ASD places Trails School employee on leave for alleged sexual abuse

ASHLAND, Ore.- The Ashland School District has placed a Trails Outdoor School employee on administrative leave after a report of sexual abuse and misconduct.

The incident occurred between a school employee and a minor in 2022. The district says the minor was not a Trails student and the incident did not occur on any Ashland School’s campus.

A community forum was held at Trails by the school district to give updates on the alleged sexual misconduct case, allowing parents to raise questions and concerns. Superintendent Samuel Bogdanove told parents there was a delay in communication about the incident because of a failure in the cross-reporting system used by the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS), the Office of Training Investigations and Safety (OTIS) and law enforcement.

Parents expressed many concerns, such as their child’s safety, the amount of background checks on staff members and how staff is trained to handle matters like this. Most were not happy with how the school district was responding.

“We really need to hear that you’re stepping up and putting a plan into place that’s going to keep this from happening again,” One parent said, “and isn’t just pointing fingers and ‘you got to go to APD‘ and ‘you got to go to DHS‘”.

Bogdanove says the district wants to get a clear sense of direction with the help of parents. He says the district is planning on implementing additional training for staff, working to improve communication, providing resources for students and parents and more. But parents say that’s not enough, and the cross-checking system between schools, OTIS, DHS and law enforcement needs to be re-examined.

“If there was a glitch and then this is how we found out it was reported, the entire state of Oregon is potentially susceptible, every school in this state,” Another parent said, “and I want verification that that is not the case, that there aren’t an abundance of reporting gaps”.

Bogdanove says since this report, the glitch in the cross-reporting system has been repaired. He says, as for the alleged case, people need to leave it up to law enforcement and the school will focus on how to heal and grow from this situation.

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NBC5 News Reporter Lauren Pretto grew up in Livermore, California and attended University of California, Santa Cruz, graduating with a double major in Film/Digital Media and Literature with a concentration in Creative Writing. Lauren is a lover of books, especially Agatha Christie and Gothic novels. When her nose isn't buried in a book, she knits, bakes, and writes.
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