Sexual Harassment, Assault, and Abuse in Washington DC Schools

On June 24th, 58 locally elected officials including myself sent a letter to Washington DC Mayor Bowser asking for information regarding sexual harassment, assault, and abuse in Washington DC schools.

Yesterday, I along with a fellow ANC Commissioner and a Capitol Hill parent met with the Deputy Mayor of Education to discuss the harassment, assault, and abuse. The following is a summary of the meeting —

Sexual Harassment Statistics — The Mayor does not have data regarding sexual harassment, abuse, and assaults occurring in DC public schools prior to January 2018.

Charter and Private Schools — The Mayor does not have information regarding sexual harassment, abuse, and assaults occuring at charter and private schools in DC. Almost fifty percent of DC school attend these schools.

Substantiated Sexual Harassment But Still Employed — The DC Public School (DCPS) system employs individuals whom DCPS has found to have sexually harassed others. The Deputy Mayor thinks it is unreasonable to ask why these individuals are still employed

Unsubstantiated Claims — The Mayor refuses to share information on where these claims were filed.

Substantiated Claims — To date, no information on the schools wherein substantiated claims of sexual harassment, abuse, and assault have occurred has been shared with parents. Parents are questioning this lack of transparency given that colleges and universities are required to share this information on a yearly basis.

Goal in sharing this information — I am sharing this information for two reasons.

First, I want parents in Washington, DC to be aware of the shocking knowledge gap that exists in the city and I want to encourage parents to start asking questions. Parents asking questions will force greater transparency and accountability.

Second, Washington, DC is one of the county’s largest cities. If our school system is tracking sexual abuse, assault, and harassment, what’s happening in medium sized cities and small towns?

June 24, 2019

Mayor Bowser

John A. Wilson Building

1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20004

Dear Mayor Bowser,

On behalf of our residents, we’re seeking your assistance in obtaining information on how sexual abuse, assault, and harassment allegations are addressed in DC public, charter and private schools. We’ve seen numerous news reports over the past year highlighting allegations of sexual abuse of minors, sexual assault, and sexual harassment within our education institutions, but we’ve learned little about how these criminal allegations are resolved.

Please let us know the full set of laws, regulations, and/or policies related to prevention, detection, reporting, investigation, and punishment of sexual abuse, assault, and harassment in schools. Additionally, please let us know if these standards are applied to all schools or if they vary depending on whether the school is public, charter or private.

Additionally, we request the number of sexual abuse, assault, and harassment allegations brought against public, private, and charter school employees, contracted workers, and anyone else providing services in schools in DC in the past 5 years. We’d also like to learn who receives these allegations within the DC government, who investigates, and what guidelines or requirements they are given regarding a timeline and procedures for investigating allegations; who notifies the police of these allegations; how these allegations are tracked; and how the public can obtain information about each allegation.

Next, please describe what your Administration is doing to address failures in processes designed to protect our students, such as what we’ve seen recently with OSSE licensing childcare providers without evidence of properly conducted background checks. Please let us know who is responsible for investigating failures in processes, as well as whether there are consequences for employees, such as being fired for failing to conduct proper oversight over contracts. Finally, we request that you provide information as to whether any DC Government employee has been fired for failing to ensure compliance with DC laws, regulations, and policies related to investigating criminal allegations of a sexual nature.

We appreciate your prompt attention to these requests related to issues of sexual abuse, assault and harassment in our schools. We request a response to these requests by July 15, 2019. Thank you for your assistance.

Sincerely,

Denise Krepp, ANC6B10 Commissioner

Jessica Sutter, Ward 6 SBOE

Erin Palmer, ANC4B02 Commissioner

Tiffani Nichole Johnson, ANC4B06 Commissioner

Corey Holman, ANC6B06 Commissioner

James Harnett, ANC2A08 Commissioner

Monika Nemeth, ANC3F06 Commissioner

Jerry Malitz, ANC3G05 Commissioner

John Guggenmos, ANC2F02 Commissioner

Randy Downs, ANC2B05 Commissioner

Jonah Goodman, ANC4C10 Commissioner

Bridget Pooley, ANC1C02 Commissioner

Ela Paige, ANC3D03 Commissioner

Dan Bradfield, ANC3G06 Commissioner

Jason Clock, ANC1A12 Commissioner

Christine Miller, ANC1A05 Commissioner

Jonathan Nobil, ANC4D06 Commissioner

Trupti Patel, ANC2A03 Commissioner

Kishan Putta, ANC2E01 Commissioner

Kim Varzi, ANC4C07 Commissioner

Tom Quinn, ANC3E04 Commissioner

Anthony Dale, ANC6D05 Commissioner

Amber Gove, ANC6A04 Commissioner

Gayle Carley, ANC5B01 Commissioner

Patrick Kennedy, ANC2A01 Commissioner

Michaela Wright, ANC1C06 Commissioner

Aretha Jackson, ANC7D05 Commissioner

Ruth Wattenberg, Ward 3 SBOE

Mark Eckenwiler, ANC6C04 Commissioner

Kari Cunningham ANC2B07 Commissioner

Chander Jayaraman, ANC6B08 Commissioner

Jeremiah Montague, ANC5C07 Commissioner

Emily Gasoi, Ward 1 SBOE

Ryan Lineham, ANC5D01 Commissioner

Teresa Edmondson, ANC1A02 Commissioner

Ursula Higgins, ANC5B02 Commissioner

Jonathan McHugh, ANC3E05 Commissioner

Markus Batchelor, Ward 8 SBOE

Japer Bowles, ANC1C07 Commissioner

Tyrell Holcomb, ANC7F01 Commissioner

Isaiah Burroughs, ANC5A04 Commissioner

Gail Fast, ANC6D01 Commissioner

Monique Diop, ANC8D04 Commissioner

Michael Shankle, ANC2C01 Commissioner

Delia Houseal, ANC7E06 Commissioner

Leah Frelinghuysen, ANC3F04 Commissioner

Ebbon Allen, ANC7E03 Commissioner

Ellen Armstead, ANC8D05 Commissioner

Lorenzo Green, ANC7C04 Commissioner

Beverly Schwartz, ANC2B08 Commissioner

Will Smith, ANC2A04 Commissioner

Sherice A. Muhammad, ANC7D06 Commissioner

Salim Adolfo, ANC8C07 Commissioner

Darrell Gaston, ANC8B04 Commissioner

Jennifer Samolyk, ANC6B01 Commissioner

Tearsa Coates, ANC4C09 Commissioner

Jamie Barden, ANC4D04 Commissioner

Chyla Evans, ANC8C02 Commissioner

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K. Denise Rucker Krepp

K. Denise Rucker Krepp

Homeland security, transportation, and sexual violence expert. Coastie. Former MARAD Chief Counsel. MST & transparency advocate. ANC6B10 Commissioner. Mom