ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY, MD. (WJZ) — The Anne Arundel County Schools superintendent apologized Thursday for saying at a school board meeting Wednesday night the system has “no written protocols for handling sexual assault reports,”
The statement was made while discussing reforms brought up by an Anne Arundel County High School student’s mother, who said her child was reportedly sexually assaulted at a homecoming dance earlier this year.
The assault reportedly happened September 28, but a letter was not sent home from the school until Monday.
Superintendent Dr. George Arlotto walked back on his comments Thursday, saying he had thought he was talking about publicly published protocols, not written protocols, when he was talking to the people at the school board meeting.
He clarified that the school system does have established protocols that previously were not public, and linked to the now public chart with steps and actions.
“During last night’s Board of Education meeting, in response to questions from Board members, I made an erroneous statement when I said that our school system has no written protocols for handling sexual assault reports.
In my mind I was thinking of publicly published protocols, but nonetheless the thought I expressed to those in attendance and those watching the meeting was incorrect. I apologize for that mistake.
Our school system does have established protocols, detailed in a chart of appropriate steps and actions that is adaptable depending on the nature of the case. As I alluded to last night, that information is used in principal trainings on this subject. The chart is now available to the public on the Student Support Services section of our website.”
In the letter Arundel High School sent out Monday, Principal Gina Davenport said school administrators had followed all appropriate protocols and had done a thorough investigation, saying the initial decision not to send a letter home to students was based on the “sensitive nature of the case,” and “a desire to protect and continue to support the victim,”
The victim’s mother, however, claims she requested the letter be sent out asking anyone with information to come forward, but that it didn’t happen until she made a public plea on Facebook late last week.
Police are investigating the incident. Anyone with information is asked to contact them.