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Principal Brian Chatard says he will take a closer look at all rituals, rites of passage and initiations at the school



CONNECTION PHOTO: KELSEY OHALLORAN - A class initiation event back in February left three Wilson High School teachers on paid administrative leave while the district investigated.In an email to Wilson High School parents and staff this morning, Principal Brian Chatard announced that Portland Public Schools' investigation into a school-related initiation activity has concluded, and that the three Wilson teachers who were placed on paid administrative leave in February are now back at work.

The three teachers, whose names have not been released by the school, were directly or indirectly involved in an initiation that occurred as new students came into the school’s Leadership class at the start of the second semester.

“While the intent of the initiation activity was not to harm or humiliate students, some aspects of it raised serious concerns and questions about the judgment exercised by the staff members who were both directly and indirectly involved,” Chatard said in his email statement.

In the future, Chatard said, he will take a closer look at any rituals, rights of passage, or initiations that are part of classes or extracurricular activities at Wilson, to ensure that concerning activities don’t continue to take place.

“I am completely confident that the reinstatement of all my staff is warranted," he said. "I believe that this situation will serve as an opportunity to learn and to reflect on the quality of experiences that we create for students at this high school.”

Chatard’s full statement is below.

Contact Kelsey O’Halloran at 503-636-1281 x101 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Dear Wilson Community,

The investigation that drew so much attention has concluded and all my staff are back to work.  The focus of the investigation centered on an initiation that took place as new students were brought in to our Leadership class at the start of the second semester.  While the intent of the initiation activity was not to harm or humiliate students, some aspects of it raised serious concerns and questions about the judgment exercised by the staff members who were both directly and indirectly involved.  

I am completely confident that the reinstatement of all my staff is warranted and I believe that this situation will serve as an opportunity to learn and to reflect on the quality of experiences that we create for students at this high school.  Our goal is to meet the highest possible standard and to exceed expectations you may have for your child's high school experience.  I appreciate the support many of you have expressed to me and the confidence that you place in me to make the decisions that I believe are in the best interest of all students at Wilson.  

Moving forward from this situation, I will take a much closer look at any and all rituals, rights of passage, or initiations that are part of the academic, extra-curricular and athletic teams and groups at Wilson to make certain that this, and other similar activities, do not continue to take place.  I welcome your comments and participation in the continuing dialogue that this generates as we look into the traditions at Wilson in a broader sense.  

Respectfully,

Brian Chatard

Principal

Wilson High School

(503) 916-5280

www.pps.k12.or.us/schools/wilson