Peter Upham, TABS Executive Director, and Donna Orem, NAIS President, co-authored this blog.
Independent schools exist to help young people learn, grow, and become healthy adults. Our schools have been highly successful, many for hundreds of years, but as a number of schools have experienced in recent years, the scourge of sexual misconduct can affect any institution that serves children.
Sexual misconduct — which can range from verbal harassment to forcible rape — undermines the bedrock expectation that schools will provide a safe place for children to learn. It violates the core values of independent schools and the ethical standards of the thousands of educators who devote their lives to teaching, coaching, and mentoring the students in their care. To protect the children our industry exists to serve and to deliver on the promise independent schools make to families, our schools must address this issue head on. As leaders of associations that serve nearly 2,000 schools and associations of schools, we are committed to doing so.