Watch the new CBS Reports documentary that singles out Redlands
REDLANDS, CA - Redlands Unified School District (RUSD) is the center of a new CBS Reports investigation into the mishandling of sexual abuse allegations at public schools across the county.
The documentary, Pledge of Silence, closely examines a decade of sexual misconduct cases at RUSD and the administration's failure to report them.
Here's what you need to know about the report:
- Victims publicly share their heartbreaking stories for the first time.
- From 1999 to 2022, 50 students have accused more than 25 teachers of sexual misconduct. During this time, 11 teachers were investigated, and 9 were arrested, including two in 2022, according to the report.
- "...school administrators in Redlands repeatedly dismissed reports of child sexual abuse as mere rumors for years," according to the report's review of court records, sworn testimony, police case files, and interviews with former students and teachers.
- RUSD has paid out more than $41 million in settlements over allegations of teacher sexual abuse in 23 cases.
- No one in the RUSD administration has faced any charges or lost their jobs over their handling of teacher sexual abuse allegations.
- RUSD is one of 145 school districts the US Department of Education is currently investigating for allegations of sexual violence.
With a change in leadership in 2018, the District instituted a new protocol called ACT NOW to stop sexual abuse in the district. Three years later, San Bernardino County Civil Grand Jury followed up to investigate how effectively the program was being implemented to weed out predators.
The Dec 2021 report commended the District's new policies but found an inconsistent implementation of training on reporting suspected child abuse. The report also found that some school district personnel still did not clearly understand "the meaning of mandated reporting, grooming behaviors, predatory behaviors...and boundary violations." The report also found a lack of understanding about where and how to report suspected abuse.
"Although I believe that the grand jury came to their conclusions based on limited viewpoints, there are recommendations that are valid and will be implemented because we want to remain humble and we take student safety very seriously," wrote Arellano.
Some of the recommendations included developing easy-to-read and user-friendly reference sources, installing cameras on campus, and implementing a "Third Wheel Rule" requiring an additional adult in all student-adult meetings and communication.
The Grand Jury followed up on their recommendations in a 2022 report.
Overall, they found that many of the District's responses abide by the letter of the law. However, they go on to write, "The District is clearly putting the safety and welfare of their students on the back burner. The District states, in many of its Responses, that these Recommendations of the Grand Jury, meant to keep children safe from sexual assault by staff, are simply too expensive or too difficult to implement."
The Grand Jury is expected to follow up again in 2023.
Community Forward Redlands is working on a follow-up about the impact of the CBS investigation on the community.
We want to hear from you. Did this report come as a surprise to you? Do you think the District's response has been adequate? Do you think an appropriate protocol is in place to keep your child safe?
If you would like to share your reaction or experience, please comment below or let us know at email@example.com