Saturday, September 06, 2014

So What Have They Done?

Since the sexual assault complaint that arose on a Garfield High School field trip to NatureBridge in November of 2012, we have heard from the Seattle Public Schools Board of Directors and senior management about how seriously they regard it and how committed they are to tightening up procedures, policy, and compliance. But what have they actually done? Shockingly little. And let's remember that they have had almost two years since that day. Almost two years and they haven't really done anything.

We got the lip service. We got the crocodile tears. What we didn't get was any real movement towards improved policies, procedures, or practices. Nor have we seen any movement to hold anyone accountable for failures to follow the policy or procedures. Instead, we've seen the Board and the senior management close ranks to not only excuse the non-compliance, not only condone the non-compliance, but actually defend the non-compliance. I'm sorry, but how tragic do the outcomes have to be before anyone will take this seriously? Does someone have to die?

Oh, but they will claim that they have done so much. Really? What have they done?



They have appointed new Title IX officials. They don't really deserve any credit for this. They had to appoint someone new because the previous one, Paul Apostle, retired.

They are making sure that the new Title IX officers know and understand their responsibilities. This is a nice way of saying that they allowed the previous Title IX officer to be ignorant of his. They allowed that for a year and a half after the reported rape. They allowed Mr. Apostle to continue in the role despite the fact that he didn't know his responsibilities or perform his duties, and they allowed him to continue untrained. What reason do we have to believe that they will confirm the training of the new Title IX officials? What reason do we have to believe that they will demand that they be promptly trained? Why didn't they demand that of Mr. Apostle? The Board Audit Committee and the senior staff were aware of the fact that he wasn't trained. They never - not even after the reported rape - made it priority that he get trained. By the way, the new Title IX officers haven't been trained yet. I'll believe that they will be trained when they are trained. Not before. The promise to train them is worthless - like all of the District's other promises.

They are drafting a new sexual harassment policy. They don't really deserve any credit for that. The OSPI Consolidated Program Review required it. But, they are responsible for the failure to follow the policy and the failure to hold anyone accountable for failing to follow the policy. And, in case you are thinking that, since the reported rape they would, for sure, based on their solemn statements of commitment, be following the policy now, you would be wrong. They are not following the policy. The policy requires an annual report. They have had nearly two years since the reported rape and the senior staff has not produced the report and the Board has not demanded it. They are no more concerned about policy compliance now than they ever were, which is to say that they aren't concerned about it at all. By the way, given the lip service they have paid to this issue, you might thing that they would be prompt about revising that policy. Nope. They are past the deadline they set for themselves for the CPR required action. It was supposed to have been done by July 1. I guess it just wasn't a priority.

There will be a revised superintendent's procedure on sexual harassment. Again, as with the policy, they don't deserve any credit because it is a required action from the OSPI Consolidated Program Review and, as with the policy, they never held anyone accountable for failing to follow the procedure and they aren't following the procedure now. The procedure, by the way, requires the superintendent to form an ad hoc task force annually to review reports, review the procedure, and recommend revisions. Hmmm. Kinda like the task force that a lot of people have been asking for at Board meetings. As with the policy, it's pretty clear that despite their claims the Board and the senior staff are no more interested in compliance after the reported rape than they were before: not at all. They have had nearly two years and haven't formed that committee or called for its formation. By the way, given the lip service they have paid to this issue, you might thing that they would be prompt about revising that procedure. Nope. They are past the deadline they set for themselves for the CPR required action. It was supposed to have been done by July 1. I guess it just wasn't a priority.

They are working with the Office of Civil Rights and the OSPI to improve their practices. No, they aren't. They are being investigated by the OCR and the OSPI. There's a difference. If the police come to my house and search it for your missing jewels I can't claim that I'm working with the police to find them.

The District is conducting training on sexual harassment for building leaders. Again, they don't get credit for this. First, because it's unclear if they actually are doing this training. Second, because there is no indication that the training meets any minimum standard. Third, because annual training is a regulatory requirement and has never been done before - not even in the other opportunities since the reported rape.

The District will post notices about sexual harassment. No credit. These notices have been a legal requirement all along and have been absent to date - even in the two years since the reported rape. They had all of that time to improve their practices and they didn't. Clearly they are not taking these actions in response to the rape report or the complaint, but in response to the press about it.

The District has tightened procedures for field trip chaperones. Have they? Where are these procedures? If they are so proud of these procedures, why can't we see them? Why aren't they posted on the District web site with the other superintendent procedures? Let's see the procedures so we can decide for ourselves if they are an improvement. Let's also see the old procedures. More to the point, who cares? It won't make any difference if they change the policies and procedures if they don't follow those policies and procedures. The problem wasn't that the policies and procedures were inadequate before, the problem was that they were ignored. Have they taken any steps to improve enforcement? No. Enforcement remains an alien concept.

UPDATE: Not only is this purported procedure not listed among the superintendent procedures on the District web site, it is not among the superintendent procedure changes reported to the school board in their Friday memos. Policy requires the superintendent to report all procedure changes to the Board and he does it with an annual report in the Friday memo. There is no field trip procedure update in either the 2011/2012 report or the 2012/2013 report.

There is no evidence that field trip procedures were ever changed - the District's only actual claimed response.

The District has developed a Critical Incident Response Plan. Actually, the District had the Critical Incident Response Plan before, they've just updated it. And I've read the plan. It's a public relations plan to manage the District's image, not an action plan to respond to danger. Want to know why they haven't posted the Critical Incident Response Plan to the District web site so everyone can see it? Because they are not proud of it.

I see the Board and the senior management working very hard to convince people that they take sexual harassment and assault seriously, but I don't see them working very hard on actually doing something about it.

Here's what they could do:
  1. Acknowledge the failure to follow the field trip and chaperone policy and procedure.
  2. Hold people accountable for their failure to comply with chaperone and field trip policy and procedure in the NatureBridge case.
  3. Acknowledge the failure to follow the sexual harassment policy and procedure in the NatureBridge case. This statement actually appears in Board President Peaslee's letter to the community about the case: "The District has procedures in place to respond to incidents of sexual harassment, and those procedures were followed." This childish denial needs to stop.
  4. Hold people accountable for their failure to follow policy and procedure in the NatureBridge case.

    Are you noticing a theme?
  5. Demand the annual report required in the current policy.
  6. Hold staff accountable for the failure to produce the annual report in the past.
  7. Demand the annual task force be formed.
  8. Hold staff accountable for the failure to form the annual task force in the past.
  9. Demand the required notices be posted.
  10. Hold staff accountable for the failure to post the required notices in the past.
  11. Demand the annual training be done. In particular, the training should put a focus on the idea of consent - what is and is not consent. For example, a woman does not consent to sex by entering a man's room. That does not give him license to rape her. Here's another example: A woman does not consent to sex by making out with a man. That does not give him license to rape her. Consent isn't really that tricky a concept.
  12. Hold staff accountable for the failure to conduct the annual training in the past.
  13. Speak kindly and humanely with the victim and her family. Acknowledge the shabby treatment they have received from the district in the past.
  14. Hold staff accountable for their shabby treatment of the victim and her family.
  15. Advise Mr. Banda and Mr. Apostle that, in the event of litigation, the District will not provide them with legal defense. Moreover, that if the District must settle or pay damages, that the District will sue them in turn to recover those costs. Those bastards are on their own for what they did.
  16. Demand that the District stop treating an inconclusive results as if they were conclusively negative results.
Anything else?

113 comments:

K. said...

This issue is still under investigation and I have no reason to believe that the board is not taking this issue seriously.

The board can not publicly speak about this issue until the investigation is over.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Charlie, for standing up for our daughters.
NEmom

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

Please explain--what investigation is going on? The District terminated its own investigation once it received documentation that cast it in a negative light. It finalized a draft report that never incorporated the parents' information, as stated they would. So the investigation of the assault is over

The District then completed its internal staff investigation that the parents also demanded. The District's pathetic report and parents' response is on SPS leaks.

The OCR investigation will take 1-2 years, we were told. Can't speak until that investigation is over? Says who? Ron English? "We couldn't do anything because the FBI told us not to," the District claimed. KIRO 7 busted that excuse too. . . . .

SSAIHS

Anonymous said...

Dear 9:05,
Who is pathetic?
SPSparent

ConcernedSPSParent said...

Does anyone have details on the original audit finding that highlighted the fact the district had no trained Title IX officer?

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

Ignore the troll, not worth any effort at all.

Anonymous said...

Yeah but. What does "hold staff accountable" really mean? I think it really means nothing, and is an unrealistic platitude. At the end of the day, there is no accountability. What are you going to do? Fire everybody? Dock their pay? Well, the supe quit. Have things improved because someone isn't there? In the case of pay, salaries are negotiated by unions for most employees, so that accountability vehicle is off the table. Maybe you're talking about a little piece of paper in a file cabinet somewhere. Do you think that would be an accountability measure? Would things be better if some people were reprimanded with pieces of paper? In a different department, for a different reason, the Sped Exec Dir was "held accountable", eg. fired. Did that have any systemic desired effect? None that I can see. Accountability really is a fiction. Best to take it off your list. Then what do you have as a recommendation?

Reader

Stu said...

Reader wrote: Then what do you have as a recommendation?

Yes, fire some people. Personally, I think that the major issue facing the district is accountability. The staff, and administration to some extent, is never held accountable for not complying with rules or deadlines. Every single time a staff member shows up to a meeting without the necessary, or required, information. the situation gets worth 'cause there are no repercussions. So, since no one gets censured or fired or fined or anything, no one cares if deadlines come and go.

In this particular case, the lack of compliance with rules, regulations, LAWS, training requirements, chaperone regulations and screenings, all lead to a horrific event happening. And STILL no one's held accountable.

So, yes, I think you fire some people . . . you show that you take these things seriously. (The board would even have the extra added bonus of covering their asses in the event of eventual lawsuits . . .win, win.)

Just once before I die, I'd love to see a board member interrupt an unprepared staffer with a "we asked for this months ago; if this isn't on my desk by 8 am tomorrow morning, you're fired!" That would be so sweet . . . and it would be the right thing to do!

stu

PS - I realize that, in the Garfield rape case, the outrage is currently centered on the inaction of SPS. Everyone seems to be shying away from coming down on the boy involved, since the issue at the moment is the lack of district supervision and Title IX compliance, but let's not forget that in the initial interview the boy said that the girl SAID STOP! There is no "alleged rape" here, regardless of who understands what;by definition it's rape and, at the bare minimum, the boy should have been the one who had to leave Garfield or the Seattle Public Schools. My two cents.

Anonymous said...

Just look at the District's priorities though: they can let all these GenEd and JSCEE bigshots slide where Garfield is concerned, while taking aim at the special education director for much less serious offenses. I'm sorry, but interfering with an RPF process is not really very scary considering that every single consulting company is going to tell SPS and OSPI the same thing. Much much more scary is the side show going on in regards to Garfield. This district is something else.

Moving on

Anonymous said...

Well Stu, Charlie.... Let's just fire 'em . ???? Ain't gonna happen. You need to move on and get over that one. Is there a different suggestion? Without that, it's all just a bunch of huffing and puffing.

Reader

Anonymous said...

@ConcernedSPSParent

I found one of the audits discussing the fact the Title IX coordinator was untrained.

See page 82 of http://www.seattleschools.org/modules/groups/homepagefiles/cms/1583136/File/Departmental%20Content/Business%20&%20Finance/2013-14%20CPR%20Response%20Submitted.pdf

"Statement will be written which assures that the assigned
employees are aware of their designated roles regarding
Section 504, Title IX, and civil rights compliance. The statement
will be signed by each of the assigned employees. The
assignments are:
 Section 504 (student) – Carole Rusimovic
 Section 504 (adult) – Paul Apostle
 Title IX – Paul Apostle
 CR Compliance Coordinator – Bernardo Ruiz"

The deadline given for training Paul Apostle was May 2014. At this point, he'd been the Title IX coordinator for at least a year and a half. I've heard that the deadline was later extended to fall 2014. There was also an earlier audit (~ 4 months after he became Title IX Coord., I think), that showed that he wasn't trained then.

-Karen

ConcernedSPSParent said...

Thanks Karen

Mary Griffin said...

Stu,

Board members can't fire anyone other than the Superintendent.

wantchange said...

One of my biggest concerns is that the Board is responsible for hiring the next Superintendent. Right now I have no faith that they will focus their efforts on bringing in a leader with the guts to deal with these issues. How can community members push for this in an effective way?

Charlie Mas said...

The current fetish for accountability at Seattle Public Schools was started by Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson. Way back when she first started going on about accountability I started asking her - and everyone else who talked about accountability - the question: "What will accountability look like?" I have yet to hear a cogent answer, so I can't offer one to Reader.

The people I asking to provide accountability are all people who have promised accountability. So I will defer to them. Whatever accountability they promised, that's the accountability I want.

It could be a piece of paper in someone's personnel file. I'll take that. I could be a denied promotion down the road. I don't think they can fine anyone and I don't imagine that they will actually fire anyone. Remember, these are the people who just doubled down on their support for the Garfield principal, a man who committed a lot of wrongs in this case.

The whole question of accountability can't even really be discussed until the Board and the senior management even acknowledge that any mistakes were made. They haven't done that yet. Let's get them to acknowledge that policy, procedure, regulations, and the law were broken before we try to get them to take the steps that come after that. Remember, Director Peaslee's letter to the community clearly states that all of the procedures were followed.

Anonymous said...

"Additionally, a school’s investigation and hearing processes cannot be equitable unless they are impartial. Therefore, any real or perceived conflicts of interest between the fact-finder or decision-maker and the parties should be disclosed." (OCR Dear Colleague Letter, 2011)

Ron English, general counsel, assumed Paul Apostle's role, a conflict of interest that is specifically prohibited in the Title IX Dear Colleague Letter. Now consider this:

McEvoy and Tolley shut down the complaints and put the District's agenda ahead of student welfare. How can they be transformed into objective Title IX officers given their long history putting the District's legal agenda first?

The way the shut down the complaints is detailed in the parents' staff complaint response at SPS Leaks and the sex assault case documents PDF available from the District or parents. A few files are temporarily unavailable online at SPS Leaks.

Victim's mom

Stu said...

Reader - Yes, fire the staff that is not doing their job. Yes, fire the administrators who put the district at risk, legally, by not following the law.

And I know that the board itself can't fire . . . blah, blah, blah. What I'm saying is that there will NEVER, EVER, EVER, be any change without accountability. Until someone in the district steps forward and says "if you don't do your job or follow the law you can't work for SPS" nothing changes.

Every single item that Charlie lists, every single legal document or district report that's allowed to slip past a deadline yet again, or in many cases never gets produced, is SOMEONE'S responsibility and that person should be fired.

It's not really that dramatic a thing . . .after the first one or two, I bet a lot of things get finished on time. And you know what? The economy is such that I bet there are some really qualified people out there who would jump at a high-paying job with the district.

If the staff or administration can flaunt the laws, ignore the rules, and show complete disregard for the requests of the board for details and reports, without consequence, why would anyone ever expect anything different to happen the next time.

stu

Anonymous said...

Wait, Ron English, the district's legal counsel, appointed himself the Title IX officer during the time period that the district was determining culpability?

That seems actionable, if it is true.

Observer

ConcernedSPSParent said...

A large chuck of blame here with staff flaunting the Board is the Board encourages it. Take the Title IX position, Apostle was given 4 months to be qualified. After 4 months it has not been done, so what does Sherry Carr the chair of the Audit and Finance Committee do?, she gives him eight more. After 8 months he reports back that it has still not been done. What does Carr do?. She gives him a year!. She is sending a pretty clear message to staff right there...why would any staff member take anything Carr requests seriously?

Anonymous said...

I guess what I hope for is that things are put in place so that the next time this happens, someone who should have been responsible will be fired. From a preventive point of view, I'd take the assistant principal who approved the field trip in this case. It only travelled up the ladder because boss after boss sided with the perp.

And there will be a next time. With this kind of culture, you know it will happen again and again.

Chris

ps: I'm not really clear on the timing, but it seems the stuff the district did (that it should have been doing all along) it did not really in response to the incident, but in response to the knowledge that is was going to become public. I am proud of those parents and thankful that they alerted us to the myriad layers of danger and hostility our daughters face.

Anonymous said...

Shouldn't the board be starting its search fora new super? Is there going to be an advisory committee?This whole process is completely under the control of board. This is what they do to exert authority.
For goddess's sake,they sure got involved, some of them, in the math book selection. This is their bailiwick. This is what they are really there to do.
If they make a good pick, things will get better. It's as simple as that.
Now of course maybe they're all over it in secret, I doubt it though.
Come on, Board!

hippie

Anonymous said...

Stu, where you been? The economy has turned around. Unemployment is dramatically down. I wouldn't count on the recent stacks of well qualified resumes. Nope. Nobody's getting fired. Move on. Charlie put it correctly. Accountability is a fetish. Right up there with a rabbit foot keychain. It isn't going to happen or accomplish anything.

Reader

dw said...

Charlie said: ...support for the Garfield principal, a man who committed a lot of wrongs in this case.

Charlie, I keep reading people's comments demanding the principal's head/job, but at least from what I've read (a lot, but not nearly everything), he's nowhere near the top of my list of culpable suspects. I know if I ask you to back up your "a lot of wrongs", you can come up with a long list of items, most of them fuzzy in nature, but very convincing in the context which you'll create. I know your style and you're very, very skilled at persuasive writing. ;-) But are there one or two specific, clear-cut things which stand out in your mind as something he clearly did on his own (not "under orders"), that would justify something like an online petition for him to be fired?

I'll start things off: I do think it's possible that a culture of being soft on certain rules might have been in place at Garfield, which might have helped enable poor rule-following by his staff, leading to a situation where something bad like this could happen. This might be a problem, on its own, would not lead me down a path of pursuing termination. First, it's fuzzy. It would be very difficult to prove this was the case (and I'm not even saying that it is, just that I believe it's a possibility). Second, you'd have to dig very carefully and very deep to determine what types of rules were treated laxly by the administration, vs those that weren't. Third, you'd have to interview many people to understand whether the rules were broken with a wink and a nod from the principal or whether they were broken behind his back without his permission. Where the buck stops when it flows upstream through the chain of command is often very difficult to determine with clarity. For example, I'm fairly confident that as soon as Legal got wind of what was happening, much of the principal's freedom in this matter was taken out of his hands. I can easily imagine a situation where downtown was calling the shots and Mr. Howard was stuck in the middle trying to figure out what he can do or say with Legal breathing down his neck. This is speculation, of course, but it's at least as feasible to me as any other scenario.

All this said, I agree wholeheartedly with Stu about someone bearing some real responsibility for this. And not just this, but many irresponsible messes the district has found themselves in over the years. People who commit egregious mistakes, especially repeated ones, should be terminated. I will also point out that I'm sure people DO get fired over major screw ups. We, the public, are very unlikely to ever hear about these situations because that's just not the way things are done. You don't generally call out your employee on a public stage when you fire them!

(more below)

dw said...

(continued)

So here's my list of responsible parties:

1) Westering. If anyone should be fired over this, I think it's him. Not understanding how to follow policy is no excuse. If you can't figure out how to properly follow policy, then you don't authorize a field trip. His signatures were all over the permission forms.

2) The teachers. Probably not fireable, but they should have notes of reprimand in their files. They get to keep their jobs, but they're on a much shorter leash with a reprimand in their file than otherwise. I really doubt either of them will make the mistakes they did again.

2.5) The chaperones were guilty of neglect as well, but there's no practical way to hold them responsible, and if you tried to do so you'd never get another chaperoned field trip in SPS again.

3) Legal/English. The lead-up that enabled a poorly supervised field trip was bad enough. But the follow-up from downtown is one of the biggest piles of CYA I've ever seen. The documents I've read are appalling in their lack of care for the victim, and the lack of objective oversight in the written responses, etc. A task force with at least a couple independent people on board needs to be created!

4) Apostle/Carr. WTF?! What a ridiculous and disgusting lack of follow-through and oversight. You can't fire Apostle at this point, but a recall on Carr?

5) After the above, now I start considering the principal, but from most of what I've read I felt like the situation was more of him being stuck in a no-win situation after-the-fact. I'm open to hear specifics that might change my mind, but remember, if there's a likelihood that what he said or did was being controlled by Legal, you have to consider what you'd do in the same situation.

Fire away!

ConcernedSPSParent said...

Nice post dw.

Charlie Mas said...

Thank you, DW, for an excellent comment.

I will spare you my persuasive powers regarding Mr. Howard and his culpability. I think your list is very good. I will, however, add one item that may have slipped your attention.

The teachers are subject to a lot more accountability than you might imagine. They can lose their certification if they commit a violation of the professional code of conduct. It would be very, very easy for someone to find their negligence in chaperoning as such a violation.

WAC 181-87-060 prohibits a “flagrant disregard or clear abandonment of generally recognized professional standards in the course of… supervision of students.” Leaving the students at night and going off to sleep in cabins hundreds of feet away sure sounds like a clear abandonment of supervision to me.

Charlie Mas said...

A petition for recall needs Court approval. The Court will only approve it if the elected official has committed an act of malfeasance. While Director Carr's inaction may be nonfeasance, I don't think it would rise (sink?) to the level of malfeasance. She was slack and callous, but not malicious.

Anonymous said...

Hi Guys! I'm comment #9/6/14, 9:05 PM

Just wanted to explain myself about how you guys are all pathetic! So I happen to actually be a student at SPS and have read this blog somewhat. You guys, especially the author of this blog are what you would call a "cyber-bully" in the halls of schools. You are constantly harassing anybody that doesn't agree with you.Students aren't allowed to do this, so why are you able to? Because you guys are adults? Seems like you have gone down to the level of children. I have a feeling you guys will attack me for this comment because you attack everyone who makes comments that you don't like. tsk tsk. If this is coming from a student you know y'all screwed up some way or another.

~Student

Eric B said...

Re: the Garfield principal, the biggest thing that stands out is that bullies were able to drive the victim from the school. Regardless of anything else in the case, whether an assault was committed or not, whether the field trip was properly supervised or not, you can't avoid the fact that a student was pushed out by bullies. That is a failure of school leadership that can't be argued.

Isn't this the same principal who oversaw the fake language classes for star basketball students? If so, why wasn't this the final nail in the coffin?

@Student, the difference is that the debate here is whether professionals in public service did their job. They work for the public and as such face public scrutiny. That's part of what they signed up for with the job.

Charlie Mas said...

Student, whom have I harassed?

Charlie Mas said...

Given all of the talk about the new field trip procedure, imagine my surprise to discover that there is none.

Anonymous said...

Student, as someone who is often on the receiving end of many commenters ire, I don't believe what you are suggesting is actually cyber-bullying. The major difference here is that 99% of the commenters are anonymous and 100% of the commenters are here voluntarily. If someone doesn't like how someone reacts to them or makes them feel bad or threatened, they can simply never join this forum again and no one would be the wiser.

If you're talking about how President Peaslee is being taken to task, that's not really bullying either. She is the person in authority and with the power. The dynamic is wrong to call what's happening to her as bullying. There may in fact be people who are threatening her and intimidating her but it's not happening on this forum.

Lastly, check yourself. Your adolescent moral superiority is laughable. You are more than welcome to join this adult discussion and provide your opinions and insights. But the moral high ground you've claimed comes across as childish as you've suggested others are acting.

--- swk

Anonymous said...

Yea student, so true. the bullying is of dissenting voices in the form of sarcasm or ridicule or misrepresentation or just plain old scorn. and the accusations and hate-mongering against the school administrators...
Melissa and Charlie have a right to say what they want and it's their blog but inciting people to mob action... One day it's going to go too far. Some impressionable and unstable person will act out based on the rabble that is constantly roused on this blog. Peaslee was probably warned by security or police that someone was after her. People are calling her an apologist for the rape culture. That is insane.
If one takes her and other board members at face value, there are facts we the public are not entitled to know and they provide some context to the story. If the district goes to court after the inevitable lawsuit, we will find out those facts. As an observer of many lawsuits, the parents are trying to avoid a court battle and are, I believe, angling for a settlement. For one thing, all their blog postings are now evidence and they can be painted as trying to influence the trial, if there iS one.

@student

Keep reading, keep posting. When they either ridicule you or ignore you, you've interrupted the hive-mind of the blog. But that's a good thing.

BlingBling

Anonymous said...

Charlie,
I think there are new volunteer and field trip procedures? I've volunteered for years and only had to get the WATCH background check run. Now -per the volunteering page (and our PTA) there are a few new things I don't recall ever having to do before. For example, Read the volunteer handbook and sign the acknowledgment page. Overnight chaperones have to be fingerprinted now (I think that's new? but am not sure). And there is an online training (Adult Sexual Misconduct Video) that we are supposed to take.

Granted it's all based on compliance, but it does look like there is progress.

Again, I'm not sure if they are new, or have been there and are just now being enforced. I just know they are new to me.

Thanks.
NW mom

Irresponsible Charlie said...

"Melissa and Charlie have a right to say what they want and it's their blog but inciting people to mob action... One day it's going to go too far."

I agree. NO ONE on this blog has seen all the information and assertions are being made about MINORS.

I really encourage Charlie and others to think about what they are doing.

Charlie would be smart to focus on policy and refrain from making comments regarding minors and elected officials.

Go ahead and fire away.

Charlie Mas said...

Irresponsible Charlie: what assertions?

momof3 said...

@NWmom

I volunteered for a day field trip last year and had to do all of the things you mentioned (except the fingerprinting). I know that at least some schools were enforcing that policy last year. Not sure when it came into existence, but those policies were in place last year for sure. Whether or not all schools followed them is another matter...

Charlie Mas said...

It does appear that the district is doing something different around volunteers, field trips, and chaperones, but they talk and write about a new procedure when there is no procedure - old or new. There is no documentation that describes the requirements, which is damn convenient for those who get caught not having met the requirements.

Eric B said...

@BlingBling, When did someone on this blog call for physical action against Peaslee or anyone else? Sure, they said to show up to rallies for a variety of issues, write to Board or legislators, and the like but violence? I've never seen that.

Anonymous said...

an example of consensual becoming rape and the response of a educational institution and the police.

http://columbiaspectator.com/multimedia/2014/09/02/emma-sulkowicz-cc-15-mix-performance-art-protest

there are links to her story and lawsuits about title IX compliance.

And today we see the brutal attack of an NFL player on his now wife.

Ya things are messed up and we need lots of improvement.

It was just 3 days ago the CDC reported 1 in 5 women are raped in their lifetime and 71% reported sexual violence, physical violence or stalking.

As a statistic that means many thousands of our current students. Thousands of girls and young women currently in SPS.

This does not minimize the Garfield issue but puts it in perspective. The problem is mind numbingly common. I would like to see the district come out with some forceful zero tolerance policies an sexual assault. They seem tougher on pot than rape.

Hope

Anonymous said...

ericB.
I would direct to Director Peters' post today

suep. said...

Everyone, please - While I respect the right of the public to protest, I seriously question the appropriateness of protesting at an individual school board member’s community meeting.

While the protesters at the two recent school board meetings have been peaceful and thoughtful, how can anyone here guarantee that an open call on a public blog to protest a public individual in an unprotected public place (a library) would not attract less peaceful types? You can’t.

There have been enough examples of random violent acts, both locally and nationally, for this to foster a legitimately threatening situation.

Melissa, while there may not have been police at the last two SB meetings, there was security present. This would not have been the case at the library yesterday.

Also, please consider what effect this call for a protest may have had on those who wished to speak with Director Peaslee about other issues and consequently did not get that opportunity yesterday, and what the potentially intimidating presence of protesters might have had on these other community members.

Perhaps most importantly, I believe the Board president is the wrong focus, here. Policy, procedure and law, and the district’s duty to follow and enforce all of the above is where the focus should be.

I urge everyone not to undermine their legitimate concerns with threatening personal actions.

At a certain point, such actions can become hypocritical.

Thank you.

Sue Peters
9/7

Evidently she feels there is a possibility of violence. This blog is whipping up a mob mentality and it serves no one.
Watch the video of the Columbia student. She wants her rapist expelled but she not fostering hate.

BlingBling

Greenwoody said...

Nobody's whipping up threats or hate. Elected officials face protest all the time, it comes with the job, and they need to face it like adults. Peaslee is the one who is stoking the outrage by claiming the victim wasn't raped and making the district's rape culture problem a lot worse. All the protesters were looking for was a chance to tell that to Peaslee and to plead with her to come to her senses and change course before it destroys her ability to lead this district. Perhaps it already has.

Irresponsible Charlie said...

Charlie is in Virginia and is unaware of the work actually being done in our schools. I also believe that even if Charlie does research policy etc. he might not get it right.

Eric, No one ever said anything about violence about Peaslee, but there sure seems to be a lack of concern regarding the realities of our society. This blog IS stirring up a mob mentality and people don't have the facts. The individuals were quick to attack Peaslee for not showing-up to her mtg. Heck, per Charlie, individuals are attempting to locate Peaslee's home and that IS crossing the line.

Anonymous said...

Of course people should realize that questionable tactics, possible threats, or violence can come from individuals hoping to discredit legitimate and peaceful protesters.
NP

Anonymous said...

The student at Columbia's poise and bravery is both inspiring and extremely sad. Watching it for the second time I'm crying. She is making her own recovery after her school and the police completely failed to help or even understand.
As noted, this is a scenario that is not even common, it's ubiquitous.

R

Anonymous said...

That's one of the most idiotic things I've read on this blog, NP.The district's counter-intelligence program is infiltrating the blog to discredit the angry parents?
I'd keep arguing but I need to finish watching the YouTube video on the fake moon landings.
Sheesh.

Albert

Charlie Mas said...

What assertions?

Charlie Mas said...

I'm not feeling any mob mentality. Not here on the blog and not in the protests at the school board meetings. Accusations of "whipping up a mob mentality" are baseless and appear to be an attempt to sideline legitimate concerns about the policy direction, administration, and management of the school district.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

What bothers me-a lot-is that this is not the first rape or claim of rape in Seattle. It's not even the first seen mentioned on this blog. I recall mention of something happening at both Aki Kurose and Rainier Beach some years back. I don't remember this level of outrage and protest, publicity and media coverage. I don't recall people calling for mass firings, school board recalls and complete revisions of the district's policies.

I DO remember Charlie calling for Aki to be shut down, more than once. And I do remember him saying the same of Rainier Beach, though not because of the safety issues.

But why is THIS attack getting so much attention, and why now?Is it because the parents are more media savvy? Is it because Charlie has spoken to them personally and believes them and has championed their causes? Melissa too? Is it because of the location of the schools involved? What make this case worth no less than three separate entries on the front page of the blog alone?

I don't begrudge the family their efforts-they should do what they feel they need to do. But I wonder if some of the other families who might have had similar or worse complaints are wondering why they didn't get this level of outrage and support. It's puzzling.

SEmomof3

Lynn said...

I think it's because these parents have gotten a large quantity of information into the hands of the public. We have seen evidence of the negligence of school staff and administration and the callous treatment of this student and her family by the district legal department. When you add Director Peaslee's stunningly uninformed comments, the public is bound to be outraged.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps it is exactly because of all the others.

Nothing seems to have changed. Children are still being harmed, and the first, and seemingly only, response by the district is to treat this as an incident to be controlled, rather than a crime committed against one of the students in their care. Very little has changed in decades in this district, going back to at least the Hill case in the 1980's.

The few times I have personally interacted with administrators in this district, I have felt alienated, "managed", and my modest concerns generally ignored. I shudder to think how these individuals would respond if a serious issue ever arose with my child.

Perhaps parents have just had enough, and this is the straw that broke the camel's back. I honestly worry about whether I can rely on the adults in charge to look out for my child's well being if something terrible were to happen to her. I look at all these previous cases, and the failings of the adults in them, and think about how me and my child would react if it happened to us. And it is very, very unsettling.

Worried Parent

Puffin said...

Sadly, bureaucrats resist change until their feet are held to the fire of public outrage. This forum deserves praise for helping the victim's family drive for corrective action that spares another Seattle family from the devastation they suffered.

SPS Superintendent Nyland should publicly thank the family for educating the District about Title IX regulations regarding sexual violence, about which the District knew nothing two years ago.

Garfield HS Principal Ted Howard should publicly thank the family for demanding adherence to stricter field trip safety procedures that are apparently now in place (and hopefully enforced).

And the Board of Directors should thank those who are critical of their actions and inaction, such as those who speak out in this forum and who show up to protest District failings. It's the only way that meaningful change happens, even if it's frustratingly incremental.

Anonymous said...

Why are people outraged now? Should the question be instead, why weren't they outraged in the past?

Anyhoooooo

Have blog readers followed the Ray Rice story today? Domestic violence is not unusual in the NFL, yet today Rice is out of a job and many want the NFL commissioner's head to role, because he spent months minimizing a problem that was far more troubling to far more people than what he first perceived. Like the Garfield case, information on the incident has trickled out until today the final straw of a tape showed that the NFL ducked and bobbed and tried to save its brand instead of addressing a very bad situation.

The analogies between the NFL and SPS are far too obvious to not explore. Not that SPS itself will see it that way. It will remain in denial until at some point, on this incident or perhaps another - and another will happen - the house goes up in public flames.

Seen It

Anonymous said...

So far, the protesters at the School Board meeting have been respectful, peaceful, and silent. Director Peters does make a fair point about a lack of security at the library meeting.

@SEmomof3
I think that there are three reasons why the GHS rape is getting so much attention, as opposed to other sexual assaults in the district:
1. The media does focus on some rape victims over others -- the victim's race, class, education, personal history, etc, all play a part in how likely they are to get news coverage. They shouldn't, but they do.
2. The parents have documented things in such detail.
3. The parents have been really pushing this and have gone to every media outlet that they can find.

-GHS Alum

Atticus Finch said...

The field trip occurred two years ago.

Three investigations occurred after allegations of rape were made. The Park Service, the FBI and the School District all concluded that there was insufficient evidence to support the conclusion that a rape occurred.

These entities, especially the FBI, are trained to investigate allegations of criminal activities. They have substantially more resources and expertise than anyone on this blog possesses.

Now we have a young man. WHO HAS NEVER BEEN CHARGED WITH A CRIME being labelled by many people on this blog as a rapist.

He has been called, by people on this blog, as a predator.

When does this labeling cross over to defamation?

When classmates and family members read these comments and hear adults calling this boy "a rapist" how are they to react? How would you react if you knew a rapist and "predator" was sharing your workplace?

So the adults on this blog, two years removed from the event, reviewing hearsay statements and speculating with their own biases and premises, can hang the label "Rapist" on this child.

That's really sad.

Anonymous said...

Atticus Finch,

Several points, which show that you really haven't been reading this blog and the facts that have been discussed:
1)The Park Service turned over the investigation to the FBI, who merely concluded that there was not enough evidence to convict him of rape. They specifically stated that that does not mean that a sexual assault did not occur.
2) The focus of most of the blog is on the District's terrible failings in this case and then their horrendous responses which obviously are focused on protecting from liability rather than protecting that girl or any future student.
3) Yes, a boy that had sex during the school day at his middle school and then in high school continued performing painful anal sex on a girl who was telling him to stop, can be called a rapist. He was observed doing the first and admitted doing the second - in front of his mom.
4) No one has given his identity here, although it's probably known at Garfield since it sounds like he harassed the girl via his friends and social media for reporting on him.
5) Again, as bad as the boy's actions were, the focus on this site has been the actions and inactions of the district. The focus of the parents and their lawsuit is on the district as well. They were the adults responsible for chaperoning the trip, protecting all the students, responding to a very traumatized girl afterwards and making sure it would never happen again. In all of these responsibilities, their actions were inexcusable.
Momof2

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

SEmomof3
You were being ironic weren't you? You weren't really puzzled why dark-skinned poor kids in SE get less attention on this blog?
I knew , I just knew posters would crawl out of the woodwork to explain to you why. This city is so insulated, it boggles my mind.
Fear not, though, there are many teachers and parents in the great white north of Seattle who get it, who want our kids to understand. I was just thinking about a great kid who came to our school from Mt. Baker. Definitely knew more about people. I know many of us are worried about a bubble around the kids and we need some things other than sports to get different groups interacting. I'm not sure how the district plans on addressing this. Any thoughts?

Panama

girlfriend said...

There are many ways to protest, some probably better than others.

The two minutes at the podium at school board meetings.
Signs and protests at school board meetings.
Protesting any day of the week at the Stanford center.
Community meeting protest.
House of director or district employee protest.
Building occupation.
Obtaining historical landmark status for a site due for demolition.
Boycott school. Boycott tests.

All valid tactics, some illegal, some just icky, some truly inspired.

Rouse the Rabble, Charlie!

That's why we have free speech and regardless of how tone-deaf to social conventions you sometimes seem, your intentions are always the best for students, in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

@girlfriend

It's not about being a rabble. It's about being rational adults working on fixing the schools. Also, turn into a rabble and you lose credibility.

On the hopefully nonexistent chance that anyone is planning on protesting at anyone's house -- DON'T. Just don't. That's just plain creepy, among other things. However odious their actions may be, people deserve to feel safe. Even when they don't extend that same right to others.

-Chris

Lynn said...

Atticus,

My child shares a workplace (school) with this particular rapist and predator. You want to know how that feels? Kind of scary. Particularly when you realize if something happens to you you're on your own. The adults around you would not prioritize your safety over their comfort.

Charlie Mas said...

Atticus, please choose a different moniker; you dishonor the one you've chosen.

"Three investigations occurred after allegations of rape were made. The Park Service, the FBI and the School District all concluded that there was insufficient evidence to support the conclusion that a rape occurred."

Wrong. The Park Service did not investigate.
Wrong. The FBI passed the results of their investigation to the federal prosecutor. The federal prosecutor didn't feel that the evidence was sufficient to secure a conviction and therefore did not press charges. That's VERY different from concluding that no rape occurred or even having insufficient evidence to conclude that a rape occurred. It reflects a view on our courts and juries, not the evidence. The school district has no expertise nor any business conducting a criminal investigation. They investigated the wrong thing. That said, their wholly inadequate investigation was inconclusive, but they treated it just as you would like - as if they concluded that no rape occurred.

"These entities, especially the FBI, are trained to investigate allegations of criminal activities."

Wrong. Not the Park Service and not the school district.

"Now we have a young man. WHO HAS NEVER BEEN CHARGED WITH A CRIME being labelled by many people on this blog as a rapist."

What he did - by his own admission - qualifies as rape for people who understand consent.

"He has been called, by people on this blog, as a predator."

Yeah. That's what happens when you have sex without consent.

"When does this labeling cross over to defamation?"

Wait. Are you accusing people of defamation? People who have never been charged with defamation let alone convicted of it? When does that become defamation?

In answer to your question, it becomes defamation when he is identified by name - which has not happened - when he is damaged by it - which has not happened - and when he proves it in court - which has not happened.

"When classmates and family members read these comments and hear adults calling this boy "a rapist" how are they to react? How would you react if you knew a rapist and "predator" was sharing your workplace?"

With appropriate caution and wariness.

"So the adults on this blog, two years removed from the event, reviewing hearsay statements and speculating with their own biases and premises, can hang the label "Rapist" on this child."

Yep. Cause that's what he did.

"That's really sad."

No. What's sad is the damage this selfish child did to another child. What's sad is the negligence the district, school, and chaperones showed that night. What's sad is way that the district violated policy, procedure, regulation, and law to protect their liability instead of providing the victim with proper care and the free exercise of her rights. What's sad is your misplaced sympathy. What's sad is your effort to draw the focus from the district's wrongdoing to this boy's wrongdoing. What's sad is your effort to help the district hide behind the boy, to use him as a human shield against the wave of outrage at their failures.

Choose another name Atticus; you dishonor the one you've chosen. In To Kill a Mockingbird Atticus Finch believed in a man's innocence based on the evidence and the facts despite a faulty justice system's conviction. You are proposing a boy's innocence based on a faulty justice system despite the evidence. You have it backwards.

Charlie Mas said...

Why this case?

Why did Michael Brown's death trigger protests and riots when the police in this country kill unarmed black men nearly every week?

Why is this case getting the attention and the work? For a number of reasons.

1. The victim's family is working really hard to bring that attention to the case. That's a major factor.

2. This case is not about negligence by a single school district employee - a teacher or an administrator at a school. This case is about systemic failure that goes all the way from a volunteer chaperone to teachers, to assistant principal, to principal, to central administration senior staff, to the superintendent, and the Board.

3. This case is more about the culture of lawlessness than about the rape.

4. This case reflects violations of state and federal law by the district staff and cover-up by district leadership.

This case is not about the rape at all. The people pushing the case pay it no attention. The boy's actions are mentioned only by apologists for the district who mention it as a distraction from the main focus: the district's gross violations of every rule that applies.

This isn't a rape case - it is a case of the potentially tragic consequences of the district's culture of lawlessness.

Charlie Mas said...

The conversation is wandering, which is natural.

I want to repeat the thesis of this post.

It has been nearly two years since this incident. Everyone at the school district has claimed that they care deeply about it and have made this a high priority. Despite those claims the school district has yet to take any real action whatsoever.

There is no superintendent procedure for field trips. Despite claims about a procedure, none exists.

They haven't updated the sexual harassment policy. A required action of the OSPI CPR, promised by July 1.

They haven't updated the sexual harassment procedure. A required action of the OSPI CPR, promised by July 1.

They haven't started to follow the policy. Where's the annual report?

They haven't started to follow the procedure. Where's the annual task force?

They don't have a trained Title IX officer. They allowed the previous officer to remain ignorant of his duties. They don't have a trained officer now.

For all of the talk about how much they care, and for all of the time they have had to take action. They have not taken any action to date.

Samantha said...

Has anyone on this blog read the Federal investigative report?

I'm not seeing a lot of claims about an alleged rape from Charlie and others.

Samantha said...

Charlie would be smart to stick to issues regarding policy and procedure.

Greenwoody said...

The boy admitted to having raped the girl. He also wasn't charged. That does *not* mean a rape did not occur, it just means he is currently free from legal consequences for the rape. Denying that a rape occurred when both the victim and the rapist have acknowledged that sex without consent took place is what we call promoting "rape culture" that creates an environment where 1 in 5 American women are raped in their lifetime.

It's also why Sharon Peaslee has no political future, why she is certain to lose to a Gates Foundation candidate next year unless she suddenly wakes up and takes a very different approach to this issue.

Charlie Mas said...

Samantha, I assure you that Charlie is trying to stick to matters of policy and procedure and does not relish getting sidetracked into debates over what is and is not rape and when it is or isn't okay to call it rape.

There was a reported rape. That's what the District was supposed to respond to. They didn't do it right - according to policy, procedure, and law. That's the issue. And, since then, despite a lot of lip service about how important this is to them, they haven't done much of anything in the past two years to address their purported concern.

Samantha said...

Charlie, To be clear, you have continuously referred do the Olympic National Park as a rape and you have called an individual a rapist:

"So the adults on this blog, two years removed from the event, reviewing hearsay statements and speculating with their own biases and premises, can hang the label "Rapist" on this child."

Yep. Cause that's what he did."

I support your work on procedure and policy, but you have made mistake.

I maintain that it is possible that a rape occurred. It is best to maintain a neutral position because the entire story is not known to the public.



Anonymous said...

Samantha said...

"I maintain that it is possible that a rape occurred. It is best to maintain a neutral position because the entire story is not known to the public."

I agree -- we keep hearing repeated that the "boy admitted to the rape" (an interpretation of a report we haven't seen). Without this evidence being presented directly (in the form of the boy's testimony, or transcript of his testimony), we only know what someone said he said (or someone said someone said he said, how far removed are we?).

I will also note that one of the dark sides to this conversation is that Garfield's football roster is available online -- people enough steps removed from this conversation and from Garfield will be imputing this story on the individual they deduce (like the initial misidentification of the shooter in the Michael Brown case).

On the other hand, there's a trail of information on SPS's chaperoning and Title IX compliance that can be investigated and addressed without violating the privacy rights of minors or presuming the outcome of investigations to which we have only very indirect access.

zb

Anonymous said...

And, we can police the issue of TItle IX compliance and chaperoning without determining what happened (others can draw their conclusions, but the publicly available and verifiable information doesn't allow me to draw conclusions). That's the sad story of rape, that rape convictions are hard to come by because they are so hard to prove in court, in the standards of our courts.

I think the girls who speak up are incredibly brave and I support them unequivocally. Supporting them shouldn't involve disregarding standards of evidence, and, should involve support for what they need independent of conclusions we can draw legally about the facts of consent in any individual case. That's where the school failed, but when we keep presuming legal conclusions, we undermine our ability to give that support.

Anonymous said...

oops, that was me, zb

And, we can police the issue of TItle IX compliance and chaperoning without determining what happened (others can draw their conclusions, but the publicly available and verifiable information doesn't allow me to draw conclusions). That's the sad story of rape, that rape convictions are hard to come by because they are so hard to prove in court, in the standards of our courts.

I think the girls who speak up are incredibly brave and I support them unequivocally. Supporting them shouldn't involve disregarding standards of evidence, and, should involve support for what they need independent of conclusions we can draw legally about the facts of consent in any individual case. That's where the school failed, but when we keep presuming legal conclusions, we undermine our ability to give that support.

zb

Samantha said...

I'm not attacking you, Charlie, and I know your heart is in the right place.

Until you know all the facts, have seen all the information etc. you have a responsibility to stick to this version of your rhetoric:

"There was a reported rape. That's what the District was supposed to respond to. They didn't do it right - according to policy, procedure, and law. That's the issue. And, since then, despite a lot of lip service about how important this is to them, they haven't done much of anything in the past two years to address their purported concern."



Anonymous said...

zb, I too am troubled by the "someone told someone that someone said...." parts of this story, and the absolute conviction everyone seems to have that no one EVER admits to something they didn't do to just get it over with. The Brian Banks story keeps coming to mind.

While the blog moderators keep saying this isn't about a rape, it IS most certainly, the focus of the many discussions on this event/issue.

Oly

Atticus said...

In To Kill a Mockingbird the community acted as judge and jury. The judicial system worked to exonerate the accused.

Defamation is a civil, not criminal, claim.

Charlie Mas said...

Atticus. Go back and read it again. The man accused of rape in that book was convicted in spite of the evidence that proved him innocent and he was killed while trying to escape prison.

He was NOT exonerated by the judicial system.

Samantha said...

Charlie has made a mistake. I also believe that others should be allowed to speak their truth without being attacked.

I know Charlie wants to do the right thing and wants to protect students, strengthen procedures etc. I hope you have the courage to admit- publicly- that you have made a mistake. It is the honorable thing to do.

I also believe that this board will work- like no other- to attempt to make things right.

Good luck, Charlie. I think you have it in you.

Anonymous said...

What mistake?

CR

NW parent said...

Samantha, so the boy did not sexually assault her? She and her family are lying?

Why would they do that? Do tell, since you seem to have all the answers.

ConcernedSPSParent said...

Samantha I do hope the Board works on it but they have not for two years. The Audit finding that the district had no qualified Title IX officer is two years old and still not addressed. Is the head if the Audit committee Sherry Carr going to suddenly start working like no other?. I hope so but she is two years late. The non completion of that audit finding left kids vulnerable for two years....

Anonymous said...

Look, it's not about the boy, it's about the district. The parents are pursuing a complaint against the district, not the boy.

The district didn't even bother to train their Title IX officer for nearly two years (Apostle wasn't trained when he quit). That tells you how much the district cares about preventing sexual assault. As has been mentioned, that lax attitude towards Title IX also extends to other areas, such as Sp. Ed.

If anyone wants to look at the documents, the parents have posted them on their Facebook page, Stop Sexual Assault in High School, including hundreds of pages of emails with SPS and case documents (including the district's report and some medical reports).

The boy's story (see parents' Response to Kaiser Assault Report)...well, it's really not very convincing. It also contradicts forensic evidence and his story of the event changes between the FBI investigation and the district's investigation.

-Jameson

Charlie Mas said...

I have just received copies of the administrative procedures for field trips. They are 2320A.AP, 2320B.AP, 2320C.AP, and 2320D.AP.

Thirteen years of public school activism in Seattle Public Schools and, until today, I had never heard of Administrative Procedures before.

I can't find any other administrative procedures after searching the district web site for them.

It is unclear how Administrative Procedures differ from Superintendent Procedures, other than existing outside Board governance and public view. If the superintendent wants to set a procedure but doesn't want it available to the public or subject to Board review, he can call it an Administrative Procedure instead and exempt it from that kind of scrutiny.

Here's something cute about the administrative procedures for field trips: they are all dated 8/25/14. They are less than three weeks old. They were written just three days before the training was (maybe) done for them.

Honestly having these now raises more questions than they answer.

Anonymous said...

To fully understand the District's negligence and failure to hold itself accountable, it is important to read the complete staff complaint PDF submitted to the District. This covers a wide range of people, from the teachers who ignored the rules to the Superintendent who thwarted the complaint pathway and everyone in between. The complaint includes the District's own documents showing the cover-up and falsehoods. (i.e.blatant lies).
Next read the District's bizarre internal investigation report of 8/14 that reduced the complaint to a few distorted irrelevant questions so it could exonerate the staff. Then read the parents' brief critique of the District's August 2014 report in which all this (and lies0 are pointed out. All these documents will be restored to SPS Leaks shortly. Or simply request them from the district at no cost.

Next, you should request from the District the parents' Oct. 18, 2013response to the Kaiser investigative response with attachments. You can see everything for yourself, including the assailant's admission to rape (even with his parent in the room) and the District's biased investigation alongside the objective facts uncovered by the parents arranged into a table. You can easily judge for yourself what transpired. It's all documented--so no guesswork. You'll see what lengths the District goes to to cover up horrible facts. And then denies any wrongdoing--no teacher or principal is disciplined, but a student is ruined. Does this make you angry?

Ask the District for "sexual assault case documents PDF" to read formal complaints from March 2013 through March 2014. See the way McEvoy, Banda, Cerqui, and the school district discounted all objective evidence to determine that the female student wasn't even sexually harassed so it wouldn't appear negligent.

Finally ask the District for the parent's complaint to the US Dept of Ed, Office for Civil Rights with attachments that was opened for a civil rights investigation in June 2014. I reviewed it today and relieved the horror of the discrimination/devaluation of our daughter that warranted a federal investigation. Other civil rights complaints are being prepared.

If you take the time to read these documents, speculation will end. You'll see the effort that the family went to over the last 22 months to make certain the horrible treatment their daughter and family received will never be repeated. Our daughter's high school memorabilia consists of medical reports and hundreds, if not thousands, of pages of documents chronicling the nightmare of sexual assault in the Seattle School District.

The reason this assault is getting so much attention is that we made an unrelenting effort to battle the school district and escalated our complaint each time the District tried to shut it down. We wrote the complaint to OCR and civil rights organizations notified the national media. Unfortunately, this is what it takes to bring about change. The District is waiting for this to blow over and sweep it under the rug. Unfortunately this won't happen as the case has served as the impetus for the non-profit in- the -making Stop Sexual Assault in High School.

Maybe one day the School District Board will be glad when their grandchild isn't raped while in the care of the District. So far no one in the District has bothered to thank us for bringing their horrible deficits to light for the benefit of student welfare. Why else would we spend our precious senior years in this manner?

Ordinary Mom

Lynn said...

These are Superintendent Procedures with a new name.

From Board Policy 1310: The Superintendent shall develop administrative procedures (called “Superintendent Procedures”) to facilitate the implementation of Board policies.
Such procedures need not be approved by the Board, though it may revise them when it appears that they are not consistent with the Board's intentions as expressed in its policies. Procedures need not be reviewed by the Board prior to their issuance; though procedures are to be provided for information to the Board committees and may be tested periodically by the Office of Internal Audit. On controversial topics, the Superintendent is encouraged to request Board input prior to issuance.
The Superintendent shall annually provide a report on any changes to Superintendent Procedures from the previous year. The Superintendent will provide a report on any non-substantive changes to policies made without Board approval after the first year of this revised policy’s implementation.


Who decides which Superintendent Procedures are posted on the board website and which are not?

Anonymous said...

DW--how do we get these people fired when the District won't even properly interpret the staff complaint? We escalated our complaint to Superintendent Welch of Puget Sound Educational Service District. No help. Who is willing to join us to hold responsible staff accountable?

If people are interested in working together towards holding the staff accountable,they can contact us. We have seen impressive developments after our story hit national media ca. July 25 because people worked together to apply the requisite pressure.

SSAIHS FB

Anonymous said...

SSAIHS FB,

You have to phrase things the right way. Submit a complaint to Superintendent Welch stating that you are reporting that certificated administrators Ted Howard, Brad Westerling and Paul Apostle (he is a former principal, which means he has a Washington admin certificate) certificated teachers Heather Snookal and Rachel Finley, and certificated school counselor Kenneth Courtney have violated WAC § 181-87-060, Disregard or abandonment of generally recognized professional standards, by engaging in "performance of professional practice in flagrant disregard or clear abandonment of generally recognized professional standards in the course ... (1) Assessment, treatment, instruction, or supervision of students." Then without deviating, list out each person's specific failures related to your daughter. FOCUS on what each one did or didn't do that violates this WAC and attach supporting documents. You have to be focused, don't wander into asking him to do anything else other than investigate the specific named individuals. Don't waste your time talking about people he can't regulate (people without Washington certificates, ie English, Banda, Tolley etc). Have your attorney help you focus the complaint to be tailored to the professional practices WAC and then the ESD Superintendent will have to deal with it.

You should send the same thing to Nyland and ask him to submit a professional practices complaint to OSPI. If he has reason to believe any of them have violated the WAC, he is obligated to report. If he doesn't, then he has also committed professional misconduct.

-In the Know

Anonymous said...

Btw, you really could take Charlie's summary and attach documents to get this done. Example-

Paul Apostle violated WAC 181-87-060 by failing to fulfill his obligations as a Title IX compliance office by never conducting an investigation of the sexual assault of our child. Mr. Apostle's lack of knowledge and training in this role was identified in an OSPI audit, and despite being given two years to learn these responsibilities, he never performed them withr respect to your daughter.

Attached the documents Charlie has shared about the audit and the meetings where is lack of training was discussed and the email pawning you off to English. That is all you need to do.

-In the Know

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

I have seen the annual reports that the superintendent provided the Board on new and updated procedures. There was no field trip procedure among them.

The claim that field trip procedures were revised following the reported rape at NatureBridge is false.

Anonymous said...

Folks, we need to lay off Peaslee. She's a good person who has done a lot for our district, but who clumsily said some ill-advised and ill-timed things.

It's time to show some love and patience to educate her on the facts and issues. It is not the time to bully her into resigning by picketing her at home. That's beyond the pale, and besides, how do you think Peter Maier would've handled this matter? Exactly as Ron English told him to, that's how.

This case demonstrates the institutional dysfunction within JSCEE as good as any and provides an opportunity for substantial change of culture within JSCEE, where the power really lies, versus on the Board, which is always being called "dysfunctional" by the Times, and has the Ed Reformers and Mayoral Control hacks licking their chops right now.

As offensive as her remarks might have been, they were at best ill-informed, not malicious. Sharon is not a liar. She got some things wrong, and is now hesitant to say anything given the reaction she got before. What would you do in her position?

Intolerance begets intolerance, haste makes waste, and bullying is bullying. Exercising first amendment rights are one thing. But shouting someone down, disturbing their peace and preventing them from doing their jobs is another.

This is not an easy matter for the Board, and they are prone to make mistakes and missteps in handling it. They need public support to make the changes people want. Scorning them into resignations will lead to less effective changes, not more.

Given the history of Board elections over the past decade, people need to be really careful about what they wish for. Seriously. WSDWG

Miranda said...

WSDWG,

If I were in Sharon Peaslee's place, I would consider this a learning opportunity regarding her "offensive" and "ill-informed" remarks (your words) and apologize. Seriously, an apology for her remarks, rather than repeating them, would have completely ended the matter. But she didn't do that. Will she do it now? A heart-felt public apology at the next board meeting would go a long way in taking the focus off of her. Let's see what she decides to do.

As for "shouting someone down, disturbing their peace and preventing them from doing their jobs", this seems like a highly inaccurate description of the 2 demonstrations that have been held so far which were a) silent, b) non-violent, and c) at the board meeting where Peaslee was doing her job.

Anonymous said...

@Miranda: People have advocated picketing in front her her house. To my knowledge, it hasn't happened yet, but I've read many comments encouraging it, if not relishing the idea a little too much. I don't want to see the parents efforts side-tracked by such tactics, nor do I want to see a good person deprived an opportunity to redeem herself.

I agree that an apology of some type would go a long way, but it isn't likely when people are calling her a liar, "rapist defender/apologist" and calling for her head.

The parents have brought a major issue to the fore here, which calls for major and substantial changes, not just in policy, but perhaps in JSCEE culture as well, and I don't want to see any part of those efforts be in vain. People like Sharon, and others, are going to make mistakes and missteps that are magnified in intensity given the issues here. Some may be unforgivable, but some aren't, and I'd put Sharon's in the latter category, as offensive as her words might have been.

If I were Sharon, I'd want to meet with the parents, apologize and explain myself in private, before going public. However, now that there's a lawsuit apparently pending, I'm sure the district-wide call is "say nothing to anyone." Unfortunately. WSDWG

Anonymous said...

@ Charlie

I'm confused by this thread, as there have been a number of changes to volunteer procedures that have been implemented, beginning last year school year.

It is no longer just a matter of filing out the background check form and providing a copy of your picture ID. The new volunteer forms and procedures may be found if you go to "Families and Communities" and click on "Volunteering in SPS."

The new overnight field trip chaperone procedure came out early last year, and took many by surprise. I remember there was some confusion over the fingerprinting issue.

My husband volunteered to chaperone for a Nature Bridge field trip, and was required to attend a chaperone training class at our son's school. I don't know if it was training specifically for Nature Bridge field trips, or more general SPS training.

The other new forms and procedures, such as reading and signing off on the volunteer handbook, as well as the online adult sexual misconduct course, was implemented last Spring, and PTA volunteers at our school were given a deadline for compliance.

Much of what is now required seems to be to protect SPS from liability, though hopefully it will help to educate volunteers as to what is appropriate (and not appropriate) behavior on their part.

The new procedures have greatly increased the number of hoops volunteers are expected to jump through, and I worry that the new procedures may result in an overall decrease in the number of parents and other adults who are willing to volunteer. Hopefully, it won't.

- North-end Mom

mirmac1 said...

North End Mom, that is also my understanding of chaperoning changes from last year.

As for what's a Superintendent Procedure versus administrative procedures: I believe there are many internal/administrative procedures that do not belong on the external website. They are on the intranet site. These include how to fill out forms or order supplies or add new endorsements or handle cash and receipts or request a vehicle or input data into PowerSchool etc.

Anonymous said...

"Much of what is now required seems to be to protect SPS from liability"

Yup! You hit the nail on the head. And that's part of the cultural change that needs to happen throughout government institutions in general, not just school districts. But in SPS, it's what results in not doing the right things for the right reasons, but how to get and keep the district off the hook.

This reminds me a lot of the insurance industry and medical malpractice lobbies who always whine about lawsuits and limiting liability, instead of asking "How can we improve patient outcomes?"

At some level it becomes all about the money, and it usually blows up in our faces. Before Pete Holmes, the prior City Attorney aggressively defended the city on everything - against the citizenry - on behalf of the Municipal Corporation of Seattle. That's become the standard, and here we are: Us versus Them is reality, while the talk is all about "serving the people."

WSDWG

Miranda said...

WSDWG,

You said: "People have advocated picketing in front her her house." I don't think I've seen anyone say that on this blog. I've seen more people say NOT to do that, in fact. I know that Charlie wrote that one person asked him for her address - which he did not provide and he also actively discouraged people from going that route. Others have also discouraged it. I'm just not seeing on this blog anywhere that people are advocating such tactics. The most I'm seeing is talk of not voting for her again. I just reread the comments on the post regarding the cancellation of her meeting, and the only one who mentions violence or anything of the sort is Sue Peters. Please show me what I missed.

I agree with your other comments.

mirmac1 said...

Miranda,

I agree that Peaslee should make a complete and sincere apology for her statements (and not with the usual non-apology public figures' use: "...if someone took offense at my remark, for that I am truly sorry blah blah")

I had heard via another means, a call to picket her home. That was very stupid. Given the number of loud, raucous and disturbing protests I've witnessed at board meetings, the compelling Garfield demonstrations have been terrific. There have been less effective attempts to engage with board members, however. I hope to see more of the former and less of the latter.

Peaceful demonstrations have had a strong influence on a number of board members. GREAT! That is the desired outcome.

Miranda said...

@mirmac1,

Well, hopefully the more moderate voices on this blog will convince those other other sites wanting to engage in more extreme tactics not to do so. I think such tactics would only encourage the board to dig their heels in deeper. I'm glad you think the peaceful demonstrations are having some positive effects on some board members.

Calling BS said...

Don't make apologies, Miranda. Why would ANYONE be wanting Peaslee's address?

Anonymous said...

@ calling BS

Perhaps to serve a summons?

- could happen

Calling BS said...

I'm still calling BS. Mirimac knew individuals wanted to protest in front of Peaslee's home.

Anonymous said...

IN THE KNOW

Thank you for advising us. At some point I wouldn't mind sharing the response we got from John Welch. If interested, anyone could contact us through FB or stopsexualassaultatinhighschool@comcast.net. Or perhaps we can post it at SPS leaks

I certainly intend to discuss this with law faculty as well. As you may appreciate, activism is a 24.7 job.

In the meantime, I have printed out your much- appreciated advice.

SSAIHS

Anonymous said...

Picketers:

it seems that if people want to peacefully picket, the school district offices at the time of arrival, lunch, and departure would be appropriate. Of course the school board meeting too and possibly downtown or in front of KIRO 7. We suggest KRO7 because Natasha Chen at KIRO 7 wisely uncovered the District's falsehood about the FBI telling them not to investigate. She and the Stranger are definitely media that "get it"--so perhaps getting in touch with them would also increase awareness.
In my opinion, picketing in more visible places would be helpful than picketing in residential areas. We've been successful because the media has come along with organizations like API Chaya and NOW. Many other organizations are eager to help apply pressure to the District if citizens are willing to help organize these constructive events.
How to proceed?

Chen:
http://www.kirotv.com/news/news/fbi-policy-disputes-seattle-schools-version-allege/ng6Mb/

SSAIHS

Anonymous said...

IN THE KNOW--
Your child was sexually assaulted? A major news outlet/distinguished award-winning journalist is preparing an article about Title IX in high school and would like to speak with victims/parents --even anonymously--about their experience in Seattle. He has written extensively about Title IX. Contact us through FB and we can pass along his phone number. Or if you know Charles or Melissa we can pass it to you through them. Or have a friend contact us through FB for privacy. This applies to other victims as well. This will greatly help advance public knowledge about Title IX in high school and before.

Thank you for considering this.

SSAIHS

Wondering said...

In the know, will you be telling people that there are discussions to pay picketers?

Wondering said...

Clarification: When protesting, will there be media discussions related to the fact that there are talks to hire individuals to picket?

Let's be honest.

Wondering said...

Those hired to picket are similar to those hired to collect signatures.

Will you print this comment, too?

Charlie Mas said...

@Wondering, it's a largely uncensored blog. Comments are deleted only for failure to sign or for name-calling, which is pretty narrowly defined.

Anonymous said...

Here is an interesting read:


http://www2.ed.gov/documents/press-releases/west-contra-costa-california-letter.doc

Doesn't sound like SPS had any better existing Title IX structure than this school district.

-SWWS