A report from attorneys and investigators hired by the Board of Trustees of Clarke School and dated April 30, 2018, documents physical and sexual abuse at the school between 1950 and the early eighties.
This report, which opens a window on a dark chapter in Clarke School’s history, was based largely on interviews with former students of Clarke school, and was commissioned by the Board of Directors of Clarke School, It is dated April 30, 2018 and has been sent to alumni. A copy of it has been floating around the community, and was given to me by someone who wishes to remain anonymous.
It is prefaced by a statement that I am assuming was made by one of the board of directors.
“We are deeply upset by what the investigators found… While we understand that most of this behavior took place decades ago, predominately during the 1950s to the 1970s, we realize that it continues to cause great pain. Clarke’s teachers and staff were trusted to care for students and keep them safe and that trust was broken. Clarke’s core values were ignored and the School failed to adequately safeguard the safety and well-being of its students.”
It is time for the school to make this report public. Almost every day there is news in the newspapers of abuse occurring at prestigious private boarding schools and churches. The New York Times of August 18th featured a story about the Hotchkiss School in Lakeville Connecticut. They hired a law firm to substantiate a problem which occurred between 1969 and 1992. Unlike Clarke, however, they made that report public.
Investigators working for the Clarke School received multiple reports of abuse committed by Mary E. Numbers, teacher-in-charge of Gawith Hall, and her brother Fred C. Numbers Jr. The investigators termed the behavior “extreme corporal punishment meant to humiliate students.” In addition to spanking and paddling, boys had their pants pulled down, and there was inappropriate touching of genitals and kissing girl students. “Given the young age of these students and their limitation to communicate effectively, these experiences were particularly terrifying.”
Emma Willard and Choate Rosemary Hall have also gone public about wrong-doing. Activists and lawyers who represent victims of this kind of abuse have said such “Public accountings are crucial to protecting students going forward and getting some justice for those harmed in the past.”