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Deputy Mayor of Education Paul Kihn responded to inquiries about sexual misconduct in schools 86 days after hundreds of parents and community members signed onto a letter demanding answers about recent events in schools. But he didn’t answer some critical questions, per one parent. 

By way of background: parents, led by Danica Petroshius, asked the mayor’s office for more transparency after learning that a Capitol Hill Montessori @ Logan (CHML) employee kissed and inappropriately touched a 13-year-old student in mid-May; the employee was affiliated with the after-school provider Springboard Education. Petroshius’ two kids attend CHML. 

On Friday, Kihn responded to the letter parents sent on June 12. Kihn’s 10-page response answers a lot of questions, but omits some critical details, says Petroshius—like the fact that CHML parents learned about the incident from the press. Kihn writes in his letter that “DCPS communicated with CHML families about the incident and informed families of Springboard’s non-compliance and suspension of services.” But parents didn’t learn the incident was sexual or that it involved a minor from the school. They got that information from the media. 

“To say that DCPS effectively and transparently communicated is not true,” writes Petroshius, in her Sept. 7 reply. “Why was DCPS not completely transparent on June 8th when even, as your letter states, the MPD had cleared you to communicate because its investigation was over on June 3rd?”

DCPS has taken some steps this summer to ensure schools are complying with requirements that keep students safe. Kihn outlines some of what DCPS has done so far: 

  • Included more “definitive language” in provider agreements for anyone working in school buildings.

  • Added audit procedures to ensure compliance with background checks. 

  • Held meetings to “provide training and ensure providers understand their obligations to comply with all District requirements, including DCPS-administered criminal background checks for all staff.”

But as of Aug. 19, 27 percent of DCPS staffers have expired background checks and it’s unclear whether they’ll meet the city’s Sept. 30 deadline to complete them. 

Meanwhile, Petroshius wants to know more about what schools have planned this year so parents can weigh in, and demands more data on sexual misconduct complaints citywide.    

“We need a thorough investigation into the breadth of depth of data and information collected and shared. We are not doing enough now to ensure that predators know they are not welcome… The data, sharing, communications and transparency policies are sorely lacking,” she writes. 

Kihn has maintained that officials “seek to balance the desire for transparency with the need to protect the confidentiality of students and families and the integrity of pending investigations.”

We do know there are six public schools where substantiated claims of sexual abuse by an employee occurred between Jan. 2018 and the present. The DC Open Government Coalition requested to know which schools through a Freedom of Information Act request. We don’t know nearly as much about charter schools, which manage to avoid the same kind of oversight as DCPS. Amanda Michelle Gomez (tips? agomez@washingtoncitypaper.com)


  • D.C. education officials knew about problems at Monument Academy Public Charter School for a while but did not regulate. [Post]

  • Mayor Muriel Bowser’s plan to attract business and development east of the Anacostia River? Open government agency offices. [WAMU]

  • A 19-year-old man was fatally shot in Northeast. D.C.’s 2019 homicide total is 118. [Post, MPD

  • Agency head for Dulles and DCA is among the highest-paid airport CEOs in the country. [Post]

  • Meet the 14-year-old George Washington University freshman. [WTOP]

LOOSE LIPS LINKS, by Mitch Ryals (tips? mryals@washingtoncitypaper.com

  • U.S. Attorney shares inaccurate data on D.C.’s incarceration rate in meeting on sentencing reform legislation. [WCP]

  • The Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety director, who wrote the legislation, weighs in. [Twitter]

  • U.S. Attorney seeks sentence reduction for Rayful Edmond in latest filing. [Post, Twitter]

  • D.C. police broke into a special police officer’s car. The vial they were looking for contained perfume. [NBC]

YOUNG & HUNGRY LINKS, by Laura Hayes (tips? lhayes@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • What happened after an ANC commissioner complained about a dine-in tax at one of Ward 7’s only sit-down restaurants. [WCP]

  • Three examples of delivery-only restaurants in D.C. [Washingtonian]

  • The first resurrected Taylor Gourmet opens today. [PoPville]

ARTS LINKS, by Kayla Randall (tips? krandall@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • Mosaic’s Fabulation feels tentative. [WCP]

  • Alexandra Silber steals Olney Theatre Center’s Cabaret. [WCP]

  • A couple wants their victory song for the Nationals to be the team’s anthem. [WAMU]

  • Barry Moien’s photo of Navajo dancer Jones Benally lives on. [Post]

SPORTS LINKS, by Kelyn Soong (tips? ksoong@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • Elena Delle Donne became the first WNBA player to join the exclusive 50-40-90 club, finishing the regular season shooting over 50 percent from the field (220-of-427), 40 percent from 3-point range (52-of-121), and 90 percent from the foul line (114-of -117). [ESPN]

  • The local NFL team’s 17-0 start yesterday gave fans a glimmer of hope. But then the Eagles took over en route to a 32-27 victory. [Hogs Haven]

  • In its first two games, Maryland football has outscored opponents, 142-20, including a 63-20 rout over then-No. 21 Syracuse on Saturday. Now it’s the Terps that are ranked 21st in the country. [WCP]

MAKE PLANS, by Emma Sarappo (Love this section? Get the full To Do This Week newsletter here. Tips? esarappo@washingtoncitypaper.com)

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