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. Additionally, 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.
- 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 a national firm specializing in the prevention of child sexual abuse and employee misconduct training 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 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.
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.
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.
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.