On December 9, 2019, Indian Springs alums Kelly Stewart '06 and Hudson Munoz '05 published a Medium article about watching Hulu's "Looking for Alaska" in the midst of the ISS sexual misconduct investigation:
"We Went to the Real Culver Creek. It Was A Great School--With a Systemic Sexual Abuse Problem."
On December 5, 2019, WBRC Fox 6 in Birmingham ran a news story on Tim Thomas. While Thomas' church, First Presbyterian Church Birmingham, named him in a June 2019 letter to members, Indian Springs still has not named Thomas or any other living abusers.
"BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - WBRC Fox6 News has learned one of the former Indian Springs School faculty members, alleged to have engaged in 'educator sexual misconduct,' worked for both the school and a Birmingham church, where the church now says he may have been using participation in their choir as a way to 'foster relationships' with students." FULL STORY
Indian Springs School published its latest update to its ongoing investigation of sexual misconduct by teachers. This letter included additional accusations of misconduct involving John Lusco and Lee Watkins, and it included accusations against two previously unnamed teachers: Ray Woodard and Stephen Powell. This update brings the list of named faculty members to five: John Lusco, Lee Watkins, Marvin Balch, Ray Woodard, and Stephen Powell. All are deceased.
There have been credible reports in the community of sexual misconduct by a number of other, former faculty members. Two have been confirmed -- Tim Thomas and Clint Jacobs -- but the school refuses to include them in their updates to the community. And, we know there were still more, who were reported to the school and omitted from the school's official report.
The school's lack of moral courage in confronting and naming the living abusers leaves the accused free to access children. With no public record of their transgressions, they can continue to seek employment with students. In effect, Indian Springs is passing the trash.
In addition, the school's denial of abuse by living perpetrators does further harm to their survivors. By refusing to include these stories, the school is saying to all of the victims of the living abusers, "we don't believe you" and "your abuse wasn't serious enough." This is unacceptable and wrong. The more honest response would be, "we don't have the courage to stand up for you" or "we don't have the courage to face the abuse on our campus." Shame on Springs.
The school's characterization of its history of abuse -- as a distant memory, perpetrated only by a few deceased faculty members -- is disingenuous, and it cruelly denies the more recent experiences of students who were sexually abused or harassed by faculty members in the 1990s, 2000s, and 2010s. How can we expect the school to become a safer place for future generations if it refuses to acknowledge its most recent failings? And, how can we as a community of alumni expect to support our friends and fellow classmates who were abused at Springs if we do not know their stories?
Indian Springs is betting that the internalized shame of the survivors will keep them from coming forward and that we, as alumni, will hold our nostalgia for the institution above our sense of justice and our desire to support our fellow alumni. This cannot be so. Please stand up with us and share your stories and messages of support. Together, we can encourage the school's leadership to uphold the values it encouraged us to hold: integrity and moral courage.