Natrona County School District Reviews Policies About Sexual Predators; Catallier Named New Trustee
The Natrona County School District wants to know if its policies have any loopholes or omissions that might have opened an opportunity for an alleged sexual predator to approach a student three weeks ago, its superintendent said Monday.
"We call it a gap analysis," Steve Hopkins said after the board of trustees meeting.
"We're looking to see what it is that we do to see if there are any gaps in the processes that we do to ensure the students are safe," Hopkins said.
Two weeks ago, Amanda Huckabay told the board the principal of Park Elementary knew an alleged pedophile had been near the school, but did not warn parents, teachers and students before he approached her daughter on April 18.
Her daughter notified her mother and later gave a description of the man, Brenden Day, who was later arrested and charged with third-degree sexual abuse of a minor.
The school's principal, Dawn DeWald, was placed on administrative leave. Hopkins said Monday DeWald still remains on administrative leave.
Meanwhile, another parent of a Park Elementary School student said Casper police had known Day was exposing himself in neighborhoods downtown since last summer.
Monday, Dr. Jessi Waring told the trustees she wrote a letter urging them to resolve the issue.
Waring later said she does not want the board to make a scapegoat of DeWald. "I found her to be a very pro-active leader.
Preventing such incidents involves students, teachers, administrators, district-level policies and cooperation with law enforcement, Waring said.
Hopkins said the district is doing just that.
"We have reached out to law enforcement and have had some conversations with them about communication protocols," he said. "That's not completed yet."
The district can draw on the policies, procedures and training it already has, Hopkins said.
"They are actually quite extensive," he said. "I don't anticipate we're going to find large gaps in that work. I believe there may be room for improvement. We've identified what might be one of the areas to improve on and that's communications between all of the agencies that work together in a cooperative way to keep students safe.
In other business, the board named Raymond Catellier to fill the trustee vacancy left by Elizabeth Horsch, who resigned in April. Five candidates applied for the position.
The board also honored more than 50 employees who have worked for the district for more than 25 years.