Pattye Benson

Community Matters

It’s happened again – Student sexually assaulted by Aide at Conestoga High School

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.

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  1. This school board and the administration spent thousands of taxpayer dollars for fencing at the schools that no one wanted with the main driver of keeping our children safe. The money/focus would have been far better spent on keeping our children safe INSIDE the schools! This latest employee arrested worked for TE for 11 years!!!! How many other kids did he abuse???? You are right Pattye, where’s the accountability?

  2. I agree that this is bad. Unfortunately child sex abuse happens at most schools and in lots of places. I wish, tho, that the sodomizing bit would be dropped, as it was dropped in the lawsuit. We do not want to perpetuate horrible events that NEVER happened.

  3. Pattye,
    While I am utterly disgusted by the news, I take EXTREME exception to you mischaracterizing this as a T/E “teacher” having sex with a student. Please accurately report the facts. The former staff individuals you reference in this article were not T/E teachers and I am sickened that you would mischaracterize it that way. I hope you will correct your story to accurately reflect that.

    1. The post has been corrected from teacher to aide. Although I referred to Phillips and Towers as aides, I also incorrectly used teacher. Both Phillips and Towers were employed in the District as aides not as teachers. The sexual assaults of the students were by aides. My sincere apologies to T/E teachers.

    2. Are you serious? A child’s life is ruined, and you’re writing to express your outrage over the perpetrator being characterized as a teacher? Do you think that somehow separates you from this horrific crime? For all intent and purposes, he was a teacher. He had authority and power over this girl and all students. Whould you be less offended? More offended, if he were a janitor? What about an Administratir? Would that be worse? What are your standards?

    3. As s CHS student, I find your comment extremely arrogant and offensive. The defendants position is irrelevant. Students do not distinguish between teachers and aides, both have power and control over students.

    4. Although it was not a teacher, the teachers allegedly were aware per the lawsuit which can be obtained for a few bucks from philly Federal Court.
      A teacher who accepted the aides hall passes (written more than 20 times) should have known and reported, two more teachers allegedly knew the hall passes were not legitimate per TESD email per law suit complaint. Other adults and teachers allegedly knew the victim left school during the lunch period and/or double dated with the predator and victim, on and on…
      So the audiovisual aide predator was not a teacher.

      However, the law suit viewable by the public, knows named teachers who allegedly knew and put a “blind eye” to the suspicious behaviors of an aide. The suit claims up to 8 teachers knew or should have known about the child abuse. You can call the Eastern District Federal Court and ask for the case. It is a great learning experience.

      So if true, It is not acceptable. This “blind eye” should be denied or accepted as truth. If so, those teachers named can clear their names, be remediated, resign or suffer a blemish or hearing via their licenses hung under the Commonwealth. All good ways to resolve the issues.

      Clear the teacher’s records or apologize. All have a right to an attorney and a day in court. These are my personal opinions.

    1. The police reports do not say say that the aides were from outsourcing companies. Towers was a middle and high school coach for girls sports in addition to her aide/tutoring responsibilities and Phillips an instructional aide in the TV studio.

  4. Agree! To a15 year old, we are ALL educators, people to to trusted, and this is so beyond irrelevant. To the teacher who wrote this comment, a ridiculous distinction . Thank you Pattye for always keeping us informed. Art was a T/E Employee, I believe Christine was from the outsourced company- one of each.

  5. One issue, we have a school where things like this are happening. The second issue, why did it go on for so long? Why didn’t the child speak to someone in authority until now? Does the culture of the school not engender trust? What is going on with this school and its leadership? I have heard that the principal is “disconnected” and unknown to most students. Is this the culture she has created? If so, fix it!

    1. As a student with one foot in the district and the other at my future college, we have to do training on harassment and stalking because of Title IX in the amendments of the education acts in the 70s. Anyway, sexual harassment culture isn’t what is portrayed on TV or in movies if you haven’t heard. If I learned anything, being assaulted by someone you once confided in has great effects both on an emotional and psychological level–far more taxing than it happening by a stranger on the street.
      So you ask why she didn’t seek help? Embarrassment, shame, guilt, shock, intimation, unapproachability and fear were–without a doubt–at play.

      When someone breaks your trust like that, the victim is sometimes blind to how deep of a hole they are in. It snowballs to a point out of their own control before they can muster the strength to let out a cry for help. How dare you ask why SHE waited so long when the resources don’t even exist to seek help. No person is expected to tell an administrator (that can’t show compassion toward your situation) about the deepest secrets they had to hold back. Demand an no-consequence online tipline as a resource to all students, not new administration. You have the power as a resident to change this from happening again.

      1. Stoga Tall,
        I agree with everything you write except the idea about the online tip line. Nothing is Anonymous except maybe a mail delivered letter with cut out letters from magazines and newspapers. Tip lines can be and are used for purposes other than they are intended; to report and or avert criminal acts.

        Students and school employees have to feel comfortable going to school authorities to report suspected or illicit behavior. They have to have confidence they will be listened to with respect and that their information be treated with consideration for the problem and not for retaliation against the messenger.

  6. There is a program called Darkness to Light that all schools should participate in. The issue of sexual abuse and coming forward is far more complicated than a particular climate. A program like D2L can show school officials, teachers, coaches, etc. what they need to know to be more aware and open. I did the training a school would get and it was illuminating.

    1. Thank you for your comment and suggestion. I had not heard of the program, Darkness to Light but Googled it — According to the website, Darkness to Light is a nonprofit organization which is “commited to empowering adults to prevent sexual abuse”. Their mission statement — Our work is guided by the vision of a world free from child sexual abuse, where children can grow up happy, healthy and safe. We know that prevention is possible, and we believe that it is an adult responsibility to protect children.

  7. I know the man, his family & friends. Those who know him are in total shock. His life and the lives of his family are also ruined. He knew better but did the student? Maybe they should be educated about this problem. Maybe they don’t know better. She did a poor job saying no if she allowed this to continue. They are both at fault. There are two sides to every story. Just pointing out the fiip side.

    1. You are right, there are two sides to every story. But as you say, he should have known better – he was 67 and the girl was only 15. It is sad.

    2. I agree with you. 15 years old is not a baby especially in this day and age. Four months of this going on and sex 10 times is excessive for someone who didn’t want any part of this. Why did this continue to happen if it was unwanted???

  8. Defendant’s friend, it’s a legitimate reminder that community members with good reputations affect their loved ones and ruin lives with decisions to commit acts like this. However, the victim was 15 and legally, psychologically, developmentally unable to consent. That is the definition of consent. It is 100% not her fault. She was taken advantage of and is not at fault for this. Reading that you consider this child to blame in any way is heartbreaking for victims of sexual assault and for any students and school families reading these comments.

    Pattye, I’m all for free speech, but are these some comments we can delete? (Please feel free to also delete mine as well)

    1. Thank you for your thoughtful comment. I appreciate your remark about ‘free speech’ – so that you and others know there have been 9 comments on this post that were not made made public. I will not comment as to why they were not made public. Again, thank you and for the record, I agree that the 15 year old girl is not at fault in this situation.

  9. Defendants’ friends comment is exactly why victims don’t report these heinous crimes. They are blamed and made to feel like it is their fault when in reality they don’t have the emotional or psychological development and maturity to handle the situation they find themselves. Both victims stated that they wanted it to stop but didn’t know what to do. Tragic.

  10. Pattye,

    Other publications report that school officials were made aware of the relationship between the 15 year old student and Arthur Phillips by reading hundreds of e-mails and texts between the two.

    Who at the Dustrict should be held accountable and how?

  11. There was a case on ABC news this morning. The story states,

    “The family of a 16-year-old Tennessee high school student has filed a lawsuit against Roane County Schools and the contractor who employed a female janitor accused of raping the boy during school hours.

    Citing the lawsuit filed Monday, the Knoxville News-Sentinel reports that the Midway High School student’s family is seeking $4.5 million in damages from the school district and Compass One Services of Tennessee for negligence in allowing the rape to occur…”

    Whether it’s a janitor or as in the case of the 67 yr. old CHS aide who allegedly assaulted a 15 yr. old student, these cases can put school districts at great financial risk.

    To answer the earlier question posed by Reader regarding accountability, if this alleged sexual assault occurred (and it was not once but 10 (?) times) accountability lies within the school district. Personally, I would like to know what the school board and administration is going to do to make certain that this doesn’t happen again. We need to know that our children are safe.

  12. We moved to this area because of the highly rated and safe schools in this district. Little did I know I would eventually have to warn my Conestoga student about the dangers that might lurk there.
    The silence from TESD has been deafening.

  13. Being a student in the midst of this event has opened my eyes to what Conestoga holds. The girl is not at blame for his actions, but in my opinion there are plenty of outlets available that could have been used to tell the truth in the situation. Conestoga is a bad reputation for this event, when the students who call this their second home know it as a great place. There is love and kindness constantly filtering through the halls. Guidance Counselors are always at the ready whether you need a good luck on a test or whether you are going through something personal that seems imposible to tell your parents. The relationships with fellow students and teachers I and my peers have developed have made us better human beings. On that note, no one suspected anything of the defendant or of the girl throughout the months of action. It is no one’s fault but his that the actions occured, so there is no reason to put blame on the administration or the school board. For all of us students and faculty as well who have known the defendent as the friendly guy who works in the tv studio, it was a devastating shock. Terrible things happen, but at this point, the parents and community members need to start moving past this ,like the students have, and start focusing on how WE can change the future of Conestoga and how WE can make ‘Stoga the happy place we all know it to be.

    1. CHS Students don’t talk like you, write like you or appear like you.

      They don’t say or think things like:

      who call this their second home know it as a great place. There is love and kindness constantly filtering through the halls. Guidance Counselors are always at the ready whether you need a good luck on a test or whether you are going through something personal that seems imposible to tell your parents.

      They don’t think things like:

      On that note, no one suspected anything of the defendant or of the girl throughout the months of action.. It is no one’s fault but his that the actions occured, so there is no reason to put blame on the administration or the school board. For all of us students and faculty as well who have known the defendent as the friendly guy who works in the tv studio, it was a devastating shock.

      *Students don’t use terms like “Aministration or on the school board.” They don’t use terms like “faculty.” Ever

      Are you a student?

  14. There is no WE. Students and teachers are trained to be quiet. Messages are sent and received that speaking out brings misery and makes the situation worse for the ones who want to make it better.

  15. If any parent or taxpayer wants their opinions noted go to the May 22nd school board meeting..wait 2 hours to have the opportunity to comment for 5 minutes or less. The April 24th meeting had 2 parents commenting on the situation…which is extremely sad. The school board, principal, Dr Amy Meisenger and superintendent Dr Richard Gusick need to be held accountable along with teacher who oversaw the aide in the high school.

    1. Jon, I couldn’t agree more. Where is the accountability?

      I think Drs. Meisenger and Gusick letter to the T/E community fell far short given the seriousness of the situation. And since that point, the silence has been deafening from the school board, administration, etc. Is this the new status quo for this school district?

  16. After the news broke, we-as parents-assumed there would be some kind of response from the school district. Perhaps a letter or email stating that the school district/school was addressing the issue and in time, would announce a plan.
    We expected there would be some kind of school assembly reassuring the students.
    We held out from going to the board meeting because we assumed the school district and the school would eventually touch base with parents about the situation.
    That might be the reason there was only two people at the school board meeting. Maybe other parents were giving TESD and the school a chance to catch their breath after the last “scandal”.
    Sad to say, now it feels like TESD would like for this to quietly go away and it can’t.
    They owe it to the students and parents- who pay taxes- to be transparent because if they ignore this opportunity to resolve this situation their highly rated high school will be known for child molestation.
    This goes deeper than a school aide molesting a student. This is about the internal hiring practices of a school district and how they protect their students.

  17. Pattye,
    Thank you for mentioning that the TESD sent out an initial statement and I agree wholeheartly it wasn’t enough. Perhaps that was the reason I forgot to mention it.

  18. I agree this goes deeper than a school aide molesting a student. I agree this has to do with internal practices, hiring is one but more important, a working environment where employees and students feel safe and confident coming forward to report illicit behavior. What did the lawsuit filed by the hazing victim say? A culture of indifference, where illicit behavior was reported and nothing was done about it.

  19. How many incidents need to happen before the leadership at this school is questioned? I am so happy to live in a neighboring district now. This is not where I’d want to raise a family.

  20. TE Alum, be careful not to think you are in an artificial sanctuary because you live in a different district. No one is exempt and sadly this can happen, and does happen, everywhere. Arrogance can also be a dangerous thing. As someone who work at Conestoga, my observation is that teachers do not feel supported when there is a problem. They never expect Dr. Meissenger or the Administration will have their back with parents. So, they like to stay under the radar. This is likely why people, do not easily and comfortably, speak up. My sense is this contributed to the situation .

  21. What is the defendant’s status as of now? He was supposed to go back to court on Friday. Has he entered a plea?

  22. If you have a teenager, sit then down and have a conversation about the consequences of sexual texts and getting involved with anyone in a sexual manner. 100’s of texts back and forth? Sex over 10 times? You can throw away the key with Art, but don’t tell me that it was a one sided deal. Have you seen how young teenagers dress and act these days? It’s 2017, open your eyes parents!!

  23. We don’t know the home life of this child, but we do know that she (the victim) is 15 years old and has accused a 67 year old man of abusing her. How can you suggest that the 15 year old student is at fault for the molestation. Amazing :(

    1. I did not accuse the student. I’m curious about the home life as well. I’m only stating the facts.

      1. I beg your pardon but you did accuse the student. You may not think you did but you stated 2 things:

        1. “Don’t tell me it was a one sided deal”. I’m not going to tell you that it was or was not one sided. I’m going to tell you that it does not matter. 1 side is a young teen. The other is a mature adult. 1 side is a student, 1 side is a person who has trust and authority placed in their hands. 1 side is, presumably, dealing with a whole host of hormonal changes that happen to all of us at roughly that time in all our lives, the other is well past that point and should be mature enough to handle any misguided, inappropriate advances – not that there was any since none of us have that information.

        2. “Have you seen how young teenagers dress and act these days?” Really? Are there still adults in this world who think that the reasoning that ‘well she was asking for it’ has any validity? You do know that there is a school dress code that places limitations on dress. You do know that people are raped regardless of how they are dressed.

        I don’t mean to pick on you really. But the innocent “non-accusatory” comments you made are a large part of the problem. Again, it does not matter how the child was dressed, how they acted, what they said. An adult with a fair degree of responsibility took advantage of whatever was or was not there. And frankly, the line of reasoning you used is really a defense mechanism. We think that because our child or loved ones do not act the way we imagine rape act, does not dress the way we imagine rape victims dress, and so on and so on. So I just want you to think about your mild comments that accused indirectly. They are more accusatory than you think.

  24. Though the law and morality is obvious to reasonable people, suffice to say there has got to be pathology on both sides, and probably a lot of it.

  25. An actual student reported this behavior to the teacher. The teacher said the student was out of line and should mind his own business.

  26. Some of these comments sicken me. What about the subject of “grooming,” which is done again and again by child predators to their victims. Irregardless of how a child acts, it is an adult’s responsibility to set the boundaries. I was a teacher for many years and i can tell you that there were kids who did inappropriate things in class and I had to handle them as an adult, not a peer. If you read the book, “The Teenage Brain,” you will understand why biologically, children this age are not the best decision makers. As a parent, I see first hand teen vulnerability and if anyone thinks this child was not a victim I would advise you to get some training in how predators find their victims. Also, there are many people who molest more than once and avoid getting caught. The cycle of abuse needs to be stopped and to add insult to injury, the idiotic remark the abuser made after he crashed his car shows a man with complete lack of mature judgement. He made the decision to ruin his own life and while I am sorry for his family, he needs to deal with the ramifications of what he did. As a concerned parent, I am devastated that this happened to a young girl at Conestoga High School.

    1. I completely agree with you. The fact that anyone can think for a moment that “they are both at fault” is absolutely disgraceful. Sadly, I knew the man and considered him a friend. But after this, he deserves everything that he has coming to him. I too feel sorry for his family, but it was he and only he that chose to hurt so many people.

  27. I wholeheartedly agree with the parent who commented to say they expected more from the administration and it was not provided. This is part of a larger problem. I’ll give you an example to see if perhaps Superintendent Gusick might be able to pick up on it should he read this: the college I went to that I have since graduated from had an assembly at the end of orientation with parents and students. The President of the university got up and spoke and said to the parents, “Don’t worry – we will take good care of your children.” I remember my mom thought that was so amazing. This coming from a college. Don’t you think a high school should provide the same message to parents of even younger students? When my much younger stepsister told me how Dr. Meisinger interacted with students and made them feel, it made me very sad. She rules the high school with an iron fist and presents to a cold front to all who encounter her. This is not the face that should be presented to 14-18 year old kids nor is it the face that should be presented to their teachers. Perhaps she thinks that if she acts this way, people will be more likely to take her seriously as a female “boss,” for lack of a better term. A high school is no place for this. In the wake of this tragedy, the response is not to clam up and batten down the hatches. It’s to reach out and talk, openly and honestly about how sad this is for the school and its student body. It’s having the humanity to worry about how people FEEL and not just how the media is going to portray your school or whether or not you’re going to get sued. The administration at large can handle the business matters, but Amy Meisinger should be concerned with the happiness and well-being of her students and, from reading the comments here pretty often, it sounds like she needs to be doing the same thing with her teachers. It seems to me like Conestoga High School needs a new “face.” One that will say to parents, “we will take good care of your children” and not one that says “I don’t care what happens to your children or my employees as long as we make good money and rankings and don’t get sued.”

  28. Defendant’s friend – I was his friend too and I am beyond appalled and disgusted by my former friend’s criminal actions. I also feel terribly for his family and other friends, who I am sure are hurting in ways I can’t even imagine.

    But more so than that, I feel horrible for the victim. I have no idea who she is, but I know she’s a 15-year-old kid who cannot consent. Anyone who really understands teenagers knows that their brains are not formally formed at that age. He took advantage of that and manipulated her for his own selfish, sick needs. As far as I’m concerned, she is completely blameless in this whole thing. To imply that “they are both at fault” is despicable victim shaming, and I would not be surprised if that’s a reason why victims are afraid to come forward. If this general attitude continues in this world, more victims will continue to be silent, and that’s an absolute tragedy and disgrace.

    1. There is no objective basis for you, an adult, to determine what you or anyone else may or may not have done 40+ years ago.
      It doesn’t matter anyway because the law is the law and he broke the law. She did not because she is 15!

  29. I received this comment a couple of days ago and frankly was rather surprised and unsure whether or to post it. Why? Because I did not know that TESD policy permitted students to post on blogs using their position on the school newspaper (Spoke) and by using their school district email address.

    I responded to Ms. Ben Dor via email today voicing my concern regarding the school district policy and asked her to either contact me with through her personal email address or to phone me to verify the authenticity of the comment and whether her commenting was within the policy scope of the school district. I received a voicemail from Ms. Ben Dor this evening verifying that she had personally written the comment and asking me to post it on Community Matters. Although Ms. Ben Dor did not respond to my question regarding TESD policy regarding CHS students associated with the Spoke responding to blogs, I will assume that she is doing so within the boundaries of District policy and with the OK from the teacher adviser of the Spoke.

  30. As a parent in the school district, rather than responding to a Conestoga student, I’d like to know what the administration and the school board is doing about keeping our children safe. Other than the initial very weak letter of notification of the arrest of the aide, there’s been no follow-up or explanation to the parents. I want to know what they are doing to improve the safety.

  31. Strange that you would write a front page story about sexual abuse by school employees on students in the school news paper. How will that make the victims feel? How will that make the student body feel?

  32. As a matter of fact, I am a Sophomore at ‘Stoga. I think your comment is highly ignorant. First off, I don’t know what High school student you have talked to but most 15-18 year olds know how to speak fluently. Second off, administration is spelled with a d. Third off, i find your comment extremely offensive to the situation. How dare you question, “Suspicious” or Pattye, a student who is concerned that their second environment is being questioned in a false manner. Please feel free to respond to this because I’m tired of being told to be quiet because of my age when in reality I am more informed and more mannered then you will ever be. Lets stop critizing one another and actually do something because its obvious nothing is getting done.

    1. CHS Student — I’m curious, what do you mean by ” … its obvious nothing is getting done”. In your earlier comment, you suggested that the students have moved passed this incident and that the parents and community needed to do likewise. There are TESD parents who have real concerns about the safety of their children and want to know that those concerns are being addressed.

    2. CHS student,

      I don’t believe you’re a student either. 15 year old sophomores in HS don’t refer to professional women by their first names. A student would have used “Mrs. Benson” not Pattye. Are you “faculty” or maybe ADministration, or perhaps School Board?

      1. Insensitive,

        CHS Student is providing good information from inside the actual school this is affecting and you are getting all suspicious about the language they are using? I would refer to “Mrs. Benson” as Pattye in my post too. It’s what she is known as on this blog. Actually all Milennials call people by their first names really. I wouldn’t even think twice about referring to her otherwise or it leads to confusion. To her face, yes she would be Mrs. Benson but this isn’t the space for this.

        1. The co-editor of the spoke referred to her as Mrs Benson on this blog.

          I wouldn’t include 15 year old children in the generational category called millenials. 35…..yes. Children do not refer to adults by their first name around here.

  33. The spoke has already issued an article on the Phillips incident. The papers are still scattered around school in piles and I’m sure this doesn’t help the victim. Another article isn’t necessary, it isn’t like the spoke is a real paper and it’s not helping the student body or the victim to release another article just for the thrill of it. I understand they have the legal right to issue an article but is it ethical?

  34. In case anybody was wondering all the news articles misunderstood and I haven’t seen a single article that was accurate

  35. OMG,

    Not saying we should pretend it didn’t happen. We can address the issue without being insensitive to the victims.

  36. I received a comment for Community Matters on May 9 from Betty Ben Dor, a student and co-editor of Conestoga’s newspaper The Spoke. In the comment, Ms. Ben Dor requested those commenting on Community Matters in regards to the arrest of Arthur Phillips (the 67-yr. old CHS aide who allegedly had sexual contact with a 15-yr. old student) to contact her directly via email. Ms. Ben Dor provided a school district email address in her Community Matters comment.

    Out of concern for the student and TESD policy, I contacted the student via email before posting the comment – Ms. Ben Dor left a voicemail for me that yes, the comment was from her and yes, to please put it on Community Matters. Her comment was posted on May 11.

    Since Thursday, I have received multiple emails and calls regarding Ms. Ben Dor’s comment on Community Matters – the concern was for several reasons (1) why was the editor of the Spoke writing on Community Matters and using her school email address publicly, (2) what was the District’s policy on this type of communications by a student and (3) why would the Spoke have a front page article about an ongoing investigation that involved a fellow CHS student.

    I spoke directly with Ms. Ben Dor last evening and asked her about TESD policy regarding this type of communication and explained my concerns. The student stated that she was not aware of any school policy to prohibit her writing as a Spoke editor on blogs, newspapers, etc. I asked if the teacher advisers for the Spoke had to review comments of students and the response was a resounding no. Ms. Ben Dor stated her First Amendment rights allowed for this communication. I agreed that if she was writing as a random student with a personal email address that would be OK but I again questioned the District policy in this regard. Although my conversation ended with the student, I was left wondering what TESD policy was.

    This morning I received a follow-up email from Ms. Ben Dor (see below). I have no idea what is going on but I have removed the comment from Community Matters. Additionally, there were several other comments on this blog post that I received from ‘The Spoke Editorial Staff’ which I deemed personally offensive and therefore did not post. According to Ms. Ben Dor, those comments were collectively agreed upon by the Editorial Staff of the Spoke. It is unclear if there is TESD policy or oversight/review from the school district regarding students on the Spoke writing on blogs or newspapers. Perhaps a school board member or administrator could weigh in.

    Dear Mrs. Benson,

    Due to the nature of the sensitive matter at hand, we have decided that we will not be publishing an article about the recent incident involving Arthur Phillips in our upcoming issue of The Spoke. Because of this, I would greatly appreciate it if you would remove my comment on your blog post, since I no longer want people contacting me regarding this issue. I’m sure you understand that since we will no longer be running an article about this, I would prefer not to have my email so easily accessible to the public at large.

    Thank you in advance.


    Betty Ben Dor
    The Spoke

  37. Thanks to Miss Ben Dor for recognizing the sensitive matter at hand and making the decision to not publish an article in the school newspaper, The Spoke, regarding this latest incident regarding a student and a District Employee

  38. This is ridiculous – I’m a student at Stoga, and you seem to way underestimate us. You seem to forget that we have one of the best English departments in the state, that our English department chair is a Heinemann fellow, and that our students are not “typical” students.

    I use terms like “faculty” and “administration” all the time. Are you seriously trying to discredit the valid points made in this comment by making things up and questioning whether someone is a student?

    In the words of our President, “SAD!!!”

  39. I agree the big C needs to move past it’s gridiron successes. Most students actually consider the classroom their gridiron. Students frequently hype each other up before exams , sometimes even doing a “high-five” after receiving good marks. As to the debate regarding what the district should do to stop future assaults, I think we should institute a three strikes and you’re out of hear policy. If conestoga doesn’t get real, we will have serious issues, and while this seems harsh, it’s fair.

  40. And that seems to be the problem with conestoga no one is going to the administration with any of this. Which means that the administration is not open to hearing this information. This is an issue with both the principal and the school board.

  41. If I got an inkling in any way about this conduct regardless of how I knew the people involved I would have no problem going to the an administrator or board member in my disctrict with this information. I assume that there are others in our community who would feel the same.

    1. When teachers and Administrators who are in the chain of command fail to speak up and tell students to “mind their own business” when they report, and who go on dates with the monster and his prey, and who call the child the monsters girlfriend, what hope is there for the next child who falls prey to another monster in our schools?

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