Is it me or does there seem to be an upswing in teachers/aides crossing the line with their students?
In the Philadelphia Inquirer last month we read, “Ex-Aide of Conestoga High School gets jail time for sex with student”. The public learned that Christine Towers, age 26, a former teacher’s aide and coach at Conestoga High School was sentenced to 11 to 23 months in jail for having a sexual relationship with a 16-yr. old T/E student who she tutored. Towers had a month-long affair with the learning disabled student in 2016.
A paraeducator and middle school and high school coach, Towers was an employee of T/E School District from August 2014 until April 2016, when she was arrested.
Our community was greeted a few days ago with the headline, “Conestoga High School staffer sexually assaulted student”. This time around it is a male aide at the high school who is arrested for having sex with one of his students.
Arthur Phillips, age 67, a male instructional aide in the television production studio of Conestoga High School was charged with having sex with a female student from January to April of this year. According to the victim, they had sex on more than 10 occasions and that Phillips would also grope and sexually assault her. Hundreds of text messages of sexual nature were found on both of their cell phones, including a picture that Phillips texted the victim of his genitals.
The victim alleges that the incidents happened in Phillips’ office at Conestoga High School and in his car. Another disturbing element in this case, is that Phillips has been with T/E School District since 2006 – eleven years! Knowing that many students pass through the television production studio of the high school, it has to make you wonder was this young girl Phillips’ only victim?
Remember these latest scandals are on the heels of the Valley Forge Middle School sexting scandal where four male T/E students sent sexually explicit videos and images of a fellow female student. And then there was the story that made the national news of the Conestoga High School football players accused of hazing a younger player by sodomizing him with a broomstick.
As is the District’s policy, Superintendent Dr. Richard Gusick and Conestoga High School Principal Dr. Amy Meisinger sent the obligatory letter of notification to T/E families after the recent arrest of Arthur Phillips. Sadly, the regularity of these incidents has created an almost ‘boilerplate’ explanation from the school administration … just another educator having sex with a student.
Where is the outrage? Where is the demand for accountability? Monday night, April 24 is the regular meeting of the T/E School District, 7:30 PM at Conestoga High School – can we expect answers?
School Board, please don’t sweep this latest sexual assault under the carpet and turn a blind eye. Top-ranked Tredyffrin Easttown School District must be more than just high SAT scores and a good football team.