School of the Osage Teacher Scandal

1 decade 9 months 3 weeks ago Monday, February 19 2007 Feb 19, 2007 Monday, February 19, 2007 6:03:10 PM CST February 19, 2007 in News

"My kids have went to school here since kindergarten. I've had two of them graduate from high school. And I always thought the kids were safe here," said Hanks.

She now thinks that no longer is the case.

In January, the district put a School of the Osage coach on administrative leave, but didn't give any reason to the public. Parents in the area are still wondering what is being done behind the doors of the school.

When asked what has been done with the recent coach who has been put on administrative leave, the Superintendent was hesitant to answer.

"I'd rather not say," said Superintendent Dr. Mary Ann Johnson. "I get an internal email from a concerned teacher, we instituted this investigation last year, and we visited with the teacher in question, and it didn't arise as to the level of certainly we are at at the moment."

The concerned teacher sent that email nine months ago in May of 2006. Addressed to the superintendent and a former principal, the email raises concerns about the coach's behavior. Those concerns included accusations the male coach regularly taking students out to eat and visiting other students' houses when parents weren't there. Also included were alleged student complaints the coach regularly walked into the women's locker room and kept talking even if some people were not fully dressed.

One student even went as far to say that if she had a daughter, she wouldn't want them to play on his team.

Dr. Johnson was asked what had been done from there.

"We contacted the division of family services for a hotline call and they are doing an investigation," said Dr. Johnson.

However, when a call was place to Social Services in Jefferson City, they told KOMU that a hotline report was never filed in May of 2006 when the email was originally sent to the superintendent and had still not been filed as of February 13, 2007.

And when Hanks was handed the email, a gasp shortly followed. She was astonished.

"That is absolutely unbelievable, and a teacher mailed this," Hanks asked.

She doesn't think the district took action quickly enough. She was shocked and claimed how detailed the email was. She went on to say that she believes that the coach should have been put on administrative leave the minute the letter was emailed to the superintendent.

Parents aren't the only ones causing a fuss. One school employee, who wanted to remain anonymous for fear of getting fired, said this isn't the first time this has happened.

"This is, I think, in the last five years or so, maybe the fourth type incident that had something to do with misconduct with students," the employee said.

But this employee says other teachers know what has been going on, but have been to afraid to say anything.

"I've heard other faculty and stuff talk about how they don't want to say nothing about certain things because of what the response might be," the employee said. "[T]hese incidents going on is making not only School of the Osage look bad, but the faculty and people that work there look bad. It's getting to the point it's almost embarrassing to say you work at School of the Osage."

And when asked about any other incidents within the school, the superintendent denied further comment and asked KOMU to leave the premises.

The Camden County Sheriff held the coach on 24-hour custody earlier in February, but later released him. The county prosecutor has not filed charges, but the coach is still on administrative leave.

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