Cherry Creek Schools accused of being lax in dealing with sexual harassment

BY FREDA MIKLIN
GOVERNMENT REPORTER

On April 20, students at some of Cherry Creek School District’s (CCSD) middle and high schools staged a walkout to protest CCSD taking too long to produce results from a Title IX investigation into an incident that occurred in November 2021 at Grandview High School in Aurora. A 16-year-old female student reported that a male student touched her in her private area without her permission. According to reports, she also told investigators that the male student had been harassing her starting back in August 2020 by, “Pulling my hair, push me in the hallways, touch my thighs, touch and slap my butt.” She reported that she told him to stop but he did not. The victim’s father appeared with some 300 students who participated in the walkout at Grandview High School and spoke with reporters, expressing his frustration that the male student has not been removed from the school while the case is under investigation, resulting in his daughter having to run into him in the hallways.

The next day, CCSD Superintendent Chris Smith sent a letter to its students’ families saying, “I stand in solidarity with victims of sexual assault and harassment. I also applaud the courage and commitment of our young people who gathered peacefully yesterday and used their voices to call attention to critical issues.” He also said that, “CCSD takes ALL allegations of sexual assault, discrimination and harassment seriously. We strictly follow all federal laws and regulations, including Title IX, as well as Cherry Creek School District Board policies, to address allegations.”

In another case, reported by FOX31, parents of a 7-year-old girl who attended CCSD’s Antelope Ridge Elementary School said that they “were forced to pull their child out of that school” after administrators failed to remove a boy in their daughter’s classroom who said highly inappropriate sexual things to her and other girls in the class, and it resulted in their daughter being “depressed, crying and terrified to go to school.” 

The following day, April 22, it was reported that Brien Hodges, 55, CCSD’s director of the Department of Grants Management, had been arrested on a charge of felony at-risk sexual contact without consent. It was stressed by authorities that the charge had no connection to CCSD or any of its students. 

The Villager reached out to CCSD to see if they had anything to add to the letter that was sent to parents. They told us that the letter contained CCSD’s full response.

fmiklin.villager@gmail.com