Response to Reports of Faculty Misconduct

SUMMARY

Last October, after reading frequent press reports about people who exploited positions of power by abusing those around them, Maret’s leadership invited its parents, students, alumni and other community members to report any concerns about misconduct or abuse at Maret, past or present, to the school or DC authorities. In February, Maret hired the law firm of Crowell & Moring LLP to conduct an independent outside investigation of all allegations of sexual misconduct or inappropriate conduct by any former or current Maret faculty. Today, Maret School is releasing the report prepared by Crowell & Moring to its school community.

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The investigation, which included interviews with over 50 individuals and the review of hundreds of documents, determined that between the mid-1970s and 2008 there was evidence of sexual misconduct or inappropriate physical or emotional boundary-crossing involving a number of faculty members. They also determined that there was a sufficiently high standard of credibility and severity to name four Maret teachers. Most of the incidents detailed in the report took place during the 1970s and 1980s, and none of the teachers have worked at the school for over a decade.

The findings of the independent investigation are sobering. There is a trust that exists between family and school that was betrayed by these former faculty members.  We deeply apologize for the impact these transgressions have had on the lives of those affected. We live in a time where the national conversation about sexual misconduct is coming out of the shadows. We respect the courage it takes not only to survive this type of abuse, but to come forward to share personal experiences and to urge the School to bring them to light. Our investigation remains open for anyone who has not yet come forward with relevant experiences or information.

The FINAL REPORT is now available to the Maret community HERE.

As Board President Ian Cameron and Head of School Marjo Talbott write in their introductory letter to the community (see September 19, 2019: Announcement of Investigation's Final Report on this page):

“We are very distressed that former Maret teachers crossed critical boundaries and took advantage of children in their care. We want to take this opportunity to state sincerely and forcefully: We are truly sorry.

We are also profoundly moved by the courage of victims who came forward to share their personal stories and to urge the School to bring them to light. We acknowledge the pain and distress of doing so. As current leaders of Maret, we offer you, personally, our most sincere apology for the abuse of trust and betrayal of innocence.

We acknowledge how difficult these findings will be for many of the students, families, and faculty who were part of the Maret community during these years. We apologize for the impact that learning of such transgressions might have on their memories of experiences at Maret. The fact that some teachers took advantage of and harmed the children in their care is wrong, entirely unacceptable, and affects us all.”

The Report also acknowledges the strong policies, training, and other safeguards currently in place to protect all our students. Each year, we provide our faculty with comprehensive training about personal boundaries and mandatory reporting obligations. We review all our procedures annually to maintain best practices for an independent school.

Maret school GUIDELINES for CODE OF CONDUCT

The purpose of these Guidelines is to describe Maret School’s expectations regarding appropriate conduct of faculty and students, the School’s approach toward violations of rules, efforts to prevent abuse and neglect, procedures for mandatory reporting of abuse and neglect, and general compliance with recent laws affecting schools in the District of Columbia. These Guidelines harmonize with Maret’s Mission and Philosophy, which inform our actions and expectations.

The Guidelines address the following topics:

  • Code of Conduct for Maret Faculty
  • School Philosophy regarding Violation of Rules by Students
  • Violations Leading to Disciplinary Action for Students
  • Procedures for Investigations and Disciplinary Actions
  • Additional School Response to Drug and Alcohol Use
  • Counseling Resources
  • Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect
  • Additional Information on Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect
  • Common Courtesies
  • Use of Social Media
  • Resources, Training and Information for Faculty, Students and Families