To the Keystone Community:
Over the past couple of months, students and alumni of independent schools, colleges, and universities around the country have created Instagram accounts where they can post experiences of racism, ethnocentrism, sexism, sexual harassment/assault, and homophobia. Recently, an account started regarding Keystone.
Other Keystone administrators and I have been reading these stories and are disappointed, frustrated, and upset that these incidents happened. We commend the students and alumni for their courage in stepping forward and want to state unequivocally that the kinds of remarks and actions toward others these students recount have no place at Keystone.
We also read in the feed of adults who are no longer at the school engaging in inappropriate actions toward students and violating the sacred trust between children and adults. For that, we are truly and deeply sorry, and we pledge that if those types of violations occur again, they will be addressed swiftly and sternly.
In response to the things we have learned:
- We are planning with 10th Grade Class Officers to host a Virtual Town Hall prior to the school year and speaking to former students about the best method to open a safe line of communication to Keystone leadership.
- We are planning an Alumni Town Hall to invite former Keystone students to share their experiences and perspectives. It’s tentatively scheduled for mid-August.
- We are creating a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity Council, composed of students, faculty, and staff to ensure Keystone provides an environment where every person feels secure to take risks, to learn, and to grow intellectually, socially, emotionally, and physically.
- We will continue to review and update our sex ed programs to make sure we are providing our students with the information they need, not only about the physiological and emotional aspects of sex, but also issues of consent and communication.
- We will continue, as we have the last two years, through presentations from the school’s attorney and others to impress on the faculty/staff the moral responsibility and professional necessity to maintain appropriate relationships with students.
- In addition, even before the accountability feed emerged, the Board of Trustees and the Administration decided to devote this year’s Board retreat to studying lessons from other independent schools that experienced revelations of inappropriate teacher-student relationships.
We continue to visit with alumni from many different years about their experiences and we want to make sure that current students feel comfortable coming to faculty, staff, and administrators.
As we learn more about the experiences of former and current students, we will revise school policies and practices as necessary.
Clearly, we have work to do to live out our mission and be the school to which we aspire. Our students — past, present and future — deserve nothing less.
William B. Handmaker
Head of School