The Portland Public School system has been forced under a microscope in the aftermath of an investigation into sexual harassment complaints made against a now-former high school football coach.
As reported by Willamette Week, Lisa Greenfield, an outside lawyer hired by Portland Public Schools (PPS), found that an investigation into allegations against former Roosevelt football coach Adam Kennybrew was, “poorly planned and executed.”
A memo from Greenfield revealed that PPS gathered evidence of at least one sexually explicit text message sent from Kennybrew to a female employee that was initiated by Kennybrew himself. Two other female staffers at the high school reported unwanted hugs from Kennybrew with one also reporting an unwanted kiss.
At least one of those women reported concerns about the work environment at the school being hostile, yet the Roosevelt principal Filip Hristic also made at least one of the women he interviewed feel at fault for the exchange she had with Kennybrew.
Despite all of these warning signs, the school failed to do anything more than send Kennybrew a letter of reprimand. The coach resigned of his own accord in August, but continued working for both the school and the PPS athletics department while the investigation into his actions were ongoing.
While it’s uncertain if any further action will be taken against Kennybrew, a PPS spokesman said the district is considering changing procedures for the way it handles complaints against its staff.
“The district wants people to feel that when they raise concerns they will be treated fairly, and that they will be heard,” PPS Spokesman David Northfield told Willamette Week.
“We had questions about whether that happened in this case, which is why PPS engaged an outside investigator to help us learn how we as a district can do better. Our focus is on having an organizational culture that supports people who make complaints and that their concerns will be taken seriously.”