June 2, 2015 ASIJ Class of 2015 Letter to Mr. Weinland, Mr. Ladd, and the Board of Directors

June 2nd, 2015
To Mr. Weinland, Mr. Ladd, and the Board of Directors,
We are writing to you out of concern for ASIJ’s actions in the past year in response to
the Jack Moyer incidents. In the past few weeks, more and more people in our
community have openly voiced their discontent at the school’s response to this issue,
and we believe that it is time for the student body to do the same. This letter has been
sent to the entirety of the high school student body, all high school faculty and staff,
and many members of the ASIJ Board of Trustees and alumni network as a statement
that there are students who are extremely concerned about this issue. We hope that
you will be receptive to our concerns and requests, and that others who read this letter
will keep you accountable to that. To the new members of the Board of Directors, we
hope that you can be trusted to take these concerns seriously and incorporate them
into your mission of serving ASIJ.
From the time we first heard about the Jack Moyer incidents, many of us have been
closely following ASIJ’s response out of concern for the survivors, our safety as
students, and the community as a whole. We are continuously shocked by the
administration’s denial of responsibility for past administrations’ actions and the lack
of communication with the student body about the issue in an in depth or candid way.
This letter was written with the cooperation of students in grades 9 through 12, and
has been signed by over 110 students, and all of us, whether we will be attending this
school next year or not, are equally concerned about the safety of the current and
future student body. For those of us who will continue to attend ASIJ, we want to feel
safe and secure, as well as like our opinions and concerns are valued as much as those
of other community members. For those of us who are graduating this year, we want
to be able to look back on our alma mater with pride, and we see it direly necessary
that students are affirmed of their safety, security, and voice in the community. As
long as the course of ASIJ’s response continues along the path it is now, we are afraid
that we may never feel this way. With this in mind, we are writing to you in hopes
that you will change that course for good.
Our main concerns arise from a lack of communication between the Board of
Directors and school administration and the ASIJ community and an overwhelming
feeling that the safety and peace of mind of the current student body have not been
prioritized.
Over a year after details of the Jack Moyer incidents were released to the school
community, the student body has yet to be addressed about the incidents, their
implications, or sexual assault and abuse as a whole beyond one short assembly that
occurred last March. We are deeply concerned by the allegations that the email that
was read aloud to us during that assembly was not entirely truthful, and we would like
to be provided with the truth once and for all.
Because the administration has not been open with students about the actions the
school is taking, we are left wondering where we fall into the equation. We have been
given limited opportunities to share our feelings and opinions, and we have not been
addressed about an issue that we feel pertains just as much, if not more, to us as
students as it does to the administration. The lack of communication between the
administration and the student body about the Jack Moyer incidents has brought to
light a lack of transparency between the administration and student body as a whole.
In the past 14 months, many of us have come to worry that we do not receive
important information about changes that are occurring at the school we attend,
especially changes that pertain to our safety and success as students.
On May 23rd of last year, a letter signed by 70 high school students was delivered to
Mr. Ladd, Mr. Weinland, and Mr. Leppard. This letter voiced many of the same
concerns we are voicing today, particularly focusing on the lack of communication
about the Moyer incidents as a whole and a lack of discussion about protecting
students from sexual assault and abuse. While there were several meetings for
interested students following this letter in which Mr. Ladd responded to student
questions, a year later we feel as though the point of our letter has been missed. We
have yet to receive any meaningful communication about the Jack Moyer incidents
through assemblies or emails, or any training about sexual abuse or assault. Those of
us who attended the smaller meetings with Mr. Ladd are still frustrated by having
been told that we should not listen to information from media sources, Facebook, or
hearsay because it cannot be trusted, without being given any information from the
school to stop us from resorting to these sources. While it is possible that a lot of
progress has been made on paper, from the students’ eyes nothing has changed.
In order to combat lack of communication and transparency, we would like there to be
quarterly forums between the administration and the student body where we receive
updates and are able to ask questions about this issue, as well as any other questions
we have about changes occurring at the school. At these meetings, we would like to
be updated on the proceedings of the Moyer case, especially updates that pertain to
student life like sexual assault policies or the student handbook. For example, there
have been changes made in the student handbook to match the school’s new student
safety policies, but most students do not know of these changes because they were
never informed of them. These quarterly meetings would serve as a place where
changes like these can be reported and explained. As many of us are also concerned
and interested in hearing about what steps the school is continuing to take to provide
services for survivors, we would also like updates on how that portion of the case is
proceeding. We feel we have the right to this information because it pertains directly
to us, and that it is not acceptable to share nothing at all simply because some things
are legally protected.
Next, we want to be provided with sexual assault and abuse education. While we
understand and appreciate that drastic and important changes have been made to
school policy to make ASIJ as safe as possible from a regulatory standpoint, we feel
that unless we are directly addressed about sexual assault and abuse, these changes do
little to keep us safe in practice. Right now, many of us do not have the information
necessary to protect ourselves from sexual assault, understand what exactly sexual
assault is, and especially how to make a report. The truth is that we will not feel
completely safe and secure at ASIJ until we gain this knowledge. We have not been
assured of our safety, and that has no place in a school environment.
Mr. Lavender and a group of concerned students, along with Mr. Weinland, have
begun to plan a sexual assault and abuse curriculum that will be implemented next
year to counteract this issue. The curriculum will cover ASIJ’s sexual assault safety
and reporting policies including how to make a report, what students’ rights are in
reporting abuse, what rules teachers and other employees must follow to ensure our
safety, and how to recognize when something is occurring that is against school
policy. But it will also cover more general information about consent and how to
recognize abuse, as well as sexual assault on college campuses, internet based sexual
harassment and assault, and more.
We would like the Board of Directors to support this effort to bring comprehensive
sexual assault and abuse education to ASIJ, and we would like you to ensure that it is
fully implemented. Our safety should be first and foremost and any amount of effort
necessary should be taken to achieve this goal regardless of the time it takes out of
our classes. Time is regularly taken out of our school day to meet with our counselors
about college applications, go to required assemblies, and hear guest speakers. An
informational meeting about sexual assault and abuse in and out of school would
directly apply to our current and future safety, and should be given just as much, if
not more, priority than any of the assemblies just listed. We would like you to
understand that there is a dire need for this curriculum at ASIJ. Please make
implementing it your top priority.
If these requests are honored, we students are confident that ASIJ will be on the road
to creating a school that is truly safe for its entire student body. Again, we hope that
you will be receptive to our requests and see the importance of our concerns.
Sincerely,
Eliot Callon ‘15
Andy Takagi ‘17
Gabriel Bird ‘15
Yuko Taniguchi ‘17
Bridget Nelson ‘16
Sakiko Toriya ‘16
Henry Slater ‘17
Angela Marsh ‘16
Dan Budge ‘17
Kari Wadden ‘15
Emma May ‘15
Jenna Doyno ‘15
Annelise Small ‘16
Mayuko Szerdahelyi ‘15
Jonas Hopper ‘16
Thomas Rochman ‘15
Karen Hinata ‘16
George Luton ‘15
Alia Becker ‘15
Kaoru Miyata ‘16
Kate Miller ‘16
Daisy Bell ‘16
Sam Matsubara ‘15
Eve Sneider ‘15
Celestine Taevs-Nakaya ‘16
Zachary Noddin ‘15
Anna Belle Harada ‘15
Stephanie van Houten ‘16
Jaelyn Browne ‘17
Hunter Gay ‘16
Allessandra Rogers ‘17
Megumi Shimizu ‘17
Teresa Haberstroh ‘17
Jonathan Jiro Miller ‘15
Emily Robison ‘17
Savannah Napierski ‘17
Sammie Hoskins ‘16
Alicia Clow ‘15
Erika Zhang ‘18
Rae Edmunds ‘18
Anne Margaux-Angelov ‘16
Haley Gerber ‘15
Astrid Evenson ‘15
Nina Ulbrich ‘16
Melanie Xu ‘15
Karina McCauley ‘17
Mahdi Fariss ‘15
Yuko Kurokawa ‘18
Greer Donnalley ‘18
Yuka Sadayuki ‘15
Dylan Colby ‘15
Jayne Harris ‘16
Neale Oghigian ‘15
Timothy Fogarty ‘16
McKaela Christensen ‘16
Alexander Leon ‘16
Alex Bosch ‘16
Marthe Wiggers ‘16
Cassidy McCauley ‘15
Sophia Hobbs ‘18
Ireland Degges ‘18
Leona Wada ‘16
Melanie Uno ‘15
Lachlan Fahy ‘15
Nicole Ras ‘15
Kristen Gill ‘16
Thomas Watts ‘16
Ryuji Mori ‘16
Jennifer Higa ‘16
Eva Multz ‘16
Shunsuke Kinoshita ‘18
Albert Kim ‘15
Lisa Aoki ‘16
Eri Fukushima ‘15
Henrik Olsson ‘16
Amanda Schick ‘16
Tai Okuno ‘15
Monika Anderson ‘16
Ioana Nistor ‘16
Zachary Clow ‘16
Matt Dixon ‘17
Asa Toyoda ‘15
Anna Lewis-Workman ‘16
Sasha Mochida ‘16
Leo Ikeda ‘15
Celia Martin ‘17
Naomi Okada ‘16
Sarah Faller ‘16
Tanya Riordan ‘16
Dior Ikeda ‘16
Maya Onuma ‘16
Lily Snell ‘16
Paige Ierubino ‘16
Andrea Yonamine ‘15
Alex Hernandez ‘15
Sabine Hirano ‘15
Haruko Yamaguchi ‘16
Lucy Chi ‘16
Lucas Mendoza ‘15
Mizuki Furukawa ‘15
Spencer Jenkins ‘18
Elsa Ingulsrud ‘15
Ai Lena Tomioka ‘15
Kai-Chin Shih ‘15
Ray Hotta ‘16
Julia Sasanuma ‘16
Madelaine Etherington ‘16
Milla Shin ‘16
Savannah Simon ‘18
Angus Clugston ‘15
Tuhina Mishra ‘17
Varsha Shankar ‘17