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This+office+in%0Athe+counseling+center+is+home%0Ato+two+mental+health+support+professionals%2C%0AGina+Batliner+and+Judy+Herzberg.+They+are+resources+for+students+who+experience+sexual+misconduct+by+teachers.

Jamie Bikales

This office in the counseling center is home to two mental health support professionals, Gina Batliner and Judy Herzberg. They are resources for students who experience sexual misconduct by teachers.

‘Come talk to me’

March 24, 2018

New superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero, who came to PPS in October, said he is committed to preventing sexual misconduct by teachers district-wide.

“I have no tolerance for the [mis]behavior of the adults who parents are trusting their kids’ safety to,” he said at a press conference with PPS school newspapers in December.

“We need to have a really good process for investigating any concerns. When we hear about it, we should go about it in a very assertive way. We need to respect the employee’s due process, but some [complaints] are immediately elevated [to the district level].”

Several interviewees for this story brought up the increased attention nationally on sexual harassment as a reason why student victims should feel supported in coming forward.

“I hope the ‘MeToo’ movement will encourage more people to be vocal about their experiences,” said Dobey, the trauma counselor.

But no matter what changes happen on the district level or nationally, Chapman said her door will always be open.

“If anyone feels unsafe at Lincoln, come talk to [me],” she said. “If you don’t feel safe coming alone, you can bring your parent or a friend.”

The vice principals will always be there, as well, she said. For those concerned with confidentiality, the school nurse, Mary Johnson, is bound by additional privacy laws as a medical professional.

In addition, students can make anonymous tips to the SafeOregon website and tip line, which end up in the hands of Lincoln administrators.

“I lose sleep until it’s resolved and so it becomes the top priority,” said Chapman. “I always feel responsible as the principal that this could happen under my watch, even if I didn’t know about it or couldn’t have known about it. Once I do know about it, I really need it to be addressed. And I really feel responsible.

“[Students] just should never have had to deal with anything, in school, like that.” 

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