Three more Southwest Early College Campus staff members are placed on leave in student rape case

04/04/2014 4:26 PM

04/04/2014 7:30 PM

Six staff members are now on administrative leave from Southwest Early College Campus as the Kansas City school district continues to seek out security failures in a student rape investigation.

“It is increasingly clear that the facility changes and security equipment were functional and that the issue is how the equipment was being used,” district spokesman Ray Weikal said.

Superintendent Steve Green “will be taking more actions that will impact staff,” Weikal said.

Prosecutors have charged a 14-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl with one count of rape and one count of sodomy in an attack on a 14-year-old girl who police said has autism.

According to statements reported by the police, the victim was attacked by the boy repeatedly over the past month in an area out of view of security cameras, and the girl charged in the crime was a lookout.

On Thursday, Green put the school’s principal, Ed Richardson, and two staff members on leave. Three more were put on leave Friday.

The district had made several changes in Southwest since August, when a 17-year-old girl was allegedly dragged into a small, second-floor room and attacked by two boys who were charged as juveniles with rape.

The district put new security measures into place at that time, including upgrading security cameras, reviewing locks and doors, reinforcing adult supervision, increasing safety awareness training and conducting weekly safety reviews.

The district is continuing those measures and adding more, including installing alarms on doors in specific areas of the building.

The district is particularly concerned with how the earlier measures failed in this situation, Weikal said.

“The next decisions are about the people who were supposed to be following those procedures,” he said. “Everything is on the table at this point.”

The district learned of the allegations Wednesday and began cooperating with police immediately, Green said. The district informed Southwest families of the concern by telephone Thursday and sent a letter home Friday.

“It is crucial that you know we take this incident very seriously,” Green said in the letter. “You entrust your children to our care. It is our responsibility to ensure that your children are safe.”

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