Former Helix assistant principal tells his side of the story - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Former Helix assistant principal tells his side of the story

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It's been a difficult few years for Helix High School, and the latest incident cost an assistant principal his job. Joshua Stepner was terminated after giving a student a ride to a bus station, but there's much more to the story. Now Stepner is speaking out.

"She's in Oregon. She's safe and she's enrolled in school, and I did nothing wrong in this matter," Stepner said.

The former Helix High School assistant principal is defending his actions as he stands accused of helping a 16-year-old student run away to Oregon. Earlier this week, he lost his job.

"Emotionally it's tough. It's been tough on my family, it's been tough on my wife, tough on my kids," Stepner said.

The 38-year-old is speaking out to News 8, saying he was only trying to help out a child who was in a family crisis.

"In my 14 years of teaching, students come to you and they ask you for help and sometimes they find lots of closed doors. When that happens, to add another closed door to the scenario is no good.

"There has to be one human being that stands up for that child's rights," he said.

The father of three is accused of helping the girl go online to get a bus ticket to Oregon and driving her to the bus station. At the time, the girl was living with a cousin in Lemon Grove who was not her legal guardian. The girl's mother was court ordered to stay away.

"I can tell you she was a child in limbo at the time. She had no guardian. She had a restraining order against her mother and basically she had no adult to help her. She fell through the cracks," Stepner's attorney Robert Blueme said.

Ten days ago the girl filed a letter in court saying she is currently living with family friends in Oregon. She writes about her former vice principal at the La Mesa campus:

"He was aware of my situation and that I was planning to leave, as well as other staff members at the high school. He said he would provide help if I was ever in a situation of need... He was doing nothing wrong."

"When my attorney brings out all the facts and we're found not guilty, I'll be able to resume my career in education helping kids just like done since 1996," Stepner said.

In her letter to the court, the girl also says she is trying to emancipate herself from her mother and become her own guardian.

The girl's mother did not return our telephone messages.

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