Responding to Reports of Sexual Misconduct

Since February 2018, we have been communicating with members of our community about reports of sexual misconduct by former faculty that victimized students in the seventies, eighties and nineties. The resulting independent investigation, led by Kramon & Graham, was formally launched by Key’s Leadership and Board of Trustees in April 2018. The investigators completed their efforts and submitted a report of their findings to the Board of Trustees in January 2019. The report was shared with the Key community in this letter on January 28, 2019.

At Key Today

Key School today is a very different place than the environment described in the Kramon & Graham report. Our commitment to our students and families is our top priority, and we work proactively to ensure the safety and well-being of all students. Any concern brought to the School’s attention, now or in the future, will be investigated immediately. As Court Mandated Reporters, all School personnel are required by law to share with Child Protective Services any report of any type of inappropriate conduct related to children.

The Kramon & Graham report did not contain any allegation or finding of past misconduct against any current member of the Key faculty, staff or administration.

Key School now has in place policies, procedures, and practices designed to protect students. Our faculty/staff handbook sets clear expectations for employee conduct. Multiple avenues of support are available to students, including unrestricted and timely access to school counselors, advisors and administrators. Other protections include professional development training for all employees, a student abuse reporting process, an FBI national background check, and a State of Maryland background check which includes automatic notification of any subsequent police interaction.

Key School has retained Praesidium, a national firm specializing in employee sexual misconduct training, to provide additional training for all employees in 2019 and beyond. Key is also actively engaged with RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) to guide the School's efforts in supporting alumni, providing professional development training for all employees, and reviewing policies and procedures relating to abuse and misconduct.

Reporting Misconduct

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 a national firm specializing in the prevention of child sexual abuse and employee misconduct training hired by Key School to support its employees.

Expectations for Faculty & Staff Behavior

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.

Adult Support for Students

Key employs two school counselors who are among the resources that students can reach out to report inappropriate behavior. Student advisors, administrators, and homeroom teachers also serve as available resources for students who may have a concern.

Background Checks

Key uses a comprehensive background check system to ensure that, at the time of hire, new employees have no criminal history. This includes an FBI national background check and a State of Maryland background check, which includes automatic notification regarding any criminal activity and/or behavior of current employees that warranted a response by local law enforcement agencies.

Professional Development

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.

Key School has retained Praesidium to provide additional training for all employees in 2019 and beyond. 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.

RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network)

As the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, RAINN provides resources to help keep parents informed and children safe.

Talking to Your Kids About Sexual Assault

How Can I Protect My Child From Sexual Assault

If You Suspect A Child Is Being Harmed

Darkness to Light

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.

Partnering with RAINN

At its March retreat, Key's Board of Trustees voted unanimously to formally engage with RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), the nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization, to guide the School in its next crucial steps to support Key alumni. With more than 25 years of experience supporting survivors and providing programming to prevent sexual violence, RAINN is widely recognized as the leader in this field.

Under the guidance of RAINN, Key School has established an alumni therapy fund and will host two listening sessions for alumni, facilitated by staff from RAINN, on Saturday, June 22, 2019.

Alumni Listening Sessions - Saturday, June 22, 2019

Staff from RAINN will hold alumni listening sessions at Key on Saturday, June 22 in the library of the Science and Library Center (Building 9 on the Campus Map). With 25 years of experience providing victim-centered and trauma-informed support services, RAINN will facilitate two different conversations with the goal of continuing the community healing process through open communication.

From 10:00 - 11:30 a.m. RAINN will hold a listening session with only alumni present.

  • The focus of this session is to understand alumni concerns, current thoughts, and the ways in which Key School can help facilitate the healing process.
  • Anonymous feedback from this session will be shared with the Head of School and Board of Trustees President by RAINN facilitators.

From 12:30 - 2:00 p.m. RAINN will facilitate a conversation with alumni, Head of School Matthew Nespole and Board of Trustees President Joe Janney to answer questions related to sexual misconduct.

RAINN has created an alumni survey to give individuals the opportunity to provide feedback and questions for the administration to address during the listening sessions. The survey is anonymous and confidential and RAINN will only provide us with an overview of topics to address.

In order for Key to determine the best campus location for each listening session and to ensure ample refreshments, the School is asking alumni to anonymously RSVP (number of attendees only) by June 14, 2019.

During the listening sessions, RAINN facilitators will not be discussing specific incidents; however, if an alumna/us would like to speak about their experience, RAINN staff will hold oneon-one sessions after each of the group listening sessions.

Alumni Therapy Fund

RAINN will assist alumni who wish to access the Alumni Therapy Fund which has been established by Key's Board of Trustees to support alumni in paying for current therapy needed because of adult sexual misconduct experienced during their time at Key, whether or not they wish to make a formal report of that misconduct.

The Therapy Fund will cover individual out of pocket expenses for approved therapies including behavioral, cognitive, expressive, humanistic, integrative/holistic, psychoanalysis, or psychodynamic.

Providers must be licensed to practice in their state and must hold a Master's Degree or higher in their health discipline. Medication management prescribed by licensed providers can qualify for reimbursement. Commitments will be reviewed annually.

Alumni who wish to access the Alumni Therapy Fund, or learn more about it, can call RAINN's Key School Hotline at (866) 215-6935 beginning Monday, June 3, 2019.

  • RAINN's Key School Hotline will be available from 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Monday–Friday, except federal holidays and closures.
  • Callers will be asked to confirm they are Key alumni and will then be guided through the intake process by RAINN.
  • To maintain alumni confidentiality, RAINN will refer callers to a third-party administrator it has identified for Key School to work through for payment of current therapy bills.
  • All inquiries and funding requests are anonymous to Key.

In Key's efforts to fully cooperate with the Anne Arundel Police in their ongoing investigation, we ask anyone with additional information to contact Detective Phelan at 410-222-4700.