Letter: Is Washougal High School really looking out for the safety of its students?


Washougal resident Nicole Elliott shares her concerns about what she believes is inconsistent communication from Washougal High School administration

Editor’s note: Opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are those of the author alone and do not reflect the editorial position of ClarkCountyToday.com

Students at Washougal High School rallied together with the purpose to exercise their First Amendment Monday (Jan. 31). WHS seems to have been working with the students in coordinating the event that took place during school hours where one student, in particular, took charge with hopes of getting attention from the state. Sheree Clark, the Washougal High School principal, was pleased with the efforts and outcome of Monday’s protest.

Nicole Elliott
Nicole Elliott

What she didn’t know, however, was that the coordinated event with the school would roll over into the next day where students planned to enter their classes as normal but without their masks in protest of statewide mask mandates. The student who led this week’s events stated during Monday’s pre-protest meeting that under no circumstances were students to be disrespectful but would politely decline to wear a mask when asked and continue on with their day. Their hope, however, was that students would be forced to leave the school campus so that recorded absences for that day would gain state attention.

Emails were sent out to parents with regards to the protests both on Monday and for the following day of Feb. 1 giving a very detailed explanation of how Monday’s initial protest would proceed and Tuesday’s rules and expectations as well as consequences for those that did not comply.

Parents at WHS are all too familiar with the mass amounts of emails they receive regarding rules and expectations that revolve around mask mandates and anything else in regards to COVID but what about the communication regarding student safety when it comes to child predators that are hired by the school?

Recently, a girls volleyball coach at Washougal High School was fired after learning that he was having inappropriate conduct with female students to the point that it was clearly conveyed through students that he had been “grooming” some of the girls on the volleyball team. According to some of these students, the volleyball coach recently moved out of Seattle and vaguely stated that the reason he left was due to “parent misunderstandings.’’

Is Washougal High School following through with thorough background checks on the staff they hire? Did they question this coach’s last place of employment and if so, was the question asked of the school as to why he was no longer with them? Did they not see the red flags?

What about the emails to parents with at least a statement in regards to students’ safety concerning this situation? Why have parents not received updated communication surrounding the event along with detailed protocols for staff hires?

Washougal High School is not the only school within the Washougal School District that recently fired a child predator. A separate situation took place where a teacher was inappropriately emailing female students and asking them to follow each other on Snapchat. Students shared that he would bring “only” female students Red Bulls and tell them they could get any guy because of how pretty they were.

WHS and the Washougal School District may have their communication methods on protocols of mask mandates and COVID down to a science but communications regarding the safety of Washougal students when it comes to child predators do not seem to be a priority of practice and parents should be asking, “where is the real safety concern for our students?’’ Mask mandate protocols or child predators who are hired for our schools that can impose physical, emotional, and mental risks to our children.

Nicole Elliott
Washougal

Receive comment notifications
Notify of
guest

23 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Dustin
Dustin
10 months ago

Absolutely on point! Thank you Nicole for voicing your opinion that many of us parents share in common. Why are the schools not disclosing this information?

Marie
Marie
10 months ago

Why is he in the boys Basketball group chats?When they know he is a predator,They don’t only always choose girls.

Marie
Marie
10 months ago
Reply to  Marie

And parents are unaware that he is still mingling with the boys and aren’t asking questions of their boys.

Nicole Elliott
Nicole Elliott
9 months ago
Reply to  Marie

I believe there is a school board meeting coming up that I would encourage you and any other parents to attend, concerning this matter.

Diana
Diana
9 months ago
Reply to  Nicole Elliott

Yes it’s scheduled for Tuesday.I don’t know about other sports schedules but the Boys Basketball program will be at an away game.

Karlee Hofman
Karlee Hofman
10 months ago

nicole Elliott…. Do you have ADD? Why did the subject totally change half way threw the article? I was trying to get information about the Washougal High school mask protest. And now it’s talking about weird gross interactions with teachers and students? Which seems like gaslighting, otherwise- why would you not site the sources to prove those teacher/ students allegations are true?
students standing up for their rights to not wear masks and to protest is a GOOD THING! I am proud that kids in Washington state are protesting against mask mandates.

Diana
Diana
10 months ago
Reply to  Karlee Hofman

Was never about the masks.It was about them acting on the maskd but not on telling psrents there is a child predator among our students.He is still engaging with our children through social media.Parents didnt receive any word on the issue.Talk with your kids,Find out if he is still communication with them.

Jame111
Jame111
9 months ago
Reply to  Karlee Hofman

And it’s “through” not “threw”🙄 if you’re going to call someone ADD you might not want to be a moron

Nicole Elliott
Nicole Elliott
9 months ago
Reply to  Karlee Hofman

Hi Karlee. No, I do not have ADD. 😉 This is a style of writing I chose to make a point about the inconsistencies we are noticing as parents when it comes to communication concerning our childrens safety. I understand you were focused on learning more about the mask protest which may have been what hindered you from seeing my point.

Please keep in mind that this is subjective writing which is why it is posted under the opinion editorials. Siting sources is not required but you can find information when you do your own research.

As for me personally, I chose to protect the names of my sources as they will decide in their own time when and how they wish to come forward.

And just to clarify, I too think the protest was a good thing. Its great to see our younger generations standing for what they believe in and doing it with honor.

Diana Mckee
Diana Mckee
9 months ago
Reply to  Nicole Elliott

Thank you Nicole for writing this.More people now know.I just found out he is friends with a freshman girl on Snapchat.Why is that.Pretty sure employees or coach are not to befriend students on social media.

Nicole Elliott
Nicole Elliott
9 months ago
Reply to  Diana Mckee

From what I understand not even parents can be friends on social media with teachers their students have and coaches/teachers/staff should definitely not be interacting with students on social media. I plan to address this in a letter to the superintendent.

Jahn
Jahn
9 months ago
Reply to  Nicole Elliott

Citing*

Brett
Brett
10 months ago

You go girl!!!! Keep up those masks and ignore everything else!

E.Erickson
E.Erickson
10 months ago

As a former student from there I have to say this really needed to be put out there. I heard some teachers doing shady creepy stuff all the time, thankfully I never experienced it. However teachers would never approach bullying or assault among students. When someone spoke up about threats or assault they where pushed aside.

It’s been a good while since I attended, but to hear things get even worse is heartbreaking. I’ll hope for change and the day when kids will feel safe wherever they go. Thank you so much for bringing this to the surface.

Ashley
Ashley
10 months ago

Well thank goodness your not a council member. You obviously don’t know how hiring is done and how background checks are done through the sheriff’s office not the district themselves. So if you can do it better get over there and get a job. If you can’t then stop creating hate in this community.

Noyb
10 months ago

That is absolutely BS ! You should really get your facts straight before you express your “concerns”

Joey
Joey
10 months ago

Bottom line is that it is the schools’ responsibility to keep the kids safe. The child predator issue is absolute negligence. Allowing the kids to protest by not wearing mask would also be negligent. Although they have a right to protest, it is extremely irresponsible to put the other kids at risk. Masks are a CDC guideline based on science not Facebook scientists and experts which we seem to have. It’s obvious that in more ways than one there is a lack of education as I am not pleased with the district at all and disappointed that the community makes it a political thing.

Gabe E
Gabe E
10 months ago
Reply to  Joey

I 100% agree with you on the the issue with the negligence from the school on the safety of the kids. Where I don’t agree, is claiming that not wearing a mask as a irresponsible and then trying to use words like “science” to make your point. There have been a number of studies done showing that the masks are not having the positive effect that epopke think. Including a recent analysis done by the leading research company in the world, Johns Hopkins, that concluded that lockdown efforts in the U.S. and Europe had little or no impact in reducing deaths from COVID-19.

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2022/jan/31/lockdowns-had-little-or-no-impact-covid-19-deaths-/

Shane M
Shane M
9 months ago
Reply to  Joey

Masks are nothing more than compliance costumes for the gullible.

Lauren
Lauren
10 months ago

Thank you Nicole!!!!!! It is refreshing to see someone step forward to speak truths. Seems to be a rare trait these days. Your courage should be applauded by every parent at your school.

Chris
Chris
9 months ago

So you’re conflating predatory coaches with public health?

Nicole Elliott
Nicole Elliott
9 months ago
Reply to  Chris

Yes Chris. Im using one topic to make a point about another topic with the intent to address communication inconsistencies and the safety measures concerning our kids.

Ted
Ted
9 months ago

I agree the school should disclose to parents consistently in an appropriate manner. I too am frustrated by the communication as a parent in WSD at times. But there are legal limitations on what they can say and perhaps it is pending criminal investigation which further restricts what they can say publicly. Post employment, they are very limited in what they can write to parents or risk libel or defamation. Seems like the school did the right thing by firing the teacher after they became aware. That may be all they can legally do.

As for pre-hire background and employment verifications, schools can certainly ask why the person left, but it’s nearly universal practice in HR not to give details on why a person left, whether it was voluntary or involuntary, etc. Some schools will only verify employment dates. So what you might be assuming is due diligence isn’t actually how it works in the world of HR.

23
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x