Parents discover sexual abuse investigation through kids


“Why are they not taking it serious?” Jennifer Smith, a parent of two children who attend Leupp Schools Inc., asked.

Smith had just been informed that there would be no formal charges made against a Leupp School substitute teacher who was being investigated for sexual abuse against children.

“A SCAN (suspected child abuse/neglect) was reported,” Smith said. “It’s just very disappointing that the investigator has information saying it’s not that important. It’s not just one kid. It’s multiple kids.”

It all began on May 3. Smith had been approached by another parent, Patricia Johnson, at a gas station in Leupp, Arizona. Both women are parents of young girls. (All those involved in this story have had their names changed to protect their identity and the identities of their children.) “I pulled up to the gas station,” Smith said. “I rolled down my window and she told me, ‘Is (Ashley) your daughter?’” Smith’s mind began to race thinking her daughter had gotten in trouble at school.

Her daughter, Ashley Smith, is 12 years old and attends Leupp Schools Inc., which is run by the Bureau of Indian Education — not to be confused with Leupp Public School, which is under the Flagstaff Unified School District. “I was thinking something totally different from what she was going to tell me,” Smith said. “She started filling me in: ‘A teacher there went on administrative leave for a month now regarding a sexual assault on a child and one of your children was named.’”

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Categories: News
Tags: Leupp School

About Author

Pauly Denetclaw

Pauly Denetclaw is Meadow People born for Towering House People. She was raised in Manuelito and Naschitti, New Mexico. She was the co-recipient of the Native American Journalist Association's 2016 Richard LaCourse Award for Investigative Reporting. Denetclaw is currently finishing her degree in multimedia journalism from the University of New Mexico - Main. Denetclaw covers a range of topics including genetic research, education, health, social justice issues and small businesses. She loves coffee, writing and being with her family. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram. Her handle is @pdineclah