“The failure of U.S. schools to protect students from sexual abuse by school personnel is a story of school administrators and district cover-ups, lack of training, incomplete teacher background checks and little guidance from the U.S. Department of Education.”
Let’s Speak Up Press Release, May 10, 2018
Let’s Speak Up, a local advocacy group formed to educate, empower and advocate for the safety and well-being of students, discovered today that the San Dieguito Union High School District (SDUHSD) has recommended the appointment of a new principal at Carmel Valley Middle School (CVMS) who has a questionable employment history which includes a Title IX investigation regarding the coverup of sexual harassment of minors in the Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD).
On May 8, 2018, the SDUHSD issued a press release announcing the recommendation of a new Principal at CVMS[ii]. On May 10, 2018, Let’s Speak Up received information identifying a serious Title IX complaint against the Palo Alto High School administrative team, which included the candidate selected to serve as Principal at CVMS. Title IX complaints include sexual harassment and misconduct claims. Details of the investigation are available on the PAUSD website[iii]
“This is a clear example of the concept called “passing the trash,” a tactic where school districts cover up misdeeds and individuals are free to move into new schools or school districts with an apparent clean record,” said Lea Wolf, co-founder of Let’s Speak Up. “Let’s Speak Up demands that San Dieguito Union School District conduct a more thorough background investigation, including consideration of leadership abilities of the proposed incoming new principal at Carmel Valley Middle School. In addition, we suggest that all future, prospective district leaders and administrators be subject to more thorough investigations. Our parents and our students deserve high quality leaders who will support and protect our students.”
In the past several months, cover up of similar Title IX complaints have plagued the SDUHSD. Reporters at the Voice of San Diego recently uncovered examples of misdeeds at La Costa Canyon High School[iv] and San Dieguito Academy[v] which demonstrate poor leadership, inability to follow established procedures to protect children and “passing the trash” in the SDUHSD. Similar to PAUSD, SDUHSD has policies in place, but those policies to do not appear to be followed or enforced. SDUSHD students deserve administrators who will put students first.
According to an U.S. Government Accountability Office report[vi] entitled, Federal Agencies Can Better Support State Efforts to Prevent and Respond to Sexual Abuse by School Personnel, “the failure of U.S. schools to protect students from sexual abuse by school personnel is a story of school administrators and district cover-ups, lack of training, incomplete teacher background checks and little guidance from the U.S. Department of Education.”
The mission of Let’s Speak Up is to educate, empower and advocate for the safety and well-being of students. Let’s Speak Up developed a proprietary web-based application to enable students and parents to report abuse, bullying, and other issues that harm children. Let’s Speak Up can act as a de facto voice for students and parents who fear retribution and retaliation. Learn more about the application and how it works at http://letsspeakup.org/
Let’s Speak Up is a collaborative effort bringing communities together to focus on the safety and well-being of students. Learn more about how to get involved and volunteer opportunities at http://letsspeakup.org/
Let’s Speak Up joins the #metoo #neveragain #timesup movements to say Enough is Enough! For more information, please visit www.letsspeakup.org
Mr. Dill and San Dieguito Union High School District board members,
I recently heard that SDUHSD is hiring Vicki Kim as the Principal of Carmel Valley Middle School. I write to you to tell you that you should think twice before formalizing that appointment. Ms. Kim is currently an Assistant Principal at Palo Alto High School where my daughter graduated and my son is currently a student. As you are probably aware, Palo Alto High School has had a history of trouble with the Office of Civil Rights due to sexual assault and harassment allegations involving students, teachers and administrators. I am providing a link to a report done by the law firm Cozen O’Conner focused on a student/student assault in October 2016 and how it was handled by the school and district administrators. Vicki Kim is referred to as Assistant Principal 1. You will see in “Section d. Investigation”, it states that while Kim reported the assault, there were many things she did not do properly. https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/4058398/Cozen-O-Connor-PAUSD-Report-Draft.pdf It has also been stated by the victim’s mother that Kim told the victim to “keep it quiet”, although I have not heard that directly from the victim. In addition, I have personal experience with Ms. Kim in that my daughter was assaulted on the PAHS campus and Vicki Kim was shown evidence of the assault which included text messages and a personal statement from my daughter. However, Ms. Kim DID NOT report the incident to the PAUSD Title IX coordinator, nor did she offer my daughter, or reach out to me to offer, the opportunity to file a formal complaint. This occurred during a time when the district was being investigated by the OCR for a variety of issues. Ms. Kim and other administrators did not report this incident possibly so that it would not get back to OCR and negatively impact the current investigation. After a year of my daughter being afraid to be on campus and having issues focusing while in class, she had to leave PAHS and attend a residential program to help her deal with the trauma. Given these facts, I do not believe that Ms. Kim is the best choice to become the principal at Carmel Valley Middle School, and I’m sure that, should the parents of the school know these facts, they would not approve of hiring Ms. Kim. Parents expect that their children will be safe at school and that should something happen, the administration will do everything they can to help that child feel safe and succeed. Ms. Kim has shown that student safety is not her number one priority.
Links to Additional Sources:
View More Here about Vicki Kim
Palo Alto Complaint Draft: https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/4058398/Cozen-O-Connor-PAUSD-Report-Draft.pdf
Palo Alto Change is Needed: https://www.paloaltoonline.com/news/2017/07/14/school-board-on-sex-assaults-a-change-in-culture-is-needed
Hiring Vicki Kim: