Friday, April 05, 2013

Retired Teacher: School Officials Knew About Sexual Abuse, Did Nothing

School districts in general dislike people who makes waves. The goal is to present a calm surface to the community. Also, most teachers don't like anyone who challenges their political hierarchy. Dan Witters probably benefited from both of these tendencies.

Very similar things happened in my district, Chula Vista Elementary (CVESD). Recently I learned of yet another cover-up. Then-Asst. Supt. Dennis Doyle mentioned to parents in 2001 that a teacher abused a student, then the whole matter was dropped.

Here's a similar story that happened in a police department. A whistleblower was fired for revealing that witnesses had received inadequate protection, resulting in a murder.

Retired Teacher: School Officials Knew About Sexual Abuse, Did Nothing
Carol Buchanan tried to come forward in the 1990s, but was punished for it
By Cheryl Hurd
NBC News
Mar 29, 2013

Carol Buchanan, a former Moraga School District teacher, tried to alert schools officials of sexual abuse in the 1990s, but was ignored, punished. Cheryl Hurd reports.

Carol Buchanan is a retired teacher who taught in the Moraga School District.

Now she may become best known as a whistleblower in the sexual abuse case involving now University of California at Berkeley swim coach, Kristen Cunnane.

“Why didn’t somebody listen? What else could I have done?" Buchanan asked. “I do feel guilty in hindsight. If this happened today, there would be no problem. I would immediately go to (Child Protective Services).”

Buchannan said in the 1990s, students told her that a popular science teacher, Dan Witters, was sexually abusing them, and she complained to administrators.

She says the district wasn’t responding to her complaints and, after a 25-year career with the district, she wasn’t fired -- but they strongly suggested that she take a leave of absence.

She did.

Buchanan says she felt vindicated when Cunnane publicly came forward last year. She was a middle school student decades ago, and is now a 30-year-old swim coach at UC Berkeley. Her story has gone quite public, and she also claims that Witters Witters and a second female teacher abused her.

“My husband came running in when he heard me just screaming that I knew it I knew it why didn’t somebody do something," Buchanan said.

After finding out about Buchannan, Cunnane released this statement, saying in part: “I can’t believe how many people at the school knew about the sexual abuse and how many warnings the district ignored. To find out that there was someone at the school actually trying to help us and that she got punished for it is incredible.”

A recent article written about Buchannan’s allegation pointed out hat it failed to find documents to corroborate her story but superintendent Bruce Burns says the district is still looking.

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