Monday, November 10, 2014

Roberto Clemente Middle School Substitute Arrested in Sex Scandal

...Roberto Clemente parents are upset.
   “I am extremely disturbed by this on many fronts,” said Kimmi Photinakis, a parent of a student at Roberto Clemente. “I am glad that the man had been immediately removed from the classroom and not allowed at any MCPS school since but what about other local school districts? Will he be able to get work elsewhere?”
After speaking with a number Roberto Clemente parents, it turns out that this is the second time a substitute at Roberto Clemente has been removed for inappropriate behavior. Three years ago, parents say, a teacher was removed for discussing Internet pornography in the classroom.
“I do not agree with waiting so long to communicate to parents,” said Photinakis, who is a member of the Roberto Clement Parent Teacher Association. “We have a right to know when something as serious as this happens immediately. Three-and-a-half-weeks after an arrest has been made is unacceptable. What was the delay?”


  1. It looks like we need a change of policy or personnel at that school in order to keep our children safe. Perhaps both.

  2. Principal Barkley,

    I am writing because I have questions regarding the timing and manner of how the suspected abuse incident has been reported.

    I understand it was ultimately your decision to withhold information to parents. Was this decision based on a recommendation? If so, was it from the police or school system?
    What is the impetus for informing parents of the incident now, given that the arrest was made on October 14th? The timing of a 5pm message on a Friday, through a proxy, and weeks after the incident, does not inspire me to believe communication to parents is of primary concern.
    Are other incidents you would like to inform the parents of at this time? Prior to this notification, I was under the impression that communication between parents and Roberto Clemente staff was both timely and comprehensive. Given current developments, I may have to revisit that assumption.
    Your communication, delivered via Dr. Awkard, states that the students were supported. Can you please elaborate on how the students were supported? The effects of sexual abuse can manifest in different ways, and a cursory statement--accuracy notwithstanding--falls short of a thorough explanation of how students (children) were kept safe or otherwise rehabilitated.

    A few years ago, I tried to get my daughter transferred from Roberto Clemente Middle School. You took exception to my action, and asked me to your office to explain myself. One of my reasons for requesting the transfer was a report highlighting a higher prevalence of sexual assault at Roberto Clemente Middle School compared to other MCPS schools. In our face-to-face conversation, you suggested that other schools may have a similarly high rate of sexual assault, but that it might be underreported at those schools. Are we bearing witness to proper reporting now? if so, no apology is warranted. If not, I recommend a review and revision of the notification policy.

    I look forward to your response.


    The response was an out-of-office reply.


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