Our small community was stunned into a state of shock when Stony Brook Elementary School teacher Noah Campbell-Halley was charged with sexually abusing children on school property in March.
Former Brewster police chief Dick Koch insisted in a recent letter to the editor of CapeCodToday.com that, rather than do the wrenching work of collective soul-searching, we should simply hire an outside investigator to interrogate our school’s leaders and its entire staff on suspicion of criminal negligence.
Bafflingly, Koch has called on the Brewster parent community to hold accountable for the alleged abuse a superintendent and a principal who were not yet on the job when Campbell-Halley was hired. To further his political aims, he has gone so far as to make gratuitous insinuations about Principal Allen’s past record, employing tactics straight out of the Shaming 101 textbook. All this inflammatory rhetoric has been amplified by CapeCodToday.com’s editorial staff.
As editor of an international newspaper devoted to K–12 education, I know firsthand that sexual predators find their way into even the best-resourced schools, despite the protections put in place to prevent these horrors. And as an involved and deeply concerned parent with children in the Brewster schools, I couldn’t disagree more with the former chief, who during his tenure spent remarkably little time at Stony Brook.
While allowing the police investigation to run its course, I strongly feel that we should continue along the path proposed by our enlightened school leaders as soon as the crisis broke: come together to commiserate, support the families most affected, raise questions about how these alleged abuses went undetected, devise more thorough vetting and oversight procedures, teach children and parents the importance of having regular conversations about body safety, and build our heartbroken community back better.
You can count on me to do my part in the search for answers by leaving no stone unturned. But I refuse to cast stones at Stony Brook’s fine leadership or its qualified and devoted staff, to whom I remain most grateful.
Editor, The International Educator