Responding to Reports of Sexual Misconduct
In early February 2018, administrators and members of Key School’s Board of Trustees became aware of social media posts discussing reports of inappropriate sexual interactions between former faculty members and students in the 1970s and 1980s. Deeply concerned by the allegations and committed to supporting the victims and survivors, the current administration and Board of Trustees took steps to put in place an independent investigation that officially began on April 13, 2018.
The Baltimore-based law firm of Kramon & Graham was engaged to investigate the alleged sexual misconduct and was given complete authority over the investigation, including full discretion over its process and timeline. The investigators were asked to follow the facts, wherever they may lead. Once their investigation has concluded, they will prepare a report containing factual findings, which will be shared with the Key School community.
The current administration and Board of Trustees thank the victims and survivors who had the courage to share and discuss their experiences; we are deeply sorry for the pain you have endured. While we cannot undo the inappropriate and inexcusable actions of adults from the past, we can and will seek the truth as we bring clarity to, and learn from, what occurred. Our ongoing work to cultivate and protect a healthy environment for current and future generations of students will be strengthened by what is learned through this process.
At Key Today
At Key today, our commitment to our students and families remains our top priority, and we work diligently to ensure the safety and well-being of all students. We are not aware of any recent allegations and any concern brought to the School’s attention, now or in the future, will be investigated immediately.
Key currently has in place policies and practices that protect students, including defined expectations of behavior and conduct for our faculty and staff and a student abuse reporting process, detailed in the Faculty/Staff Handbook.
- Reporting Misconduct
- Expectations for Faculty & Staff Behavior
- Adult Support for Students
- Background Checks
- Professional Development
Any report of inappropriate behavior or conduct involving current employees is to be shared with the Head of School who will conduct a thorough review of the information and respond accordingly. Possible actions include, but are not limited to, mandatory reporting to designated Maryland law enforcement and child protective service entities, as appropriate.
Additionally, individuals can call Praesidium’s Helpline to discuss suspicious or inappropriate behaviors between adults and students or suspected abuse (adult-to-student or student-to-student). This helpline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 866.607.SAFE (7233). Calling this helpline does not relieve an individual’s mandated child abuse reporting obligation to state authorities. Praesidium is an independent risk-management company hired by Key School to support its employees.
With regard to interactions with students, expectations of professional behavior by faculty and staff are explicit. Romantic, sexual or other inappropriate interactions between Key School employees and students are strictly prohibited, even if consensual. Any violation of this prohibition by a Key School employee will be considered gross misconduct and will result in immediate termination.
Key uses a comprehensive background check system that reviews both state and federal databases to ensure that, at the time of hire, new employees have no criminal history. This system also notifies us of any criminal activity and/or behavior of current employees that warranted a response by local law enforcement agencies.
Key implements an array of ongoing professional development training for all employees, most recently in October 2017 with Praesidium Incorporated, a national firm specializing in employee sexual misconduct training for schools, camps and faith-based organizations nationwide. As new faculty and staff join the School, each completes prescribed Praesidium Incorporated training as part of their orientation to Key.
Moving forward, the School’s administration plans to expand Key’s partnership with other outside organizations such as this, and to further systematize similar training opportunities. The School also is committed to an annual review of existing policies and practices.
Resources for Parents & Guardians
Below are resources, compiled by Key’s counselors, to support parents in talking with children about healthy relationships, appropriate and inappropriate interactions, sexual misconduct, and advocating for one’s self and safety.
A non-profit organization committed to empowering adults to prevent child sexual abuse, Darkness to Light provides resources to help prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse. Information includes how to help parents talk to children about safety from sexual abuse, body safety, digital safety, and events in the news. There are tips for hiring caregivers and a discussion about healthy sexual development.