be a legal challenge.

Superintendent Robin Hopper did not shy away from cameras after a very public DUI arrest.

She hugged and chatted with parents and teachers - even after trustees voted against her.

Parents had flooded the special board meeting Thursday to speak overwhelmingly in her favor.

"There's nobody in this room who can say they have never made a mistake," said one.

"The justice system is going to punish Robin, we don't need to do it here," another said.

They called for forgiveness and second chances after Hopper was arrested for DUI and attacking a correctional officer. She's led the district for the last five years. And had already announced she would be resigning at the end of June.

But there were those who called for her immediate termination, including one mother, who says she witnessed the crash, and saw Hopper veer into oncoming traffic.

"I get people make mistakes, but your mistake could have cost me my life or my daughter's, and to me that mistake is unforgiveable," she said.

Trustees agonized over the decision for over an hour - deciding ultimately to put her on paid leave for the remainder of her contract. The superintendent had some objections.

"I'm the district superintendent and the county elected superintendent. And as an elected official, they do not have the authority to put me on leave," Hopper said.

The district has named one of their assistant superintendents, Jeff Aranguena, the new interim.

The search for a permanent replacement continues.

This is an update from Thursday.

The original story about the accident follows below.


The superintendent of the Mariposa County Unified School District was arrested over the weekend for DUI, according to authorities.

The Robin Hopper who kids and parents respected at Mariposa Unified seemed completely different than the one arrested Sunday night.

California Highway Patrol officers say she crashed into a utility pole on Highway 140 near Planada.

When officers asked how she veered off the road, she claimed she couldn't remember and showed signs of impairment.

Later that night, as she was being led to a sobering cell at the Merced County Jail, she bit a correctional officer's arm and made several weird statements.

Those who know Hopper say she was a stellar educator who led Mariposa Unified for the last five years.

She was also a Gold Star mother, the subject of a story we covered ten years ago when her son died serving in Iraq.

She had planned to resign after her current contract ended this June.

Board members will be meeting later this week to decide on any disciplinary action and say Hopper has decided to take sick leave since her arrest.

She was booked on DUI charges and battery of a peace officer.

The Mariposa County Unified School District Board President released a statement:

I, along with the MCUSD Board, are aware of the arrest of Superintendent Robin Hopper on April 14, 2019.

Superintendent Hopper was not on district business when she was arrested. Superintendent Hopper has previously tendered her resignation effective June 30th. I will be calling for a Special Board meeting and closed session to be held on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. of this week to address the situation further. I would like to make sure that parents know the education of our students is always our number one concern and any decisions made are in the best interest of the students.

As Board President, I am honored to be surrounded by a very strong Leadership team. We as a community are fortunate to have committed teachers and staff that do an amazing job of educating our students.