Response to the August 6th letter from Horace Mann School Board of Trustees

The following is the official survivors’ group response to the letter issued this morning by Steven M. Friedman, Chair, Horace Mann School Board of Trustees:

The survivors of sexual abuse at the Horace Mann School welcome outreach by the Board of Trustees, although we are disappointed in the amount of time it took the Board to generate a response to our requests, which we first made on June 21, 2012.

While any gesture of outreach is positive, we are disappointed as well that this response does not address the requests we made in June and have repeated since: an apology from the institution, compensation for the survivors, and an independent investigation.

The investigation by the Bronx District Attorney’s office does not constitute an independent investigation according to established best practices. Nor does the NYPD investigation, also in progress. These investigations are not voluntary. The model for an independent investigation is the Freeh Report conducted by Penn State, which was voluntary, was funded by the school itself, and was not restricted by any constraints, such as the statute of limitations, on its ability to see its inquiry through to its conclusions. An independent investigation conducted by special outside counsel retained by the School for that purpose is especially appropriate and necessary in light of the facts that have come to light concerning the involvement of predecessor School Heads and Boards of Trustees in failing to respond to and/or suppressing reports of sexual abuse. These failures and suppressions would not necessarily be the subject of the DA’s or NYPD investigation.

We are disappointed as we have been in the past that the School and the Board choose to communicate in detail with the community as a whole before communicating in any substantive way with us.

We continue to assert our requests, and hope that a fully satisfactory response will be forthcoming from the School and the Board in future.

Letter from More than 100 Horace Mann Alumni Sent to the New York Times today

17 July 2012

The New York Times
620 Eighth Avenue
New York, NY 10018

To the editor:

In private communication with more than two thousand Horace Mann School alumni, we have learned of many more instances of sexual abuse by past teachers. We are shocked by their sheer brutality and number. The school has not acknowledged the truth of the abuses, but we can. We call for an independent, thorough investigation.

We have urged the school to apologize to our classmates who were abused and we are appalled that those school trustees who were aware of abuses at the time and ignored them, as recorded in the New York Times, have not resigned. We have demanded their removal.

Justice and healing can begin with accountability, transparency and truth.

[This letter is signed below by one hundred Horace Mann alumni from the classes of 1959 through 2007]
David Ambaras ’79
Andrew M Ansorge ’70
Mary Louise Cannon Apadula ’79
Abigail Aronson ’87
Kate Aurthur, ’87
Ed Beck ’64
Stephen Beer ’79
Sarah Birnbaum, ’87
Peter Blum ’70
Gordon Bock ’72
Alexander N. Bossy ’83
Clifford Brody ’75
Peter Brooks ’66
Allan Burke ’67
Jeremy Burns ’93
David Buskin, ’61
Herb Callender ’76
Nicholas V. Chen ’75
Charles Chessler ’79
Alex Citron ’71
Elizabeth B. Cooper ’79
Fosca D’Acierno ’88
Julie Shmalo Datnow ’87
Sara Rosenfeld Dassel ’85
Rachel Dickstein 88
Betsy Drapkin
Michelle Dumitriu ’95
Clare Dooley 85
Arthur Drooker ’72
Skylar R.H. Fein ’86
Martin Fenton ’72
Carole Kline Feuer ’79
Stephen L. Fife ’71
Mark Finkel ‘72
Eric R. Finkelman ’75.
Hal Fischer ’68
Margaret L. Frank ’78
Jessica Fridman ’91
Kate Geis ’87
Geoffrey H. Genth ’82
Patrick Gibson of 78
Jessica Gould
jeremy szold ginzberg ’69
Robin Gise ’90
Vicki Lan Goldstone ’90.
Laurie Gordon MD ’87
Peter Greer ’71
Lisa Grossman ’92
Debbie Gruber ’87
David Gutterman ’84
John Haber ’72
Ele Hamburger ’83
Dean Harris ’68
Albert Herskovits
Jonathan Himoff ‎’81
Lance Hoffman ’75
Rob Hollander ’72
Elizabeth Leef Jacobson ’79
Jen Kaminsky ’95
Sam Kanter ’64
Gerard Kiernan ’85
Kim Dooley Kittay ’87
Jay Kooper ’91
LarryKurzner ’79
Edward Lay ’78
Marc Lerner ’89
Merrill Lewen ‎’80
Rebecca Linden ’85
Chris Macri ’89
Joshua Malina ’84.
Gregory Mishkin ’88
Michael S Mishkin ’59
Erica Modugno ’89
Jodi Nass ’78
catherine newman ’83
Robert Nisonoff ’82
Mariana Olenko ’85
Peter M. Oppenheimer, Ph.D. ’75
Cari Lewis-Osborne ’88
Joseph R. Osborne’88
Michelle Packles ’90
Kirsten Paige ‎’07
Jamie Parish ’79
Peter Park ’89
Elizabeth Slaybaugh Picard ’85
Alison Pollet ’86
Dean Preston ’87
Christina Propst ’87
Gita Rebbapragada, ’95
Narasu Rebbapragada ’89
Umaa Rebbapragada ‎’93
Michael Rosen ’79
Charlotte Rosenberg ’83
Debby Rovine ’87
Josh Russell ’75
Marina Rustow ‎’86
Joanna Samuels ’88
Shira Sanders ‎’81
Suzanne Schecter ’80
Mitch Schonfeld ’73
Allison Schultz ’84
Rachel Schwartz ’87
Tom Seidner ’70
Jen Slaybaugh ’88
Mark Allen Smith ’68
Gustavus Stadler ’84
Natasha Steinhardt ’90
James Strickler ’66
Alice Swenson, ’89
Alexander Turoff ’84
David Vogel ’73
Raphael Winick, ’84
Sophia Ahsen Wolf ’85
Jennifer Berman Yoken ’89

Horace Mann Alum Rob Hollander’s Letter to the New York Times

To the editor:

In private communication with over 2000 Horace Mann School alumni, we have learned of several instances of sexual abuse perpetrated by past faculty against students, some more egregious than those which have already been published. We are appalled that the school administration has failed to reach out to our classmates who were sexually abused. Our demands for an apology on behalf of those classmates have been met with silence. We are also appalled that those school Trustees who were aware of those abuses at the time and ignored them have not resigned from the Board. We have demanded that they be removed.

Justice, accountability and healing cannot be complete without these first steps.

[signed by ?# of Horace Mann alumni listed alphabetically]

In his message to us, Rob writes:

I am gathering signatures for the letter below intended for the New York Times. If you wish to sign, please email me at hollander.rob@gmail.com indicating your desire to have your name included.

I intend to list the signatures in alphabetical order including non survivor alumni and survivors alike. I do not need a great many signatures, but I don’t wish to exclude anyone. Alternatively, the signatures can be compiled and submitted by other means — a webpage or by some other person. In any case, I would like to get this moving quickly, since newspapers do not print letters that are no longer timely.

(I’ve kept it short to increase the likelihood of getting it published.) Thanks to Christina Propst for her wise emendations.