Recently, the Cherry Creek School District has been rocked by 2 sexual assault stories. One of these occurred last May and was kept from the community until the second one was reported in late-August.
The fist incident involved a security guard (Brodderick Jerrod Lundie) at Grandview High School and the second involved a Social Studies teacher (Brian Vasquez) at Prairie Middle School.
Superintendent Harry Bull stated that the reason for his failure to report the first incident to the community was the protection of the victim and the fact that there was only the one incident. I have no idea how he divined no other incidents, maybe he relied on the good word of the perpetrator, Jerrod Lundie.
The second incident, involving Social Studies teacher Brian Vasquez of Prairie Middle School, appears to have been reported in a timely manner. But, this pervert lured and molested children over a 4 1/2 year period, with the first incident being, apparently, in January of 2013. He has been charged with 31 different counts involving some form of sexual assault.
Now, first of all, Vasquez was a teacher for a long time, he came from other schools before he began his 7-year stretch with Prairie. Vasquez did not awake on some morning in January 2013 and decide this was the fine day that he was going to become a pervert. What was his background at these other schools? What was his prior history with Prairie? Is that another secret?
Second, for 4 1/2 years, Vasquez molested children. It is inconceivable that he did this for such an extended period and no one, not one person, ever raised any concerns about his interactions with children. Not one child said anything to a teacher or counselor? No parent came forward to report things they heard from their child? No teacher observed and reported anything that looked odd? No anonymous voice on the district’s Care Line? Nothing? Hard to believe. More secrecy?
Now, this is egregious behavior. I don’t think Harry Bull was hired to make a secret of things that should have been reported to the community. He deprived parents of the right, and the opportunity, to discuss this matter with their kids and put it into some sort of a framework and context. This creep, the perpetrator in the first incident, was well-liked, the “cool” security guard and kids need to know that these types of people always find their way to where there is a concentration of kids and they are very adept at worming their way into the kid’s circle.
In addition, speaking with their kids might well have revealed whether any other instances involving this guard were known about by the kids. Maybe that was the problem Bull was trying to avoid.
But Bull, putting politics before safety, chose secrecy over transparency; the dark over the light. This is the usual modus operandi of the Cherry Creek School district, as they have consistently refused to let parents know of the vast display of pornography awaiting their children in the district provided data base resources.
Now, this is all very bad stuff but most disturbing, most disturbing of all, is the incomprehensible complacency of the school community; where were the parents that should have been out in force at the school board meeting last night, screaming their outrage? Where were the villagers with their torches and pitchforks, demanding the head of Harry Bull? No where! Not one at the meeting. No public comment about the incidents, no public comment about the secrecy, not one peep.
We were there. We made very pointed comments and we don’t even have a child in these schools. The fact that Harry Bull would hide the information that parents are entitled to is a community outrage that requires public comment. It erodes trust between Bull and the community he was hired to serve. It is in secrecy that dark things develop. A light needs to shine in these dark corners, preventing rot from developing. There was no light last night.
Where were the parents? Where was the community outrage, not only for the actions themselves, but for the secrecy engaged in by Bull and the Board of Education? A deafening and resounding silence. How very disappointing.
When the issue was a 15 minute change to the school start times, there was a packed house of parents, distraught at the effect this would have on their families. There were hours devoted to the studies, the science of sleep, the concerns of parents. Standing room only.
Sex assault on our children, secrecy about the reporting? Nothing!
Even the Aurora Sentinel, generally an ideologue of the left, evidenced more indignation than the parents of the affected schools. Were they too engaged in another bilious episode of Bachelor in Paradise? Unable to tear themselves away from Survivor Season 150? Or the riveting spectacle of the Voice or America’s Got Talent? Where were you people? What is wrong with you? These are your children and you can’t summon the energy and 2 hours of your time to speak out on their behalf? Is it too much to ask that you protect them? It is disgraceful.
It is heartbreaking.
There is an old adage that people get the government they deserve. That was clearly on display last night at the Cherry Creek BOE meeting, as was the reason.
Complacency is a disease, like cancer. It slowly rots a community and leaves it vulnerable to self-serving elected officials. If you do not demand they serve you, the community, then they will most certainly serve themselves.