In the wake of a Perry (Oklahoma) Public School principal and a teacher charged with failure to report suspected child molestation, State School Superintendent Joy Hofmeister asked for more scrutiny for school officials.
“This situation in Perry is a stark reminder to anyone who works in our schools that it is unconscionable to say nothing or look the other way when there is an allegation of an adult victimizing a child,“ said Hofmeister. “If you suspect any type of inappropriate behavior between adults and students, you absolutely have a legal and moral obligation to report it to the Oklahoma Department of Human Services. It is not your responsibility to determine the validity of a claim, regardless of where it originates. Swift and proper reporting of suspected inappropriate behavior is vital.
“Parents surrender their children to our schools with the presumption they will be safe from harm. I am heartbroken for the students and families in Perry whose trust in their local school has been shaken.“
A teacher’s assistant at Perry Upper Elementary School was recently charged with multiple counts of lewd or indecent acts with children. Police say several students had taken their concerns about the assistant to the principal and a math teacher, but the educators did not believe the allegations and failed to promptly report the incidents.