Parents outraged at district’s response to harassment claims


Protesters gathered on Tuesday at the CEC building. They gathered to protest how the district dealt with harassment claims against former teacher Nathan Shewell.

Mia Behringer, Assistant Editor

On January 6 Nathan Shewell’s teaching license was taken away by the Indiana Department of Education in response to a report made by MSDWT. Superintendent Nikki Woodson sent a letter out to Washington Township parents regarding the district’s involvement with Shewell. 

In the letter she denied the district having ever been notified of sexual misconduct involving a district student and Shewell. Woodson also backed up the district’s “long-standing anti-harassment policy,” as well as admitting to the knowledge of only a few reports. 

However, many parents and students are asking if what the district has done is enough. On Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. a group of protesters gathered outside the CEC building, where the school board planned on discussing Shewell’s litigation. 

Students, parents and alumni brought signs and flyers and prepared to meet the board members as they walked into the building. A WRTV crew also interviewed a number of students and activists. Around 30 people waited for the members so that they could speak to them about their concerns with the district’s inadequate handling of students’ complaints about teacher misconduct. 

It was a quiet, peaceful protest with signs demanding that administrators “keep our students safe.” The school board members were never seen, but participants shared information and spoke to WRTV about why they were there and what needed to be done by the district to ensure that students are protected. 

“I’m here to respond to the letter we received… that just enforced all of the lies and silencing of so many truths and so many facts that have been presented continuously to the administration of North Central high school and have been hidden,” said Pamela Dunlap, mother of a current student.

 Dunlap passed out flyers to her fellow protesters that had an annotated version of the letter sent by Woodson regarding the district’s response to the accusations against Shewell.

The annotations pointed out the “lies” in Woodson’s statement to the parents. She also passed out a handout that included resources for students or families effected by sexual assault in Washington Township school centers, as well as talking points for school board members and media. 

 Dunlap complained about the lack of support or follow up from administration when students went forward with their accusations as well as the lack of information on the school’s website about filing complaints.

“The principal of North Central has not shown to be effective because the teacher is still teaching there today,” said Dunlap. Dunlap implies that there is another teacher still working that has been complained about, to the principal, but has not been publicly dealt with.

An anonymous tip line has been set up and was included in Woodson’s letter, but Dunlap expressed doubt that such an option would work, since contact with the principal has not in the past.

Dunlap believes that this is and has been a systemic issue that continues to affect North Central students to this day. She worries for the students in the building with this unnamed perpetrator and seeks a solid support system for the kids already affected.