‘Nobody is fighting for the children’

Employee: Leupp Schools Inc. swept abuse reports under rug

WINDOW ROCK

A former employee of Leupp Schools Inc. says she was forced to resign early this year when she refused to drop a sexual abuse case she filed on behalf of students.

Over the course of this year, Leupp Schools, Inc. has dealt with nearly 10 different cases of alleged sexual and physical assaults against children by two different employees.

One of them, who had four separate SCAN (suspected child abuse or neglect) claims filed against him, is the son of a school board member, said Dawn Bedenik, a former teacher who filed the SCAN complaints last fall.

“Several of my students came forward” with complaints of inappropriate touching and physical abuse, Bedenik said. “He had been a long-term employee, 13 years.” The employee in question works in the dorms and the complainants were young boys who lived there. “Someone needs to fight for the children,” Bedenik said. “Nobody is fighting for the children.”

Bedenik held a handful of addendum positions at the school under the previous principal, Fonda Charlie. She was the head teacher and testing coordinator as well as part of the safety team and accreditation team.

The students came forward after weeks of Bedenik slowly building trust with the students by holding 20-minute “advisory” sessions where she did a check-in with each student. One student complained that the dorm employee had hurt his back, which prompted an outpouring of allegations from the other boys. “At that point, I had no choice (but to report it) as a mandatory reporter,” Bedenik said.


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About Author

Pauly Denetclaw

Pauly Denetclaw is Meadow People born for Towering House People. She was raised in Manuelito and Naschitti, New Mexico. She was the co-recipient of the Native American Journalist Association's 2016 Richard LaCourse Award for Investigative Reporting. Denetclaw is currently finishing her degree in multimedia journalism from the University of New Mexico - Main. Denetclaw covers a range of topics including genetic research, education, health, social justice issues and small businesses. She loves coffee, writing and being with her family. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram. Her handle is @pdineclah