The Auburn School District has placed an Auburn Riverside High School teacher and coach on leave after allegations of inappropriate conduct. The teacher was placed on leave after the district was notified of a video on YouTube “showing a staff member allegedly seeking an inappropriate relationship with an underage child,” said Dr. Alan Spicciati, Auburn School District Superintendent.
The school district “immediately notified law enforcement and are working with them to investigate,” according to a letter sent home to district staff and families. Auburn Police put out a statement confirming they have “been made aware of an incident involving a teacher from Auburn Riverside. The incident occurred this past July in the City of Houston, Texas.”
While the Auburn police are aware of the video, Houston police have jurisdiction over the investigation. “We will assist Houston PD and the Auburn School District in any way we can. we don’t have any further information to report at this time,” concluded Auburn police’s statement.
A letter was sent home to families of Auburn Riverside High School students Sunday afternoon. Principal David Halford addressed the video and the teacher being placed on administrative leave. He assured parents that his “goal is to always support the students and community of ARHS, as physical and emotional safety is our top priority.”
Halford’s letter outlined what parents and students can expect when returning to school Monday morning. “Before students arrive,” Halford’s letter explains, “there will be a staff meeting updating staff and substitutes on the issue, provide them with discussion points, provide a statement to be read at the beginning of first period, and identify the different ways to support our students.”
Auburn Riverside High School Athletic Director Doug Aubert and Halford have met with the swim and water polo parents and athletes “to find ways to support them,” shared Halford.
An administrator and counselor will be available in each of the teacher’s classes for any student that may need support. Additionally, Halford explained, “the District’s Crisis Support Team will be available in the library for anyone who feels they need support from counselors or administrators to talk with.”
In concluding his letter Halford reiterated Spicciati’s appreciation to the individual who reported the video.
Principal Halford’s Full Letter
Dear Auburn Riverside Parents,
As I am sure many of you are aware from Superintendent Spicciati’s email message yesterday, on Friday there was a social media post allegedly involving an ARHS staff member that went viral on the internet. This post was extremely concerning. In an attempt to keep everyone involved safe during the investigation, the staff member was placed on administrative leave Friday afternoon.
My goal is to always support the students and community of ARHS, as physical and emotional safety is our top priority. With this in mind, I wanted to update you on what will take place tomorrow, Monday 12/9, at ARHS.
Before students arrive, there will be a staff meeting updating staff and substitutes on the issue, provide them with discussion points, provide a statement to be read at the beginning of first period, and identify the different ways to support our students. Athletic Director Aube1i and I will have a meeting with Swim & Water Polo Athletes before school to find ways to support them. For students in the teacher’s classes, an administrator and a counselor will be available in each class to provide support.
Additionally, the District’s Crisis Support Team will be available in the library for anyone who feels they need support from counselors or administrators to talk with.
As mentioned in Dr. Spicciati’s email, we appreciate the person who reported the video. Remember, if you see something, say something. The ASD has an anonymous tip line with four easy ways to report anything suspicious: Online: http://1258 @a1ert1.us, Email: 1258@alert l. us, Phone: 885.790.9375, or Text: 855.790.9375. Students also have these phone numbers printed on the back of their student ID cards.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at [email protected] Thank you for your support of our students throughout this process.
David L. Halford, Principal
The Community Reacts
Since the video was discovered it has been repeatedly shared on social media. Many current and former Auburn Riverside High School students and parents have commented on the video and situation, sharing their opinions and experiences with the teacher in question. Questions of prior incidents have been repeatedly raised in online comments.
After being notified of the identity of the individual in their video, the creators of the original YouTube video (Predator Poachers) hosted a live stream Saturday night. The host of the live stream invited Auburn Riverside High School students, alumni and parents to call into the live stream. Callers continued to share their experiences and opinions, echoing many of the online comments.
Several attempts were made to contact the teacher during the live stream. The host sent several unanswered text messages, and a student who stated they were close with the teacher called with no response.
How We Will Handle This Story
We have been contacted and received information from several sources regarding incidents related to this situation, as well as others. Given the sensitive nature of these incidents, we are going to be taking our time and care to thoroughly investigate and handle all incidents, stories and matters of this kind. The last thing we as a news organization want to do is (re)traumatize anyone involved in anything we cover.
While multiple sources have confirmed the teacher’s identity to us, and it has been shared on social media and in comments, we will not be publishing it. Our initial publication included the teacher’s name and we have since removed it. As this individual remains under investigation, has not been arrested and charges have not been filed we will not be publishing their name at this time.
Choose Your Words Carefully
We ask that those commenting (wherever those comments may be made) take a moment to consider your words. While an investigation is pending in this matter, commentary related to abuse, sexual assault, rape and matters of this kind can leave an astoundingly deep impact. Survivors of abuse and assault are also reading these comments. Mental health is not cut and dry – words can cause a great deal of trauma to those who are already wounded.
If you or anyone you know is in need of help, please know support is out there. Here are a few numbers to local and national resources:
King County Sexual Assault Resource Center: 888-99-VOICE
Rebuilding Hope! Sexual Assault Center Pierce County: 1-800-756-7273
King County Crisis Connections: 866-427-4747
Pierce County Crisis Line: 800-576-7764
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
Crisis Text Line: Text Home 741741
On a final note, we want to express our deepest condolences to the City of Houston, TX Police Department. Sergeant Christopher Brewster was shot and killed in the line of duty Saturday, December 7th when responding to a domestic disturbance call. Brewster was a nine-year veteran of the Houston police force.