SPOKANE, Wash. – On Thursday, Northwest Christian School officials responded with more information to a KREM 2 report about a 12-year-old girl who said she was sexually harassed by a fellow student.

The mother of a 12-year-old girl said two boys have repeatedly bullied and harassed her daughter, one of them, for more than a year. She said the problem peaked when one of the boys rubbed his leg up her inner thigh multiple times, despite being told to stop. They believe the school could have intervened, but instead downplayed their concerns.

When KREM 2 originally asked the school about what happened from their perspective, we were often told "no comment." In the statement released Thursday, school officials said all of the allegations have been thoroughly investigated by the Spokane County Sheriff's Office with the result being that the behavior was childish in nature and more of a school discipline issue.

The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office said exactly that when KREM 2 asked about the investigation. Officials said it was "still ongoing, but that was NOT likely to result in any type of criminal charge," because the behavior "didn't rise to the level of a crime."

School administrators also said that the family and young girl are no longer allowed on campus because of these five reasons:

  1. The family voluntarily withdrew their daughter.
  2. The mother launched a vile social media attack against the school.
  3. The mother threatened students, faculty and staff on social media.
  4. The mother made illegal and defamatory comments.
  5. The mother admittedly lied on her daughter's application for enrollment.

This is much more information than KREM 2 originally received. KREM 2 understands that during the course of an investigation like this, "when" we ask the questions may affect the answer we receive. Sometimes schools, attorneys or parents may not be in a position to answer questions the first time around.

Northwest Christian leaders said the incident where the boy put his foot on the girl's leg was never reported to them as "sexual in nature." They believe they handled it appropriately by talking to the boy about respecting personal space and contacting his parents.

When KREM 2 originally asked if the school felt they did enough after the incident, we were told "no comment."

School administrators also said that in early May, the girl's mother posted on her Facebook page a statement that a number of parents felt was unusual and threatening.

It said, "Moms, go get your babies from Northwest Christian School. They shouldn't be there today. Please."

The post sparked a modified lockdown at the school that day, all of which was included in KREM 2’s original story.

When KREM 2 contacted the Spokane County Sheriff's Office, we were specifically told that the entire matter was still under investigation.

School officials said they declined to comment publicly on this matter up to this point and has exercised great restraint. However, administrators said, as a result of the serious breach of school policies, illegal activity, and misleading information, the school is now evaluating all possible options in response.

KREM 2 decided to pursue the story after a judge in Superior Court, decided to grant protection orders against the two boys accused of harassment. Our story was always intended to reflect that judge's decision based on a family's concerns and a school's response.

READ NORTHWEST CHRISTIAN SCHOOL’S RESPONSE IN FULL

Media Statement

Response to KREM 2 May 29 Report

At Northwest Christian Schools, we do provide a safe and secure learning environment. Teachers are engaged, present, and care for each and every student. When we witness, or are made aware of bad behavior, we take immediate and appropriate actions to address the behavior. Additionally, we routinely review and adjust our procedures and policies when it will improve the safety and security of each student’s learning experience at NWC. While we are not perfect, our parents and students know we work every day to provide a loving and safe place for our students.

That is why we are deeply disappointed and upset with the KREM report of May 29.

In response to a request from the mother of a former 6th grade student of Northwest Christian Schools, KREM 2 conducted an investigation of the allegations of the mother against the School. The May 29 report aired on KREM news is replete with misinformation and false allegations against Northwest Christian Schools. All these allegations have been thoroughly investigated by the Spokane County Sheriff’s Department and “The behavior appears to be childish in nature and more of a classroom management and school discipline issue.”

Withdrawal of Daughter from School.

The mother of the 6th grade female student abruptly withdrew her daughter from the School at mid-day on April 11 following an incident that occurred during chapel that morning. Several sixth grade boys were leaning against sixth grade girls seated in the same row. The middle school principal witnessed the incident and disciplined the boys involved.

As a result of the incident, the sixth grade girl contacted her mother. The mother came to the School office and demanded to have her daughter removed from class. She announced to the office staff and the principal that she was withdrawing her daughter from the School. She confirmed the withdrawal of her daughter in a series of texts and emails to school administration as well as publically via social media.

In an April 11th e-mail to the Headmaster the mother stated,

“I’m willing to meet with you to go over what I experienced when I was there if you like, but the bottom line is that I’m pulling her out of school. We’ll consider home schooling through the NWC curriculum, that might be a good fit for us.”

NWCS issued the family a refund of the tuition for the remainder of the year

KREM also failed to investigate and report the reason for the denial of access of the family of the student to the NWCS campus. The family and student are not allowed on campus primarily because 1) the family voluntarily withdrew their daughter from school terminating her enrollment status for this academic year; 2) the mother launched a vile social media attack against the school in direct violation of the school social media policy; 3) the mother threatened the students, faculty, and administration of the school with her Facebook posts; 4) the mother made illegal, defamatory comments about the administration, staff and faculty; and 5) admittedly lied on their daughter’s application for enrolment at NWCS.

False Sexual Harassment Accusation.

KREM 2 reported that inappropriate physical contact was made by a male student while all of sixth grade students were watching the ‘Sound of Music’. That incident occurred during class on March 6. The female student told her teacher that a boy placed his foot on her leg. The female student did not indicate that the touch was sexual in nature, but that she was uncomfortable as a personal space issue. The teacher spoke immediately with the male student about respecting personal space. That teacher then asked another 6th grade (male) teacher to address the issue with the boy. That teacher contacted the boys’ parents to deal with the incident and both teachers handled the incident as a personal space issue as described by the female student.

The parents of the female student did not contact the School or make any inquiry of the School concerning the incident.

None of the other “sexual harassment” events described by KREM were ever reported by the female student to any teacher or administrator. The School was not aware of the allegations, because they were not reported. The KREM report states that the school knew of the sexual harassment but did nothing about it. That is simply not true.

The mother herself validates the fabricated nature of the allegations posted April 21.

“The nuttiest part about ALL of this is that the things that this boy (and I’m now learning one other boy as well) have done to {Student A} aren’t even things that I find all that appalling. They’re just annoying and it won’t stop. Not a single one of these things would have been a good reason in my mind to have involved authorities.”

Sheriff Investigation of School.

Shortly after the mother removed her daughter from the School, she contacted the Spokane County Sheriff’s Department to report the April 11 incident and request an investigation of other allegations she made against the School.

Over the next several days, the Sheriff’s Department interviewed the mother, the daughter, School officials and other parents to address all of the allegations made by the mother. The investigation included the allegations characterized by KREM as “sexual harassment”. The investigating officer concluded in his final report:

“Based on the information that I received, all the children are 12 years of age and younger. I do not have reason to believe the incidents reported to me are criminal in nature nor do I have probable cause to believe a crime has been committed. The behavior appears more childish in nature and more of a classroom management and school discipline issue”.

The investigation was subsequently closed and prosecution was declined by the Spokane County Prosecutor because there was no actionable criminal conduct as stated in the Sheriff’s investigation.

Mother’s Social Media Misinformation Campaign.

After the mother initiated the Sheriff’s investigation of NWCS, she also started a social media attack against the school, the teachers and the headmaster of the School. On her Facebook page she admitted that she made numerous intentionally defamatory, vile, and illegal allegations against the School, the teachers and the headmaster. Because of the vile nature of her defamatory posts regarding the School, Facebook temporarily suspended/blocked her account. The mother also intentionally posted on her Facebook page that she knew her comments “defamed, slandered and a few other things”. She stated her purpose was to get the school to sue her. All her charges are false.

She also admitted on her Facebook page and in her testimony to the court that she lied on her daughter’s application for admission to NWCS “in order to get my daughter into the school she wanted to go to.”

Sheriff Investigation of Threat by Mother Against School.

On May 11, the mother posted to her Facebook Account: “moms, go get your babies from NWC school. They shouldn’t be there today. Please.” In addition, because of the unusual and threatening nature of the post, a number of parents contacted the School concerned about the safety of their children. As a result of the threatening nature of the post confirmed by the concerned parents, the School was placed on modified lockdown. As required when a school is in lockdown status, NWCS immediately contacted the Spokane County Sheriff’s Department.

The Sheriff’s Department contacted the mother to question her about the Facebook threat and open an investigation into the threat. The Spokane County Sheriff has stated that the investigation of the threat by the mother remains open.

KREM 2 reported that the Sheriff’s investigation of the matter involving student misconduct “is still ongoing”. That is not true. The Sheriff’s investigation of student misconduct was concluded and closed. However, KREM failed to accurately report that the investigation of the mother’s threat triggering the security lockdown of the School is still ongoing and remains open.

The School declined to comment publicly on this matter to this point and has exercised great restraint in its responses to this family; however, as a result of the serious breach of the school’s policies, illegal activity, and providing false and misleading information to the media, the School is now evaluating all possible options in response.

Roger Smith

Chairman of the Board of Regents

Northwest Christian Schools, Inc.