KYUK AM

LKSD Audits Its Adoption Of New Sexual Abuse Prevention Policies

Nov 23, 2020

Credit Christine Trudeau / KYUK

The Lower Kuskokwim School District is conducting an audit to see how well the district protects its students from sexual abuse.

In December 2019, former Bethel elementary school principal Chris Carmichael was arrested, and later pleaded guilty to a felony charge of attempted coercion and enticement of a minor. Since Carmichael’s arrest, the school district has adopted new polices and conducted training for staff aimed at preventing abuse of students from occurring again. The goal is to eliminate interactions between students and staff that could be acts of “sexual grooming.”

Dr. Janet Barry, a former school superintendent, is conducting the audit, which will track how well LKSD implements the new policies. She said that schools in Washington state widely adopted these policies a decade ago, and the result, she said, is that the number of reported incidents of teachers engaging in sexual misconduct with students has since dropped dramatically. Barry told school board members that she hoped to provide preliminary findings to them by March 2021.