Saturday, July 26, 2014

Seattle School Board Speaks Out on Garfield Field Trip Incident

Update:  Both KIRO-7 tv and KING-5 tv have done stories on this issue.  I think that the story has legs and that they may continue on (especially now that the Title IX and the Department of Education has gotten involved.) 

I note that the KING-5 piece says that the district couldn't get access to the FBI investigation and that the parents of the girl refused to allow the district to talk to her.  (This because the girl had been out-of-state at a residential facility to help her.)  Therefore, the district "did not have the evidence to fully support her claims."  This seems to be a different story than below but I find the wording suspect below so I would need a timeline to decide.

end of update.

From President Peaslee:

Dear Seattle Public Schools principals, staff and community,
I know many of you are concerned about the story that appeared earlier this week on Al Jazeera America news. I want to assure you that all School Board members – who are also parents – share your concerns about student safety. In the last year and a half, the District has reviewed and improved our field trip, training and chaperoning practices.


The 2012 allegation of sexual assault during a Garfield High School overnight field trip was investigated by the FBI and the National Parks Service, who interviewed all parties involved. The U.S. Attorney’s office decided not to file charges. The FBI told the District not to investigate until they completed their investigation, and we have not received a copy of that report. As soon as the District learned the FBI investigation was complete we conducted our own independent investigation. The family asked the District not to interview their daughter, and we respected those wishes. The Board reviewed the investigation and concluded that we did not have sufficient evidence that a sexual assault occurred.


While we cannot comment in detail about the investigation, we can tell you what steps have been taken to make sure our students are safe. Right now, all employees receive training on sexual harassment when they start employment and receive refresher training every two years.


In addition:

· In August 2013, all school administrators received added training on new procedures regarding field trips and the responsibilities of chaperones.

· This August, all school administrators will receive additional training on how to respond to crisis situations.

· The District has requested the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights, to work with us in evaluating and improving our procedures to ensure full compliance with all federal and state requirements regarding sexual harassment and assault.


The District has procedures in place to respond to incidents of sexual harassment, and those procedures were followed. The safety of our students, whether while in our buildings or at school-sanctioned trips and events, is of utmost importance to us. We will continue to work with our Interim Superintendent Dr. Larry Nyland to ensure our staff and administrators always make safety their priority.


These are welcomed comments.

I note that it says that the procedures for response to sexual harassment "were followed."  I don't see that procedures for field trips were followed.  In fact, the documentation shows that one teacher put in ear buds at 11 pm and went to sleep.  I cannot fathom an adult on a field trip, after one night of students not following rules, to put in ear buds and go to sleep. 

So left out here is a specific notation that Garfield staff have been fully brought up-to-date on these procedures.

As well, it might have been good to state that principals are aware of consequences should it come to light in the future that, despite these structures in place, policy was not followed.

As Charlie says, it's great to have procedures and policies but without enforcement, they don't mean a lot. 

61 comments:

Disgusted said...

Heads need to roll over this one.

Anonymous said...

Crocodile tears.

Day late, dollar short.

Charlie busted you, this sad tradegy's been "outed", you've been reading the blog, so voila, a letter.

Wonder if Charlie hadn't done the original post, if Madame President would have been bothered to write the letter, to alert the public. Doubt it.

Thank you, Charlie.

Director Peaslee, put up or shut up: RESCIND. Or, your letter is just more political spin-noise.

Conflicted interest

Anonymous said...

Facts: The school district knows that Title IX requires it to commence an immediate investigation regardless of a criminal investigation. This is unambiguously spelled out in the ABCs of Title IX.

The FBI might have told the District not to ask questions. We have not proof. But the FBI finished its investigation at Garfield BEFORE Thanksgiving, a few weeks after the Nov. 7 assault.

Its Title IX officer should have immediately reached out to the victim.

The principal was required to disclose that the assailant was temporarily removed from the school so the victim could return, but he refused to inform the victim when asked the day after the rape.


If the District believed they had to wait to conduct an investigation, why didn't they ask the FBI for updates? The District wrote parents that they were waiting for the FBI to inform them, as though the FBI had a duty to do that. Another excuse! Instead, the District relied on the parents to tell them the investigation was over when the parents escalated their complaint to the Superintendent/School Board on March 18, 2013, after countless inquiries were ignored.

How do I know this?

Mrs Miller, mother of the victim

Thank you all for supporting our family through this nightmare caused by the Seattle School District. This advocacy is a miracle

"Stop Not Until The Goal Is Reached!"

Puffin said...

School Board president Peaslee presents the same district talking points in a more palatable way to reassure nervous parents. It must be comforting to hear that:

• All employees receive training on sexual harassment when they start employment and receive refresher training every two years.
• In August 2013, all school administrators received added training on new procedures regarding field trips and the responsibilities of chaperones.
• This August, all school administrators will receive additional training on how to respond to crisis situations.

But procedures and training were also in place in November 2012 when the assault occurred. No one bothered to follow the procedures then, so why expect anyone to do so now? Is it more training or more accountability that's needed?

As parents, school board members should understand this: if you tell your kids the household rules and they don't obey, do you give them some new rules to follow?

Anonymous said...

As long as the School Board is entering into the discussion so wholeheartedly, perhaps it will tell parents whether it unanimously agreed to support Superintendent Banda's decision that the student was not sexually assaulted.

If the decision was no unanimous, why did Board members dissent?

Why did board members avoid Title IX in their ruling when it was a part of the family's appeal? Why did McLaren write to OSPI to learn about Title IX when they were given ample information about Title IX before they rendered a decision, and should have been informed by the District's Title IX officer?

Could it be that the legal department was advancing its agenda through the school board?

-Former Garfield parent who has seen

Puffin said...

Under Title IX, schools are legally required to respond to and remedy hostile educational environments that result from sexual harassment and sexual violence. The Dept. of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR) periodically publishes a “Dear Colleague Letter” (DCL) that provides schools with the latest guidance about the specific requirements of Title IX that they are obligated to follow. The DCL is not a law but does inform schools about how OCR evaluates and enforces compliance with Title IX.

So let’s compare the district’s talking points as presented by Board President Peaslee with the DCL published in April 2011:

Peaslee: As soon as the District learned the FBI investigation was complete we conducted our own independent investigation.
DCL: "Schools should not wait for the conclusion of a criminal investigation or criminal proceeding to begin their own Title IX investigation and, if needed, must take immediate steps to protect the student in the educational setting. For example, a school should not delay conducting its own investigation or taking steps to protect the complainant because it wants to see whether the alleged perpetrator will be found guilty of a crime. In addition, a criminal investigation into allegations of sexual violence does not relieve the school of its duty under Title IX to resolve complaints promptly and equitably."

Peaslee: The U.S. Attorney’s office decided not to file charges.
DCL: "Police investigations may be useful for fact-gathering; but because the standards for criminal investigations are different, police investigations or reports are not determinative of whether sexual harassment or violence violates Title IX. Conduct may constitute unlawful sexual harassment under Title IX even if the police do not have sufficient evidence of a criminal violation."

Do the district’s talking points indicate compliance with Title IX regulations in the DCL? You decide.

dan dempsey said...

The Board concluded that it did not have sufficient evidence that a sexual assault OCCURRED.

Why?

Because the district permitted a field trip with inadequate supervision. Not only were students placed in an unsafe situation but the Board then had no clue what happened because no chaperone was apparently in a position to report.

How convenient for the Board to have insufficient evidence.

So what were the consequences for Brad Westering, Garfield HS assistant principal who authorized this inadequately chaperoned trip?

oliver messiaen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Mrs. Miller, I'm truly sorry for what your family has been through. It's one of a parent's worst nightmares.

It seems like the interjection of the FBI led to problems and delays.

Mrs. Miller [sic] says:
"Facts: The school district knows that Title IX requires it to commence an immediate investigation regardless of a criminal investigation. This is unambiguously spelled out in the ABCs of Title IX."

From what Puffin posted, it sounds like this is actually a "should" rather than a "must", and that the FBI request took precedence in this case. In typical cases, not on Federal property, the FBI wouldn't be there to make such a request, and local school districts shouldn't wait for local police or sheriff.

Mrs. Miller wrote:
"If the District believed they had to wait to conduct an investigation, why didn't they ask the FBI for updates? The District wrote parents that they were waiting for the FBI to inform them, as though the FBI had a duty to do that."

Yes, the FBI had a duty to do that. If the FBI told the District, "wait until we are done", then someone at the FBI needed to tell them when they were done. Only the FBI knows as soon as it is done.

"Instead, the District relied on the parents to tell them the investigation was over"

It seems clear the District was relying on the FBI instead, and only found out from you querying them that the FBI had finished. Either word was never sent by someone in the FBI, or it was miscommunicated, etc.

It sounds like the chaperoning was terrible. From what has been reported recently, it looks like miscommunications were at fault after that, rather than a "coverup" as members of this blog are hypothesizing.

"Misunderstandings and neglect occasion more mischief in the world than even malice and wickedness. At all events, the two latter are of less frequent occurrence." --Goethe

SaddenedByItAll

Anonymous said...

Saddened by it All,

Thank you for your empathy.

The District had a responsibility to conduct a prompt and equitable investigation. They needed to "be on it." Assuming the District received this instruction from the FBI, the District should have said to the FBI. "We have a responsibility to conduct our investigation. I see you're not coming to Garfield. Are you done?" It must be prompt so the data is fresh and the student can continue her education.


The District should be required to disclose communications to demonstrate how it obeyed the FBI when such behavior violated Title IX. At one point, the district pretended it did conduct a substantive investigation which in fact consisted of a few second hand facts gleaned from one of the teachers who was responsible for the chaperoning. Then, in May, the district said it would undertake an investigation that parents demanded when parents should not have to demand a Title IX investigation.

The District was utterly ignorant of Title IX which is inexcusable. Even though they had a Title IX officer, OSPI had to inform the District in April 2013 of its responsibilities. After hearing from OSPI, the District tried to backpedal, saying it conducted an investigation when in fact they stated it was their policy NOT to conduct an investigation. Our complaint to OCR includes all the relevant contradictory communications from the District.

This delay impacted the parents' ability to make proper decisions regarding their child's education. That's why Title IX specifies a prompt investigation, not one that commences 6 months after the report of assault.

To understand what really occurred, please request a full set of correspondence with the General Counsel.

Thank you for raising questions that allows for constructive dialog.

Mother

Charlie Mas said...

From Board President Peaslee's letter we see that the Board and the District still misunderstand their responsibilities under Title IX, are shirking their duty to keep students safe, and still have their primary focus on themselves, their jobs, and their liability.

Let's be clear. The superintendent and the Board didn't fail to determine that a sexual assault occurred, they positively determined that one did not. Despite their claims that they lacked conclusive evidence (not a credible claim) they were able to reach a conclusion. Their conclusion: no sexual harassment occurred. They concluded that the contact was consensual.

They can't hide behind claims of being unable to reach a conclusion because they reached one.

Anonymous said...

SaddendByItAll - Really, it was all just miscommunications?

Who made the decision not to contact Emily or her family? And I'm sure it was just a miscommunication when Ted Howard would not tell them if the rapist was at school?

Stop making excuses for whatever you want to call it. Garfield and it's holier-than-thou attitude, along with the district, let an ATHLETE RAPE WITHOUT ANY CONSEQUENCES.

Unf*#@ing believable.

pbj

Charlie Mas said...

Again, let's not forget that the Board has taken no action - none - on sexual harassment and Title IX issues despite having audit findings that require action.

Let's not forget the fact that the Title IX officer didn't know his duties was an audit finding - and they have allowed deadlines for action to pass without holding anyone accountable.

Let's not forget the fact that the OSPI found problems with the sexual harassment policy and procedures and required they be updated, but that work has not been done and the Board has not held anyone accountable.

Let's not forget that the annual report on sexual harassment is 18 months overdue and the Board has not asked for it or held anyone accountable.

Let's not forget that the District staff treated this family very shabbily and the Board has not held anyone accountable for that.

The Board can cry these crocodile tears all they want, but we can see their inaction and it speaks much, much louder than their letters.

Anonymous said...

Response to Board President Peaslee's letter

The District's Damage Control in response to public outcry:



School District: "The family asked the District not to interview their daughter, and we respected those wishes."



Fact: Not once did the District ask to interview our daughter in the 3 1/2 months she was available before going into residential treatment for rape in another state. She left at the end of February; the District began its investigation in May.

How did the District "respect our wishes?" When they repeatedly asked to interview the victim, against the advice of her therapist, she was no longer in WA. Were they planning on storming the treatment center? Please explain, Ms. Peaslee, how you respected our wishes?

Our wish was for accountability. Your own board member called out Jose Banda in an email of June 2013 for sweeping our concerns under the rug.

 It's posted on the family's FB site.

After the District failed to conduct a timely investigation, it blamed us for impeding the belated investigation by not allowing interviews and failing to hand over privacy-protected documents. The District's focus on obtaining these documents recalls the disregard for laws that Charles Mas has referred to.

 All of this is amply documented in correspondence.

The school board's new compassionate voice is completely unfamiliar to my ears. What rings familiar is the way the District distorts to appear so benign. The District's previous form letter in response to the public outcry says it’s working with the family. Which family? It’s cooperating with the Federal Investigation, they say. It has no choice, for once.



The compassionate school board never once apologized for the devastation it caused our family. These unfortunate facts must be shared, so the public can weigh them in their evaluation of the District's behavior.




Mother of the victim


Anonymous said...

It seems that the School Board has abdicated responsibility for the welfare of our students. Can the School Board be recalled, and if, so how?


Aviva

Anonymous said...

I think that the Board letter is incredible. This boy hounded this girl out of GHS using Facebook to bully and intimidate her and slur her reputation. He preyed upon her vulnerability and the shame the incident caused her, while adopting a cocky stance that he is so way cool.

I feel completely let down by this Board and this District. Where is Peaslee's compassion? Where is her concern for bullying a kid out of her high school? Blinders. I'd participate in a Board recall based on this.

Dismayed

Anonymous said...

I sat up last night thinking about this and I've clarified my thoughts to this one point with ice cold ramifications.

Safety.

Ask any educator or administrator worth their salt what their baseline duty to their students is. Despite the national heated conversation on learning and achievement, the baseline duty of any school and its higher organization (in Seattle the public school District) isn't learning or achievement at all.

It is safety.

Take every academic expectation away. Every. Single. One. The expectation of student safety remains.

Yes, of course, horrible tragedies still happen. School shootings. Traffic accidents. Gang assaults. Natural disasters. But these things happen DESPITE safety precautions. In general they do not (and certainly should not) happen IN LIEU OF safety precautions.

I am shaken to the core by this incident. I grieve for the families involved. But I am shaken by the incontrovertible fact that SPS apparently does not meet - in a systemic way - its baseline educational duty.

Let me repeat: SPS does not meet its baseline educational duty.

No safety precautions were in place at the city's most lauded high school. Further, no one in the chain of command, from volunteer (chaperone) to teacher to school administrators to District administrators to District legal department to Superintendent to Board pointed out - until the media shone a light - that the baseline duty of SPS was not met.

I have no confidence whatsoever that anyone in the full chain of command, and that includes the Board, understands that this is not about the incident itself. It is about abject failure and dereliction of duty in the full system. Because if this happened at the city's "best" school, it can - and inevitably will - happen at any other SPS school.

Charlie mentions a culture of lawlessness and failure to follow procedures. But that is too gentle and in the case of policies too wonky for the public at large to follow.

It is about the first and foremost duty of SPS. It is about failure.

How can I, a public school supporter, speak up for a District that does not meet - nor does it value - its baseline duty. It's like sending students into a building with inadequate structural support - knowing that it could buckle and harm or kill them at any moment. I would never do it. Any alert parent would never do it.

How can I speak up in favor of SPS again? How can I send my own student to Garfield - or any SPS school - knowing about this baseline failure? Words now are a farce. Actions over the past 2 years are the truth. A truth I have no idea how to get over.

I feel like a devout Catholic unhinged by the sexual predation by priests scandal...suddenly understanding how from top to bottom the system was (is?) rotten.

I don't care whether or not the Board (current or those sitting in 2012) or superintendent or JSCEE staff or JSCEE lawyers or Garfield administrators or Garfield staff or Garfield volunteers understood Title IX. I care that not one single person in the whole system recognized and respected and acted on the baseline duty of the system.

EdVoter

Anonymous said...

Betty,

I am looking at you.

You are a true leader.

You know right from wrong.

You always come down on the side of children. Always.

You have a huge caring heart, and a wise, compassionate soul.

I am asking you now to stand up and be counted when it counts. Don't wait for the right thing to just happen. It's been almost 2 years. Clearly, it's not. Pigs will fly first.

I am therefore asking you now, imploring you, not as a Director, but as a private citizen, to sign the petition, as Mrs. Patu.

Lead the charge. Show the way. If this isn't the biggest civil rights abuse, being raped at school (field trips are the extended school campus), then I don't know what is.

Nobody else stood up for this girl, nobody. Just her family. Think about that. How that feels to her. I'll say it: it's like being raped all over again. That's not hyperbole, that's how it feels. Sadly, I know.

I hope criminal charges are filed. I hope he stands trial.

And, regardless of those criminal proceedings, I hope you choose to stand up for what is right. Even if not one of your colleagues do. Maybe when you do, they too will. Show them. Be the leader. Stand up for children. For girls. Be the standard bearer for justice. I believe in you. Listen to your gut. You know what it is telling you to do.

Sign the petition. Join the side of the angles. Do what you can. Really, this is not a whole lot to ask, to do. And yet, your signature on the petition will be a symbolic salve to those of us who need to believe somebody in the 'system' has integrity.

Seattle Public Schools is no place for hate. Sign the petition, declare it so.

There's a huge problem here, and if the 'buck stops here' doesn't apply anywhere, guess what? It will happen again and again. Principals are the captains of their ships. If they don't own the culture and situations that happen in their schools, then no one does.

Take courage. Like Emily has. Support her. Sign the petition, Mrs. Patu.

You have always been above the fray.

--with love

Anonymous said...

There is NO excuse for the failures here. Ted Howard, Ron English, John Cerqui, Peggy McEvoy, Micheal Tolley were all in SPS in 2008 when a Garfield student was raped in Ghana on a trip. They have no excuse for allowing the same thing to happen again four years later. SPS and GHS should have been all over safety on trips starting in 2000 when they learned that GHS teacher Tom Hudson was engaged in sexual and other misconduct on school trips. But there is no excuse that between 2008 and 2012 nothing was done to learn from and prevent the same thing from happening again. I wonder, does the Board KNOW about the Ghana rape? Do they remember Tom Hudson? Did they pay attention when Ted Hoawrd repeatedly bent and broke rules for other athletes (Tony Wroten)? When are they going to stand up of their students? When are they going to keep our girls safe?

Way back

Catherine said...

I'm going to totally date myself: Lame. This response is totally Lame. It's likely this mess is why Banda left.

Nobody did their job as a:
School Board Member
District Admin Staff
Garfield employee
Garfield volunteer
and frankly the FBI and NPS should be on the list too.


Anonymous said...

I am rather apalled that the teachers who organized the trip weren't fired. Even if this rape, a worst case scenario, hadn't happened just think about the fact that they felt entirely at liberty to bring their families along and to be derelict in their custodial duties during the trip. Guess what, they were right, their higher ups didn't care.

What would it have taken to get some heads to roll, someone dying?

Ann D

Anonymous said...

Has anyone asked the major funding sources for the District such as Alliance for Education and the Seattle Foundation, among others, how they feel about these violations?

Ben

Anonymous said...

Ann D,

The teachers' behavior is indeed reprehensible. They allowed people on the trip that were not authorized to attend, according to the records, including unscreened college students. Have they apologized? They go on with their lives . . . .others will never enjoy the pleasures they take for granted. Triggers. . . . .constant gnawing sadness. Lives destroyed because they selfishly prioritized their personal pleasures over chaperoning students at night.

The assistant principal, Brad Westering, is also culpable because he authorized the trip without following procedures for 3 years in a row, according to the District's own documents. And according to District policies, the principal is ultimately responsible. (Why isn't Brad Westering being recalled in the petition to remove Ted Howard?)

Misconduct must be "egregious," according to General Counsel Ron English. Does it get much worse than this?

The parents' staff complaint encompasses numerous individuals, from Banda, to the legal department, to the teachers, Paul Apostle, Michael Tolley, John Cerqui, the 504 coordinator Carol Rusimovic, to other staff. How can the District adjudicate itself when it is the subject of the misconduct, the parents asked Superintendent Welch of the PSESD?

Internal reviews are not transparent. The District wouldn't tell us when it would complete its investigation--they will only inform us if there are findings of misconduct. Superintendent Welch remained unresponsive to our last letter until this outcry began.

Perhaps the staff complaint should be made available? It's "only" about 50 pages. . . .You may certainly request the full complaint submitted to Michael Tolley from January 2014 onwards. The School Board was copied on all correspondence. They know.

Such facts will assist your evaluation.

-Mother


Anonymous said...

Title IX requires your office to carry out a prompt investigation regardless of any criminal investigation by the FBI. You did not do your job. You do not protect young women students. How can anyone allow daughters to participate in overnight field trips? How can people send students to Garfield HS?

Eckard

Anonymous said...

Dear Mrs. Patu:

Sign the petition.

Silence = complicity.

You either stand with "Emily", or, you stand against her.

To quote Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., "Our lives begin to end the day we are silent about things that matter".

Betty, does that resonate with you?

"We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentors, never the tormented." Elie Weisel.

Take a side, Betty. Sign the petition. Declare where you stand. Pick a side actively, or else, your inaction will declare your side: the side where the rapist stands. That's not who you are.

"Silence in the face of injustice is complicity with the oppressor". Ginetta Sagan (Co-founder Amnesty International USA).

Sign the petition. Stand in solidarity with those who seek justice, who seek to right this wrong.

And finally, I turn to Dr. King again: "we will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people".

Sign the petition. I am not asking any of your colleagues, because frankly, I don't think they have the same level of understanding and love of justice as you do. Maybe they will prove me wrong, and they will all sign it. But in the minimum, I am asking you to sign.

Please, don't make me have to repent for you too, per the words of Dr. King. You are a good person, please, do not remain silent. Please. One person, one single person has to break ranks and stand up for the right. My heart tells me it will be you.

Thank you.

--with love

Greeny said...

I agree wuth EdVoter above: I care that not one single person in the whole system recognized and respected and acted on the baseline duty of the system - the SAFETY of our children.

To which I would add: I care that NOT ONE SINGLE PERSON HAS BEEN HELD ACCOUNTABLE - from the confessed rapist (who admitted Emily said no multiple times...but "i wasn't really paying much attention to her." Plus, at least one mother's report into SPS that her child, present in the cabin at the time, "witnessed a rape." It doesn't seem to me at all that this story necessarily devolves into a "he said/she said" - sure, the one chaperone was asleep in another part of the cabin with earplugs in, but I understand there were at least 2 additional students in the room (the boy that "has [the rapist's] back", and the student witness whose mother wrote SPS,)if not more - I don't think anyone has stated whether or not the FBI investigators even spoke with everyone present in the cabin?), on up the chain, every level, up through the Superintendent(s) and merry henchmen, whose handling of Emily post-rape I find even more reprehensible, and so particularly responsible. I will add to this level of reprehension the now better-informed School Board, if they do not make a course correction and intervene on behalf of this child, and all of our children, in a major, profound way very, very soon.

I agree, EdVoter - SPS IS NOT MEETING ITS BASIC EDUCATIONAL DUTY - SAFETY.

In loco parentis.

Charlie Mas said...

Sent yesterday:

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

Director Peaslee,

I have never been ashamed of you before this moment. Disappointed, sure, but this is the first time you have made me ashamed. Your letter was pathetic and cowardly. It was self-serving, dishonest, and unconvincing.

You cannot deny the fact that your Title IX officer didn't know his job. It was on the Corrective Action Plan tracking tool. The tracking tool also shows that two deadlines for corrective action were missed. A job that should have taken no more than four months was given two years. That’s how important Title IX was to you. No one was held accountable for the failure to take the corrective action. The Board never showed any interest or urgency about it.

You cannot deny the fact that the OSPI called for updated sexual harassment policy and procedures in their latest Consolidated Program Review. The self-imposed deadline for implementing the updated policy and procedure was three weeks ago, but no updates are on the horizon. Again, the Board hasn't held anyone accountable for the failure. The Board has not shown any interest or urgency about it.

There are three other associated required actions regarding sexual harassment or Title IX on the Consolidated Program Review. They are all overdue as well - with no word of impatience from the Board, no one held accountable, no sense of interest or urgency.

The sexual harassment policy calls for an annual report. The policy is nearly three years old but there has yet to be a single annual report. The Board has not called for a report nor have you held anyone accountable for the failure. The Board has not shown any interest or urgency about it.

You may claim to care about these issues, but your actions reflect only a callous indifference. And your actions are talking a lot louder than your words. You say that you care about the victim and her family but when have you ever extended a hand to them or held accountable those in the District who treated them so shabbily?

You say in you letter that the policy and procedures were followed but you know that to be false. You know that the procedures weren't followed. You know that the law was not followed. I don’t know who you think you are fooling with this claim, but everyone who reads it knows it for the lie it is.

So what is this letter about other than a feeble effort to protect your liability and your reputations. Want to protect your liability and your reputations? Enforce the policies and procedures and hold people accountable when they don’t follow them. That will protect your liability and reputation. Trying to whitewash over the failures and inaction will not work.

Instead of writing letters, how about you take real action? First, start enforcing policies. Replace the culture of lawlessness in this district with a culture of compliance. Do it by enforcing policy and holding people accountable when they violate it.

Then bring a motion to rescind the February 25 appeal decision. Fix it. Come clean. The boy acknowledged that she said “no”. Everything after that is unwanted touching by definition. How anyone could be distracted by any other information is bewildering.

Then uphold the pending complaints about the actions (and inactions) of a number of bad actors in this episode. They have strong merit.

But please, don’t write any more craven letters. They just make people angry.

- Charlie Mas

Anonymous said...

So many adults who could have done something, but choosing not to, when faced with the rape of a child. It is the Shayne Hill case all over again. EdVoter is correct - this is about adults not keeping the children in their care safe for harm. I do not know how any of them can sleep at night.

DK

Anonymous said...

No doubt the 2012 and 2013 'training' for field trips was an email memo or two and 15 minutes at a principal's meeting where everyone was whining about paperwork. It was probably led by legal worried about lawsuits, not administrators worried about student safety.

EdVoter nailed it. This isn't about Title IX or this one incident. It is about district-wide lack of importance on student safety.

Peaslee's letter is years late and noticeably short on sincerity. She uses the 'we are all parents we get it' line. Clearly that is false. The minute the details of this incident were publicized last week, SPS parents became horrified and demanded action. Did the 'parents' on the board act the same? No.

DeBell and Smith-Blum were on the board in 2012. And then there's Banda who has now beaten a path out of town. No upper level decisionmaker should be forgotten in this debacle. It is worse than a debacle. It is an abject failure of the full system. No decisionmaker stopped covering their butts long enough to inquire how we could keep *all* SPS students safe in Seattle

The details about the lack of field trip planning and oversight are incontrovertible.

I thought Goodloe-Johnson was horrible. But her attitude and the criminality at JSCEE and the screw up with school closures and low morale in the schools still pales beside learning that SPS does not take student safety seriously.

I cannot believe I am saying this, but the board and superintendent following MGJ has managed to screw up even more than the previous administration. This is a board I liked and a superintendent I tolerated.

Does anyone understand how low this low is?

DistrictWatcher

Horrible said...

"Plus, at least one mother's report into SPS that her child, present in the cabin at the time, "witnessed a rape." It doesn't seem to me at all that this story necessarily devolves into a "he said/she said" "

Unfreaking believable.

A rapist lives free to hurt another individual and there are jerks that "will cover your back".

Peaslee's words ring hollow.

Will this case be taken to a civil court?

Anonymous said...

Exactly when will the larger media outlets in town be covering this story? SPS thinks it can ignore this blog. It won't think the same if the Times or TV or radio covers it.

Cover It

Reader47 said...

Bravo Edvoter Bravo

That is the crucial element here and why I think this particular incident stands out from so many other SPS blunders.

We have lost trust in SPS to protect our children.

Please, if any board members are reading these comments (and I sincerely hope you are - hear this point.

Its about safety.

Anonymous said...

Dear President Peaslee:

"I know many of you are concerned about the story that appeared earlier this week on Al Jazeera America news. "

Really?


Really?


Actually,

No.

"Many" (likely all) of "us" (what, not you too?) are horrified, shocked, and sickened (not "concerned") about the rape (not the "story) that "happened" (not appeared)...

Do you get the distinction?

I am not concerned about a story that appeared last week.

I am devastated for the 15 year old girl who was anally raped, who I just found out about, thanks to Charlie, not to you. I am sickened to see the systematic denial of the rape by the SPS system, which now includes you as the system minder.

Charlie is trying to protect children. I ask you, what are you trying to protect? Or, are you 'just following orders'?

No one forced you to write such a cowardly letter, let alone sign it with your name. That makes you part of all of this.

This last line is so utterly damning:

"The District has procedures in place to respond to incidents of sexual harassment, and those procedures were followed."

No, they weren't. Not before, during, or since, in this particular sad, sad tragedy.

You still don't get it? That is frightening. It's called Title IV. Check it out sometime, like maybe, I don't know, NOW.


No way on God's green earth would I ever sign such a letter. At the end of the day, my self-respect and integrity are what I have. You clearly have neither.

(You know that rape has one of the lowest conviction rates of major felonies? Maybe you don't. You know that prosecutors are people too, and, suffer from 'careerism', and, some will choose to pass on a rape crime because they are concerned about their 'batting averages' for the sake of their career? Maybe you don't. You know that citizens under our penal code do not have the right of private action? Maybe you don't. You get how the US District Attorney did not have all of the facts, and, you get that that office may yet press charges and issue an arrest warrant once they learn more facts about the lying witness and the witness they didn't know about? Maybe you don't. You get that case was not dismissed with prejudice? You might be surprised at how truth and justice can find a way to prevail, and how will your missive be judged in hindsight when it does?)

Maybe you should reread your letter. Maybe you should resign.

Take English with you. Fortunately, Banda has already packed it in.

-here's hoping.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone chaperone an overnight field trip this year? I did. Administrators might have gotten extra training on the duties of chaperones but I don't remember getting any training as a chaperone. What I do remember is that I had to take a day off work to get fingerprints taken at the Stanford Center and how shocked I was at the ridiculous 2 hour process involving taking a number to go up the elevator to the administrative offices, where I got another piece of paper. Then, after I did that, the requirement to have fingerprints was rescinded. I paid out of my own pocket. The parent and teacher chaperones on our trip took their jobs seriously. There were 2 parents in every cabin and the kids had no choice but go to sleep with lights out and were I instructed wo wake us if they needed to use the restroom and night and to take a buddy and check in on return. Maybe telling us to do that was the training?

Anonymous said...

Oops above

Gen Ed Mom

Melissa Westbrook said...

PUffin said this:
Peaslee: As soon as the District learned the FBI investigation was complete we conducted our own independent investigation.
DCL: "Schools should not wait for the conclusion of a criminal investigation or criminal proceeding to begin their own Title IX investigation and, if needed, must take immediate steps to protect the student in the educational setting. For example, a school should not delay conducting its own investigation or taking steps to protect the complainant because it wants to see whether the alleged perpetrator will be found guilty of a crime. In addition, a criminal investigation into allegations of sexual violence does not relieve the school of its duty under Title IX to resolve complaints promptly and equitably."

Incredibly damning. I had wondered - because of the wording of Peaslee's statement why the district would wait or wouldn't be preparing their own investigation the minute the FBI was done.

Dan said,

"The Board concluded that it did not have sufficient evidence that a sexual assault OCCURRED.

Why?

Because the district permitted a field trip with inadequate supervision. Not only were students placed in an unsafe situation but the Board then had no clue what happened because no chaperone was apparently in a position to report."

THIS is what we, as parents, can rise up against. We are not in the position to decide the nature of the incident or assault. (It would be interesting to know what the Title IX investigation - which does NOT seem to be what the district's investigation was - would have been.)

But the lack of oversight and follow-thru on what the adults on this trip were to be doing is what WE can hold the district's feet to the fire over.

I have consistently told Board and staff (and I did to a staff member just last week) - just tell the WHOLE truth. If what you believe should happen is different from what I believe should happen, BUT you followed your policies and procedures, then I guess I have to live with that.

But when I see that information is being left out or distorted in a narrative, I get very upset. I see this as revisionist history being rewritten by the district and that cannot stand.

If it's not a "coverup", then why can't the district blankly say, "and discussions about field trip work have been made with appropriate personnel." It is difficult to just sit back and wonder if the actual staff on duty were told they did not follow procedure.

No one wants to hurt anyone's career but taking care of a group of students is a tremendous responsibility and one they raised their hand to do. That after the first night when there already was evidence that students were acting out, they should have clamped down and hard.

Bravo on your comments, EdVoter. Calm and right to the point.

Ben, the ed reform types ALWAYS ignore this stuff. It's not their concern frankly and, since they likely want the district to be taken over at some point, it works for their narrative.

Anonymous said...

Peaslee's letter: · The District has requested the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights, to work with us in evaluating and improving our procedures to ensure full compliance with all federal and state requirements regarding sexual harassment and assault.


What a load. No doubt the district was being investigated and THEN English or whoever wrote one of those fake bureaucratic letters saying that the district would work with the Feds.

Did the district go to the Office of Civil Rights as a proactive measure? Let's make the bet "No Way. Not in a Million Years."

Try again on that PR campaign SPS administration and Board. That letter sucks. The attempt to cover your a$$es in the face of blatant neglect of student safety issues suck. This District's callous disregard for our kids sucks.

Students First

ConcernedSPSParent said...

If the district is under investigation peaslee's 'has requested' comment makes my blood boil.

Charlie Mas said...

The District IS under investigation. That was a critical element of the Al Jezeera article - that Seattle Public Schools is one of 23 K-12 school districts nationwide that are under investigation.

Charlie Mas said...

Here's the letter that the School Board should have written:

Dear Seattle Public Schools principals, staff and community,

I know many of you are outraged by the story that appeared earlier this week on Al Jazeera America news. I want to assure you that all School Board members – who are also parents – are remorseful and ashamed by our multiple failures to take sexual harassment issues seriously, our multiple failures to act, and our multiple failures to hold staff accountable for their inaction.

Please forgive us. We are horrified by the consequences of our failure and will take immediate action to address those failures.


You see, it is impossible to forgive people who don't acknowledge that they have done wrong.

Charlie Mas said...

A friend of mine recently commented on Facebook that it doesn't matter if the staff gets more training on the policy and procedure. The problem wasn't that they didn't know it or couldn't look it up. The problem is that they knew that they didn't have to follow it. Better training will not improve compliance because poor training wasn't the reason for non-compliance. The non-compliance was due to non-enforcement and the total absence of accountability.

More training won't help, but more enforcement will. Start holding people accountable and they will start to comply.

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

Reprinting for Anonymous (no anonymous comments and I find it interesting that you want to defend someone and yet post anonymously).

"So why even take field trips then?
This scares the hell out of me as a teacher.

You all LOVE us (teachers) when we sell out for peanuts to benefit your kids. But when a rapist acts on their own its the blame of someone else and not the rapist.

So the action of someone else is the teacher's fault? Right. You all have no clue of the positive the lead teacher of this trip does. She is amazing and has changed the lives of many people.
All of that does not matter now though because you want her head to roll because of a rapist.

I am not talking about the lack of action after the incident I am talking about the blaming of everyone except the rapist.
How could Westering predict what would happen?? How can adults sit up all night awake and not sleep. They physically cant... if you do that then during the day an injury occurs due to sleep deprivation and a different law suit happens. Why doesn't the district send along a team of people to pull graveyard shift so us average joes pulling $28 an hour to teach can sleep during the night and ... TEACH.. during the day?.?... or just have zero field trips.

You all took field trips in school. How can you possibly control kids? You cant. We cant.
I do my best each 55 minute period to control kids. Ultimately... you cant.

This is why I don't and wont take overnight field trips. You cannot control 100% of the kids 100% of the time and predict 100% of any negative thing that could happen.

You can of course control how the SSD reacts to the allegations following the incident. Throw your rocks there. "

First, no one is saying that the teachers involved or assistant principal are bad people who don't know their jobs. No one said that.

Second, it is very unclear what teachers/parents/ hired chaperones were told in the way of duties.

Third, the alleged rape happened on the SECOND night after the first night when kids acted out. This is documented. I am sorry but I've had teenagers in my house and my life. You do NOT turn a blind eye when they act out. You don't turn a blind eye when you are responsible.

No one is saying, "just blame the chaperones."

In fact, most of the comments are squarely directed right at senior staff.

But there is plenty of blame/responsibility to go around.

Anonymous said...

If parents could control how SPS reacts to anything I don't think this blog would exist. Are you seriously defending the way this field trip was run? You can't stay up all night and you can't control 100 percent of everything every kid does so you just give up, don't bring enough chaperones along, have the adults who actually know the kids sleep in a seperate area from the kids, put ear plugs in (ear plugs!) and let the kids party all night in each other's cabins? I have been on plenty of well run field trips both as a student and as a parent volunteer. Field trips are not a vacation for teachers. Was this teacher being paid to go in the trip? Then she was at work. Parent volunteers don't get paid but the last field trip I was on, I worked the whole time. I set limits for kids at meal times, during outdoor class times, and in the cabin in the evenings. I was constantly reminding them of the rules and making sure things didnt start to get out of hand. That's what I signed up for. I would want NO part of a field trip run like the one where the student was raped. And I would want no part of a school where people defend such a field trip. I am sorry, but you are wrong. You CAN make a good faith attempt to protect the students in your care. And those teachers and administrators did not do that.

Gen Ed Mom

Reader47 said...

I'm sorry but the purpose of chaperoning is to...um chaperone. If things as stated got out hand the first night, then YES, all the adults on this trip, however marvelous they may be, share some blame for this incident. I agree with Melissa - anyone who spends time around teens knows that if you don't squash bad behavior early, then it will only get worse. Its the nature of the developmental stage these kids are at.

So YES, that lead teacher and ALL the other adults present share some blame. There's a legal concept called culpability and several of the defintions seem mighty applicable to me:
1. A person causes a result recklessly if he/she is aware of and disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk of the result occurring from the action

2. A person causes a result negligently if there is a substantial and unjustifiable risk he/she is unaware of but should be aware of

Charlie Mas said...

Sometimes, even when you do your best, bad things happen. In such a case, you would be blameless.

This isn't such a case. There's no way that anyone can convince me that these chaperones did their best. No way.

Puffin said...

Dear Victim's Family,

Thank you for educating us about Title IX. We didn't know about it before you told us.

Sincerely,

Ron English for the Seattle School District

Charlie Mas said...

A constituent received a message from Director McLaren that was similarly defensive and self-serving. It, too, contained misrepresentations (lies).

Here it is:


I am certain that all of us adults in the district who know anything about this incident are deeply distressed by it. In addition, I am extremely saddened at the conclusions that a you, a concerned parent, are drawing from the incomplete information that we are permitted to share about the episode involving the Garfield student.

Without the slightest reservation, having previously been a teacher and substitute teacher in many schools districtwide, I can attest to the tremendous sense of responsibility that every adult member of Seattle Public Schools feels about student safety. Student safety is, and has always been, the first concern of Seattle Public School educators, other school staff, administrators, and school leaders, up to and including us, the School Board Directors.

In a large system with many schools, it is very complicated and challenging to systematize safety procedures and accountability; nonetheless, this is a duty that is understood by all to be paramount in the district. If, in spite of our care, something bad does happen, there are many lessons to be learned, and we are extremely aggressive in identifying and learning those lessons – whether they pertain to preventing future harm or to improving the response to such an incident.

We in the district are doing all we can to prevent such events in the future. And, we are working tirelessly to be sure that we respond in the most constructive and sensitive way possible if any student does experience harm.

Yours truly,

Marty McLaren
Board Director
Seattle Public Schools District VI


Director McLaren writes about how bad things can happen "in spite of our care", but the standard of care practiced on this field trip was woefully inadequate. So she doesn't get to use that as an excuse.

Director McLaren claims that the District staff "are extremely aggressive in identifying and learning those lessons" but they have not been aggressive in following the sexual harassment policy and procedure, they have not been aggressive in enforcing it, they have not been aggressive in holding people accountable for violating it, and they have not been aggressive in taking required actions in response to audit findings. As far as "lessons learned" go, what lessons did they learn from the rape on a Garfield school trip in 2008?

Finally, Director McLaren's claim that they will "respond in the most constructive and sensitive way possible" is directly contradicted by the communications with the victim's family which, when not actually non-responsive, were misleading, defensive, adversarial, arrogant, and callous.

It's pretty clear that Director McLaren just doesn't get it. I'm sure she means well, but she doesn't know what she's talking about and it is causing her to spread lies. She needs to stop doing that.

Melissa Westbrook said...


In a large system with many schools, it is very complicated and challenging to systematize safety procedures and accountability; nonetheless, this is a duty that is understood by all to be paramount in the district.

What?! No, it isn't complicated. You set up policies and procedures, make it clear to all that they have to be followed for that all-important safety she speaks of. Saying safety is "paramount" won't make it so.

"And, we are working tirelessly to be sure that we respond in the most constructive and sensitive way possible if any student does experience harm."

But Marty, that did not happen. The chaperones did not work "tirelessly" on this trip (at least not by the evidence) and the response to what happened? Not good.

Again, accountability.

Charlie, I don't if it's so much spreading lies as refusing to accept the oversight role they are charged with. I'm not sure I could put my head on my pillow at night if I knew that I had done virtually nothing - and believed those who also have oversight responsibility really had done poorly by this family.

Where's the accountability?

Charlie Mas said...

Over and over again we see that the problem is not inadequate policies or procedures but the absence of any enforcement and the absence of any accountability for those who violate the policies and procedures.

And who has the job of enforcing policy and holding staff accountable? The Board.

Anonymous said...

Read between the lines, people.

"[I'm saddened at the conclusions that you] are drawing from the incomplete information that we are permitted to share about the episode"

So these board members, who seemed all right before now, are suddenly complicit in some silent coverup? They're not idiots or stooges, people. There are more facts they are not allowed to tell us. And while you assume it's to protect the District, it's more likely to protect "Emily". I'm pretty sure any of them would have resigned rather than protecting the District (by staying silent about a rape coverup).

Note that two media articles said that she broke curfew and went to the boys' area, not the other way around. She went to the alleged assailant and started a groping game, the articles said. This is why the family likely won't sue him. And it's why suing the District for the chaperoning per se would be awkward. "No means no" from then on, of course, but it does indeed become a he said she said, and the precise recollections of witnesses becomes important. People here act like they know all those facts, first hand, and they don't. The board (and the FBI) has heard many more details than you have.

A week ago you wouldn't have thought the board members (being intelligent, caring parents) would cover up a rape, and guess what? The truth is probably more complicated than that. You have partial facts. Use some critical thinking, people.

TakeABreath

Anonymous said...

Take a Breath,

The information we have also shows that the chaperones seemed to have let it be known after the first night that they didn't care at all if the kids "broke curfew" and played around in each others cabins. This is so far from "best practices" for high school field trips that its not even funny. And yet we had a teacher come on here and defend the way the field trip was run. We also have the boy's own words. He admitted she said no, he said "I wasn't paying that much attention to her" . Maybe there is more information that we don't know, but this information that we DO know shows the teachers and school administration bear a good degree of fault here and the boy admitted to rape by the "no means no" definition. (Maybe you have another definition, but that's the one I'm using). Why were staff not held accountable? Why is it only her fault and not the boy's.
GEM

Charlie Mas said...

TakeABreath,

Okay. Let's say that absolutely everything that happened that night was initiated by the girl - just for the sake of argument.

That's not the problem. I'll recite the list of problems for you again:

1) No enforcement of the rules for students.
2) No students held accountable for breaking the rules for students.
3) No enforcement of the rules for the chaperones.
4) No one held accountable for breaking the rules for chaperones.
5) The sexual harassment procedure was not followed.
6) No enforcement of the sexual harassment procedure.
7) No one held accountable for violating the sexual harassment procedure.
8) The sexual harassment policy was not followed.
9) No enforcement of the sexual harassment policy.
10) No one held accountable for violating the sexual harassment policy.
11) Title IX laws were broken.
12) No enforcement of Title IX laws.
13) No one held accountable for breaking Title IX laws.
14) No required actions taken to address audit findings of deficiencies in sexual harassment policy.
15) No one held accountable for failing to take required action to address audit findings of deficiencies in sexual harassment policy.
16) No required actions taken to address audit findings of deficiencies in sexual harassment procedures.
17) No one held accountable for failing to take required action to address audit findings of deficiencies in sexual harassment procedures.
18) No required actions taken to address audit findings of deficiencies in Title IX practices.
19) No one held accountable for failing to take required action to address audit findings of deficiencies in Title IX practices.
20) The aggressive, callous, and adversarial tone in the communications with the victim's family.
21) No one held accountable for the aggressive, callous, and adversarial tone in the communications with the victim's family.
22) The refusal to respond to the victim's family.
23) No one held accountable for refusing to respond to the victim's family.

Are you seeing a pattern?

24) The fact that an inconclusive finding is equivalent to determination that no sexual harassment occurred.
25) The large quantity of irrelevant "blame the victim" information gathered and reported by the District's "investigator".
26) The absurd decision from the superintendent based on irrelevant information and his conflict of interest.
27) The Board's conflict of interest in their choice at the appeal.

Whether the girl's complaint is valid is not really the point here. We can't fix that. There is no action we can take to address a past event. But we sure as hell can demand that the superintendent and the Board start enforcing policies and procedures and we sure as hell can demand that they hold people accountable.

Charlie Mas said...

By the way, I happen to believe that the girl's complaint is valid.

Charlie Mas said...

Also, I wouldn't jump to any conclusions about why the family isn't suing the boy. It's very likely that he is judgement-proof. What could they sue him for? His iPhone?

Lynn said...

Take a Breath,

Once he acknowledged that she said no - it doesn't really matter how things got started. Nevertheless, I've read the Al Jazeera article and listened to the King 5 and KIRO 7 reports. None of those claimed she started a groping game. Where do you read that? I saw the sickening description of his version of red light green light. That is not likely to deflect blame from him.

I believe the family is suing the district - so we'll see whether that's awkward for the chaperones, staff, administrators and board. The family is not claiming the board covered up a rape. They're being accused of not responding to the event appropriately. I can certainly see a situation where Ron English convinced them they had no recourse or responsibility once the FBI chose not to charge the boy.

GEM - thank you for being a sensible, responsible chaperone, parent and advocate. I admire you and am so glad there are parents like you in our schools.

Melissa Westbrook said...

"She went to the alleged assailant and started a groping game, the articles said. This is why the family likely won't sue him. And it's why suing the District for the chaperoning per se would be awkward. "No means no" from then on, of course, but it does indeed become a he said she said, and the precise recollections of witnesses becomes important."

You have come dangerously close to the line of saying this was her fault. I don't care what she started - if she said stop, no, that's it.

(Also if the chaperones had been doing their jobs, it is unlikely this would have happened, given the goings on of the first night.)

Melissa Westbrook said...

I personally have accused no one of a coverup. Not doing your job is not the same as trying to cover something up.

Anonymous said...

We have two kids at Garfield - and this incident has precipitated several conversations for us as a family.

Our conversation with our son is "no is no is no is no"...it doesn't matter the circumstances that led up to the "no", it doesn't matter what has happened between two people prior to the "no" etc. It is very important that we stress that to our sons. They are not wild animals who are incapable of using their brains to stop a situation. Rape is a disgusting, indefensible act. If "Emily" said "no" - she meant "no" and that should have been the end of the story. Regardless of her sneaking into his cabin, regardless if they had had sex 10 times before, regardless of irresponsible chaperones, principal, teachers, administration, board, superintendent etc.

With our daughter the conversation has been about being smart about her choices. Women are forced to consider the situation in which they find themselves and try to minimize risk. Be Smart - make good choices. Not realistic 100% of the time, but a necessary reality for women. We talk about it often at this point, as she gets ready to head off to college.

As a Garfield parent, I do think that Ted Howard should be relieved of his duties as principal. It is not based on this event alone, but this is definitely the nail in the coffin for me.

-GHS parent

Anonymous said...

Just reread my comment - and in no way am I suggesting or insinuating that they had sex 10 times before - just trying to make my point that nothing matters except the "no".

-GHS Parent

Anonymous said...

As a family member of the victim, I find it unfortunate that people reach conclusions about events at the camp with such an incomplete understanding of the facts. All of us struggle with this owing to an incomplete, belated investigation; but to speculate about the circumstances of the assault seems a misplaced emphasis.

We should be asking why a student with a known prior history of sexual misconduct/possible assault was left to act on on his impulses while teachers slept in a distant location, ignorant of chaperoning procedures.

Before jumping to conclusion, we need to understand the context, such as advice the male student posted on FB to dupe women, to **** them like animals, the discussions about **** sex teachers had to break up, and the male student's testimony to the school investigator who was incredulous that the victim would voluntarily submit to 10 minutes of **** sex.

No, this is not the story of one lone girl going into the boys' cabin. This was a two day party environment with students packed into each other's rooms, according to the NPS report. (The District didn't reveal that).. Despite NaturBridge rules prohibiting students from entering each other's cabins--students were allowed to leave their cabins day and night. Girls fell asleep in the boys' cabin, a paranoid boy was found under a girl's bed (according to the NPS report). What about two other girls who slept in the boys cabin--what is their story? Why did the district interview only a few people that were friends of the assailant?

A room full of classmates isn't a location for as assignation. If kids wanted to be intimate, they could have easily wandered into a private location. The bed checks did not occur. Readers need the facts. Unfortunately, the District failed to incorporate any of the information the family supplied into their report, so it is a flawed document at best.

Speculation may be interesting but it's not productive --the focus should be the negligence that allowed an environment where a student--previously emergency excluded for having sex in the bushes in middle school at lunch--could be under supervised while teachers chose to sleep in a distant part of the camp, leaving the chaperoning to two unscreened college students. Only one screened chaperone was in charge of the 27 students, and none of the adults on the trip had read the rules.

Family