Cate School Safety & Accountability Petition
As the shock waves from recent news of decades of faculty on student sexual abuse at Cate settle in, the school remains silent. This neither builds trust nor provides hope. Based on our close study of how other schools of high esteem have responded to sexual abuse scandals, as well as conversations among courageous alums, we petition the Head of School and Board of Trustees to take the following actions as soon as possible:
1) Publicly and sincerely apologize to all survivors of sexual abuse at Cate. For a mentor text, see Thacher Head's letter as excerpted in the NY Times.
2) Hire an experienced, reputable school safety consultant to work with faculty immediately, in advance of the September return to school, to establish plans for supporting students' mental health amidst these unfortunate revelations, develop new policies that establish clear boundaries between students and faculty, and provide leadership in training all adults on campus.
3) Hire a school safety officer who can facilitate ongoing faculty education, help build healthy school culture and serve as a resource to students grappling with issues of sexual misconduct - either by other students or by faculty.
4) Dispose of the SHIRT procedures and instead report to law enforcement in response to all future allegations of sexual misconduct.
5) Create a third-party administered, no-strings-attached therapy fund for survivors of sexual abuse at the hands of Cate faculty. RAINN would be available to manage this on behalf of the school.
6) Hire a truly independent, nationally recognized investigator of boarding school sexual abuse to take over for Amy Oppenheimer's firm. We recommend Jim Dowden of Boston or Nancy Kestenbaum of New York.
7) Release to the press all past "internal investigations" of sexual abuse by faculty members on campus. Name the perpetrators. Contact all current employers of those perpetrators to report their histories of sexual abuse of minors.
8) Fire all the enablers who knew about faculty sexual improprieties with students and yet kept secrets. This will include Ben Williams.
9) Communicate your intentions and actions in response to the above recommendations to the entire Cate community.
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