Scappoose athletic director leaves district
Scappoose High School's athletic director and vice principal resigned from the school district, effective June 30.
Robert Medley, who has worked in Scappoose for 21 years, submitted a resignation letter May 10, and the Scappoose School District board of directors formally approved the resignation Monday, June 11, during a board meeting.
The resignation comes as allegations against Medley first raised more than a decade ago have resurfaced, prompting recent complaints emailed to the Scappoose School Board.
Medley has worked as a health and physical education teacher at the high school and, in 2011, he was brought on as the athletic director and dean of students. At the beginning of the 2017-18 school year, he also took on a role as vice principal.
Medley also worked as a basketball and baseball coach, and in 2015 he received the title of 4A COWAPA League Baseball Coach of the Year.
Medley will be joining the Harney County School District and was offered a principal position at Burns High School on May 9, according to con-
tract records. The Harney County School District approved the contract Tuesday, June 12.
"My family and I are very excited about the opportunity to move to Burns. I have appreciated the leadership and learning opportunities that Scappoose has offered me over the years, and moving to Burns to become their high school principal offers me the chance to continue to grow professionally," Medley stated in an email to the Spotlight.
Medley's resignation follows renewed allegations leveled against him in March by a former student and, until recently, a Scappoose volleyball coaching assistant.
The former student, Ashley Girres, 30, outlines her allegations in blogposts beginning in March that indicate a Scappoose teacher, later identified as Medley, in 2005 used her cellphone when she was a student in high school to take four photographs of her, including a close-up photo of her chest, during physical education class. Girres says Medley then sent those photos to his email account.
When Medley returned the cell phone to her at the end of the class period, three of the four photos remained, but the close-up photo of her chest had been deleted, she said. Girres said she discovered Medley had sent all four photos, including the close-up, to his email account because it appeared in her phone's email messaging "sent" folder, records indicate.
Medley at the time stated the photos were intended to be used for a "memory wall" and the close-up photo was taken as an accident, records show.
Following the incident, Girres and her mother, Tami Kemp, filed a police report with Scappoose police in April 2005 for theft of services, and filed complaints in May 2005 against Medley and then-Principal Sue Hays with the Oregon Teachers and Standards Practices Commission, which reviews ethics complaints against education officials. TSPC reported no disciplinary actions following the complaints. It's unclear if any disciplinary action was taken at the high school level at the time. A records request for disciplinary records, along with other public documents regarding Medley and his tenure with the district submitted in May, was not fulfilled by the Spotlight's press time this week.
Medley, when asked numerous times for reaction to the renewed complaints, did not comment on the allegations made by Girres on her blog, and pointed out that no official complaints against him had recently been filed with the district.
From about 2008 to November 2017, Girres worked as an assistant athletic coach, one year of which was at the middle school, followed by a stint at the high school as an assistant volleyball coach.
Girres, who is also a mother, said she felt the need to tell her story now for several reasons including bringing about awareness regarding the behavior.
"I think a big part of it is being a mom. I was a kid then. You don't understand everything then," Girres explained. "It was a horrible experience and it was hard to be in a small town and have people point fingers ... but as a woman, now, I don't care. I don't care that people don't find it popular for me to tell the truth."
She added, "As a woman, I just feel like I have a voice now that I didn't when I was seventeen and I feel like I have a responsibility."
In the wake of Girres' blog posts a series of anonymous email were submitted to the Scappoose School District's board of directors and superintendent in March and April requesting an investigation into Girres' allegations against Medley, according to school district email records.
"We are a group of very concerned community members and parents of current and future Scappoose Hish (sic) School students. The articles written recently on a former students' blog have the entire community questioning how your current athletic director/vice principal continues to be employed by our district and allowed to interact with young people," the email stated.
In those emails, Phil Lager, the school board chair, acknowledged receipt of the concerns in March, but stated, "I have forwarded your concerns to our Superintendent. Both the attached link and your email are anonymous as well as the name of the person being accused. With that said, I am not exactly sure how or if he will be able to do much in response. I hope you can understand."
District officials later noted that the emails did not constitute formal complaints and no investigation on the matter took place prior to Medley's resignation.
According to the district's published procedures, anyone filing a complaint against a district staff member is advised to follow a four-step process which starts with contact at the building administrative level. Complaints regarding sexual harassment require anyone filing a complaint to follow a five-step process.
A parent of a recent high school graduate who asked not to be named due to retaliation concerns provided the Spotlight with mid-May text message records and recalled conversations clearly indicating Lager encouraged Medley to find employment elsewhere in light of the former student's renewed allegations and other litigation against the district.
The source also indicated that Lager was aware on May 11 that Medley had submitted a resignation letter last month, and had spoken with Medley about it in early May.
When asked earlier this month, Lager denied speaking with Medley in any capacity.
"Unfortunately, as you know, as the school board Chair, I don't have the privilege of commenting on speculation or rumor. As it stands right now, I have not received any formal notice that Robert is leaving. For him to leave he will need to submit a letter of resignation that would be approved by the board in an open meeting. That has not occurred," Lager stated in a June 4 email to the Spotlight. "Also, I have not spoken to Robert whatsoever about any intent to leave the district. It's not a communication in any form that has occurred between he and I. Sorry I couldn't be more help. Unfortunately, it seems so much rumor and speculation occur without people really knowing the facts. That and it seems some are ok with creating information when a lack of information truly exists."
Two days later, a published agenda for the board's upcoming meeting on June 11 listed acceptance of Medley's resignation as a consent agenda item.
Consent agenda items are usually routine in nature and include the approval of board minutes, new hires and extra duty contracts, as well as retirement and resignations. Those items are usually prepared and made available to board members in advance of meetings.
Quality local journalism takes time and money, which comes, in part, from paying readers. If you enjoy articles like this one, please consider supporting us.
(It costs just a few cents a day.)