Analysis from 2018

On November 22, 2011, Principal Thomas Hassan wrote to the PEA community in the wake of reports of sexual abuse at Penn State and Syracuse, stating that “the faculty, administrators and staff at [PEA] hold the physical, mental, and emotional safety and security of our students, past and present, as our top priority.” Hassan further claimed that “PEA has strong safeguards in place to protect the young people in our care” and “all of our long-standing policies and procedures are in strict compliance with the New Hampshire Reporting Laws.”

We now know that these reassurances were unfortunately untrue. PEA did not place the wellbeing of its students as its top priority; rather, in many instances, the reputation and the job security of its faculty members seemed to take precedent. In addition, PEA violated New Hampshire’s mandatory reporting laws many times over the course of decades, including in the years since Hassan wrote that communication in 2011.

The three documents sent by PEA to its community of students, parents and alumni in August 2018 belie the empty reassurances of Hassan seven years earlier. They are a start on the path toward transparency, accountability and reconciliation. But they are only a start.

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