Springs in the late 80s/early 90s was a weird place. I didn’t understand that at the time, but I have a hard time believing that the adults didn’t know. Lusco always had boys in his lap, and the rumors were that a higher grade was given to the boys who flirted back. Watkins had a thing for boys too- so much so that boys would compare stories after class about whose back pockets he put his hands into. Girls weren’t safe at all either. I was told more than once to not go to Balch’s office alone, and the joke was that he wouldn’t look girls in the eye because he was too busy staring at their breasts. Thomas wanted so badly to be popular with the pretty girls, and the stories about his working out naked in the gym were just creepy. I’m not at all surprised that the school (or that church since Thomas is still living, and it sure looks like the school is just avoiding naming the living) named all of these guys as predators. One I know they are leaving out was the assistant soccer coach Eric Woodard; his dad, Ray Woodard, was named, which also didn’t surprise me. This isn’t my story, it’s my friend’s story.
Kate can’t tell it because she died of a drug overdose in 2011, which is probably in part because of what happened to her at Springs. Eric started having sex with her when she was in the 8th grade, the first time on the school bus. Kate didn’t know she was too young to consent, and that Eric being in his 20s meant that this was rape. He kept raping her for a year or so, and Kate seemed deluded into thinking this made her cool. Given how oddly sexualized the environment at Springs was, and how much pressure there was to appear sophisticated, I can now see why she seemed to think that. Also, her mom Diane (the English teacher) was dying of cancer, and I would guess she didn’t really want to live in that all the time. I feel badly because after she told me I avoided being close to her. Looking back, I see that this was the approach I had across these situations. I stopped taking latin, quit choir, avoided Balch’s classes; it all made me uncomfortable in a way I didn’t understand. It is so sad to read the stories on this site and see that this stuff just kept going on. Students were just left to fend for themselves in the face of predation, and it seems that Springs tradition hasn’t died.
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