Friday, July 25, 2014

The Volume is Going up on the Garfield Rape Case

The Stranger has a very pointed article - with questions posed just as Charlie has - on the topic of the Garfield field trip rape incident.

There is also this from Monisha Harrell:

I’m an Alum of Garfield High School, and until yesterday I sang “I’m So Glad I go to Garfield High” with pride.  Please read the attached petition to understand why I believe we as a community need to push for new leadership.  We are giving the adults who were supposed to provide a safe environment a pass because we don’t want to be too harsh, but what should the penalty be for a lax school culture that encourages additional assaults through inaction?  When do we decide to stand up for our young people?

I’m asking you to draw a line in the sand, and send a message. We must have new leadership at Garfield High School.

On-line petition for a New Garfield Principal for 2014-2015.

Dr. Nyland has his work cut out for him.


Anonymous said...

BRAVO! Did you think of adding Assistant Principal Brad Westering? According to documents in the district's records, he approved the field trip to NatureBridge [sic] where the student was raped for 3 years in a row without meeting the pre-planning requirements. He approved the field trip without a male chaperone. . . . .The principals are responsible for the safety of students, according to district policies. Is it possible to recall the teachers who didn't read or enforce the rules?

I will help you in your quest.

--Aviva, a former Garfield parent

ConcernedSPSParent said...

If I do not see a post on reddit tomorrow I will post an article.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Aviva, I'm thinking you meant that Westering planned the trip for three years (not that a student got raped three years in a row).

The teachers and principals are hired personnel so they can't be "recalled." Is there something in their file? Impossible to know. Maybe they aren't allowed to do field trips any more.

Anonymous said...

This situation was not resolved because there was a HUGE Conflict of Interest!! All of SPS was on the side of the rapist because, strange but true, their interests were in complete alignment. In contrast, SPS and "Emily's" interests were diametrically opposed. If SPS admits wrong, they might loose jobs, income, get sued. If they maintain there was no rape, then they have zero consequences.

Fundamental misalignment: Everyone, and, I mean everyone, who works for SPS was incentivized to make this go away.

All the Garfield employees (teachers, Principal) needed this to have not have happened, because their jobs were at stake. Their ineptitude put "Emily" in danger, and there may have been real consequences for that. If they had done a rigorous follow-up, their own investigation would reveal that protocols were not followed, so, that slackness, that ignoring of the rules, policy and procedure allowed for the conditions for her to be attacked. They may have lost their jobs. They may have been sued. They may have had problems that would have haunted their careers. So, when they were suppose to do the right thing, and, 'investigate' this, were they in a big hurray to get to the bottom of it? To label themselves culpable? Clearly, not. They obfuscated like champions. Nice way to treat the family.

Similarly, all the JSCEE employees were in a conflict of interest too. Instead of focusing on "Emily" and protecting her, they knew there was a lot at stake. Looks like they were focused on protecting money and their own reputations. A girl was raped, and, they clearly knew there could be a big law suit, so were they incentivized to produce evidence in their investigation of their wrong-doing, the missteps Garfield did by not following procedure leading up to and during the trip? No. Then, did they want to highlight their own lack of diligence and following procedure post-rape, during their investigation? No. To highlight their non-compliance with policy and procedure would simply validate the claims should a law suit materialize. That is one huge conflict of interest. That is why an outside organization with no interest should have done the internal SPS investigation. The District's attorney, Mr. English, dealing with this? His interest is to protect his employer, not, find the truth. He is not an officer of the court. He is a hired advocate, for the District. Seen in this light, is it any wonder Banda said there was no problem? It sickens me the Board went along with this. They can be recalled for this. I am so sad.

And, this isn't just about protecting "Emily". It is about protecting every other girl who attends Garfield. If the rapist is still there, you can bet he will reoffend. No girl is safe there is she doesn't know his identity. Can you imagine the fallout if he did it again at Garfield? And created another victim?

And, to the rapist: guess what? Check out the statute of limitations for this felony. It is not lapsed! They can still come for you! In a squad car, with handcuffs, dude. No charges were filed, but, that does not mean they still can't be filed! Think about that for the next 7 years. (Perhaps the FBI also didn't want to see the Park sued and wanted to not go forward with charges, because they didn't want to create a conviction that could be used as evidence in civil suit.)

Anonymous said...

meant to sign above:

Conflicted Interest

Anonymous said...

While there may or may not be prosecutable evidence that a rape or harassment took place, there is incontrovertible evidence that district rules as to field trip chaperoning and field trip conduct were violated. If there are no charges filed on the sexual side, as a parent with young children I still expect serious consequences for the way the trip was planned and conducted. This would include teaching staff, administration and chaperones. I would like these consequences to be made public and to be used internally as a point in staff training - beginning with the coming school year. I would like that training to be documentable to the public.

I am absolutely appalled by the lack of chaperone screening and lack of behavior correction on this trip.

I am also very disappointed that neither JSCEE staff nor the board have in any written correspondence demanded chaperone and field trip rules be followed. No written correspondence even shows that a question was asked about chaperoning and field trip rules. This is aside from the rape case and it is the very very very very very least the district could have done in response to the incident. Instead- crickets. Horrid behavior by senior staff and board. Horrid.

Central Parent

Anonymous said...

Throwing students under the bus and letting staff members slide by in cases of sexual molestation, rape, and other abuses is not new to this district. How many millions were paid out for the Shane Hill case, where staff knew he was molesting students for two decades? The vice principal during that time, Terry Skjei, is now a principal at Viewridge. Nothing ever happened to any of the other principals or staff who knew for years about it, either.

What about the Roosevelt student who was raped on campus in 2008 by a student who was already a registered sex offender? Or the Rainier Beach HS rape case in 2007, where another girl was raped on campus in a bathroom? She told teachers and staff and nothing was done about it until her relatives brought her to the police days later. What happened to the involved staff there?

I am so glad an outside agency is looking into the district here, and I hope they look beyond this one tragic case. The inability of too many adults in this system to follow even basic human decency, much less the laws regarding mandatory reporting, are shocking beyond belief.


Melissa Westbrook said...

All good points.

I actually think it wise to keep the pressure on the district and Board.

They may say "can't say anything on a pending litigation." Fine. They may say, "can't discuss personnel matters." Fine.


They also can say, "These are the concrete steps we have taken from this incident, both for Garfield and district-wide."

Parents need to know they can trust the district with their children especially far from home.

I cannot see any reason why the Board and/or the district cannot issue a better, more comprehensive statement than they have.

mirmac1 said...

If there is a proven complaint and something is in their file, that is public information.

mirmac1 said...

Some may recall that the 13-14 started with more stringent chaperone screening and training, including fingerprint checks. I will lay bets it is because of this incident. And the incumbent board members were aware of whatever staff permitted them know about.

Charlie Mas said...

There's plenty here to hold the Board accountable for - and it's more than their vote to uphold the superintendent's absurd determination that no sexual harassment occurred.

The Board has not enforced a requirement of Policy 3208 that calls for an annual report. Of course, they could call for it now. And they could hold accountable the people who were supposed to have produced that report and haven't.

The Board has not demanded an update to policy 3208 and the procedures as required by an OSPI Consolidated Program Review. Of course, they could do that now. And they could hold accountable the people who were supposed to have completed that task three weeks ago and haven't.

The Board has not demanded any action on the Corrective Action Plan tracking tool. Of course they could do that now. And they could hold accountable the people who have failed to accomplish those tasks to date.

The Board has not held anyone accountable or required the superintendent to hold anyone accountable for the utter failure to follow the policy and procedure. Of course they could do that now.

The Board hasn't reached out to the victim or her family like ordinary, decent human beings. Of course they could do that now.

The Board hasn't held anyone on the staff accountable for their callous and adversarial treatment of the victim and her family. Of course they could do that now.

Finally, there is one more past failing that the Board could address now. They could vote to rescind their decision made at the appeal. Yep. It's in Robert's Rules of Order, a motion to rescind. Such a motion can be made at any time. So the next time they are in Executive Session, one of them could bring a motion to rescind.

Leo said...

The commenters make very valid points.

It is imprudent not to have chaperones watching high students all night long.

Why was the superintendent and board asked to make a determination regarding an investigation? It seems, to me, that this is beyond the scope of a superintendent and board. To me, this is something that needs to be handled within the court system.

I also have to question the role of legal council. Is it the role of legal to protect the school district?

Years ago, Ron English argued that the MLK building be sold to First AME because MGJ wanted to give the property to First AME. In essence, English will argue his boss's position.

In addition, perhaps one must look at the process related to Title 9 investigations.

We have staff moving dollars for preschool trips, too.

I'm sure there are plenty of good people within the JSS building, but it smells like a cesspool, too.

Anonymous said...

I think there are at least four different questions raised by this incident. 1) whether a prosecutable felony occurred and whether there was any bias in the decision making about prosecution. I'm not going to weight in on that one, because I think we simply lack the data to contribute. 2) whether Title IX violations occurred within the school. On this one, it seems that some of the documents suggest that at the very least Title IX required policies were not followed; I hope that investigation will proceed and we'll learn the facts completely 3) whether chaperoning rules in place at the time were followed. Seems like not, and that violation should have consequences. 4) what chaperoning rules are now, and whether they are now being followed.

All the questions are important, but the one personally relevant to me is the current state of chaperoning. What are the rules? Is there anyone who can link to a SOP on chaperoning? I ask not only because I don't know what they are, but because, I might one day have to enforce them as a parent, and the presumptions others have are not the ones I would make.


Anonymous said...

"Finally, there is one more past failing that the Board could address now. They could vote to rescind their decision made at the appeal. "

I don't think we have the facts to demand this -- though, of course, we simply don't have the facts. Reconsideration seems a more reasonable demand, if in fact, the board approved the appeal casually, without consideration of the evidence themselves (something I can imagine happening, with the board assuming that a summary given to them by staff is complete, unbiased and accurate).

I can't be sure, but I get the impression that "Emily" is either unable or unwilling to testify (outside of admission of journals that she wrote). If this is the case (and, I am making a guess, so I could be wrong), legally determining facts on key incidents becomes difficult (though, again, not impossible).


Anonymous said...

Remember that this isn't a "he said she said" case because there were other students in the room. A thorough investigation would involve interviewing eye witnesses. At least one other person tried to report that a rape took place according to public records that are posted on the family's FB page. Also the boy's statements to the school include him saying she said no and also that he didn't really pay that much attention to what she was saying while he was having sex with her. We might not have all the facts, but we have enough to see that this investigation was held in a Kangaroo Court where the boy was presumed innocent despite his own statements and eyewitness testimony to the contrary. And the burden of proof for Title IX investigations is supposed to be LOWER. Sorry, but all this "we don't have enough information" and speculating about what the victim wants and what's best for her without having spoken with her or her family is the stuff our rape culture is built on. This is WHY the rapists get away with it.
Gen Ed Mom

Charlie Mas said...

Dr. Nyland has his work cut out for him.

Here's a quick, little task list for Dr. Nyland:

1. Appoint an ad hoc committee, as described in the sexual harassment procedure 3208SP, to review and recommend revisions to the Sexual Harassment policy and procedure and to draft the annual report required in Policy 3208.

2. Deliver some real and meaningful consequences to the district employees who failed to protect students on that field trip.

3. Deliver some real and meaningful consequences to the district employees who failed to follow the sexual harassment policy and procedure in the aftermath of the rape.

4. Deliver some real and meaningful consequences to the district employees who were callous, arrogant, or adversarial to the victim and her family in their communications and actions in the aftermath of the rape.

5. Deliver some real and meaningful consequences to the district employees who were non-responsive to the victim and her family in the aftermath of the rape.

6. Expedite all of the overdue corrective actions around sexual harassment policy and procedure and Title IX.

7. Deliver some real and meaningful consequences to the district employees who missed deadlines on those corrective actions.

8. Re-open the family's sexual harassment complaint and determine it based on the relevant facts.

9. Expedite the determination on the family's complaints against district staff for their various failures regarding this case.

10. Make it exceptionally clear that there is a new sheriff in town and that you expect - and demand - that staff adhere to policies and procedures and that there will be real and meaningful consequences for those who don't.

That's the work that's cut out for Dr. Nyland.

Melissa Westbrook said...

To note, Ms. Harrell is Councilman Bruce Harrell's niece and worked on his campaign for mayor. He is the 1976 valedictorian for Garfield.

Ann D said...

Wishing there was a like button for Charlie's posts.

Anonymous said...

Gen ED Mom, Anonymous, and Others:

The District fails to provide information that would answer your questions.

Yesterday, the District wrote it was sending out the parents' Oct. 18, '13 response to the District's skewed investigation without including essential information we parents provided, e.g. National Parks Service reports with the assailant's testimony acknowledging rape. For the complete thread, request all correspondence between Julie Barbello and the parents from July29-August 1, 2014.

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: lack of transparency
Date: Fri, 01 Aug 2014 16:25:34 -0700
To: Barbello, Julie A
CC: SchoolBoard ,, "

Ms. Barbello,

Yesterday at 9:58 AM I informed you that our Oct. 18, 2013 response to the District [‘s investigation] was missing vital information, including the assailant's testimony that he raped our daughter. Instead of responding to the information that essential information was missing, you stated at 2:38 PM that you were sending the document out as is, without the essential information. You emailed us the document you were sending out, even though it lacked the essential information we informed you of that morning.

[Parents strongly objected in writing]

Today you say [on the phone] you were "planning to add the attachments," with the essential information even though you stated [wrote] the document was complete yesterday, already knowing from my 9:58 email that it was NOT complete.

The District is not in compliance with the requirement to provide complete records. . . . Parents of a sexually assaulted student--or any student--should not have to perform a watchdog role over public records requests.

It's also another example of the way the District says one thing, but then when caught not following laws, tries to find an explanation: "We were planning to add the missing attachments," even though the District knew that the attachments were missing at the time the record was announced as ready for release.



To summarize: the District is denying sexual assault to excuse its deplorable chaperoning. If there is no assault, the chaperoning is fine, and there is no liability. The District is trying to deflect the focus from its failed chaperoning and failure to implement Title IX by claiming a rape did not occur. It blames everyone, including the FBI, the victim, and her family, for its own failures.

The assault was entirely preventable if only the District had followed the required planning and chaperoning policies. The principal, teachers, and chaperones failed to read and to implement the required procedures.

We intend to make more information available on our FB page