Message

Sender
Chris Ford
Subject
Important Message to BSA Community
Message

Dear BSA Community,

 

Like many of you, the leadership team here at BSA visited the Instagram page that detailed past and recent cases of sexual misconduct at our school. We were horrified not simply because of the pain students experienced at the moment but the impact and scars many of those individuals feel today. I am sorry.

 

As both the father of a former BSA student and the school principal, I stand with you. So do our faculty and staff members, many of whom visited Instagram and left feeling sickened, disgusted, and more motivated than ever to help those young women that were harmed. Those Instagram posts directly result from students who don’t feel BSA has protected or supported them. In this place of reflection, we must think anew about how to help anyone harmed in our school. 

 

Today I met with City Schools administrators to begin to chart a path forward. We are exploring ways within Board policy to remove or more strongly discipline students that assault others. We reviewed the information on Instagram to determine what occurred in each case and the responsible students.

 

In cases where more decisive action can be taken, I promise you we will do so. Please know that I took the most assertive disciplinary steps possible based on the tools at my disposal in many of those cases. It wasn’t enough, and I am not saying that each one was the best decision in hindsight. Now, thanks to your voice, we have a stronger idea of what action must be taken, and we have the support of City Schools to get it done.

 

I also firmly believe that more punishment is not the complete solution. We can do better in supporting people who are harmed inside the BSA community, including the accused with life experiences that made such acts seem normal. While we’ve been closed due to the pandemic, a faculty team has been trained in Restorative Justice. I hope that provides some tools to give victims and the accused what they need to grow as humans and treat others with respect. That is one of the several steps we must take.

 

Our faculty is in active discussions to determine what else can be done, and we will seek the thoughts of a variety of constituents as we develop a plan.

 

We finished a meeting on Wednesday with many faculty to discuss this issue and how to move to a better place. I am confident that our entire community is devoted to this work and improving every student's experience and safety. I am also sure that, because of these fine colleagues' commitment, this work will continue well into the future as we seek to make BSA a better place for everyone.  

 

I am deeply sorry for the pain these incidents and the school’s response to them have caused. I know you have provided the energy to help us do better as a school for our students.

 

Chris Ford