There are any number of reasons that someone might have a complaint against them that might not be justified including unhappy parent or co-worker. But every complaint should be filed and followed up because it would allow a better picture should something valid actually be happening. However, we find out from the article:
- "teachers kept their concerns in-house, hewing to a school policy that says go to an administrator. Once passed along, their complaints almost always died, with no investigation, no discipline, no calls to outside investigators."
- "Shannon McMinimee, the district's assistant general counsel, said teachers alarmed about a colleague should still go to their principal. If not satisfied, the teacher should call outside investigators. Mollie Boswell, one of the Broadview teachers, said in a deposition that training received since Hill's arrest left her as confused as ever. "I don't know what my obligation is," Boswell said, "and neither does Seattle Public Schools."
- "Teachers who'd witnessed Hill's troubling behavior struggled with what to do. And, due to principals' lax documentation, their concerns weren't pieced together to reveal Hill for what he was." "A principal can document troubling incidents that don't equate to child abuse. But under the current teachers' contract, schools must destroy personnel files at the end of each year and start anew. Only records forwarded to the central office remain."
- Stewart Estes, an attorney who defended the district, said incidents reported to Skjei did not rise to the level that required reports to CPS. "Hand holding or rubbing the bald spot on your head is not sexual abuse and need not be reported," Estes said. Hey Stewart, did you ever hear of grooming? That's part of a pattern for a pedophile. "Last spring — in part, because of Hill — the school district expanded its training to help teachers spot grooming behavior and to clarify their duty to call CPS or police."
And, one of the principals, the one who is most noted in this article, the one who did NOT note any complaints about the molesting teacher in his file (even though she got them) and the one who did not tell the new principal, Ms. Smart, anything about complaints even when Ms. Smart called her - she is now principal at View Ridge Elementary in Seattle and her name is Terri Skjei.
Her rationale or reasonings? "Skjei, in a deposition, said she did not recall, or was fuzzy about, warnings from von Haartman, Boswell, Koch and others. "I did my job to the best of my abilities at the time," she said."
Good luck, View Ridge. I would not want this woman anywhere near my kids if that's the best of her abilities.
One shining light is former principal at B-T, now principal at Olympic Hills, Zoe Jenkins. She did have her concerns and asked then-Superintendent John Stanford to transfer this teacher. Why?
"At Broadview, Hill (the teacher) worked to become indispensable. Name a school committee, he was on it. He fixed teachers' computers and ran the fifth-grade sleepaway camp. Parents cherished him, requesting his class more than any other."
But Hill ran afoul of one principal for, among other things, rewarding students with what he called "suck-up beads" for bringing him coffee or giving him backrubs.The principal, Zoe Jenkins, convinced then-Superintendent John Stanford in the spring of 1996 to transfer Hill. That, she believed, would rob Hill of his support among Broadview's parents and allow a new principal to "more carefully" supervise him.
But the proposed move was so controversial that Stanford was booed during a meeting with Broadview's PTA, and some of Hill's fellow teachers were up in arms. Jenkins asked for — and got — a transfer to another school; she is currently principal at Olympic Hills Elementary near Jackson Park.
Hill, however, never left Broadview. Stanford suggested to Jenkins' successor that she keep Hill to soothe relations with parents and staff. When Stanford returned to a Broadview PTA meeting in the fall of 1997, he was applauded, Jenkins' successor said.
The message to staff at Broadview was clear: Confronting Hill carried a cost."And who bore that cost? These poor kids.