Listen to this story;
Allegations of serious abuse from this fall have surfaced at a Kodiak area preschool. Administrators have acknowledged that law enforcement are involved and so far at least one family has removed their children from the school in response.
An email to families went out from Kodiak Baptist Mission’s leadership after details of child abuse by preschool staff surfaced on social media in mid-December.
Executive Director Johnny Walker wrote on Dec. 18 that in one case in October a staff member had picked up a crying child to console him. And that parents had been concerned about bruises on an arm. He says touching a child was a violation of school rules and the teacher was suspended. He says a second complaint – also in October – was related to allegations of sexual abuse which he called “implausible.”
The email says Alaska State Troopers have asked the preschool not to discuss any allegations as it could interfere with the investigation. The two unnamed accused employees no longer work at Kodiak Baptist Mission, the email added.
But some former parents have criticized the school’s handling of the allegations.
Molly Odell’s daughter had attended Kodiak Baptist Mission’s preschool earlier this year. She says she attended an October 29 meeting called by the school to discuss the allegations of child abuse by staff. She says she was disappointed by the school’s reaction, which she said downplayed the seriousness of the matter.
“I was appalled. I was really disappointed with his response. It just supports my and my husband’s decision to take our child out of the mission, which like I said, it was a hard decision. She, by all of her accounts, had a great time,” Odell said.
Alaska State Troopers have not commented on the case except to confirm there are two investigations pending in Kodiak. A public dispatch by state troopers reports opening a sexual abuse of a minor investigation on October 27.
The Kodiak Baptist Mission’s administrators haven’t publicly addressed the allegations. It declined to comment to KMXT or the Kodiak Daily Mirror which first reported on the allegations on Tuesday. In a brief conversation, Walker said the school is cooperating with investigators but declined to elaborate.
The Kodiak Baptist Mission Preschool is licensed by the state Department of Health and Social Services. State officials did not respond to requests about its licensing arrangements.