Garfield Choir Field Trip Update
From SPS Communications:
Today, the Seattle Public Schools superintendent found that probable cause existed to terminate the employment of a Garfield High School choir teacher following an investigation into a school sponsored field trip to New Orleans in March 2015. The superintendent found that numerous district policies, protocols and field trip guidelines were violated. Such violations included the consumption of alcohol by staff, allowing chaperones to consume alcohol, allowing boys and girls inside each other’s hotel rooms, ignoring curfew, and no random room checks conducted after curfew.
During this field trip a male student is alleged to have groped two female students at night in a New Orleans hotel room and on a bus, students observed their teacher and chaperones drinking alcohol, a teacher and chaperones drank alcohol at night on other occasions, a chaperone was visibly incapacitated and had to be helped back to their hotel room one night, and a chaperone was alleged to have engaged in inappropriate contact with a student while under the influence of alcohol.
The District hired an investigator, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney, to conduct the investigation. The investigation found that numerous policies, procedures, and protocols were violated by staff and chaperones.
A separate investigation surrounding whether relevant background information about prior a student attending the field trip was shared, as well as staff procedures surrounding that information is still underway.
Safety is a top priority. A basic expectation for students and parents is that district staff will ensure the safety of students while under their care, in and out of the classroom.