Thursday, August 28, 2014

Guest Post on Garfield Field Trip Rape

Please support a much more critical demonstration next Wed, Sept 3rd, at the Seattle School Board meeting.  The District is making decisions about its next step regarding the Garfield HS rape victim. We know the District’s response was outrageous, but the general public must also become educated. The self-serving Seattle Times reporting did nothing to inform the public of the facts. We know the District still pretends that no assault occurred (despite the assailant's testimony to raping/sodomizing and medical information); the District takes no responsibility for its deplorable chaperoning, nothing is wrong. The victim wasn’t even the recipient of sexual harassment, they determined.  Yeah right.  A successful student’s life was ruined on a school field trip where chaperones and staff failed to supervise. It was entirely and easily preventable.

If we can object powerfully at this juncture, we send a strong message that the public is NOT going to tolerate the lawlessness that informs so many of the District's behaviors.

DEMONSTRATION WED. SEPT 3 at 4:15 School Board meeting. 75-100+ people needed to express their outrage at the District for discounting sexual assault, the negligence that led to this easily preventable rape/sodomy (and other students' assaults), and the District’s failure to follow its own laws.

We must demand that the District stop endangering students/duping the public. The District will only respond to this kind of visible protest.  

If there is one good deed to do for this effort, please do it on Sept 3rd!  Because our first group of demonstrators will have returned to college, we need your help. Enlist your non-profit/spiritual community. Bring your kids after school, friends, and meet others who care.  Show up late if necessary! Fill up your car!  

Posters: Easily preventable sexual assault/willful negligence/lawlessness/ Peaslee resign!

In addition, or if you can’t make it, write a short email  expressing disgust at the District's negligence, hollow promises, and ongoing violations after the 2012 rape as demonstrated in the District's own documents. Links to these documents and a mailing list is posted on stop sexual assault in high school Facebook page

Ask for School Board President Peaslee's resignation. Write:  and copy those on the mailing list.  She's the reason why victims are afraid to report.  Watch her outrageous performance--end of school board video

If you can't be at the Sept 3rd demonstration, let us know if you can come on Thursday, Sept. 4.  If you can't come, picket school district building Tuesday during hours when employees enter/leave the building/lunch. Check out GHS's alum's site:

Grateful Parents


Anonymous said...

Why are you not asking for the ouster of the Garfield staff that allowed a completely unsupervised field trip to take place? The episode rests not only on the failure to supervise but the failure to even plan to supervise.

Principal, Assistant Principal, Teacher are apparently not even censured about this episode unless I have missed something.


ConcernedSPSParent said...

...or Sherry Carr who on multiple occasions allowed the district to be non-compliant with the audit findings that no fully trained Title IX officer existed?. This resulted in the district not having the expertise when it was most needed.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Aghast, you will NEVER see a public censure of a staff member. Opens the district up to a lawsuit. There might be something in the file (and the Superintendent said something vague about Garfield staff in his letter).

I'm checking into this and so far, I don't like what I see.

Anonymous said...

Given Peaslee's statement that Ted Howard has the board's full support it is mighty hard to imagine that any discipline happened within Garfield. Though the public is not privy to personnel records, any civil lawsuit by the family should be able to ferret out whether the district did or did not take action within Garfield. Shouldn't it?

Also agree with point that the chain of command at JSCEE who left the Title IX federal oversight duties unmanned should also be censured. Who was administratively responsible for seeing that position staffed and duties taking place. The superintendent? And certainly the Title IX representative himself, Paul Apostle, needs to be named in picketing whether or not he has left the district.

There may be reason to picket with Peaslee's name, but it seems like the signs should focus more on the names of those directly in the line of school supervision - Garfield people - and federal compliance - JSCEE people - who utterly failed.

Will calling for Peaslee's head solve anything? Seems that if Seattle employees see some actual paid employees heads roll that something might change. Some lame-a$$$ed promise at a lame a$$ed advisory committee to move forward is not even close to the emphasis needed to assure that all kids will start with a baseline of safety when off school premises.


mirmac1 said...

If they got a letter in the file, it is open to disclosure without redaction. If the charges were deemed unfounded, only redacted copies of investigation etc are disclosed.

Karen said...

The parents filed a complaint against specific staff, which can be found at .

The GHS rape case is symptomatic of a general lack of accountability that pervades the district. Charlie Mas says it far better than I could in

Anonymous said...

985Aghast: THIS IS WHY WE NEED ALL OF YOU expressing public outrage.

We parents submitted a comprehensive staff complaint, as Karen pointed out. It's worth reading because in it you'll see how people lied, how the District denied the information in their own documents! The District's response was to reduce our complaint to four people: the negligent teachers, Howard, and Westering. Moreover, the District's regularly hired investigator trivialized the complaint. You can see our 4 page pointed response which should generate a revolution in the public's minds--if only this group would take the time to disseminate this information to the general public.

No one was sanctioned. We demanded an independent entity to review the complaint. After you read it, please write us at and suggest what we should do. It is so shocking that it's worthy of a demonstration--express your disgust at the lawlessness and negligence that allowed a student and her family to be devastated.

Link to complaint (Feb. 2014) against teachers, principal, superintendent, legal department, 504 coordinator and others. Read first hand descriptions of what has transpired and the District's own documents.

Here is the link to District’s “unbiased” investigation of negligence and parents’ response (Aug. 2014) revealing District’s lies:

Now look at this if you want to be further horrified:

Link to formal complaints to the District/OSPI and their response (aimed at mitigating liability)

Now the absolute worst with a trigger warning.
*****Link to documented response to District’s “unbiased” investigation of rape detailing errors and omissions with assailant’s account of the rape to National Parks Service investigators, prior disciplinary history, victim’s account, references to redacted medical information, retaliatory online postings, etc.

Remember that the school board determined that there was no sexual harassment--after all this objective information--to protect their liability for the negligence. That's the fundamental problem we're asking people to post on their signs at the Sept 3 rally at the school board meeting. Please make an effort to attend with the sign of your choice.


Anonymous said...

I was a victim of sexual assault, both by a stranger and by an acquaintance. I realize that most of what I want to write will get slammed or deleted. So, let me just say that I’m glad nobody ever said my life was ruined. Because it wasn’t. Darling, we are stronger than that.
SPS mom

Anonymous said...

Dear SPS mom, I agree that the victim of the GHS rape is not destined to be "ruined". People do survive traumatic incidents and go on to be strong. That is my hope for this girl. I worry about the incident being talked about repeatedly by the mom and what effect that has on her. I hope she is moving towards a place of strength realizing that this incident does not define her. With the NO is NO campaign I worry that girls do not realize that danger lurks when they get themselves into a situation they can't get out of, where someone else has control. I also experienced some grey areas when I was young and learned about what I shouldn't have done so that I would have been safer. NO is NO does not protect a girl when she is in a dangerous place.

Anonymous said...

I am a successful woman in her 50's who was sexually assaulted on more than one occasion before I reached high school. Though I would not say my life was ruined, my life was definitely altered by those experiences. And during my youth, in the immediate aftermath, my life was an absolute mess.

What caused the most damage to me was not the actual assaults. It was the denial by the adults around me that it either happened, or their accusations that I was somehow at fault, even partially, for being in the situation in the first place. Undoing that specific damage was costly and extremely time consuming for me and my family.

The harm being done by the adults at SPS to this girl is very real. From what I gather, no one within the school system has stepped up and acknowledged that this girl was assaulted. It sure looks like everyone is trying to save themselves at the expense of this girl and her family.

Do not fault the mother or the family here for trying to make sure that their child is supported in this particular circumstance. There is more than one way to react to an assault on a child, and that is especially true when the assault continues to be unacknowledged by the adults in authority. And every family supports its own in their own fashion, so what works for them may not work for you.

I have walked a mile in these shoes, and it altered everything in my life. I did survive and eventually thrive, but it was a very difficult time for a while. My saving grace was a mother who supported and believed in me, despite the tut tutting of others around her, during a time when sexual assaults were not spoken about and victims were blamed for getting themselves into the situation in the first place. I am forever thankful that she saw beyond that, and stood up for me when no one else did, despite their disapproval. I would not have made it without her.


Anonymous said...

Thanks, Survivor, for sharing your experience. There are so many facets to the subject. It is definitely not the victim's fault, but looking back on some of my experiences I realize that some of the things I did did not keep me safe. The other side of this and actually the most relevant in this sad case is what response has SPS had? SPS has taken a CYA response with no compassion for the victim. I continually wonder if anyone at SPS or the board thinks about what they would feel if it was their daughter, sister, niece or grand daughter who had this happen? How would they react or how what actions would they take?

joanna said...

yes, Survivor, I want to thank you for your comments. Support for a victim and acknowledgement of the wrongs done do make a big difference in surviving and healing, while recognizing your own strength to heal. I think those comments are important for the victims of bullying too. Those adults make a difference.