I witnessed so many sexually inappropriate interactions between students and faculty during my time at Indian Springs. From seeing my male classmates sit on my Latin teacher’s (John Lusco) lap on a daily basis to hearing my chemistry teacher (Chris Tetzlaff) speak extensively about her personal life and tell sexually explicit jokes in class, I realized immediately that there were very few boundaries in place between teachers and students.
While no faculty members were reprimanded for their sexually inappropriate behavior during my time at Springs, I did face severe reprimand and punishment for something I believe I should not have been held responsible for.
When I was in the ninth grade, I began to develop a close relationship with a faculty member at Springs. I visited his office every day for assistance with his class, sought out opportunities to speak with him outside of class, and sat with him at lunch to converse in the foreign language he taught. I developed an emotional attachment to him that lasted for a few years. During that time, I was suffering from severe mental health challenges, as well as experiencing bullying from my classmates, so my relationship with this teacher was one of the few sources of support I had, and I therefore had intense feelings toward him. When the faculty member started making efforts to distance himself from me when I was in the 11th grade due to the overly close nature of the relationship, I became distraught and did not understand why he was doing this. This led to a friend of mine sending him an email asking him to “go back to the way things were” with me.
This email resulted in myself and my parents being called into the headmaster’s (Gareth Vaughan) office, where I was reprimanded for my strong feelings and attachment to this teacher. The headmaster told me that my actions were reprehensible and that he was concerned that if he allowed me to continue interacting with this faculty member, I would eventually falsely accuse him of sexual assault in order to get attention. This comment has stayed with me for years and had a huge impact on my life. I have spent far too long wondering what about me made me seem like the type of person that would falsely accuse someone of sexual assault.
It is only recently that I have begun to see how horrifying it is that while I, 16 years old at the time, was so severely punished for my feelings toward a faculty member, a multitude of faculty members were committing egregiously inappropriate sexual misconduct and no one said a word. While I recognize now that some of my behaviors toward the aforementioned teacher made him quite uncomfortable and put him in a precarious position, and I understand the need to take ownership of that, I feel that the punishment I faced was significantly out of proportion considering I was a minor at the time, and considering that adult sexual offenders were not reprimanded at all.
My experience at Indian Springs School was intensely traumatizing and bewildering. I am grateful to the individuals who have so bravely spoken out about the abuse they experienced. I am hesitant to even share my story because I know it does not compare to so many of the other stories shared here, but it did leave a lasting impact. The work being done to support survivors is incredibly important and I stand in solidarity with them. Thank you to anyone who has listened to my story.
If you would like to share your story with us, we are here to listen. Click here to submit your story.
If you have submitted your story to be shared publicly and don't see it here, please email us.
This is a group for victims/survivors of sexual misconduct at Indian Springs School. If you would like to comment, please respect our community standards:
1. Believe survivors and respect their courage in sharing their stories.
2. No racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism, antisemitism, Islamophobia, or other disparaging comments about identity.
3. Any posts denying, minimizing, or blaming victims for abuse will be removed.