Seaman Superintendent addresses harassment investigation

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- The Seaman School District Superintendent addressed the allegations of harassment and the sharing of inappropriate photos involving students from Seaman High School at the school board meeting Monday night.

Students recently spoke about the issue in their school newspaper. Superintendent Dr. Steve Noble says that’s a step in the right direction to promote a more open dialogue between students and parents.

"Our students understand this perhaps better than we do,” said Noble. “So as long as the narrative is helping being constructed by our students I think that helps us understand it as adults a lot."

The Seaman School District’s police force told the Shawnee County Sheriff’s Department last September that inappropriate pictures had been shared between 2015 and 2017. The Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division followed up on tip, but were not able to validate the information. In mid-January, new allegations surfaced.

Noble previously said one of the biggest challenges in the investigation was getting students to come forward with evidence. He wants to encourage kids to talk to an adult they feel comfortable with, who could help.

"Report that to our adults. Report that to somebody that they trust in their families or at school or at churches or other places where our students congregate,” said Noble. “That's what we hope that's the message we can get across with them."

Awareness is also important for adults.

"The harassment's, the intimidation, the bullying, the sexual harassment's, those are things we're not fully understanding yet as adults,” said Noble. “We'd be more in tune with that online and for us that's the awareness piece we want to make more known to our adults."

In January, the Shawnee County Sheriff's Office said the incident involved one or more males who were using Snapchat to post nude pictures of female students. More evidence is needed to complete the investigation.

"I would hope that all the conversations will help us bring forward substantiated evidence if that's the case,” said Noble. “More idealistically for us is in addition to that. That our kids are talking about it in a rather public way now."

Nobel says it's the school's responsibility to keeps kids safe.

"We need to re-learn or re-teach that it's not appropriate to ask for nude photos,” said Noble. “It's not appropriate to sexually harass others online."

He added five School Safety Talking Points for parents and teachers.

See Something, Say Something
It is always important and appropriate to report suspicious activity to parents, teachers or other authority. We should all be working together to keep our schools and community safe.

Be Responsible, Report don’t Post
Responsible people alert authorities with any information about suspicious activity. Posting or sharing information on social media is not the same thing as reporting information to authorities and can lead to widespread confusion and misinformation.

Threats are No Joke
Any threat made towards our students, school or staff will be taken seriously and may result in a criminal charge. This applies to face-to-face, social media, messaging, etc. Please be responsible in your actions both online and in person.

Phone it In
The Kansas School Safety Hotline provides you a way to anonymously report suspicious activity. The hotline is staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The toll-free number is 1-877-626-8203.

Want To Share Something? Share it Here
Online School Safety Reporting Form: www.seamanschools.org/contactus