I just want to point out that a highly regarded school in Oregon just endured this sort of historical abuse and the way they treated it. I have attached the report that the Catlin Gabel school released to the parents and greater community regarding the investigation and the results. While some of the accused have died, there was an effort made to ensure the accused are identified. There was no sense of self-protection from the school. Transparency and scrutiny were apparent in the message sent to the affected. They even went as far to detail some of the stories gathered in their investigation.
On the other hand, we have ISS trying appear as though they are ‘taking this very seriously’, when the actions of the school say something quite different. Many buzzwords are in the letters to alums and parents to show the appearance of concern and validation of the people involved on the victims’ side. Then why would the Springs Survivors website exist as something more than a place for people to gather, support victims, discuss prevention, and heal? Because there is a need to call for full accountability and make every effort to prevent these heinous crimes from occurring again. Too bad image is more important.
I believe that part of the culture in the Deep South is to sweep the 'nasty bits' and secrets under the rug. Having been raised in the heart of Alabama, I was able to witness firsthand how saving face was the paramount goal to so many. Image=everything to the people of that region. I understand the drive and need to protect the image and cache of the school, but at what expense? The school is treating this as though it is the 'nutty' uncle that gets a little drunk and tells an off-color joke at the Thanksgiving table. A little embarrassment that they would like to sweep under the rug and pretend isn't happening.
I also knew many of the named accused and only had deep misgivings about one of them (which I reported to Doug Jennings when I heard tales and witnessed personally). The others... I was shocked to read their names as abusers. I was greatly saddened and unwilling to believe that these men could have done these things, but that is the point, right? To blend in while you're hunting for your prey. I believe the survivors, but my brain is having a hard time processing it all, to be honest. I wish nothing but the best for them and hope that they can find some help and support to deal with the trauma they endured.
The silence from the school is deafening. The passivity and lack of accountability by the school and board is atrocious. While there is not victim-shaming or denial of the validity of the victims’ claims, what the school saying -even shouting- to the abused is, ‘YOU DON’T MATTER!’
To the victims: You matter. Your story has value and should be heard. There isn’t a way to take away the pains of the past, but there is a way to keep from heaping more shame and suffering upon them.
To Indian Springs School, the Board of Governors, alumni council and community: Stop being cowards. Face your demons. All the former faculty that have been credibly accused that still interact with CHILDREN (not young men and women… these are kids) and ABUSE them are on YOU… Unless you ALL are willing to stand up and protect the children affected, you are part of the problem. In fact, you are the problem.
Messages of support for survivors of sexual misconduct and harassment at Indian Springs are posted here. All submissions must adhere to our community standards. Submit your messages of support here.