Oct. 8, 2018


Branson Creates Protocol for Responding to Sexual Assault of Students


Dear Branson Families,


During parent orientation, I shared with you that our purpose as educators is to know and love your children, to be responsive to their needs, and to support them unconditionally as they test the waters of adulthood. We see our students as the most essential ingredient of our community as we strive to maintain "trust, respect, and care throughout school life," in accordance with our Branson Honor Code. To that end, I am writing to make you aware of information shared at today's all-school assembly that we believe helps Branson become a safer, more inclusive school.


Last spring, students began approaching Meredith Herrera, our Dean of Student Life and Inclusion, and me with a request to provide clarity on what it means for adults to be mandated reporters and the process that occurs when a Branson student discloses to an adult that they were a victim of sexual misconduct or harassment. Since then, our school administrators and myself have worked closely with student leaders to create a set of clear guidelines we are calling Branson's Protocol for Responding to Suspected Sexual Abuse of Branson Students. The document is attached to this message, and I ask you to review it so that you're able to have a discussion with your child, if they have questions or concerns. It is also available to students on the Student Resources page in Haiku.



During the assembly, we reviewed these guidelines with students and used a fictitious case study to demonstrate what happens when a student makes a report. Prior to the assembly, separate emails were sent to Branson employees and students letting them know that this topic would be discussed and that Kim Fahlen, our school counselor, would be in her office during assembly to host any students who felt uncomfortable attending. We also provided advisors with guidelines on how to facilitate discussions related to this topic.


Additionally, Meredith is hosting a drop-in gathering today during lunch in her office for any student who might want to talk or ask questions. Jeff Symonds is also hosting an open discussion for all students, faculty and staff as part of his Navigating Consent class on Oct. 11 from 12:20-12:50 p.m. in Study Hall 5.


Educating our students about these important topics remains our primary focus. We deeply appreciate your partnership in building a safe and respectful learning community where all students feel a sense of belonging.


Chris Mazzola

Chris Mazzola

Head of School

39 Fernhill Avenue, Ross, CA 94957  415-454-3612 ⋅

© 2018 The Branson School

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