IM this article to a friend!

March 4, 2003

Abuse Allegations: School Responds

From: KSFY, SD - 04 Mar 2003

Administrators at the South Dakota School for the Deaf in Sioux Falls now confirm there's an investigation looking into possible abuse on campus. The school's director says the law keeps him from saying more and that is frustrating.

An attorney for several parents says an older student apparently abused younger students. He also says the school has been slow to respond to their requests for counselors. But at least one parent is sticking up for the administration. Marla Nelson recalls her first response to the news of possible sexual abuse at the school, "I was shocked when I heard it and hoped the allegations weren't true."

Her son is a senior at the School for the Deaf. She says when the allegations came up several weeks ago, the school called her at home. "The Superintendent and one of the principals here called me and told me they were investigating a student for possible abuse."

School Superintendent Dr. Jon Green confirmed there is "an ongoing investigation. I'm frustrated I can't tell my side of the story." He adds that he looks forward to discussing what happened as soon as the investigation is over.

It is not clear how many students are involved, but Rapid City attorney Kenneth Dewell says he's representing more than one. "I have a couple of clients, more than one. I will not tell you the number of parents whose children were apparently abused while at the School for the Deaf." He says the school has been less than fully cooperative, but Marla Nelson says she trusts the administration. "Hopefully the school and the Board of Regents are resolving the situation, if in fact there is one."

The Board of Regents did not return repeated phone calls asking for comments on the allegations.

The attorney for the parents in this investigation says there is no lawsuit at this point.

By: Tom Powell

© Copyright 2000 - 2003, WorldNow and KSFY, a Raycom Media station. All Rights Reserved.