Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A Tragic Story

Here is an example of where the culture of lawlessness can lead.

No one bothered with the rules for field trip. No one bothered with the rules for chaperones. After the crime no one bothered with the rules for investigation or response. Instead of stepping up and doing the right thing, everything was routed to the general counsel's office where they were committed to a cover-up and suppressing the victim's rights. The Title IX officer, who should have taken charge instead took no action at all. And still hasn't.

This has been a story on college campuses, but it's a story in high schools as well.

Addendum: You can visit this Facebook page for more information about the District's response.


Anonymous said...

Our great legal department rides once again to the rescue of the public good. Not. Their responses on this matter just simply revolting. I hope the family sues and I hope the Dept of Education stands with them.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Once again, the district circles the wagon to protect...? Themselves? This boy?

Common decency would say the parents of the victim could at least have been apprised by the district of their rights and policies and procedures governing these types of incidents.

I could make a comment about what I suspect is going to happen when the suspect hits college but I think it's plausible to say with his attitude, I'd be worried.

Anonymous said...

My these stories freak me out. In colleges, solutions seem even harder to find (how do we differentiate between consensual and non consensual acts? I'm toying with the notion that written consent be required, but don't know exactly how we would enforce that).

But at a high school field trip? There shouldn't be any consensual sex.


Anonymous said...

zb, this wasn't a case of consensual sex. Consent form?

'the district attorney concluded that a sexual assault may have taken place, but it wasn’t a case that could be successfully prosecuted.'


Anonymous said...


Is this article suggesting that the 47 assaults in 2013-14 were ones SPS should have investigated under Title IX but perhaps didn't? That part of the article is not so clear to me.

Is information about Title IX rights now easily available on the district's website?


Anonymous said...


Nope and the Title IX Officer identified left the district a few months ago. Sigh.

Part of what is even more sad is that I remember the GTA program at Garfield was shut down in part because of student rape in Africa. You would think that the school would have had better plans in place for supervision and response.


Anonymous said...

I am not saying that the sex was consensual, but rape couldn't be proven (by the determination of the DA and the superintendent, and apparently the school board?).

"Based on the investigator's report, superintendent concluded the evidence did not support an assault. Parents appealed to school board, which affirmed superintendent’s decision."

This is the place that colleges find themselves in, with insufficient evidence to prove a crime (i.e. the standard of reasonable doubt). When they've tried to apply different standards, they can find themselves embroiled in other injustices.

The situation should be easier to police in high school. Colleges can't tell college students that they can't have sex (for the most part), but for a high school field trip, sex simply shouldn't be an acceptable part of the trip Hence, no consent is possible. I would treat a fact pattern like that described in the article -- evidence that there was sex -- as statutory rape.

The story is indeed extremely horrifying and makes me think that I need to be fairly aggressive about the questions I ask about field trips.


Anonymous said...

Here is all there is on Title IX on the SPS website:



dan dempsey said...

Who was Sept. At this time?
Who was Garfield principal at this time?
Who was General Counsel at this time?

Looking at the number of rules that should have been followed and were not followed.

Why are any of these folks employed in education anywhere, given zero investigation?

Was the Board made aware of any of this?

dan dempsey said...

Correction above:

Who was Supt. at that time?

(darn spell checker changing stuff incorrectly)

Anonymous said...

This really makes me sick. With a 10th grade daughter at Garfield it just scares me so much. It reminds me too much of my high school in the mid 70s in Seattle where one girl was put down for a gang rape and the football team was swaggering around afterwards.

Anonymous said...

The prior instance?

MGJ, Ted Howard, Gary Ikeda

This most recent instance?

Jose Banda, Ted Howard, Ron English


Anonymous said...

I find this story deeply disturbing. I am so horrified for this poor child. Yes, she was a child -- 15 years old. I am sorry, but consensual sex does not land you with PTSD and in residential therapy. The DA found that a sexual assault may have taken place. Yet, SPS did nothing, absolutely nothing. Hiding and not responding, and then lying about when they opened their investigation. This is so shameful for SPS. There is enough negligence here to fill a bottomless cup. So proud for SPS to be one of 23 school districts across the entire country under investigation for Title IX sexual violence violations. Just sickening!


Charlie Mas said...

Here's the thing about the District's response. They didn't have to admit fault. They didn't have to accept liability. All they had to do was take care of the victim.

Not enough evidence to conclude that the sex was non-consensual? Okay. But neither was there enough evidence to conclude that it was consensual. So why not do their duty and take care of the student?

C'mon - not enough evidence to conclude either A or B, so why presume A? Why not presume B? Or, why not take care of someone who is claiming to be a victim as if they were a victim even if you don't treat their assailant as if he were an assailant?

Even if the contact were consensual, it is still extraordinary misconduct.

All they had to do was show a normal standard of care for the student and her family - keep them informed about what was happening.

All they had to do was follow the law: conduct a timely investigation. How, in the absence of an investigation, did they reach the conclusion not to discipline the alleged assailant?

There was a lot of presuming going on here and it all flows in one direction. That's a biased process.

Charlie Mas said...

A whole string of people failed here: Ted Howard, Ron English, Jose Banda, Paul Apostle, Pegi McEvoy, the list goes on. It includes the school board - who upheld the superintendent's decision on appeal.

Not one of them will be held accountable for their failures.

Not one of them will be held accountable for their cruelty.

They all get off scot-free.

A culture without consequence is a culture of lawlessness.

We can only hope that some outside authority - the OSPI, the OCR, the Superior Court, somebody - finds a way to hold them accountable for their failure to follow the law and protect this child in their charge.

Reader47 said...

Wow. Just. wow. I'm beyond appalled at the sloppy handling of this situation. And Charlie is spot on - whatever might have happened, that girlchild deserved better - people don't end up with PTSD from something consensual, and what 15 year old is really able to make that kind of decision in the...well..heat of the moment...

Heads should roll over this - many many many heads. I am forever grateful my teenage step-daughter goes to school where her mother lives and not here for many reasons - but this one just takes the stinkin' cake.

"Emily" and family - if you read this post - I'd like to apologize to you as a citizen of Seattle for the horrendous situation you landed in.

Robert Cruickshank said...

This is horrible and awful. People need to be fired over this.

IMHO said...

What would be telling is if someone requested the investigation report via PDA and if it is provided. It would be telling to see who did it- Paul A as the Title IX officer or some outside person working for legal. If it is a CYA for legal purposes, it will be the second of the two.

IMHO said...

Found the answer on the Facebook site (thanks MW for posting). Investigator was not the Title IX officer, was an outside attorney.

Owing to the extraordinary events that prompted the Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, to open an investigation of the Seattle School District, we encourage readers to contact the Seattle School District for documentation available through a public information search at no cost. Contact: jabarbello@seattleschools.org

Suggested documents:

1. Staff complaint of February 2014 and all correspondence with Michael Tolley.

Staff negligence/misconduct detailing violations of district policies, teacher and chaperone behavior, teachers’ and principals failures that allowed for assault to occur, discriminatory policies, District, state violations, failure to implement Title IX, suppressed information, misinformation provided to school board, OSPI’s comments on District’s failures, Jose Banda’s refusal to communicate, Banda's refusal to inform us of how to file a discrimination complaint as required, the District's denial of information in its own documents,etc.

2.Formal Complaints
Appeal to OSPI 3/13/14
School Board decision 3/6/2014
Response to School Board hearing 2/25/2014
Response to Cerqui memo to School Board 2/21/14
Cerqui memo to School Board 2/20/14
Response to Superintendent’s decision Superintendent’s decision 1/23/2014
Complaint of 1/15/2014
Complaint of 3/18/2013
Letter to School Board detailing false information provided Feb. 25. 2014

3. District’s “independent” investigation: Richard Kaiser investigation report dated June 28, 2013

4. Family’s detailed Oct.18, 2013.response to Kaiser Report: Errors and Omissions Includes:
Annotated Document Inventory
Annotated Timeline
Selected Correspondence through Oct. 18, 2013
Family’s September 7, 2013 preliminary response to the Kaiser report
Chaperone and teacher documents showing failure to properly plan and chaperone
Information from victim about the assault-- likely privacy protected
Information about the assailant including disciplinary record of prior offense (sex on school property)
Correspondence with Principal Ted Howard
Title IX violations
504 plan required for PTSD and SPS documents
Selected correspondence with the school board
Other: Crime Victims status, selected references for victim prior to rape
Chronological correspondence with the Seattle School District re Sexual Assault

5.School Board members' correspondence regarding this matter

6.Correspondence mentioning Superintendent John Welch of the PSESD (Puget Sound Educational Service District) detailing staff negligence/misconduct

7. Correspondence given to the US Dept. of Education, Office for Civil Rights.

8. Correspondence from teacher Serena Samar to Principal Ted Howard dated 11/14/12 discussing how a parent reported her daughter witnessing a rape (not disclosed in district's "independent" investigation.)

9. Findings of misconduct associated with this event

10. General Counsel Ron English's correspondence stating, on behalf of the School Board and Superintendent Banda, that sex may occur on field trips "under specific circumstances" and all correspondence in response.

Anonymous said...

If there isn't a rule against "consensual" sex on field trips, there should be one. That is a really weaselly comment by Ron English about "specific circumstances" where it would be OK. That opens up a huge grey area where they can try to wriggle out of responsibility.

Charlie Mas said...

This tragic story gives us an opportunity to review Policy 3208, Sexual Harassment.

At the end of the policy it requires an annual report. This policy was adopted on December 7, 2011. That was two and a half years ago. There should have been annual reports in January of 2013 and 2014, but there hasn't been even one yet.

The district just doesn't take sexual assault seriously.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

*Reposting for Anonymous*
It's important not to get stuck on rape vs. consensual aspect (although the assailant's testimony to investigators indicated he raped and sodomized)

A District is required to immediately commence a Title IX investigation whether or not it wants to believe an assault occurred. In addition, in this case, the victim was immediately taken to the hospital and endured a rape exam. The District was given ample medical information which it discounted, along with a mother's report that her daughter witnessed an assault.

The District would have people get hung up on alleged consensual sex to deflect their liability for the so-called chaperoning. Did anyone read what the chaperones and principals did that led to this tragedy?

The Dept of Education, Office for Civil Rights is investigating this case because the District has presumably failed to comply with all the necessary procedures after a report of sexual assault.

The FB site has a list of ways concerned citizens can help. www.facebook.com/stopsexassaultinhighschool

Repost 1:42

Anonymous said...

Repost 1:42,
What were the chaperones doing? From what I read, they were asleep, and they didn't get instructed or they didn't read the instructions that they should keep checking on the students until they were asleep.

Anonymous said...

Probably another fake-address-athlete that Ted Howard protected for whatever reason. Someone else will take the fall for this. Remember Jim Valiere?

My heart breaks for this girl and her family.


Anonymous said...

This is utterly sick. A child is raped (hospitalized as a result) by a Garfield student, and Garfield doesn't rally to
keep her safe, cared for, protected? Instead, they protect the (alleged) rapist, he gets to continue at school, the same school where his victim is enrolled, and he starts a bullying campaign on Facebook, and presumable graduates, while she doesn't feel safe to go back to school where her rapist is? The same Rapist who had sex on Seattle School Property while a middle school student?

And Banda defended the (alleged) rapist? And the Board backed Banda? What is wrong with these people?

Just like a leopard doesn't change his spots, a rapist will rape, and sadly rapists exist; but, when it happens in our SCHOOLS, the fact the school employees as high up as the Super protect the rapist, not the victim, is sickening.

I remember the facts of the rapist who raped a girl at Roosevelt in Roosevelt. I was shocked, especially when I found out dangerous sexual predators are allowed to be enrolled in our children's schools, including middle schools. There, the operation of State law tied the District's hands. But this Garfield rape? The District did not follow the law, did not follow policy, did not follow common decency. What if it was Mr. Banda's child that was raped? Or Mr. English's child? Would they still circle the wagons?

Pray for emily.

I do hope the family sues, over negligence and willful misconduct, so that the District is held accountable. Lieing witnesses saying "I got your back?". I hope that is investigate by the District Attorney's Office, as thus kind of odious lieing must be punished.

Thank god Banda is leaving. He clearly lacks not just any real leadership skills, but an internal moral compass to protect and care for children. Enjoy, Sacramento.

Can he take English and Tolley with him too?


Anonymous said...

I think what I have learned from this and from what is occurring on college campuses, is report it immediately to the police. Have the police investigate. Skip the school. If I were this girl's parents, I would be suing the district. I would be suing so it doesn't happen again and suing for money to pay for therapy for my child.

You know what, I am really glad Banda is leaving now. Anyone that would sign off on this, I don't want around my child.


Mary Griffin said...

I am surprised we have not heard more about this case before now.
Aside from all the obvious negligence, where is the compassion for this girl and her family?

I am glad SPS is being investigated. Unfortunately, these types of investigations take years and in the interim, SPS needs to take Steps to assure that this will not happen again. There needs to be much greater awareness of the provisions of Title IX, as well as the policies and procedures that should have safeguarded this girl in the first place.

NW parent said...

This is heartbreaking and rage making. Such a stereotypical story. It happens over and over and over again - the rapist has zero repercussions and the victim's life is altered forever. And why do we need to read about it in Al Jazeera? Why have no local news outlets picked this up?

Charlie Mas said...

I can answer some of the questions.

The Seattle Times knows about this story. They aren't writing about it because they don't consider it news until the OCR completes their investigation, or until case is brought to Court, or until the case is decided or whatever. Nothing that has happened so far and nothing that is in progress qualifies as news for them. I don't really understand their criteria for determining which stories they will anticipate and which they hold off on until they are complete, but whatever the criteria it serves the management and executive class at the District and works against front line staff, students and families.

So, why Al Jezeera? Because they will. The student's family is not very media savvy.

Where is the compassion for the student and her family? There is none. They don't work at the JSCEE, so they don't qualify as human. They aren't people, they are a form, a report, just paper an ink, not flesh and blood.

The bureaucrats at the JSCEE have a very short list of concerns, and people - people they don't know - aren't on that list. The student and her family were treated with callous disregard, but it was the same callous disregard to which everyone is subjected by the JSCEE bureaucrats and, possibly, by bureaucrats everywhere. It is a natural consequence of the bureaucratic mindset.

Their first goal is to keep things from happening, not to make things happen. And when things do happen, bureaucrats work to create the illusion that those things did not, in fact, happen.

Their second goal is to keep from doing any work. They will not extend themselves for anyone or for any reason. If they can answer a question as A or B, they will choose the answer that is less demanding of their labor. True or not, that's the one they will choose. After all, they decide the official truth - regardless of the actual truth.

Sometimes they honestly don't know the actual truth. That's because they refuse to leave their offices - except to visit the offices of their fellow bureaucrats or to go to meetings with their fellow bureaucrats. That's why their mandates are so absurd - they didn't bother to go and talk to anyone in the schools about the consequences of their decisions.

This inertia that prevents them from going to schools is a major contributor to the disconnect between the headquarters and the schools. This is why the education directors didn't know what math textbooks their schools were using or how they were using them.

So the callous disregard, the malign neglect, that were shown to this student and her family was the standard treatment. The fact that there was a rape and a girl with PTSD at the heart of the story didn't matter.

They didn't do what they were supposed to do. Because that would have been work and that would have meant making something happen and that's contrary to their two primary goals.

They stonewalled, delayed, and lied because most people, when faced with their stonewalling, delays, and lies, give up. They do it because it works. There were 43 sexual assaults in Seattle Public Schools and we never heard about any of them because the other 42 families, faced with massive bureaucratic indifference, gave up. They were non-responsive because they were under no obligation to respond.

And here's the painful truth: the bureaucrats are right. In the end, they got the outcome they wanted. They convinced the Board that these people were crazy and that their demands were outlandish. There's no way that the feds are going to pull their funding - that just ain't gonna happen. And no one is going to lose their job over this. So, in the end, the bureaucrats win. As they always win because they have ALL of the power and ALL of the authority and there is no way to hold them accountable for anything they do. Ever. They are invulnerable. Even when they give their tacit approval to the rape of children there is nothing that anyone can do to punish them. Nothing.

Anonymous said...

Charlie, Will charges be brought against the perpetrator?

Ex said...

Even though worked for Seattle Schools for 16 years and the last 5 in JSCEE, after reading this story I reaffirm my decision to have moved to another district. I am sickened and shocked. This is appalling. I hope the parents sue and get what they need to take care of their finances and their girl.
Seattle has been a terrible district for my child but the damage done to her is being mitigated by me very slowly and will be undone-- this damage may never be undone.

joanna said...

Chaperoning is a serious responsibility and the student trips a privilege. I am trying to imagine who was the main SPS/Garfield staff advisor and responsible adult who arranged this trip. Situations like this can be prevented.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

It was not POST. It was an Ecology class field trip to the Olympic Park Institute.

P and W

Jet City mom said...

My daughter was that age @ Garfield, in 2012, although she was in Marine Biology, not Ecology.
I did drive on a couple day field trips though with the Environmental Science class & I was the only female chaperone when the marine Biology class took their fall field trip.

I am shocked and sickened.
I want Emily to know it was not her fault, at all.

Jet City mom said...

The GTA program to my knowledge was not shut down because of a student rape.
I will have to ask my daughter though, she was in Africa when the program was canceled.

Anonymous said...

Oh Jet City,

I suggest you make a records request if you want to know that whole story. It is exactly what happened .


Anonymous said...

I do want to say that I would hope that the other students on the trip were not given the details of their classmate being raped at the school they were installing computers at. But didn't your daughter notice that the teacher who took them left GHS that same year that the program was shut down?


Anonymous said...

I chaperoned the spring GHS Marine Bio (10th grade only at that point, most kids 16) field trip to Deception Pass a few years ago. The first thing the teachers did was announce the rules to the students. The first rule was no boys in girls tents, no girls in boys tents. A chaperone found a girl in a boy's tent and those kids were sent home that night. Parents drove up to get them. Handled quietly but firmly. I was impressed.

P and W

Anonymous said...

First, I must say thank you CM for bringing this forward...

Second, I believe i hold such an anger to such an extent that I can not believe this description of events.

Third, I also worked as an undergraduate as well as professionally with clients who fein rape.

Finally, I have had a lot of contact with many employees at GHS and I need to say this as a parent. Let them all hang. Everyone of them that let this happen. English first as an obvious obstructor. Wasn't he there for Poter too? No matter if LN keeps English beyond 6mo I will work for a new sup. I'd even pay for one.


Anonymous said...

It is NOT sexual harrassment, it is RAPE. Does SPS even have a RAPE policy?

I do not believe that SPS didn't do anything because they don't know the rules or they didn't want to follow rules. I believe they did nothing because THEY DID NOT CARE! They were all sitting there thinking she asked for it by going to his room. They were telling canards to themselves like "boys will be boys" and "she led him on & she deseved it" etc. etc. Men and women, I bet they all thought this.

The institutional misogyny in this country is DISGUSTING! We pretend to be so evolved, but we are not that much better than all those countries that treat women as property. We judge women with totally different standards than we judge men! In more than half of this country, women have fewer rights than fetuses, and the SCOTUS just ruled SPERMS have MORE rights than women.

Aaarrrggghh, my kids have been asking me since the Hobby Lobby decision why Americans hate women. I told them that was not true, clearly I was WRONG! All those people, men and WOMEN, sat around and ignored that a 15 year old child was RAPED! The perp admitted that she said NO several times & he didn't pay attention. How is that not enough proof for everyone? Oh yeah, It's because people believe when a girl/woman says no she actually doesn't MEAN IT! And she OWES him sex because she went to his room. Until WE stand up and say THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE, our daughters will never be safe in this country.



mirmac1 said...

From my limited experience, I know that the overnight band field trip I went on required chaperones to seal the students into their rooms after lights out, using tape that the students could not tamper with.

NW parent said...

Thank you Charlie for daylighting this. Your last comment made me cry. Because you're spot on, as usual. The machine perpetuates itself, rolling along and grinding up kids and spitting them out the back.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I deleted on comment because there was a claim about a teacher and the outcomes from it.

Please do NOT make claims (even without names) unless you can state some kind of documentation (news article, court action, etc.) that shows it did happen/is true.

ConcernedSPSParent said...

Ron English knew about the Potter fraud but did not bring it to the Board out of fear of retaliation from his boss Gary Ikeda. The guy has no class IMHO.

Anonymous said...

Wait, CCA.

I share the outrage here at this rape and even more at the district's terrible/criminal? handling of it and horrendous treatment of the victim and her family.

However, the question of whether American citizens have the right to refuse to buy potentially life-ending products for others has nothing to do with "hate". Please don't bring that into this discussion.


Anonymous said...


Here is your link to a news story about Tom Hudson at GHS.


A popular Garfield High School teacher who committed suicide in February amid allegations of inappropriate conduct with students had been investigated for similar allegations six years ago, according to school-district documents released yesterday.

Tom Hudson received a written warning from the Seattle School District after the 1994 investigation for allegations that included skinny-dipping with recently graduated students, taking a photograph of himself with the naked teens and providing one of them with pornographic magazines.

Many of the claims, except the skinny-dipping and the photograph, were based on hearsay, preventing the district from pursuing more severe discipline.

The allegations are similar to ones that led the school district to again investigate Hudson late last year, an inquiry that eventually involved about a dozen students, district officials said.

The documents, released by order of a King County judge, make no conclusions about his conduct but raise questions about why the school district failed to monitor the teacher after its 1994 warning.

There also is a question of whether Hudson's superiors at Garfield High, which has had four principals in the past six years, knew of the 1994 investigation.

"I would love to say, yes," they should have known, Superintendent Joseph Olchefske said yesterday. "But I don't believe there was any process set up to do that."

Cheryl Chow, Garfield's interim principal while Hudson was under investigation last year, had no knowledge of the 1994 investigation, said district spokeswoman Lynn Steinberg.

-Way Back

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Anonymous said...

The above are from me and the article is from 2000. SPS has a long history of sweeping Garfield problems under the rug when it comes to sex and students. Would you like me to link you t articles about the former GHS principal Al Jones who scandalously married a cheerleader shortly after her graduation? Here you go. http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19991101&slug=2992549

-Way Back

Anonymous said...

More on Principal Jones:



-Way Back

Anonymous said...

Links to he 2008 GTA issue



-Way Back

Anonymous said...

1)The IUD PREVENTS the sperm from reaching the egg. Sperms and UNFERTILIZED eggs are NOT ALIVE as each only has HALF of the DNA NEEDED for LIFE. Millions of sperms enter the uterus, ONLY ONE fertilizes the egg; if, as you believe, SPERMS are alive & should be protected against a WOMAN'S CHOICE FOR HERSELF, then shall we put ALL MEN on death row for the MILLIONS minus ONE sperms that they KILL each time they have sex?

Since Hobby Lobby can't seriously believes that sperms are PEOPLE, the real reason to for them to prevent women from getting the IUD is they do NOT want WOMEN, esp. POOR WOMEN, to be allowed to make their own decisions.They want to dictate what women can and can't do. That, momof2, is the most vicious type of patriarchal MISOGYNY.

2)"people" are NOT "paying for other people's" ANYTHING. Health Insurance is PART of the salary that Hobby Lobby pays. Their female employees EARNED that insurance coverage. Just like their male employees earned their VIAGRA coverage.

Look, momof2, you are probably a very good person who loves children; but are you planning to one day be momof19 like the woman on TV? Do you want to spend 15-20 years being continuously pregnant? I do not and cannot even if I wanted to. Why? because after I almost bled to death in childbirth,my doctors firmly suggested that I do not get pregnant again if I wanted to STAY ALIVE to take care of the kids I already have. There are MANY MANY WOMEN who are like me; not everyone can pop out kids easily. My best friend spent her pregnancies in hospital from the 4th month on. Had to sell her restaurant. Her children live with health conditions because of complications during pregnancy. It's not so easy to make a whole new human.

You hold fetus' & sperm's "lives" sacred. How about WOMEN'S lives? Are WE not PEOPLE? Who'd take care of our children after we die in childbirth? Is Hobby Lobby et al. setting up a FUND FOR ORPHANS, and a FUND for ABUSED KIDS for the unwanted children of people forced to have them?

Corporation are people, sperms are people, fetuses are people, but WOMEN are NOT PEOPLE to Hobby Lobby and SCOTUS.That, momof2, IS institutional MISOGYNY.

Why are Women LESS than sperms?

Do you have enough money, time and energy to take care of 10, 14, 19 kids? How about when your children grow up? Do you want your children to be told they have no right to say no? What if, Heaven forbid, they get pregnant every year from puberty onward because SPERMS have the right to life and GIRLS/WOMEN don't? What if their doctors say getting pregnant or having a baby would kill them? What then, enter a convent or die young?

Life can be very cruel, we must have choices. We MUST have the right to say no, AND to have the NO be heard and respected.

Some of you may think all this is off topic or inappropriate here. But it isn't so. Until all children, boys and girls alike, are taught that when anyone, regardless of gender, says NO to sex, IT MEANS NO; and that no should be listened to. Men are not weak morons without self control, who can be helplessly driven to RAPE by women. Blaming girls/women for what boys/men do is the exact thinking that put women into burqas and allow genital mutilation and honor killing. If women are less than fetuses and sperms, then no one will ever listen when we say no to sex or anything else. No one will care when we get raped, they'll say we wanted it, asked for it, owe it to the men. None of us will be safe at any time, with anyone. Women are going backwards in this country. It's ridiculous and frightening that we have fewer rights today than the women of my mother's generation did.


Anonymous said...

Capitalization in my posts are for emphasis and clarity, not used to denote yelling. I can't do italics on this thing.


Charlie Mas said...

Take a look at the space called "Leave your comment", which, on my computer, appears in the upper right of the page.

There, above the comment box, are the rules for comments.

Below the box are the HTML tags that can be used for bold, italic, and hot links to web pages.

Anonymous said...

FYI, same information you reference doesn't come up on the mobile device version of this page, at least for iPhones.

But let's get back to the story at hand and what looks like a 20 year history of sexual misconduct at Garfield that isn't being addressed. The turn over at the JSCEE may limit institutional knowledge, but there are enough of us in the community who remember.

Here is another story: http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2012345341_garfield14m.html

What has ever happened to the supervisors of any of these people? What training has the district provided to GHS staff when they see this same pattern? Who is going over chaperone rules? If it is no one, why isn't Ted Howard being held responsible for this? And let's look at his history of bending or breaking the rules to protect male athletes. Why isn't there a Title IX investigation of his treatment of students based on gender rather than a too late investigation of if Emily was raped? Maybe he would be exonerated, maybe not. But it does need to be investigated as a Title IX equity issue.

-Way Back

Charlie Mas said...

The basic facts - and they are undeniable objective truths - are that the District completely failed in its duty to this student and her family. And, when the family complained about the misconduct other district staff covered up for those who did the wrong things. Then, when the family appealed that decision to the Board, the Board was mislead and misinformed and voted to deny the appeal.

Agencies outside of the district may or may not be effective in bringing some justice to bear, but it is clear that it is a highly politicized process and system and no enforcement will occur without public outrage.

Anonymous said...

Look CCA. Your ranting about the SCOTUS decision in favor of religious freedom is uninformed on many counts.
1) IUDs work in several ways and one way it can work is to prevent the fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus. Check out the science or the disclosures that come with them.
2) Hobby Lobby and Conestoga were fine with including 16 types of contraceptives, but not the 4 that they believed worked post-fertilization.
3) You imply that women are pretty weak if they are helpless to buy their own contraceptives or plan their pregnancies without each and every type of contraceptive paid for by their insurance.
4) With your rant about contraceptives, you imply some pretty nasty attributes to all Catholics and others who may not believe in any contraceptives. I am not Catholic, but I would never say such nasty things about people who believe differently than I do.
5) To imply that beliefs about contraceptives or abortion are related to an uncaring attitude towards rape is just wrong and irrational.


Jet City mom said...

Football coaches have a long history of being untouchable in the district.
My mothers matron of honor was dating the coach at Garfield and married him after she graduated.
That was sixty years ago.

Anonymous said...

I have a daughter at UW & many of her friends will be starting there this fall. We know some of them will deal with rape or their friends will. I would like to tell them about a rape advocacy organization that helps kids navigate the system after a rape.

Who should they call? (UW police or Seattle police?) Which hospital to go to? What are their rights? How does the system work? Who helps them & who obstructs them?

Is there an organization in Seattle that advocates in this way? Where do young people find this information?

-concerned parent

Puffin said...

Agree with Charlie's analysis. Hand-in-hand with the "culture of lawlessness" is the CYA culture.

The lying, covering up, and blame-shifting in this case are outrageous. It took a national news organization to bring this story to light because it's a non-story for the local news outlets.

There has to be a groundswell of public outrage from Seattle families directed at the school board.

Puffin said...

@ concerned parent

One place to start is the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center.

Jet City mom said...

Rather than anticipating a worst case scenario, why not encourage them to take some self defense courses?
Which is a good idea for both men & women.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Way Back, I'm going to assume it was you that posted those links/story. Thanks for providing those except that when you post anonymously (as most of it was), we delete it. We have a Comments section with our guidelines and we require that people follow them.

I'll write a separate thread on what to do to protect your child against sexual assault but I personally would NOT go to campus police first, I would call SPD.

NW parent said...

Self defense classes are great. I highly recommend classes at the Center for Strategic Living. But one should also anticipate a worst case scenario. And in addition to sending our daughters to self defense classes we should be talking with our sons about consent. It is rage-making how this is 2014 and we still just focus on girls. Teach your sons not to rape, people. Rape is the fault of rapists, not girls.

P.S. CCA - I am 100% with you.

Anonymous said...

We can say good riddance to Banda, but nothing has changed.


'Because the principal sent the boys home without immediately calling police, the suit alleges, one student has "disappeared and still remains at large," creating a "very real danger of retaliation, recrimination and revenge.'


Anonymous said...

Regarding resources at the UW, SARIS (The Sexual Assault and Relationship Violence Service) is very good and comprehensive as an immediate step:


They'll walk people through common reactions, reporting options, creating a safety plan, how to file a protection order, and will support a person through the reporting process if the person decides to do that.

UWPD, I believe, is much better about responding to assault than at many other universities. I've heard great things from a student of mine who worked closely through their victim advocate:


I truly wish that this wasn't an issue at our universities (and high schools and middle schools) but there are decent services, at least at the UW.

~ UW Advisor

reader47 said...

Ok - so how are we going to insure that SPS never NEVER lets this happen to another student under their watch? I feel like we could all write letters/emails to Supts, boards, management till we are blue in the face and nothing will change. Or as Charlie so rightly suggests on another thread, they will ask for time to plan and then time to implement the plan and then....ad nauseum.

This culture of not knowing the law or of conveniently not applying the law unless its "easy" needs to stop.

But seriously - how can we, the public, make that happen? Anyone got a serious idea? Because right now I've got visions of tar and feathers dancing in my head for certain people in this saga and while satisfying in one way, it doesn't solve the bigger problem here - the systemic problem

Melissa Westbrook said...

Reader 47, a couple of thoughts.
1) the district, according to Charlie and I concur, has a history of lawlessness. Whether it is small (like not putting up agendas for all public meetings) or big (this incident), no one seems to worry as things happen again and again. And that's because there is very little done to hold people accountable. I think the district worries more about its and I think they worry more about calling out employees and then getting sued.

2) Getting sued. That gets their attention. I think if the district gets heavily dinged by the Feds over Title IX (and I'll look into how to complain to the feds about this - that might help) AND gets sued by the parents, something might change.

But just as we read - once again, in a report on our district, this time the Sped one - people don't know the rules, don't follow them and nothing good comes from that.

Just Saying said...

"Emily didn’t need to worry about sending her friend to jail. Emails show that the district attorney concluded that a sexual assault may have taken place, but it wasn’t a case that could be successfully prosecuted. "

This is absolutely a terrible story. It is very sad that this poor young woman will suffer emotional trauma for the rest of her life.

I couldn't help but notice that district attorneys played a roll in this situation. Wouldn't have English overseen this action? What gives SPS legal the right to determine what would, or would not, be successfully prosecuted?

Just Saying said...

I would also like to thank Charlie for bring this story to public attention. So thankful for this blog.

Parents used to take turns, sitting in hallways to make sure students don't leave their rooms. Doors are also taped..so, that if anyone leaves a room..chaperones will know. WTH happened at Garfield? WTH is with Ron English?

Whatever happens from here, the victim will continue to suffer.

I too hope the distrct gets their ash sued.

ConcernedSPSParent said...

It is not up to English to decide if a case can be successfully prosecuted. This is why you go to the police rather than the district

Anonymous said...

Time out, folks. When the reporter refers to the 'district attorney,' she's referring to the officer of the court --- the district attorney or DA. She's not referring to Ron English or the 'school district attorney.'

Doesn't anyone watch "Law and Order" reruns?

--- swk

Just Saying said...

swk, I am afraid you are incorrect about this one.

Greeny said...

- swk. I do. So if the DA won't take the case, that's for a criminal prosecution, right? Not for a civil - different burdens of proof, different damages. Unfortunately, it sounds like for things to really change for the safety of ALL of our kids in SPS (i feel sick even writing this..), we all need an Emily and her family to stand up and sue. Which requires years of exhausting trauma of another kind, and reliving this one at the same time - not something I could think to ask after all they've been through. Doesn't this seem too much to ask, for justice? For safety? I'm thinking now reader47 'tar & feather" might be best - public shaming. How the heck did Banda get approved by Sacramento - maybe each of their Board members should be emailed a personal copy of the article?

Anonymous said...

"Emails show that the district attorney concluded that a sexual assault may have taken place, but it wasn’t a case that could be successfully prosecuted. This is the fate of most rapes reported to the police...This incident occurred in November 2012, and law enforcement authorities were immediately called. They investigated but did not file charges."

Just Saying, do you have some inside information on this case? It is usually up to the district attorney's office to file criminal charges. In this case, that would be the King County Prosecuting Attorney's office. Do you have some knowledge of this case that would indicate that it was the school district attorney and not the King County Prosecuting Attorney that determined what could or could not be successfully prosecuted?

--- swk

Reader47 said...

I'll bring the tar if someone can supply the feathers...sighhhh..

A horde of angry villagers carrying flaming torches at the next Board meeting?

A "shame on all of you" SPS leadership twitter campaign? Or other catchy hashtag...

I read this story again, and I think of my 16 year old step-daughter and I weep for this girl who did nothing wrong.

Yes, legal action would clearly be the only avenue that really carries a big enough club but I'm starting to lean toward the "flaming torches" approach the longer I think on this one....

Melissa Westbrook said...

How anyone thought that a couple of chaperones (plus a couple of teachers with their own small kids) was enough is beyond me.

According to the story, none/some of the chaperones had had background checks done.

As the parent of a teenager, I would have not gone to sleep at least until 1 am to do my best to make sure nothing was happening.

This district shoots itself in the foot so often.

Yeah, I would say the next Board meeting, the Board should hear about this.

Just Saying said...

swk, No. In my opinion, in the context of this article "district", at least to me, appears to be the school district.

I agree with Melissa. I"ve gone on field trips and I often find parents busy socializing and not paying enough attention to students.

I also feel a sense of concern related to background checks, chaperones etc. I'm not confident there is strict enforcement around these issues.

Greeny said...

but, Melissa, it seems the Board HAS heard about this? At least, Patu registered outrage "is this a joke?" and Peters' trying to get clarity (disbelief?!) re: English' statements on the chaperones:

Belowfrom the Facebook StopSexualAssault posting:
School board member Susan Peters questions board president Peaslee about the General Counsel's statements that sex on field trips does not prove chaperones failed to perform their duties. She wrote:

Peters: "I would assume that proper chaperoning would keep all students safe."

[General Counsel Ron English: "We also do not agree with your assertion that if sex occurred this proves the chaperones somehow failed to perform their duties. That depends on the specific circumstances." May 14, 2013 "In your email to me of May 17, you asked several questions about the roles of chaperones and whether sexual intercourse could occur if the chaperones were performing their duties. I reiterate my statement of May 14: it depends on the circumstances. " May 20, 2013]

Neither the school board, Superintendent, or General Counsel would explain or repudiate such a statement in violation of district safety policies.

From: Peters, Susan M
To: Peaslee, Sharon D
Subject: FW: English, Banda, School Board
Date: Thursday, February 20, 2014 9:07:41 AM
Attachments: letter to school board 6-10-13.pdf

I don't understand statements made by Ron cited in the attached letter.
Specifically, the statement pertaining to "We do not agree (...) depends on specific circumstances."

I would assume that proper chaperoning would keep all students safe.

Also, in general, does chief legal counsel have the authority to speak for the School Board without
consulting the board?
Sue Peters
Seattle School Board Director - District IV

The problem seems clearly within SPS administration - the Bureaucracy, as Charlie so clearly lays out. For this tragedy, for the others not acted upon and those we all must strive to prevent, as well as for the math near debacle averted only by the strength and courage of 4 good board members, for the ongoing mess in Advanced Learning and Special Ed, - we the people need to SCREAM - not AT the board, but TO the board, in an attempt to get ALL on board with finding a strong, competent, MANAGER with intellect, integrity, and an expertise in turn-arounds ie. cleaning house, for next Superintendant. If candidates don't have an ed background, so much the better, to me.

Anonymous said...

Questions and Answers on Title IX and Sexual Violence from the US Dept. of Education.


Puffin said...


The incident occurred in Olympic National Park and was therefore investigated by the National Park Service and the FBI. Because this case was under federal jurisdiction, it was the US Attorney's Office that declined to prosecute.

Puffin said...

@ Melissa Westbrook

The teachers who were responsible for the students' safety slept in separate cabins with their own children in a location that was distant from the students' cabins (out of direct sight and hearing). The chaperones admitted to the district's investigator that they lost control of the students after curfew the first night, but they took no action to correct the problem the second night, when the rape occurred, nor did they enforce camp rules by administering consequences to rule violators. Naturally no one in the district has held the teachers accountable.

mirmac1 said...

I recall Mr English telling the board "our job is to aggressively defend the district." Not advise. Not deliver justice. Not protect students. But to defend the district and use the almighty $$$ to gauge their performance.

If Larry Nyland would like to see his (post-retirement) career end with a bang, he will reject this reasoning. He will recognize that he reports to the Board (not WSSDA and their reform friends), and his Legal Counsel should protect the district that his bosses run.

Somehow English was DeBell's right-hand man. Nowadays it's President Peaslee, who 'dat? He is busy justifying the Seattle Teacher Residency with weasel words and still sticking it to special education families.

Reader47 said...

Yes, there is a great deal of information on the referenced Facebook page that clearly states the Board knew about this case - the family contacted them directly.

However, it appears that Mr. English and others did everything they could to stonewall this family and to toss blame for the situation back at them.

Mr. English needs to go if no one else. If you are out there Mr. Nyland, reading this, start there. Please.

Anonymous said...

Ron English's comments ("depends on the circumstances") are clearly *not* saying the activity might be acceptable. He's talking about the chaperone's effectiveness.

He's saying that under some circumstances prohibited activity "could occur" even if chaperones were doing a good job (that is, by students sneaking behind the chaperone's backs). Some other facts posted indicate maybe the chaperones didn't do their job. But people shouldn't say English said sexual activity on field trips might be permissible, because he didn't. He just said it's possible it might occur, even with decent chaperoning. Depends on how good the chaperoning was, and how easy/hard it was for students to evade it.


Anonymous said...

Thanks, br, for making a totally incomprehensible comment understandable. Taken out of context, or with his minimum of words, it is easy to understand the how his statement could be taken wrong. Of course, students might not always be safe even if chaperones are doing their job--we know kids fall off logs, etc. That is common sense that he didn't need to say. On middle school band trips I was also one of the chaperones sitting in the hallway watching room doors. Then at a certain hour all the rooms would be checked on that they were going to bed. Then later the teacher would be informed so he could put masking tape on the outside of the doors. Then we adults could still hang out in the hallway awhile. I know at a dark camp in winter in cabins, there are no hallways. But it sounds like they did lose control with a terrible consequence in this case.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Ted Howard and the rest of Garfield staff could attend this oin teachers, parents, students, administrators and community partners as we learn from experts and work together to promote social and emotional growth strategies, community service opportunities, earth stewardship initiatives and innovative perspectives for rethinking school environments.

Compassionate School Networking Conference
7 – 9 p.m. - August 11
8 a.m. to 4 p.m. - August 12
Cleveland High School
5511 15th Ave South
To Register: http://compassionateschools.bpt.me

There has for a long time been a strange "culture" at Garfield with a legacy that frankly has long outlasted the reality. There have been numerous incidents of student and teacher problems but as long as the Jazz Band plays and the APP Program rises and the football team wins all of this filth and disturbing bs will be pushed further and further under the rug.

Man this is just another saga in a district that has no legacy to protect any longer.

-- sad grim pathetic

Puffin said...

A follow-up story by a former Garfield HS student published today in a national online magazine.

Teen Girl Raped on Field Trip, Treated Horribly by Seattle High School

When are the local media going to get around to carrying this story?

Melissa Westbrook said...

BR, that is my take as well. English isn't saying sexual activity is acceptable or not preventable; it seems he is saying the chaperones could have done everything right and this still could have happened.

Yes, that could be true BUT everyone did NOT do the right thing, starting with not checking out the chaperones and not explaining what needed to be done.

I have to ask: who were these teachers on the trip? Why did they get to bring their own kids? Did the principal know this?

I have let some local media know about this. I have to say that the Times seems to be ignoring the district and most of their ed stories are elsewhere in the region/state.

Anonymous said...


The Sacramento school board, superintendents, city council, mayor, media, and others were notified of the investigation of Banda's district. They all turned a blind eye on it, never once responded to the family. This information is included on the family's Facebook site.

Anonymous said...

Send Danny Westneat an e-mail and see if he'll do an article given that he wrote one about a park volunteer who cut down some invasive trees in a park and is now being criminally charged by the city's attorney. So gosh, maybe a rape might just warrant a little attention.

Nah, who am I kidding. Latest hard hitting news from Seattle Times and Pete Holmes, our city's lead attorney, is the exultation in buying pot legally and Holmes' violation of drug-free workplace rule. And you think the problem is just with SPS.


Anonymous said...

The district, with a confession, still looked to protect one of Ted's athletes. No consideration for the girl, her mental health, or the lasting trauma and scars she will carry with her for the rest of her life.

Ron English and Ted Howard should both be fired. Ted has been throwing people under the bus for years, now. I wonder how he'd feel if his daughter were treated this way?

I'm embarrassed to live in a city with such men.


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lynn said...

The Facebook page indicates that Pegi McEvoy and former Central Region executive director Nancy Coogan were also informed at the time of the incident. (Coogan is now the Suoerintendent in Tukwila.) They should be fired too - along with the teachers who arranged the trip and were responsible for the safety of their students.

There's no chance my daughter will be going on an overnight field trip unless one of her parents is a chaperone.

Disgusted said...

Did the board, superintendent and district attorney have medical report?

andiesenji said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Charlie Mas said...

Let me try to answer some questions.

The rape took place on federal land so the FBI investigated. The federal prosecutor did not feel that he or she had enough evidence to warrant prosecution. This is not unusual. This is, in fact, typical in rape cases. They commonly degenerate into he said/she said situations about whether the act was consensual. The standard for conviction in a criminal trial - beyond a reasonable doubt - is difficult to reach in the majority of such cases. That's just the way it is right now. But let's be clear: the FBI investigation was inconclusive - it did not conclude that there was no rape. It just didn't have enough indisputable evidence that there was.

We must not misinterpreted this result as a conclusion that there was not a rape. That would be an error.

The district's fault - and the district is at fault - comes in the forms:

First - the failure to properly supervise the field trip. While it may be true that even with the best chaperoning sex among students or even rape may occur, there isn't anyone saying that this was an example of the best of chaperoning. This was horrible chaperoning. This was nearly absent chaperoning. The failure to enforce any rules at all encouraged the violation of the rules, up to and including rape.

Second - the District utterly failed to follow their own procedures and policies and the law following the event. Some things might have been done right, but, for the most part, they were not. The investigation wasn't promptly done. When the investigation was done it was done very badly. The victim was not kept informed of the process or of her rights. In fact, the district simply stopped responding to the family in most cases. Also the district didn't use the correct standard for determining if this was a case of sexual harassment. They erroneously applied the criminal standard of beyond a reasonable doubt. That wasn't the right standard to use. They were supposed to use a lower standard. The Title IX officer, Paul Apostle, who should have taken a leadership role, took no action at all.

Finally, the district failed by never holding anyone accountable for any of the failures. To this day no one has been held accountable for any of this. Not the perpetrator, not the principal, not the people who were supposed to be supervising the trip, not the district officials who were supposed to protect the victim's rights, not the district officials who were supposed to take action in response but didn't, nobody.

So, what can be done?

The Board can direct the interim superintendent to hold staff accountable for their failures.

Even if the Board doesn't direct him to do it, the interim superintendent can, on his own, hold the staff accountable for their failures.

The leadership of Seattle Public Schools is broken. It is broken because it never enforces any rules, procedures, policies, state administrative codes, state laws, or federal laws. Never. None of them. All it would take to fix the district would be for someone at the top to start enforcing the rules and bringing some real accountability down on the people who break them. Start doing that - and doing it reliably - and you will start to see people following the rules. There is a short, straight road from the culture of lawlessness that fostered this crime and the culture of compliance that would have prevented it: enforcement.

Anonymous said...

Re Posting Anon 7/23/14, 10:46 PM

Melissa Westbrook,

Public records show that the teachers were Heather Snookal, Rachel FInlay-Petrik, and Alicia Arnold. Records show that only one child was listed as attending but at least two participated, according to students. Brad Westering, principal, signed off on the trip without any male chaperone, although a college student showed up, allowing the teachers to sleep in a distant location. Records from the previous 2 years showed that few, if any chaperones were named, named with first and last names, or received the required background checks. So the principal authorized the trip with no male chaperone for 14 boys, and only one screened female chaperone on the night watch, Alicia Arnold. Finlay and Snookal were screened but spent the nights in a distant location with their presumed kids.

Adding that Brad Westerling is an Assistant Principal, not a principal.


Charlie Mas said...

I have written to the superintendent to encourage him to use his brief term of office to improve the district culture by enforcing the rules.

I got a form letter response signed by Jose Banda.


Jet City mom said...

I do not know what I was thinking when I saw the timeline, I am not familiar with any of those teachers & my daughter graduated in six years ago, & Ive only chaperoned on one field trip at Garfield since then.

I was uncomfortable with the protocol for chaperones at Garfield. It was much less comprehensive than what we followed at Summit. One of the many advantages of a small K-12 school was that if you stayed there for a few years, you got to know many of the families, and when you were familiar with the kids, you didn't have to wait for instructions, but could ward off problem behavior before it became a problem.
Sometimes it just took a look or a change of seat assignment.

But at Garfield, the chaperones were spread very thin, ( except I expect on the Hawaii trip, which my daughter did not win the lottery for)
For instance I was the only female chaperone on the Eastern Wa trip I attended, although the male chaperones were very organized, ( they were headed up by the " retired" teacher who had implemented the marine biology program at Garfield, and is an advocate for more experiential learning. But just because you are out of the classroom, doesn't mean the rules went out the window. He ran a very tight ship. I was in awe.)

At the minimum, the district needs to implement and enforce consistent field trip policies that protect children and staff & unless a teachers child is actually in the class, I don't see how it can be appropriate for them to bring their children along.

I do admit however, that for instance at Summitt, one of the teachers brought her child, but as it was a high school trip that was also open to other grades, and as they had plenty of experienced chaperones who made the trip every year, this didn't seem to be a concern.

Teachers also need to be accessible, imo, round the clock, except when they are actuvely taking a break.
Especially when some of the chaperones, such as myself, are not familiar with many of the students, the teachers have a better idea of who the challenging students are, and what to look out for.
Perhaps I am a hardass, but IMO, as long as they are in high school, they are not independent adults, but kids with expectations for appropriate behavior.
I don't know why some people even chaperone unless they are willing to step in and say, " we don't do or say that here". Except for the Eastern Wa trip, I didn't chaperone my own kids class, so I wasn't hindered by the thought that I was embarrasing her.
( I'm not really a hardass, I pick my battles, but IMO, some of the kids were begging for an adult to step in)

I do not know why our dustrict has so many inadequate principals. Ted has been at Garfield for now , 10 years. I think he needs remediation, and to be demoted to a less challenging position.
Safety of the children comes first, not protecting bullies.

Anonymous said...

Beyond a reasonable doubt or preponderance of evidence may be the standard in the book, but in real life, that standard is a leaky vessel. Justice isn't blind. The beyond a reasonable doubt or evidential standard to prosecute and convict gets rather shaky when you look at our uneven judicial delivery (NYC Central Park case.)

Why do we have a national backlog of untested rape kits? Why do some get tested and others don't? The culture of "lawlessness" happens because it's allowed to. As long as realities tell us this type of case is just "too hard" to convict while others aren't, there are and will be more "Emily's" and many, many more without a pseudonym to even get heard because rapes will go unreported.


Jet City mom said...

Twenty one states, including our own have mandatory arrest for suspected domestic violence.
Shouldn't rape, most certainly the rape of a child, receive the same attention?

Anonymous said...

Is this the same principal that seemed to react appropriately to the recent freshman hazing incident at Garfield? Maybe he has learned.


Leo said...

This is my understanding:

The event took place in Olympic National Park. Therefore the incident fell under the jurisdiction of the Feds. and the feds did not choose to prosecute.

Then, the incident became a civil matter which required the Superintendent, Board and legal to decide whether or not there was a case, and whether or not the district was liable.

If my interpretation is correct, the system required the district to be judge, jury and defense of the district. Such a situation represents a conflict of interest.

GHS Student said...

If it is any relief, as a direct result of this incident Garfield's field trip procedure has become much more strenuous. On the Cultural Relations retreat I attended all the chaperones had to undergo background checks and be over the age of 25. In addition, they were sure to have enough chaperones, to the point that the trip almost didn't happen since they almost couldn't get the required ratio of students to chaperone and did bed checks by both staff and CORE (who was running the retreat) at multiple points throughout the night,

Anonymous said...

If realities say this type of crime rarely get their day in court, then prevention is the default position. The sad reality is how can prevention happen if there are no incentive to prevent or repercussion in not doing so.

I tried to discuss this very subject with a good friend who is quite active at her school. It was eye opening how tortuous the conversation went. For her, this was a downer of a discussion. The reaction was the expected how horrible to have this sort of thing going on, but the prevailing sentiment which came through is rape has to be physically violent, leaving the victim severly injured or dead or one inflicted by strangers or those with criminal history for rape to be real rape. Somehow the conversation went down the pathway of alcohol & hormones, how girls appear to boys (and men), how confusing it all is. Somewhere the idea that we can raise our children to look out for each other, to not take advantage of another's vulnerability or look the other way got lost. It become a defensive conversation. If adults can't figure it out despite the rules, protocols, and guidelines, what are the children left with?

Rape is an easy crime to get away with.


Anonymous said...

I sent an email to the School Board registering my concern about this story including the fact that the field trip was not well supervised and the fact that the victim's right to continue her education in a safe environment was not taken seriously by the school or the district and asking how I can trust that my daughters will be safe from sexual assault in the Seattle Public Schools and this is the response I got:
Thank you for contacting the School Board Office. Please be assured that we take the issue of sexual assault seriously and are continuing to work with all parties involved -- including state and federal agencies and the family -- to address the concerns that have been raised and ensure that the appropriate legal process is followed. The family has filed complaints with several oversight agencies, and we trust that resolution of those actions will be fair and equitable.

Kind Regards,

Kathie Thu Pham
Board Office Administrator
Seattle Public Schools

Gen Ed Mom

Melissa Westbrook said...

I am hoping this girl's parents file a civil lawsuit (whether it is against the boy's family or the district, I don't).

What I really hope is that the girl's family - after all this - refuses to settle out of court.

If all these missteps and poor judgment and lack of accountability were aired in a public courtroom, the district would really get the wake-up call they need.

The Board and the Superintendent would have the real public push they need to start creating a new culture at SPS.

Anonymous said...

Drawing the line:


…A quarter of the women reported they had been sexually assaulted at field sites.

…She added that the four coauthors were hesitant about whether to launch the study in the first place. None of them have tenure, and all are working feverishly to establish their research careers.

Other colleagues expressed concern that studying the provocative question might be risky to do at such an early stage. (more)


Anonymous said...

"Emily", if you are reading this, know that every single person who hears about this, and thousands have, completely understand and empathize with you.

We wish you speedy healing and a return to wholeness if you're still working on this trauma. If you feel like you've moved on, then we rejoice for your wellness and celebrate your strength.

I hope you sue: both the rapist, and the school district. He needs to be outed. They need to learn. It's not about winning, it's about shining a bright flashlight right in their faces, and you are holding the beam.

I completely understand if you do not want to walk back into the fire.

But, know that if you do, we will still be here, supporting you. I personally will show up on the court room steps with a sign of support, a show of support communicating to you and your family that good people stand up for what is right, and other good people support them while they do that.

Please know you are not alone.

You said no.

You said no. He knows it, he's admitted it. He's a rapist, but you, you are a survivor. Hold your head up high and proud.

I am so sorry.


with love

Charlie Mas said...

The first local media attention has come from The Stranger.

Without public pressure - from the community and the media - the District will not take this issue seriously.

Greeny said...

thank you, "with love", for your message to -
I'm with you on every word.

Charlie Mas said...

I'm now commenting on Seattle Times education stories asking why they aren't reporting this.

mirmac1 said...

The interim Supt has a choice. Be a newbie like Ohio State President Michael Drake and stand up for what's right. Or be a weasel.

Kudos to President Drake. My child is in band. I would like to think those in charge think like you.

mirmac1 said...

I want to cast a light on the talent and enthusiasm of young people, who persevere despite the behavior of adults who are there to protect and guide them:

OSU's Hollywood Blockbusters Show!

Never ceases to bring a smile to my face.

mirmac1 said...

The university was required to promptly perform the probe under federal Title IX sexual discrimination laws.
I guess SPS did not think that applied to them.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I'm a former member of the Garfield community and had occasion to speak with some of the police officers who walk the beat at Garfield. After telling him what I knew about the rape of the student assaulted on the field trip, the officer volunteered the name of the assailant, saying "Was it X?"

I was flabbergasted. What kind of reputation did this student have, I wondered. . . . .

Former Garfield Parent

Anonymous said...


Why does it matter where the District is punished monetarily--in a settlement or in a courtroom?

Do you think public opinion has any impact on the outcome of a claim?


Charlie Mas said...

Ben asks a couple good questions.

"Why does it matter where the District is punished monetarily--in a settlement or in a courtroom?"

The difference is a matter of record. Settlements typically come with no admission of wrong-doing and confidentiality. A Court decision is a determination of wrong-doing and it is public.

"Do you think public opinion has any impact on the outcome of a claim?"

Public opinion can help with a settlement, but not with a Court decision. Public outrage not only pushes the district to expedite a settlement but it can also boost it by increasing their estimate of a possible jury award. Washington state juries have delivered some very stiff penalties when government entities have failed to protect vulnerable people in their charge. You can check some of the jury awards in cases against DSHS when they failed to protect developmentally disabled people from abuse in adult home situations. Widespread public outrage could lead them to conclude that a jury would also be outraged and would respond with a huge award.

Concerned said...

" Widespread public outrage could lead them to conclude that a jury would also be outraged and would respond with a huge award"

I certainly understand concerns, anger, outrage etc. over this issue.

Please consider thinking about this issue: The victim was hospitalized for PTSD. Is it in the best interest of the victim to create a high level of public attention to this issue? Would the victim be able to emotionally manage this level of attention?

Anonymous said...

I don't think we should be deciding what is best for the victim. Let's let her and her family decide that. At this point, they are reaching out to the public for support in holding the school district responsible through their FB page. You can email them if you want to find out what they think. I would never presume to tell them what to do, but as far as I am concerned this affects all of us with kids in SPS. The district needs to feel public outrage or nothing is going to change and this kind of thing is going to happen to more of our children. An out of court settlement might help the victim and her family but it isn't going to do as much to change the system as a finding that the district broke the law -- andI think it's clear they did.

Gen Ed Mom

Melissa Westbrook said...

Concerned, her family started a Facebook page. I'm sure they feel she/they can handle it.

Puffin said...
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Puffin said...

KING 5 TV Report:

At the end of the story the KING-TV reporter failed to mention that the district had three and a half months to interview the victim before she went into residential treatment.

Puffin said...

KIRO TV story here: