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Letters to Community

May 10, 2016

Dear Members of the Tilton Community,

As you may know, there have been recent news reports about allegations and instances of sexual abuse and educator misconduct at independent schools throughout New England.  The reports are very troubling, and we expect they may be raising concerns and questions in your minds. 
 
I write to you today to assure you that nothing is more important to me, and to all of us at Tilton School, than protecting the health and wellbeing of our students. The unique educational experience of our school only happens if our students are safe. As the head of a school who is entrusted with caring for other people's children, and as a parent of three children myself, I can promise you that the physical and emotional safety and security of our students is always at the forefront of my mind. 
 
As a community, we work hard to maintain a safe and healthy environment through programming and discussions integrated into Tilton's educational experience that directly address sexual misconduct and other inappropriate and unhealthy behaviors.  In addition to having clearly communicated policies and procedures addressing expectations, all faculty and staff participate in regular in-service training related to topics such as reporting obligations, harassment, sexual harassment and misconduct, bullying, and how and where to report any inappropriate, unacceptable or illegal behavior. 
 
For our students, our grade level programming, Student Life curriculum, and Health and Wellness Team (coordinated by our school counselor), consistently reinforce the importance of treating each other with respect, fostering healthy relationships, and how to seek support for any concerns related to bullying, harassment, or sexual misconduct. Our goal is to promote a safe, healthy, and open environment for our entire community.  When it comes to protecting the safety of our children, we cannot be too careful. This is the top priority for our leadership team, and it is why the effort to expand our community conversations and improve our training and educational programs is ongoing.  Furthermore, this is the focus of a joint Trustee/Staff committee that continues to evaluate not only our policies and procedures, but also our campus wellness and safety.
 
I want to make it clear to you that we will take very seriously any reports of educator sexual misconduct from any current or former students of our school. To serve our students and families, we must be willing to confront any situation with courage, compassion, and transparency.

Tilton is a special place. We have a deep and deliberate commitment to building a campus environment that promotes respect for self and others, thoughtful decision-making, and accountability for actions.  I look forward to working with all of you to ensure that we continue to live up to this commitment, and that we maintain a safe and inspiring environment for all of our students. I am always available to any one of you to discuss your concerns or questions.
 
Sincerely,
 
Peter Saliba P'17 '19 '19
Head of School
603-286-1710

September 22, 2017

Dear Members of the Tilton Community,

In May 2016, I wrote to you (see above) in response to news reports about disturbing allegations and instances of sexual abuse and educator misconduct at independent schools throughout New England. I want to express my deep gratitude to those who reached out to me in response to that letter. Your letters, emails and phone calls reveal just how deeply the Tilton Community cares for one another.
 
It is this collective care for our community that propelled us to proactively review our history and our records, as well as our internal policies and procedures, to ensure that we have the necessary processes in place to protect our students.  Our review, which was undertaken over the course of the last 17 months, affirmed our belief that we do in fact have the appropriate measures and best practices in place for receiving, reporting and addressing allegations of sexual misconduct. 
 
During this review, however, we discovered that a former employee, Paul Rocchio, was convicted of a crime involving a minor in another state 11 years after he left Tilton School. In response to learning of this, we reviewed his personnel file, interviewed school administrators who were at Tilton during the time of his employment (2001 - 2003), researched media reports of the case, and obtained a copy of the court records.
 
While we have no evidence of any inappropriate behavior or concerns involving Mr. Rocchio while he was employed at Tilton, his conviction naturally raises questions about his time at our school. For that reason, we have written directly to the students here during his time, inviting them to alert us of any inappropriate behavior that they may have experienced or witnessed while here.
 
Additionally, we want to encourage our entire community to bring to our attention misconduct involving any member of our staff, past or present. If you have any questions, or information that you think we should be aware of, please contact me directly at 603-286-1710 or psaliba@tiltonschool.org.
 
As educators, we have no greater responsibility than to make sure our students have the opportunity to thrive in an environment that is caring, open and respectful of all. We have taken great care to raise our adult and student community’s awareness about sexual misconduct through comprehensive and curriculum-based educational programming. These efforts include our annual student and faculty orientations, our Forge curriculum (ninth grade), our Health and Wellness curriculum for all grades, and our internal publications (Stall Street Journal, student handbook, and faculty/staff handbook). We also have an established student-to-student peer network that offers additional opportunities for education and support and maintain a toll-free number (Campus Conduct Hotline: 866-943-5787) for any member of our community to anonymously report matters of concern.
 
The health, safety, and well-being of our students and all of our community members is and always will be of paramount importance here at Tilton School. We remain grateful for your support in keeping our school the special place that it is.
 
Sincerely,
 
Peter Saliba P'17, '19, '19
Head of School
603-286-1710