Friday, March 06, 2015

Again? Again, Seattle Schools Pays Out for Sexual Abuse

I am tired and so frustrated over this issue but here we go again.

Seattle Schools is paying out $249,999 (to avoid hitting $250k which would have triggered School Board approval) to a former student at Eckstein who says a computer teacher sexually abused her verbally and physically.   This was about the time one of my sons was there and I am appalled and saddened because I thought the teacher was a good one.  Maybe he was a good teacher but this settlement seems to say otherwise.

I have no idea if the Board knew this was coming.

From the Times:
A 22-year-old woman recently settled a lawsuit she filed against Seattle Public Schools over the alleged sexual comments and abuse she suffered as a 12-year-old at the hands of her computer teacher at Nathan Eckstein Middle School.

According to Beauregard, who represented the woman alongside attorney Damisi Velasquez, the school district’s attorney also wanted the woman to sign a confidentiality agreement that would have barred details of the settlement from being released to the media. The woman’s attorneys refused.

“I think they just wanted to sweep it under the rug,” Beauregard said.

The victim says:

The alleged victim was assigned to a sixth-grade computer class taught by David Wysen, an educator for more than two decades, according to her suit. He allegedly made comments about the sixth-grader’s body and ogled her in class, subjecting her to teasing from classmates who called her “the teacher’s crush,” according to court records. 

She also accused Wysen of pinning her to a wall and pressing his body against hers, the records say.
She reported Wysen’s comments and touching in January 2005, telling her school counselor and principal that she felt uncomfortable and threatened by Wysen’s attention and his attempts to get her to meet with him after school, according to the records. 

A familiar name:

Her suit claimed the principal, Marni Campbell, conducted a cursory investigation and failed to remove the girl from Wysen’s class or take other corrective action.

According to the plaintiff’s deposition in the suit, Campbell suggested the girl needed counseling and was making the complaints to get attention.

The judge's reaction:

In January, U.S. District Court Judge Marsha Pechman denied a motion for partial summary judgment filed by Buchanan, the attorney for Seattle Public Schools.

“Plaintiff has presented evidence that Defendant had actual notice of sexual harassment and assault, including physical touching, by a teacher, yet took no real corrective action in attempt to address Plaintiff’s complaints,” Pechman wrote in her order denying summary judgment. “Whether Defendant had actual knowledge of the severity of the harassment and assault now alleged and whether it responded with deliberate indifference to Plaintiff’s complaints are questions for the jury.”

And that last statement is probably why the district settled.

This girl was what? 13 when this happened and no one in the district/school believed her.  What could that have done to her self-esteem?

Apparently the experience gave her the courage to stand up for herself AND help others:

He said his client is now a professional basketball coach who works with girls who are the same age she was when Wysen allegedly sexually harassed her.

“She really struggled with this situation for a long time,” he said, adding that all she really wanted was for the school district to be held accountable.

This did occur at least 10 years ago and we can only hope that the last Title IX incident that triggered an overhaul of district policy will mean something. 


mirmac1 said...

After this happened Marni Campbell was promoted again and again where she could do even more damage, including Exec Dir of Sped (yet another in a long line of winners) and NW Area Exec Dir of Schools (where she could cover up more transgressions by principals. Most of this career climbing happened on her BFF Enfield's watch. Heck she even followed her compatriot to Highline.

English and friends fought this young woman for years. Is this why English is gone? Heck I give up. Too many possible reasons.

SeattlePublic said...

Seattle Public Schools for you on kids safety

Anonymous said...

Mirmac, when I read that article and saw Marni Campbell's name as the principal, I was stunned--but only for a moment.

This is SPS, after all, where promotion has been about kissing up, not integrity and effectiveness.

The article states that Campbell not only didn't properly investigate, but treated the middle school girl like an hysterical slut who would do anything for attention. She was later promoted to Exec. Director of Sped and NW Dir of schools!

The fox guarding the henhouse comes to mind. It makes me sick.

--enough already

cmj said...

According to Beauregard, who represented the woman alongside attorney Damisi Velasquez, the school district’s attorney also wanted the woman to sign a confidentiality agreement that would have barred details of the settlement from being released to the media. The woman’s attorneys refused.

SPS was really trying to sweep this under the rug and avoid the lengthy press coverage that surrounded the thing with Garfield last fall.

Also, from an article published when the lawsuit was filed, Reached for comment, Seattle Schools spokeswoman Teresa Wippel declined to discuss the allegations in detail. Wippel said the woman’s claims were investigated earlier this year and ruled “unsubstantiated” by the district. Call me a cynic, but I'm not going to put much faith in that 2013 investigation. I'd be surprised if there was more to it than just reading over the cursory 2005 investigation.

Sometimes I wonder if it's really wise for schools to be investigating alleged sexual assaults, given how likely they are to be sued for negligence. They might be sued for negligence whether or not they rule that sexual assault happened, but they're much more likely to lose the suit if the school had previously concluded that an assault took place. Seems like a major conflict of interest.

But what's the alternative? The police aren't known for being particularly sensitive or responsive to sexual assault victims and a 12 year old shouldn't have to go to the police to switch typing teachers. Not to mention that the police are used to dealing with a much higher burden of proof. It's good that criminal courts require a high burden of proof, because we don't want innocents in jail, but most plaintiffs aren't required to see the defendant on a regular basis like a student has to see a teacher or another student on a daily basis. Getting switched to a different class or school should require a lower burden of proof than putting someone in jail.

Anonymous said...

Oh good the witch hunt is back! A decade old one but good enough!

Here are some interesting stories about teachers "allegedly" assaulting students and they made it to court.

Our system of justice is as broken as our one in education so maybe this teacher did and did it just once out of the blue? Like Bill Cosby maybe? Oh wait...

Let's see what we know of this young woman's history, her family and I would like to read all the depositions, see the records and actually read the investigators report.. oh wait... there is likely none.

Isn't that the real problem whether the allegations are in fact actual or contrived there is no investigations and often when are we know little until after a career and life has been ruined and the scarlet letter has duly been applied.

Here are my examples

Or how about the care giver allegations of yore and sex rings..

Or how about the parallels to the Friedmans..

I think this is an excellent article on the subject

So good hunting ladies!! Its always about you remember that!

- "Criminal" Defender

Anonymous said...

What is it going to take before SPS finally understands its obligations under Title IX with respect to reported sexual harassment and sexual assault? With this case, and the $700K settlement in the Garfield HS case, SPS has now spent $950K in settlements in the last year, not to mention who knows how many hundreds of thousand dollars in legal expenses.

You'd think SPS legal would realize by now that their tactics of denial, covering up, and "investigations" aren't succeeding, and costing the district dearly.

And what does the board of directors think about this settlement? Another episode of "Counsel Knows Best"? When will the board demand that Dr. Nyland hold his administrators accountable for their failure to comply with Title IX?


Anonymous said...

Anyone at SPS who signs off on anything for $249,999 is missing an olfactory gene.

That's just wrong.

I don't even want to express myself on the underlying issue - it's disgusting the way that was handled -

But to deliberately circumvent the law by going for $249,999? Blatant. Atrocious. It stinks, and I hope Nyland reads the riot act to everyone who signed off on that.

Anonymous said...

Darn, that earlier comment about the 249,999 was --

Math Counts

Watching said...

I've been trying to call attention to the $250K level for a long time. The level is too high and allows for much to get swept under the rug.

Watching said...

The $249,999 figure also confirms that there are administrative attempts to hide information from the board.

The board can control this issue by changing limits. I don't want to hear anything about too much work for administrators. A simple list of expenditures, grants, legal settlements etc. would suffice.

Wondering said...

Did Nyland sign-off on the $249,999 figure?

Anonymous said...

I've heard 2 directors - both in Districts that are going to be holding elections this November - want to raise the limit to $500,000.

This is a good question for media to ask all candidates who seek office this cycle.


Insanity said...

"I've heard 2 directors - both in Districts that are going to be holding elections this November - want to raise the limit to $500,000."

The names of these individuals needs to be released.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Given the district settled AND had wanted to squash her from speaking out, I do not think this a witchhunt.

And what of this young girl's life? How is it that the class called her "the teacher's crush?" All those kids just decided to do that?

Criminal Defender, yes, some people do get unjustly accused. But many people - especially those in power positions over children - are not innocent. I sense bitterness in your tone but experience doesn't make you right in every case.

Anonymous said...

The district is an easy mark; deep pockets and an image it needs to protect as it is the caretaker of 50000 kids.

Why don't they ever go to trial?

It's not odd, but nevertheless annoying that readers seem to read the complaint by the victim as fact.

Did all of the claims made actually occur, for example, did the principal sit with the parents and call their daughter a liar who only wanted attention?
I would like to wait and hear from the district and the board should also get some answers.

The entire article is based on the plaitiff's lawyer's Friday news dump. The Seattle Times is more than happy to make the district look incompetent once again. They put their crime reporter Sara Jean Green on the case, fresh from the murder trial of Molly Conley's killer.

Let's see what additional info comes out and not get played by a lawyer whose interest is at least partially financial.


Anonymous said...

The pleadings are online @ US District Court and accessible via PACER. Read it for yourselves. The depo excerpts filed regarding the mot for summary judgment (MSJ) of dismissal filed by SPS lawyers and the responses and attachments are enlightening.

The Judge's order denying the motion is rather detailed as well, regarding SPS knowledge.

Denial of the MSJ was reported on the national Title IX blog.


Anonymous said...

The Seattle Times article mentions the decision by the US District Court judge denying summary judgement in this case. You can read the judge's decision in its entirety here.


Melissa Westbrook said...

R, did you read the article? It did go before a judge.

Anonymous said...

It's unfortunate to read how critics decry such penalties as a waste of public money. It is only through penalties, public attention, media, and Title IX complaints that children will be spared these life-scarring traumas. At Stop Sexual Assault in High School (Facebook) we learned that whitewashing harassment/assault is a typical but reprehensible tactic employed by school districts nationwide (often in conduction with law enforcement). I welcome the day when our students will hold mass demonstrations in support of their peers as happened last fall in Norman, Oklahoma (Yes All Daughters). Or bravely go on the media to report rape as Aanya Nigham did locally. Contact us if more information or participation is wanted.

Hamilton said...


It was a summary judgment hearing. The judge denied the motion.

This case was not heard on the merits.

Anonymous said...

Hamilton can you explain this for readers who are not in the legal field? If the case wasn't heard on the merits, what was the summary judgement targeting?

I cannot even imagine what SPS did to drag this out. That brave woman. This system. Of course the biggest careerist of them all was in the mix, Marni Campbell.


Linh-Co said...

What I don't get is why the student wasn't removed from the class. This could have been addressed. Why are these complaints not in the principal's files?

Anonymous said...

The article answered that.

Marni Campbell thought the girl was making it up to get attention, and that the girl needed counseling.

For Campbell, it was the girl's issue and so she wasn't removed from class.

For your second question (about it not being in Campbell's file)--maybe Campbell had already been promoted to Exec. Director or Sped or NW Director by the time it came to the attention of legal.

--enough already

mirmac1 said...

Wrong again Criminal Defender. I have those documents. In your imaginary world there is no rape.

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

@ Criminal Defender
What's your point?
The student claimed that the school district failed to adequately investigate her complaint of sexual misconduct by her teacher, as required by Title IX. The District Court judge ruled that this was a question for a jury to decide.
You claim to know that the "Principal addressed the complaints" based on .... what again?


Anonymous said...


Read it and it was with regards to how the district investigated. There is no argument that the Principal did not know but it was the extent of her intervention that is of contest. Which the district argues that they did meet the obligation and the Judge ruled:

The Court is unable to conclude as a matter of law that Defendant's response was not clearly unreasonable. Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, Defendant has not met its burden of demonstrating the absence of a genuine issue of fact as to whether Defendant's response to known harassment and assault constituted deliberate indifference

Okay so that is the issue.. deliberate indifference. Hard to know without the actual case going to trial as it is NOT a rape case where the teacher now apparently raped her as alleged by another person here

So lets see this is not a rape case but an allegation that inappropriate touching and speaking to a student was made and the Principal dismissed the allegations and did not remove the kid or fire the teacher.. it appears that the argument is about the former vs the latter. But regardless no one should be accusing the man of any type of sexual predatory behavior unless he was charged as one and then convicted as such and then his name would be on the public registry and we could all call him as such.

This is about the districts "indifference" to a student who felt uncomfortable and other matters which we know little of since there are no depositions or interrogatories of the witnesses. Who were 12 at the time and I am sure their memories are intact a decade later.

And we have I'm sure a history of this teacher and a record of data that confirms he is a sexual predator teaching your special snowflakes.

Sorry but I believe in due process and the little document called the Constitution and last time I looked this man is not a criminal defendant.. stay focused people this is a civil case.

But hey let's go on a witch hunt and further vilify what is at this point an allegation that we have little to go on other than what this girl said.

And I am not bitter? What the hell would that mean? I am an advocate of the law. I support that even the Boston Bomber gets a fair trial which is not happening..

- Criminal defender

Melissa Westbrook said...

Criminal Defender, a couple of things.

1) Who said anything about rape? Not me and I re-read the comments and I don't see that term.

2) No name-calling. You had one comment deleted for that. We do not allow that at this blog.

3) given that "investigations" at the school/district/college level seem to be - more often than not - subpar, of course a victim can go to the courts.

What I reported is in public record. Did you complain to the Times as well? What has been done by the victim and reported by this blog and the Times is legal.

I,too, am a believer in the Constitution. And, in fact, I did a stint at the Public Defenders office as a volunteer investigator. I do know that everyone is not innocent nor are all those arrested guilty.

Even though I knew some of our clients were not angels, my mantra was "I'm defending the Constitution."

You reveal bitterness by the name-calling. You couldn't do it in court and you can't do it here.

Anonymous said...

Mirmac, have you never "typed" for a kid when they were having a problem at the computer? If you're a teacher in a computer lab, or in any class with computers, you might do this to get a child to the right place on the internet, or for a million other reasons. That doesn't "pin" a kid to the computer. There is no claim of "rape" here. And typing something to help a student out is not "pinning" a student. That is what the claim is. You can read it in the document. Sorry, but middle school kids will do anything to get a teacher in trouble. Seriously. Yes. Certainly, the teacher must be investigated after such an accusation. But it seems that was done. The deep pocket here is the district, and so the district is really the only one vulnerable. If something was really wrong, there'd be a criminal complaint against the teacher. But no. Only "deliberate indifference". You all want teachers to be viewed as professionals. Yet you want them to be subjected to unreasonable searches, to never have an accusation by any student of anything, to chaperone students by staying up all night at camps to make sure no student inappropriately touches another student (or themselves), to never drive a student anywhere (even though transportation is never provided by the district to any district activity) and so on. How many of you would stand up to the scrutiny of "any complaint goes" from a bunch of teenagers? Criminal Defendant is absolutely right. Innocent until proven guilty. Follow the process. Not sure that happened, but what we do know - there was some investigation by the principal. THat isn't "nothing". And for the district to reduce it's liability - well, that's just how the game is played, not an admission of guilt, but the road to reducing costs in our current litigious society.


Anonymous said...

Mirmac says: I have those documents. In your imaginary world there is no rape.

Melissa, this comment implies that this is a rape issue that CD is "imagining away." I too read the complaint with a ton of skepticism. It's really easy to simply go for the deep pocket.


Anonymous said...

In the tags you have "sexual predator" and the statement by Mirmac says in my imaginary world there is no rape..and then claims to have the documents.

What rape is this? This is now rape and this person is a sexual predator?

Then I would like to see those documents and ask why the Police were not involved? Where are those documents that support the claim that is is a sexual predator..who was not put on leave until the lawsuit was filed in 2013.

If you were an "investigator" with the PD office which one as there are 3 here. I have friends who work in said office and one whom I know is an actual investigator.

Bitter is name calling? what are you doing then by labeling a person a sexual predator.. is that not a name? Is that defamation under the law or that you did not actually use that in a sentence with this man''s name.

Delete away.. my conscious is clear.. I wasn't aware I actually called anyone a "name" oh the special snowflakes? Witches? Well this is coming Crucible style its distasteful and disturbing.

Someone has to stand up to your bullying and histrionics.

- Criminal Defender
-Criminal Defender

Anonymous said...

I am appalled and saddened because I thought the teacher was a good one. Maybe he was a good teacher but this settlement seems to say otherwise.

A settlement is just a settlement. It doesn't mean "otherwise". It doesn't mean anybody is "guilty" or that anybody is a bad teacher. It means the district chooses to stop the litigation. Litigation is expensive, and the press is always bad. Why attach guilt to it? Why assume the worst?


Anonymous said...

This was more than typing, based on the deposition, Reader. She reported being pinned against a wall as well, in addition to comments about her body and wanted to "get to know her better".

Also, I have helped students type on their computer. I stand to their left or right, side by side to them, to type. I do not lean over them with an arm on either side of them, pinning their body between my own arms. I do not do that because it invades their body space and makes them very uncomfortable.

As reported, this behavior did sound creepy, uncomfortable, and very invasive. And not accidental. And if that were my child reporting all those behaviors by any adult, I would have called the cops, because we are talking about 11 and 12 year olds.


Anonymous said...

Good point. That's what you do when there's a crime. You call the cops. Notably, her parents didn't "call the cops". They went for the deep pockets instead. Telling.


Anonymous said...

Criminal defender wrote: "There is no argument that the Principal did not know but it was the extent of her intervention that is of contest." But it seems the defendant's argument (SPS) WAS that the principal did not know that the girl was alleging being touched by the teacher. Problem apparently was that the teacher's sworn testimony was that the principal asked him about the touching. See the text that corresponds to footnote 1 in the SJ denial.

Also, did Campbell REALLY visit every single classroom every single day when she was principal? Just curious about her testimony. I mean, good for her if she did, but wouldn't that take a lot of time?


Anonymous said...

Wow, I'm seeing a lot of assumptions and impugning of motives by some commenters here.

The student's Title IX lawsuit had to do with how Seattle Schools administrators responded to her complaint of sexual misconduct by her teacher. I question how many of the speculations here about the student's motives or the adequacy of the principal's response are based on actual knowledge of the case facts.

The District Court judge refused to summarily dismiss the case. That the school district mediated a settlement rather than go to trial signals to me that they believed that the suit was not frivolous and that there was reasonable risk that a jury would side with the plaintiff.


Anonymous said...

Right. Risk reduction and cost management are why cases are settled. None of us can know anything more for sure. We all use our life experiences to color in the blanks.


Melissa Westbrook said...

An investigation was "done?" By Marni Campbell who apparently not only didn't think it happened but said the girl was making it up for attention.

So I missed Mirmac's statement and she's wrong - there is no rape alleged here (at least not according to what I have read).

But boy, some people here who are accusing me of going off the deep end seem overwrought themselves.

A settlement can mean many things but it mostly means the district knew it would lose in court and didn't want to take the chance. That they ALSO wanted a confidentiality statement and didn't get one seems to show their worry over this case.

Reader, many kids cannot withstand testifying in court or the public scrutiny. That this young woman had the courage to come forward on her own should tell you something.

cmj said...

Criminal defender said Let's see what we know of this young woman's history, her family and I would like to read all the depositions, see the records and actually read the investigators report.. oh wait... there is likely none.

According to the district (see article I linked to), SPS investigated twice. Once in 2005 when the allegations were first made and then in 2013. The investigation reports would be public records. You can file a public records request with SPS via email and obtain them free of charge.

The lawsuit made two claims. The first is that the girl was sexually assaulted. The second is that the school district failed to follow Title IX. Given the district's well-publicized problems with Title IX, I don't doubt that the suit could have easily proved the second claim even if the sexual assault couldn't be proved or was even disproved.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I have read some of the legal documents and will have more to say later.

What I will say is that we can only hope the new procedures on these kinds of issues are followed - to the letter - by staff and principals. No one gets to "guess" at anything.

Anonymous said...

Several years ago, when discussing the motivation of the Lowell SLP who resigned from the SPS after being falsely accused of not reporting an instructional assistant kissing the foot of a young special education student, Marni Campbell also questioned whether the action was taken "to get attention".

I am sorry this young woman's concerns were taken so lightly. It should not have taken 10 years and a federal lawsuit to be taken seriously.

How many times has it cost the district tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to clean up a mess that could have been easily prevented or at least minimized?

Had it!

Ed said...

There are no new regulations. Several similar middle school principals were also promoted by Banda. Its all still going on.

Anonymous said...

Reader, if you read the whole document you'll find this sentence:
Plaintiff told Campbell that Wysen had pinned her against a wall, with his body touching hers, "crotch area to crotch area." Doesn't sound like he was helping her type.

I'll skip the rest of the usual rant about our misogynistic society...

Chris S.

Anonymous said...

Sounds to me like, once again, principals in the SPS have failed miserably at their jobs - yet they always seem to escape retribution. A teacher's career is imperiled or perhaps destroyed and a student is refused the care and attention she needs. Who really is to blame? The principal of course - costing the district hundreds of thousands of dollars that our kids need for their educatipns while feathering her own nest. By far the majority of principals I have encountered in the SPS have been real sleaze masters. Desperate to look good in front of the central administrative office - they downplay important issues at their respective schools and refuse to make waves or advocate for their students. I think it is a real endemic problem.


Anonymous said...

"By far the majority of principals I have encountered in the SPS have been real sleaze masters. Desperate to look good in front of the central administrative office - they downplay important issues at their respective schools and refuse to make waves or advocate for their students. I think it is a real endemic problem."

Principal problems nails it, and every family with students with special needs in the systems feels the repercussions. Including pandering to staff at the expense of the student and his/her civil rights.

Principal problem2

Charlie Mas said...

Let's remember that the issue is not whether the teacher or the student acted correctly, the question is whether the district acted correctly. There was a policy and procedure in place at the time - it was not followed.

Ed said...

Because the culture of lawlessness does not require, encourage or reward the following of policiees, procedures OR common sense morality on the part of principals OR education directors.

Anonymous said...

Wrong Charlie. It's a question for the jury. Did the district follow procedure? A settlement doesn't tell us the answer.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for linking to that doc Adam - interesting reading. If nothing else, the kid should have been moved to a different class - that seems like the bare minimum response and an easy fix to a problematic situation.

I'm sorry for the young lady in question - you deserved much much better. However, the whole 1 penny under board notification thing is fascinating in an appalling kind of way. Clearly something needs to change on that front.


Anonymous said...

Agree with previous poster - the simplest, smallest thing to do, regardless of whether the complaints were genuine or attention seeking on the girls part, was to move her from this teachers class - even if it requires some rejigging of the schedule, it can be done. This would have been the right thing to do for the sake of both the girl AND the teacher.
We do not know the exact circumstances and some posters here raise the issue of false allegations and the teacher being innocent until proved guilty. If it is possible that the allegations were false or exaggerated or attention seeking, or she was 'asking for it' (i.e. the usual reasons given for doubting/discounting women's testimony in almost every case involving any sexual impropriety/assault), then the TEACHER should have been protected from further allegation, risk, etc by having the girl moved from the class, or switching him to a different class. After all if this was false, then HIS career, reputation is on the line in this case. Perhaps HE would have grounds for suing the district failing to take some action if he were blameless.
Of course, if the girls allegation were true - then the minimum to do to protect her from ongoing harassment is remove the opportunity by changing classes/teachers. Of course, that doesn't address the issue of his behavior and whether other female student have been or could be similarly targeted.

I feel sorry for both parties actually - one of them has been wronged and we bystanders can't know without a doubt who that was 10 years later.
Even if the teacher was innocent, it does not mean the girl/women is vindictive and money-grabbing as people imply here. Perhaps she was vulnerable and genuinely felt uncomfortable, embarrassed, threatened by (misinterpreting or overplaying) relatively innocent actions and as it was never addressed properly 10 years ago this sense of being wronged has grown over time. I don't think it's about its the money that drives this - I think it's about being vindicated (after having been powerless and ignored) and I'm sure lots of people can empathize with feeling powerless and ignored in their dealings with SPS with regard to many different matters.
What it comes down to is an allegation that has not been proven true or false in court, but ultimately it doesn't matter whether the teacher was a sexual predator or the girl was hysterical and attention-seeking; one or the other one (or even both) is true, and one or the other (or even both) parties have likely suffered consequence in their life/career as a result of SPS leaders failing to take simple appropriate measures at the outset.
This settlement really isn't about the girl or the teacher or what really happened between them 10 years ago, it is about SPS action, inaction - ie. what should have happened but didn't.
SPS doesn't follow policies and procedures and that leaves the district, their employees, and their students exposed to harm.

2 sides no winners

Melissa Westbrook said...

2 sides no winners, very good summation of the issue.

The only thing I would add - and I think is one reason that the district settled - is that the teacher himself said in his deposition that there had been two girls complaining.

The plaintiff says she and another girl complained.

And yet the principal only recorded/recalled one girl.

"SPS doesn't follow policies and procedures and that leaves the district, their employees, and their students exposed to harm."

Nailed it(and it leaves taxpayers paying for the district's mistakes).

Anonymous said...

The only thing I would add (apart from correcting my many typos) is that it seems in many of these sorts of cases the principals involved seem intent on protecting their reputation or the reputation of the school and downplaying the issues- rather than doing what is in the best interests of the teachers or students (which I'm sure can be a difficult task).
And it seems that in many cases these principals are rewarded for their efforts to quash any complaints etc by promotion.

Time for the principals to have some principles!

2 sides no winners

cmj said...

2 sides no winners makes an excellent point: switching the girl to another class would have been the smartest thing to do, even before the school finished "investigating." If the allegations were true, then you'd want the girl away from the teacher long before the district finished the investigation. If they were false, leaving a dishonest student in a class with a teacher she hates is asking for trouble.

A question: where did the settlement money come from, since it wasn't approved by the Board? Did it come out of the general budget or was it paid for by the district's insurance?

I ran a quick search for recent Seattle Public Schools sexual assault lawsuits.

2008, SPS pays $3 million over teacher molesting female Broadview-Thomson students in 2004 (not sure about the year). At the time, the teacher was in prison for child molestation. Here's a horrific quote: The girls' lawyers said the district protected Hill even though at least 15 teachers and staff members made at least 30 reports to administrators that he was grabbing girls' buttocks and having them sit on his lap, sometimes in darkened classrooms, since the mid-1980s.

2013, districts settles out of court for $700k with Roosevelt student who was sexually assaulted by a fellow student in 2010. The student was convicted.

2013, five students file claims for $25 million alleging sexual assault by a teacher. I'm not sure when the alleged incidents happened or what happened to the suit. The teacher was convicted of child molestation in 2008 and died in 2009.

2014, SPS pays out $700k over alleged rape of one Garfield student by another in 2012.

2015, SPS pays just shy of $250k over alleged sexual assault of Eckstein student by a teacher in 2005.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I'm pretty sure it comes out of insurance (but it would be good to ask). I'm sure the district's insurance rates must be pretty high by the look of these payouts.

IMHO said...

SPS had $1 million self-insursured retition for years. That means they paid for every claim under a million dollars and the first million for anything bigger out of the general fund. At an OPs committee meeting last year they discussed changing it to $250k. That would apply to claims that happened after the change, not this one. But since this was one penny under the current SIR, even if it was a new claim it would have been paid out of general funds, not insurance.

I am also thinking that this actually happened the year before the sexual misconduct/boundary policy and regulation were put in place, maybe two. But it was definitely before those were done and the mass trainings rolled out. Not to say how effective those have been, but I don't think Campbell can be held responsible for not following policies that didn't exist at the time.

seattle citizen said...

Why isn't CBS called when there is a report of abuse? All educators are mandated reporters: they HAVE to report suspected abuse to CPS. I don't believe it's discretionary, i.e., report it to, say, principal or district and let them decide if it should be reported - that's the job of CPS, to investigate. Or does that only apply to family situations, like if a teacher suspected family was abusing, but not if principal suspected a teacher might be abusing...I'll have to look that up.

seattle citizen said...

CPS website is confusing: says abuse can be at the hands of ANY person, but then goes on to talk more specifically about family and/or home abuse...hmm.

Anonymous said...

While I can feature a tween going out of their way to get a teacher into trouble, I don't see any evidence of this from this settlement.

It's a beautiful Sunday afternoon. I don't feel like another round of questioning the motives of a child who was in this hellish situation, one that happens routinely because, school?

Speaking of routine abuse that a principal seemed determined to ignore, is Terri Skjei back from sick leave at View Ridge?


Anonymous said...

A Letter From Our Principal, Ms. Skjei
Posted on Mar 2, 2015 by Jill Yamagiwa
Dear View Ridge Families,

Thank you to all the View Ridge students, staff and families for the notes of appreciation and support as I continue the transition back to work from my recent medical leave. Upon my return I have hit the ground running and have been working hard to address multiple issues that are current and occurred during my absence. I can only imagine how difficult those times were on the entire community and I wanted you all to know that currently I am prioritizing all tasks to ensure student safety, build positive connections in the community and focus on quality instruction. I am so proud of the View Ridge staff and Kathy Jolly and team for keeping the community up and running. There clearly were challenging times and a huge shout out goes to my friend Kathy Jolly for her leadership and dedication during the winter months. Now Marcia Boyd, retired principal from John Rogers continues to help during the day while I am on continued part-time leave for a few more weeks. Thank you Marcia!


Anonymous said...

"Good point. That's what you do when there's a crime. You call the cops. Notably, her parents didn't "call the cops". They went for the deep pockets instead. Telling."

WOW, I cant believe the ignorance posted on this subject! If your family hasn't gone thru an issue of abuse by a teacher, then shut the ***K up.

You think it's as simple as just to call the cops? Pathetic !

My son was assaulted by his teacher, we did not call the cops because until you know the facts why would you want be ostracized and yes that is whats ends up happening once you make accusations against a teacher.

We thought asking to simply switch classes would be the first step in a rational process.

I can tell you there is nothing rational about anything SPS does when it comes to children.

The school refused to switch classes and then threatened to sue us? For what? Teachers have rights too, said golden tooth! FNB! I said they don't have the right to what they did.

States' mandatory abuse-reporting laws are getting new scrutiny in the aftermath of a sexual abuse scandal at Penn State University, where longtime assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky is accused of having molested 10 boys over 15 years. He has pleaded not guilty. Two Penn State officials are charged with failing to report the abuse to police.

In the state of Washington, court records show just eight people were charged over the past decade, and only one was convicted —a high school coach who confessed to covering up another coach's sexual relationship with a student. He paid a $723 fine and was sentenced to probation.


mirmac1 said...

Marni Campbell acted with deliberate indifference when she was the incompetent Exec Dir of Special Education.

When I reported an outright untruth she stated to many parents (re: a letter that was never sent to families), her friend Susan Enfield said Marni couldn't possibly have done that. Of course Marni was promoted after doing nothing for SpEd.

mirmac1 said...

Also BTW my general statement was that, to some people, there is no rape. Check that girl's history. It's a witch hunt. "good hunting ladies" it's all about you remember that. Can't thread a needle through a moving donut. etc

mirmac1 said...

I do not believe it comes out of insurance. I think the district is self-insured. I know they carry a kitty of over $1M for lawsuits. Have that in my PRRs somewhere....

Paramount Duty said...

Lots of joy coming out of Olympia, today. The House passed an early education bill. Lots of talk about an $15B transportation package, too.

What are we hearing about the state meeting their Paramount Duty- Nothing.

cmj said...

IMHO, thanks for explaining the insurance deductible.

mirmac1, SPS self-insures with other local districts.

From my reading of the budget, SPS's 2015 liability insurance payment was $1.6m (see page 63). Last year, there was a proposal for a $1.4m payment to the insurance pool. The district self-insures with a network of other schools. This is quite common for school districts.

It would be nice if the district would ever fire or discipline the people responsible (such as Campbell), rather than just paying out a settlement.

Anonymous said...

The story of how this was handled was maddening. How is it that Marni Campbell did not report this incident to CPS for investigation, as is her duty under Washington State Law? Can Marni Campbell issue proof that she has specialized training in investigating suspected child abuse, and is therefore qualified to make a determination? I doubt it. She was a mandatory reporter, and under state law, she was required to report allegations to SPD or CPS within 48 hours. It was not her job to "investigate," it was her job to refer the situation to people who are trained to investigate. If she had special training, she would know that child predators often choose vulnerable victims with problematic backgrounds, who have known emotional or behavioral problems, because when those kids make accusations, people have a hard time believing them. (And I am not saying necessarily that this man was one, because I do not know the facts of the case.) I am disgusted that Marni Campbell faces no consequences, just like I cannot believe that Ms. Skjei is even now the principal at View Ridge, while she looked the other way while several young girls were abused by a male teacher, despite receiving several warnings from concerned teachers. She actually belittled the female teachers who warned her about this male teacher. She cost the district a lot more than Marni Campbell, and the evidence against this teacher was much stronger. Was she fired? No. She was moved to View Ridge from Broadview-Thompson. Maybe someday this district will take the safety of its students seriously, and stop keeping investigations "in-house" and turn them over to the properly trained authorities where they belong, and have a policy that clearly states that principals who do not handle sexual abuse allegations properly will be FIRED, not promoted.

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