NAIS and The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS) have partnered to form an Independent School Task Force on Educator Sexual Misconduct to demonstrate shared commitment to eradicate educator sexual misconduct in private independent schools and to contribute to broader national and international solutions. The charge of the task force is to take a 360-degree view and develop a set of recommendations to prevent misconduct and to respond justly, compassionately, and effectively to cases of sexual misconduct past and present.
The task force will develop a forward-looking report that will include a bibliography of important literature; definitions of key terms; an overview of existing practices, highlighting strengths, deficiencies, and challenges; a database of helpful resources; suggestions for independent school accrediting agencies; and, most important, recommendations for schools and for the organizations sponsoring the task force.
To maintain the clarity of its mandate, the task force will not focus on student misconduct. Nor will it serve as an alternative forum for the adjudication of specific suits, cases, or claims against schools or educators. This work is not principally a data-gathering exercise, although specific research recommendations may emerge.
The task force will be active for the 2016–17 school year, with members working together remotely throughout the year and at in-person meetings in Washington, DC.
The group is composed of school leaders, survivors, and investigators, as well as advocates and scholars whose work focuses on issues of sexual abuse prevention and mitigation. The selection committee received scores of nominations, recommendations, and referrals from across the country and made selections with an eye toward assembling a group with deep expertise and wide-ranging experience. Task force members include:
- Jetta Bernier, executive director, MASSkids;
- Mike Brown, head of school, Trinity Episcopal School (Texas);
- Gregg Dwyer, director, Community and Public Safety Psychiatry Division, Medical University of South Carolina;
- David Finkelhor, director, Crimes Against Children Research Center;
- Lisa Friel, senior vice president of investigations, National Football League; former sex crimes prosecutor, New York City District Attorney’s office;
- Mike Hanas, head of school, San Francisco Friends School (California);
- Siri Akal Khalsa, executive director, Northwest Association of Independent Schools; NAIS board member;
- Miguel Marshall, executive director, Independent School Health Association;
- Susan Nelson, head emerita, The Webb Schools (California); chair of the TABS board;
- Susan Perry, assistant head of school for student affairs, Ravenscroft School (North Carolina);
- Charol Shakeshaft professor of educational leadership, Virginia Commonwealth University; and
- Whit Sheppard, consultant and writer on issues of sex abuse in schools.