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To the Lawrence Academy Community,

 

I am writing to you about a communication from a Lawrence Academy alumna that has been circulating within our community. The communication involves her account of sexual misconduct that happened during her time as a student at LA. Before addressing this specific situation, it is important to say that it takes great strength for any survivor in any set of circumstances to come forward with his or her story, and we value this alumna's decision to bring her story forward. It is also important to say that such a circumstance strikes painfully close to the heart. Lawrence Academy is committed to the well-being of all our students as we help them to develop from children to young adults. This sense of care is our fundamental mission, based in trust and responsibility. Sexual misconduct of any kind is an intolerable offense to our mission and an unacceptable act of betrayal to our community.

 

The alumna's account focuses on a case of sexual misconduct from the early 1990s and ensuing responses by both the alumna and the school. The case involved the actions of a former staff member, whom she identified as Pete Regis, a member of the facilities department. His actions involved two instances of soliciting indecent exposure and soliciting sexual touching while working with female students in a shop area. According to our records, the school's leadership was notified at the time, health services were offered to the student, and her parents were notified. In addition, the employee was removed from campus housing and forbidden from having any further direct contact with students. In keeping with our legal obligation and with sound practice, the school informed the state agency overseeing child welfare at the time the incident was reported. That agency decided not to open an investigation based on the allegations.

 

Over time, the school has engaged the former student in a good-faith attempt to promote healing and reconciliation. The school's efforts included— as shared in her account— granting the alumna's appeal to address a school-wide assembly in 2001, during which she shared her experiences and concerns. In addition, and also as shared by the alumna in her communication, the school recently engaged with her in a facilitated restorative justice process. Most recently, the alumna has asked the school's leadership to reconsider its response to the complaint. The alumna has made financial requests of the school, and we have carefully and respectfully considered them. In each instance, we responded with an offer that we sincerely believed was reasonable and appropriate. It is fair to say, however, that the school is not in full agreement with several claims that are made in the alumna's account. Lastly, we want to stress that we have repeatedly assured the alumna that she has a clear right to tell her story.

 

We have been, and we remain, grateful to this individual for bringing her experience and concerns to the school's attention. Sadly, we cannot change the events or acts of the past. However, in the present day of Lawrence Academy, we have consistently taken action to ensure our campus is a safe environment in which students can thrive with a sense of protection and security. On behalf of the school, we firmly pledge to maintain this resolve of care.

 

Sincerely,


Dan Scheibe

Head of School

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