Student leaders speak out about teacher harassment claims

Butte Falls, Ore.- The stepmother of a Butte Falls Charter School student says a teacher inappropriately touched her and made concerning comments.

“Any child that complains you automatically believe that child until it’s disproven not the other way around where she is ostracized, humiliated, where she is texted messages that shouldn’t be coming from people around the school,” Jon Nicholson, student advocate said.

Nicholson attended the Butte Falls School District’s board meeting Monday night to defend the student.

“When something is made to this board… when something is said in the school about a potentially abusive situation it needs to terminate immediately, not three weeks later,” he said.

According to Nicholson and the girl’s stepmother, the student reported the incident in September.

“Waiting so long to address this has allowed rumors throughout the community to grow,” Susan Cookson-Byrum, stepmother said. “It’s allowed rumors among to students to grow.”

Which is why the two were surprised when they say the school board didn’t support the student coming forward.

“From a policy perspective our responsive would be in order for us to meet a concern then we need to make sure our staff is properly trained and following procedures,”  Butte Falls School District’s superintendent, Dr. Phil Long said.”

Training is all the family wants.

“I’ve never been at the point where I want to go after the school,” Cookson-Byrum said. “From the beginning, all we’ve asked is for literally educating and for it to stop.”

That teacher has since resigned. The school hasn’t commented on the matter but is investigating the situation.

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