Every Friday, RI Relevant’s Joanne Giannini breaks down what’s in and what’s out concerning Rhode Island. Joanne Giannini is a former State Representative from Providence. A freelance journalist, consultant and writer, she has previously written commentary for The Providence journal, GolocalProv and WPRO radio.
What's In: Providence School Principle Found Guilty
A Providence Elementary school principal has been found guilty of failing to report to the RI Department of Children, Youth and Families a complaint by students who said they were inappropriately touched by a gym teacher at the Harry Kizirian Elementary School. Violet LeMar was convicted Monday of a single misdemeanor charge after a bench trial before District Court James Caruolo. She was sentenced to probation and community service in a sexual abuse facility. LeMar had said that she was not familiar with the law enacted in 2016, which requires reporting incidents of abuse to DCYF. Also her supervisors and administrators were not aware of the law. She is the first to be found guilty since the law was passed. This decision certainly changes the way the school systems throughout the state will develop policy regarding sexual and physical abuse in the schools. Teachers and principals will have to be informed and educated about the laws regarding these matters, something that should have been done already. The Department of Education bears the responsibility to inform all school districts of new laws and protocols. They have employees who monitor the General Assembly laws because of unwanted mandates. The General Assembly should also consider new protocols of informing school districts of new laws regarding the health and welfare of our children. We certainly know there are enough of people working for the state to do this. Meanwhile, this teacher’s career is tarnished and broken. Let’s hope guidelines and new policies are enforced.