Complaints against Trustee Kevin Child began prior to his election in 2014 and included detailed incidents of suicide discussions with students and inappropriate behavior at school functions and education conferences, records obtained Wednesday by the Las Vegas Review-Journal show.
The earliest concerns came in April 2014 — when staff highlighted previous issues of Child’s talks with students about suicide during a guest speaker program.
One documented concern from December 2015 explained that Child told students about his former wife’s suicide “in graphic details about setting the downstairs on fire before killing herself.”
“Trustee Child had asked the students to close their eyes and raise their hands if they had ever felt unhappy,” the employee wrote. “It was stated that he asked them to open their eyes and see who had their hands raised.”
In that case, according to the report, one student was embarrassed and upset about being singled out during the conversation. When another person — whose name is redacted — asked the student to step outside, Child said that the student “needed to stay to hear what he had to say.”
But even before that incident, schools issued “suicide protocols” after Child’s interactions with students — including in October 2014 and May 2015, according to staff correspondence.
Child was elected to a four-year term in November 2014 and was sworn in on Jan. 5, 2015.
But district officials did not launch an investigation into Child’s actions until September 2016 — more than two years after the first reported incident — according to a memo previously and independently obtained by the Review-Journal.
Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky barred Child from visiting schools without express written permission in a letter dated Dec. 5.
In all, the district released 23 pages that included 14 or so emails and other correspondence after a judge ordered them to do so earlier Wednesday to comply with a lawsuit filed by the Review-Journal. The documents are heavily redacted and do not include the names of those who made complaints or schools.
Child called the complaints “pathetic,” saying he’s never seen them and arguing that he has a constitutional right to face his accusers without their names redacted.
“If you’re not going to give names up, then they mean nothing,’ he said. “They’re zero, they could be made up.”
Concerns about Child’s behavior extended beyond interactions with students. Another complaint alerted Skorkowksy to a “severe lack of decorum and unprofessional behavior” that Child showed during the May 2016 Magnet Schools of America National Conference in Miami.
Child wanted to sit with award winners and be on stage with leadership when they were recognized, according to the email sent to Skorkowsky.
“During the VIP reception, paid for by our sponsorships, Mr. Child told MSA personnel that he wished to bring his girlfriend/wife to the dinner,” the email states. “He was told that, unfortunately, he could not as the invitation was not for a plus one. He was angry and proceeded in the reception to let more than one person know he was leaving and not happy.”
Child appeared overly anxious to meet Miami-Dade Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, the email states—so much so that another person “actually watched this scenario and wanted to crawl under a table.”
“I am not thrilled to write this letter, as I know Trustee Childs is an elected official,” the email states. “I am greatly concerned that he represents any of us.”
In another September 2016 incident in one school’s hallway, an employee reported feeling uncomfortable after he looked at them from “head to toe and back.”
While the employee was talking to Child about the school, they noted that Child repeated their words while continuing to look at them from head to toe and back, according to the report.
‘I’M THE BIG BOSS’
Child denied that he ever made a child stay in the classroom during a talk about suicide, and one report that claimed he said, “I’m the BIG boss. I’m everybody’s boss. I’m a trustee.”
“I work for them,” Child said of the staff. “And I’m Pat’s boss. I work for them, and Pat works for me.”
And during the award ceremony at the magnet school conference, Child said he sat with the awardees and wasn’t escorted to the audience as the complainant claimed.
“Don’t you look at people head to toe?” he said of the employee complaining of his interaction with them. “I rest my case. Again, whose the name? This is all a smear campaign.”
The district’s September investigation resulted in a four-page memo sent to Skorkowsky on Oct. 19 that stated Child had caused a hostile and intimidating work environment; in particular, he created anxiety among female employees — some of whom labeled him “weird” and “creepy.”
Officials confronted Child about his behavior in March of 2016, according to the memo. Child at that time met with a district lawyer and agreed to stop showing up to schools unannounced.
Child, though, said he first spoke with the district about concerns even earlier than that — roughly a year and a half ago.
Contact Amelia Pak-Harvey at 702-383-4630 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @AmeliaPakHarvey on Twitter.