The Salt Lake Tribune is reporting on a lawsuit brought against the Park City School District by the parents of a current second grader. The parents allege that when their child was in Kindergarten, he went into the principal’s office, was instructed to pull down his pants, and the principal touched his penis. According to the allegation, when the parents reported this to four people at the school, none of them reported this to authorities. This is one of the cases of unreported child abuse cases being investigated by the Summit County Attorney, Margret Olson.
Yet it gets worse; the lawsuit alleges that the boy has dyslexia and dysgraphia, and after the parents reported the issue, his special education services were taken away. It further alleges that due to this, the child now has difficulty spelling his name and writing ABCs.
Yet it gets worse; the lawsuit alleges that due to their child’s speech difficulties, he now gets bullied. According to the court filing, “He was punched so hard he lost sight for four days, ending up in Primary Children’s Hospital. He was kicked, choked, hit on the head, pinned to the ground, and threatened with a knife.”
Yet it gets worse; the parents allege that the school never told them about the bullying and that they found out about it from their son. The parents also allege that when they brought it up to school administrators, they were brushed off.
Yet it gets worse; according to the lawsuit, the school’s answer to these issues was that the child should transfer to a different school.
Yet it gets worse; no one from the school district will comment.
I would encourage you to read the entire article by Courtney Tanner. It’s the most damning thing I have read about Park City schools.
Here are some of my thoughts on this matter:
- I feel for this family (and the others too), who suffer through these events. Their only recourse to affect change is to sue the Park City School District, Dr. Gildea, the School Board, the Principal, and staff members. It shouldn’t have to be like that.
- Why is no one at the school district on administrative leave until these allegations are sorted out?
- Can the County Attorney really settle with the school district on unreported child abuse cases after the Salt Lake Tribune article?
- The school district’s lack of comment on this is unbelievable. Here is the problem now. The article states that the allegation about touching the boy’s penis was made against a male principal who is still listed as head of their school. That’s two people — and not hard to figure out. If the allegations are false, the school should be talking about this to support their two principals. If the allegations are true, the school should be talking about this to support the innocent man. However, as the public, we are now left gossiping, wondering, hoping, and making up our own narratives. It’s not fair to at least one of these principals.
- Speaking of that, should you worry about sending your kid to school next year? Should I?
- Outside of the child abuse, the lesson that the school district allegedly seems to be teaching us is, don’t speak up, or you’ll be sorry. Sounds more like the Godfather than Head of the Class.
- If you have a special needs child, are YOU now worried whether something will happen and your child’s services will be removed? This allegation seems to be a recurring pattern in our district.
- How many millions of dollars are we as taxpayers going to have to pay for this mess?
- I hope this child gets the help he needs to get back on track.
This whole thing makes me sick. I’ve followed Park City Schools for a long time. There have been issues in the past. They didn’t approach the 2015 bond correctly. They retaliated against a nurse related to her standing up for the parents of type 1 diabetes children. They don’t communicate at all. They appear to have deserted our underserved kids. There is a bullying problem.
However, this is a new low. If even half of these allegations are true, we need to clean house at the top of our district.
Since writing this article, I read the court filing the Tribune’s article is based on. I have been contacted by parents worried about the allegations of sexual abuse cited in the Tribune article. Parents should know that this lawsuit isn’t actually about those charges. It sounds like either they have been investigated or are being investigated. It’s far more about bullying that has allegedly been allowed to get out of control. It’s about allegedly not protecting students. It’s about failure to report child abuse. It’s about alleged retaliation. It’s about allegedly denying civil rights. The lawsuit is about not helping a child in need.
That said, the incidents the lawsuit alleges are horrific, whether a child’s penis was touched or not.
Note: I am not going to publish the court documents, out of respect for the privacy of those involved. They are publicly available if you wish to find them.