SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — The coalition that has come forward alleging sexual abuse and misconduct against Presentation High School in San Jose is now stating that the school’s failure to follow reporting protocol subjected students at a former employee’s next school to more inappropriate behavior.
The group MakePresSafe said that a parent has come forward claiming that Presentation High refused to report allegations against instructor Jeffrey Hicks to law enforcement, allowing him to finish the 2003-2004 school year and teach the following summer before departing.
Hicks was hired as a science and sex education teacher at Stanbridge Academy in San Mateo, a school for students with learning disabilities, with no problem because of his clean record, according to Make Pres Safe.
The group said that the reports they have read indicate Hicks was placed on leave from Stanbridge Academy for exchanging Facebook messages with a student about masturbation. The head of the school also found a CD on Hicks’ desk containing pornographic content.
MakePresSafe said that consequently Hicks was convicted and sentenced to six months in jail for keeping child pornography at work and exchanging inappropriate messages with a 14 year old. He is now a registered sex offender.
“The breaking of mandated reporting laws has greater consequences than just putting Pres girls at risk,” alumnus Cheryl Hodgin Marshall said in a statement. “It has the potential to put all children in our community at risk. Teachers quietly moving on to new schools to re-offend is more than unacceptable, it’s downright immoral.”
MakePresSafe went on to say in their news release that Hicks’ complaint, along with the allegations against four other teachers “on or around this time period,” resulted in three teachers quitting.
President Mary Miller told staff at this time that all complaints were to go to counseling and then to her, according to the coalition’s statement. They allege that she also did not encourage direct reporting to law enforcement or Child Protective Services as law requires.
Lastly, one former student and one former teacher both stated that at the beginning of Hicks’ last school year, Miller hosted an assembly that she used to lecture students about how gossip was blurring the image of the all-girls school.
In response to these new accusations, Presentation High spokesman Sam Singer said he found it curious that MakePresSafe had not only sent out an email hours after the one the school sent out announcing record fundraising but also that the parent that came forward was not named or directly quoted.
Presentation High School sent out a statement on Thursday that stated that despite efforts of MakePresSafe sending out letters to personal addresses requesting that alumnae did not donate to the high school, they raised 97 percent more than the year prior.
Singer called the coalition’s news release “deceptive” and “fraudulent,” saying that Presentation High had followed all required protocols for reporting any sexual assault or misconduct allegations during the time period in which they are being accused and that Hicks had no record when the high school hired him.
“What happened with Hicks later on had nothing to do with Presentation High School,” the spokesman said.
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