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Superintendent Responds to Abuse Accusations at Hosea

Dr. Fred Czerwonka released a statement Wednesday, addressing concerns from parents about a young boy's behavior in the classroom.
(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) The Superintendent of the St. Joseph School District is speaking out about accusations of misconduct by a kindergarten student at Hosea Elementary School.

Dr. Fred Czerwonka released a statement Wednesday, addressing concerns from parents about the young boy's behavior. The boy was initially accused of violating a young girl in the classroom by putting Play-doh on her privates last September. The girl's mother said she took her daughter to the hospital for an exam, concerned she had been sexually abused.

The woman contacted Hosea Principal Kevin Carroll to report the alleged abuse. Carroll told KQ2 he called police at that time. He said the case had already been "hotlined" by an outside reporting agency and that police were investigating. Carroll said an internal investigation was also launched by the school to learn more about the accusations, but he could not provide details about any possible disciplinary action regarding the student in the weeks that followed.

Last week, several other parents came forward with new accusations of bullying and abuse by the same child. They were upset the district did not do more sooner to prevent any further problems with the child at Hosea. Dr. Czerwonka said in his statement that Hosea's principal "handled this situation by the book."

Capt. Jeff Wilson with the St. Joseph Police Department said officers took at least two additional incident reports regarding the case last week. Principal Carroll said one of the new reports required an additional hotline call. The District said actions were taken within the school this month, but they could not offer specifics about how those actions impacted the accused boy.

Some of the parents in the case say they are considering legal action for the way the case was handled.

Here is the full statement from Dr. Czerwonka:

"Several days ago, allegations were aired regarding seriously inappropriate student behavior at Hosea Elementary School.  As a parent and an educator, I certainly understand how frightening these allegations are, especially given that we are talking about kindergarteners.  My heart goes out to all concerned.
Since then, however, we have revisited our processes and reviewed our actions.  Today, I want to assure the Hosea parents and our community that the Hosea Principal, Mr. Kevin Carroll, handled this situation by the book. 
In fact, I want to thank him for his professionalism in following our process and in dealing with this issue.  He notified authorities, cooperated with authorities, and from the very beginning, took appropriate action to ensure the safety and welfare of all students.  On a personal note, I have been in Hosea several times during the past week and have seen firsthand the professionalism and deeply caring nature of both the principal and the teacher involved.  The students at Hosea are safe and are being taken care of by the staff.
I would remind everyone that when individual students are involved, we are extremely constrained as to what we can say.  The law requires us to protect the privacy of all students - in this case, both the accused and the accuser. 
I want to caution everyone that we are talking about five-year-old children.  While that fact heightens the emotionality of this issue, it should also give us pause given their developmental level.
We will continue to scrutinize our procedures and policies, and we will continue to put kids first."

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