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A dark time for Park City’s children

Imagine you wake up this morning to the charges that seven Park City School District employees failed to report child abuse, which is required by law. These include one incident of a teacher allegedly touching a boy’s penis and two other alleged cases of rape. You may ask yourself, “Could this happen to my child, and would I know?” Perhaps more frighteningly you may wonder, “Has this happened to my child and I don’t know?”

Would you go to an amusement park if they were charged with violating safety requirements on their rides? Would you eat at a restaurant if they were charged with food poisoning? Should you send your children to school if it is likely that on three separate occasions (that we know of), school personnel didn’t report child abuse?

However, it gets worse, if possible. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Summit County Attorney Margaret Olson decided to file charges, before the investigation was finished, because the school district failed to report another case last week — while the district knew it was being investigated. “I was troubled that the school district, knowing there was a pending investigation, still failed to report a case last week,” Olson said.

So, you are being investigated for not reporting child abuse, which is required by law. During that investigation, you allegedly don’t report more child abuse. So, you’ve forced the County Attorney to file charges immediately to get your attention and hopefully prevent future cases of child abuse. I feel like I am watching an episode of Cops, instead of commenting on our schools.

What was the district’s response? Here is an email sent out to employees:

My response to this is:

  • The County Attorney is not reviewing how the district handles reporting of child abuse. She has charged the district with breaking the law. There is a difference.
  • They say, “if you are a PCSD employee then you recall the annual training you receive.” I feel like I am reading Orwell. Teachers probably don’t need to be reminded of what they recall.
  • They say, training is annual and employees have to acknowledge the training. I don’t believe the requirement is training. The requirement is that personnel report child abuse. Obviously, more needs to be done.
  • They claim that the district has reported cases of child abuse in 2021-2022. Great. How many times did they not report cases in 2021-2022? Where is the promise of an internal investigation. Where are they committing to getting better?
  • Finally, they comment that the district is cooperating with the County Attorney. Good choice. If they weren’t, I’d hate to see what would happen at this point.

This reads like a CYA memo. The truth is that this email and a similar email sent to parents are basically saying, “we did nothing wrong.”

Then we have the prepared statement from School Board President Erin Grady. “We take these allegations seriously and as always prioritize the safety of our students so that they can reach their academic and social potential. We ask that the public is respectful of the district administration and allows this process to play out before assuming any negligence or bad intent.”

We as a community may have been willing to let this “play out” until we found out that while the district was being investigated, another case of abuse allegedly wasn’t reported. If we let this “play out” who knows how many more non-reported cases of abuse there will be. Something needs to be done and done NOW. Even if the school district is ultimately found not guilty of these charges, what’s the harm in providing more focus on reporting and preventing child abuse RIGHT NOW?

It is fair to ask whether this is the responsibility of Superintendent Gildea or the Park City School Board. I do believe that employees are supposed to complete training and that they are supposed to acknowledge that training. Likewise, Dr. Gildea and the School Board aren’t omnipresent in every school at every moment. Yet, the buck has to stop somewhere. Someone is ultimately responsible. If the allegations are true, the employees who specifically should have reported the incidents are responsible. If this is an organizational failure, then the responsibility also goes to the highest levels.

County Attorney Margaret Olson provides an answer to that when she said their investigation has found “systemic and institutional failure.” That makes it fairly clear that the Park City School District, as a whole, has a problem.

Unfortunately, the effects of that problem rest on the shoulders of our most vulnerable — our children. Growing up in a place as wonderful as Park City should be a joy. For many, it probably is. However, it is our responsibility as adults to help those in need. It’s our job to look around the corner and take care of those people who can’t take care of themselves.

If children are being sexually abused … If they are being raped… If district personnel knew and didn’t report it … and our district leadership responds with, “teachers have annual training” and “allow this process to play out” then we have a real problem.

Worse than that, our children have a real problem. It’s one they have to try and live with every day.

It’s a tough time to be a kid growing up in Park City.



Eyes Wide Open

This type of systemic failure is the same type of failure our PCSD community experienced in 2016, when two students died, three others went to hospital, and around 20 families were at risk for being exposed to the same dangerous substance, yet we weren’t told the truth at the time. Some of those torturous details still haven’t seen the light of day. Qualified immunity got people off the hook who were seen by a judge to be negligent in their duties.

I recall with horror how one of those public employees (who got off through qualified immunity) at the time used the deaths of the two kids to further her career.

I wonder at this sad moment, so reminiscent of the past, how someone employed right now, who may have failed to protect one or more of our students, might possibly spin this into achieving an award and use this ‘experience’ for personal gain.

If it walks like a PR job, talks like a PR job, and smells like a PR job, it’s probably a PR job.

The adults in the community ought to stand behind and for kids and their safety first and foremost. They shouldn’t remain in support of an adult who should have done more just to keep a friendship or a business relationship. Keep these and all kids in the forefront of your minds. Say “No! No PR! No hiding! No using! No profiting from tragedy!”


I keep waiting for the superintendent and board to do the right thing and resign. Maybe this, the cherry on top of the recent incompetence and malfeasance sundae, will finally make it happen.

If not, I’d support the state stepping in and taking over for the board until an interim administration can be named.

Also, what’s up with Gildea claiming she wasn’t employed by the district in 2019?!? Does she just habitually lie?

A Park City resident concerned about our school children

We know the current superintendent has no relationship with the truth or she is incredibly fatuous,, as evidenced by claiming someone threw a rock through her kitchen window. Interesting in this claim that the INTERIOR window was cracked but the EXTERIOR was fully intact.
She intentionally denied a five year old U.S. American citizen admittance into Kindergarten for no legal reason. It is believed this was done in retaliation for questioning the frivolous spending of tax dollars on the house PCSD provides.
Oh, there is so much more…..

Michael J Franchek

Why is it that the DISTRICT is charged with the crimes? Why are the accused being shielded from public view? These were individuals that are identified in the charging documents using coded names. The DA and schools know who they are. Perhaps Public Officials are afforded protections that mere mortals are not?

Sarah Altschuler

From KPCW today: “Olson said investigations into the district are ongoing and could result in charges against individual people. So far, only the district has been charged. It faces a potential $3,000 fine.” I would be shocked if individuals are not named and charged soon. However, I think because we are looking at a “systemic failure”, naming the district highlights that fact.

After talking to teachers, I was appalled by the lack of training. An employee can simply click through and “complete” the training. One employee told me there were several broken links, including the one for reporting training. And, as a substitute teacher, I didn’t even get that sad excuse for “training”. By contrast, in order to become a coach with US Ski and Snowboard one must go through a rigorous training through the US Center for SafeSport with formative assessments along the way and multiple quizzes that must be passed to proceed. There are hypothetical scenarios and tough questions, situations that really make you stop and think, and you cannot be certified without passing. And, let me tell you, by the end, there is no doubt that you report EVERYTHING. It is not subjective – you don’t get to decide whether to report based your opinion of the child or the accused.

That an organization of people charged with the safety of our children for so many hours of their lives has such poor standards for training is inexcusable. When such a straightforward regulation is blatantly and intentionally disregarded, how much more is wrong in our school district?

Upset Teacher

I suppose this might reflect badly on me and my memory, but I don’t actually recall doing a child abuse training with PCSD. We definitely did a click through ‘human trafficking’ prevention training that was worse than worthless. But as far as I recall that didn’t cover stuff like mandated reporter status, what to do if you suspect, or stats on/signs of plain old child abuse. Maybe I’m forgetting an online course but I don’t think so.

L Smyth

Maybe there should be a PCSD survey about reporting abuse training! It seems like the public outta find out, and quickly, what the hell training was done, how it was done, by whom it was done, and who was responsible for making sure it was done.

I bet that PCSD stakeholder group could do a good survey on it!

Children Betrayed Again

As posted by Town Lift, clarification on Responsibility to Report is given by the Summit County Attorney’s Office:
EVERYONE is a mandatory reporter. Failure to do so is a crime.
Reference is made to Utah Code § 53G-9-209, Utah Code § 62-4a-403, and Utah Code § 62-4a-411.
“It is the legal duty of any individual who has reason to believe that a child is, or has been, the subject of abuse or neglect (or observes a child being subjected to conditions or circumstances that would reasonably result in abuse or neglect) to immediately report to the Utah Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS) or local law enforcement.”

There is no way for any PCSD administrator to justify their repeated failure to protect these children. Full Stop.

Dino Pontino

Frustrating that they took so many liberties and the community just gave them $80,000,000. I want a refund on my running with Ed entry fee, these folks appear clueless, they’ve lost my support.

Clean house!

Gildea lies. That’s a fact. Please–‘she was superintendent in 2019!
From the beginning to today, she acts like an autocrat, practically illiterate in education, lying and throwing anyone else nearby under the bus. She’s been letting gp of seasoned teachers and staff and replacing them with newbies, friends, and loyalists, How can there be so much outrage over Vail’s terrible attutude to cistomers, but no outrage over Park City’ School District’s years long dreadful mismanagement of people and education? Are liesure sports really more important than education? We have our own little Putin with her wealthy oligarchs always praising her and themselves, sucking life out of education. We need a major, major overhaul! We need people who have the brains, the gits the compassion and the will to gather and stage a coup. Full sweep!


Dr Gildea’s response is wholly inadequate. Rather she was superintendent at the time incidents occurred is irrelevant. What is relevant is her ability to lead the district’s response to the legal action. Not calling an immediate emergency meeting of the board reflects poorly on Dr. Gildea’s ability to effectively lead the district.

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