Investigation of faculty sexual misconduct at TAS
We, the students, alumni, parents, faculty, and community members of TAS, with regards to faculty sexual misconduct, ask for:
- independent outside investigation;
- clear communication with the community about where we failed; and
- implementation of preventative measures.
Alistair Grant was a college counselour at TAS from 2009-2011. Immediately after leaving TAS, Mr. Grant was employed at a fellow NAIS institution and was found to have engaged in predatory sexual misconduct against students. Unfortunately, we now know Mr. Grant also engaged in predatory behaviour during his time at TAS.
To begin, we urge you to read this statement from the Branson School, a fellow NAIS institution based in the Bay Area. We also encourage you to read the full report, which is linked in that statement. Mr. Grant's behaviour is extensively documented in that report.
As you may know, there has been a groundswell of reckoning for many prestigious private schools in recent years, from Hotchkiss to St. Paul's and many more. TAS needs to complete the steps above. We owe it to the TAS students who were twice victimized because not only did we fail to intervene, but also failed to provide support in the aftermath so they have had to deal with it themselves. We owe it to the victims of Branson who deserved to be forewarned before allowing a predator into their community. We owe it to current and future students who deserve to know that they are safe.
The administration has been made aware of these suggestions and unfortunately has decided to take no action. This petition will remind them that this community cares and demands action.
If you agree, please sign with your affiliation (class year for students/alumni, parent, faculty, etc) along with your name.
Specifically, we ask that the following steps be taken:
1. an independent outside investigation
A school is ill-equipped to investigate an issue such as this. There are experts who have previously led similar investigations and the sensitivity of this issue demands expert hands. Furthermore, as neutral parties, an independent counsel will be able to approach the issue with the appropriate amount of remove to complete the task thoroughly. The Branson investigation stemmed from a decades-old allegation and ended up unearthing more recent transgressions. An independent investigation would allow TAS to investigate allegations thoroughly and impartially, so we can develop the right measures to protect current and future students.
2. complete, transparent communication with the community
Rumours about Grant have been rampant in our community for a long while, accompanied by innuendo, plain misinformation and blatant victim-blaming. Whether we like it or not, the Grant issue is already out. Which makes transparency even more important. We not only owe the victims an apology, but more importantly, we owe the victims and the community the whole truth. Only when we have done so, can we hope to educate and prepare the community for the future.
3. implementation of preventative measures
Is a student currently prepared to respond if an incident occurred? Would the student know who to talk to if the perpetrator is a teacher? Perhaps those policies are in place, but we personally had trouble locating them on the TAS website, so how could the community be considered prepared? Fortunately, the National Association of Independent Schools (of which TAS is a member) published a report in 2018 detailing best practices regarding the prevention and response on faculty sexual misconduct. We demand TAS study and implement practices that will protect our students.
These are all interconnected steps. In order to tell the community the whole story, we must know the whole story. In order to implement new policies, we must be able to engage with the community transparently, which is contingent on the community knowing the whole story. But the steps are clear: we must figure out what happened, we must acknowledge what happened, we must learn from what happened.