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President Issues Second Statement About Recent Arrests

May 6, 2016 02:29 PM
Following the arrest of two former Hopkins House employees on charges of misdemeanor assault of a Hopkins House Preschool Academy Young Scholar, President Hopkins issued the following statement to the Hopkins House community:
Dear Hopkins House Community:

As you are aware, Hopkins House is, at the moment, working its way through a very difficult period.  As we struggle to make sense of the events that bought us here, what has been most calming to our spirit is the opportunity to openly and honestly share with you what we know, how we feel, and what we are doing to deal with this unfortunate experience.

Earlier this week, a teacher and assistant teacher at our preschool academy in Fairfax County were charged with misdemeanor assault and battery on one of our young scholars. 

While I am certain you already know this, I want to state it again:  This is not at all how Hopkins House treats our students.

We have a strong reputation for the safe and nurturing care of the young scholars entrusted to us by their parents. We worked hard over the past 76 years to earn this reputation and we work tirelessly and eagerly, every day and every hour, to maintain it.

We hire only the most knowledgeable and experienced educators – the two individuals charged have a combined 24 years of professional child care experience, along with professional credentials and college educations – and provide them with regular and intensive training on the safe care and appropriate treatment of young children – including and especially those with challenging behaviors.

Our policies are longstanding, clear, and plainly stated:  We have "zero tolerance" for any behavior that places the safety of our students at risk.

We have cameras in every classroom and surveille classrooms throughout the day. 

This is why we are as shocked, surprised, and disappointed by this incident as you might imagine.

The charges against these former employees are extremely serious. And, if found guilty, they are certain to pay a hefty fine and face possible jail time.

Their careers are now entirely destroyed. They will no longer be allowed to work in the child care or education field. They will have considerable difficulty finding other employment. And, the internet will be an unrelenting, lifelong reminder.
As members of a human caring organization, of course we are concerned about these former employees but also concerned about the victim in this case, the child they are alleged to have thumped with their finger on the forehead and bruised on the arm. 

This is all new to us; the first incident of this magnitude in our 76 year history, and we are determined to do all we can to see to it that it is our last.

To this end, I have ordered mandatory refresher training by the end of this month for all Hopkins House employees dealing with children and began an internal review of our existing procedures, policies and practices to identify areas of necessary and/or desirable improvement.

We are in regular consultation with the Parents Councils representing all three of our academies. The Trustees are closely monitoring the situation and we are reaching out to other institutions, including public schools, in search of relevant policies and practices they have in place regarding such matters.

As we move forward, we commit to communicate regularly, openly, and honestly with you.  Hopkins House is a "community" and, as such, we share and depend on each other in good times and in bad.

Finally, I want you to know that we are extremely grateful for your kind thoughts, prayers, and expressions of support.