Stoneleigh-Burnham School addresses allegations of past sexual misconduct

  • The Stoneleigh-Burnham School on Bernardston Road in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • The Stoneleigh-Burnham School on Bernardston Road in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 11/15/2019 11:03:06 PM
Modified: 11/15/2019 11:02:51 PM

GREENFIELD — Stoneleigh-Burnham School has reached resolution with three former students who alleged inappropriate behavior by a former faculty member, though the institution is withholding details to protect the victims’ privacy.

Northampton law firm Elkins, Auer, Rudof & Schiff reportedly conducted an independent investigation of the initial allegations and concluded the former employee “had violated the bounds of appropriate faculty-student relationships,” according to a statement from the school.

The alleged inappropriate behavior occurred in the 1980s and early 1990s. Two additional claimants came forward with similar claims during the investigation, which concluded in August.

According to the statement, the accused faculty member was immediately suspended when the first allegations were made, though Marketing and Communications Manager Maeve Ryan was unaware of when that occurred. The man is now prohibited from campus and from having contact with any member of the school community, including other faculty, staff, students and alumnae of the all-girls school.

The allegations did not involve any current students or recent graduates, according to the statement.

Ryan said this matter will not go to court, as mediation brought closure to Stoneleigh-Burnham and the claimants.

“On behalf of Stoneleigh-Burnham School and its board of trustees, we convey to all of our students, alumnae, parents, faculty, staff and the community at large that we have taken these allegations very seriously and are deeply sorry for the harm caused by the misconduct of a former employee,” Head of School Stephanie Luebbers said in the statement. “We were deeply and profoundly saddened to learn of these allegations. The primary responsibility of our school is the safety and well-being of our girls. It was heartbreaking to learn about these complaints.”

Stoneleigh-Burnham is an independent boarding and day school for girls in grades seven to 12 and postgraduate located on Bernardston Road.

“Stoneleigh-Burnham School is committed to ensuring that all students are safe, understand healthy boundaries with adults and feel able to speak with adults in the community about any issue that causes them concern,” Luebbers continued. “We know that it takes courage to voice these kinds of concerns, and we are grateful to the victims for finding that courage to advise us of this misconduct.”

Ryan said Stoneleigh-Burnham will not release the former faculty member’s name.

Luebbers said current students, parents, alumnae and staff have been informed of the allegations.

“School leadership has encouraged any students processing the news to seek support provided by Stoneleigh-Burnham,” she said. “Our current school protocols and practices set clear boundaries for adult-student interactions. We regularly review our policies, drawing from research and best practices. Stoneleigh-Burnham School follows state laws and completes background checks and screenings as a part of our hiring processes, and trains faculty and staff in healthy boundaries, school policy and mandated reporting.

“We also employ a wide variety of resources as an important part of our ongoing work with the students,” Luebbers continued.

Lynn Kehoe, chair of the Stoneleigh-Burnham School board of trustees, said in the statement that the independent boarding and day school “is unwavering in its commitment to creating a strong, safe and positive learning environment for girls, and we strive to live our values in all that we do.”

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or
413-772-0261, ext. 262.




Greenfield Recorder

14 Hope Street
Greenfield, MA 01302-1367
Phone: (413) 772-0261
Fax: (413) 772-2906

 

Copyright © 2019 by Newspapers of Massachusetts, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy