Westview Needs To Take Sexual Violence Seriously
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My name is Teresa Tsang, and I graduated from Westview High School in 2015. I have not reported the contents of this message for fear of what happened in 2019, when teachers at Westview were previously called out for their lewd conduct. I feared that no action would be taken by Westview High School or Poway Unified School District. No consequences for these actions directly tells young survivors of sexual violence that their experiences—including but not limited to violation of trust, objectification and sexualization of minors, consistent harassment– do not matter to the institutions responsible. And yes, Westview High School and Poway Unified are responsible for these accounts of sexual violence because you failed to do anything despite the glaring evidence. You have disserviced your students, the future of this county, to protect middle-aged predators who have no business working with young girls.
Images 1 and 2 are just a few of the texts Derek Peterson sent me after I graduated. Despite me being a graduated student, he was still working with female students and undoubtedly preying on them as well. Through my college curriculum I have learned that sexual violence is a spectrum that includes harassment, assault, and rape and that perpetrators of sexual violence rarely have only one victim. As you can see, Peterson relentlessly texted me (Image 2) even after I told him not to (not shown). Many of my texts were deleted as I have changed phones, but these two screenshots alone demonstrate his inappropriate behavior to first, ask for a student’s personal phone number; second, swear at a student (implied in Image 1, which he did not deny); third, ask for sexual favors (Image 1); fourth, continue to harass me for months (Image 2).
When the aforementioned article was shared on Twitter by fellow Westview alumni, I posted Images 1 and 2 on Twitter. A student (who I will keep unnamed for privacy reasons) reached out to me with the following message (Image 3). This only illustrates the point I made – sexual harassers and assaulters rarely have only one victim. This student was one of likely numerous female students who saw my texts and related to the harassment by Westview male teachers.
The reason I am sending this email now in 2020, five years after my graduation and a year after that article was published, is because last week, on June 9, 2020, Derek Peterson sent me a friend request on Facebook (Image 4). We have no mutual friends which means he would have had to deliberately search my name to find and then friend request me.
This behavior is extremely inappropriate and embarrassing. These occurrences of sexual harassment will only escalate if left with no repercussions or consequences. In fact, we have already seen escalations, like in the case against Christian Michel. We cannot let this happen to future students.
If you care about your students, especially young girls, I demand Westview High School and Poway Unified School District to do the following:
1. Fire Derek Peterson and Tim Medlock for their exposed behavior and conduct with students and past students.
2. Implement strict, no-tolerance policies for staff and faculty who have allegations of sexual harassment and assault against them that include an immediate suspension followed by an investigation.
3. Develop intensive hiring procedures that prevent future hiring of staff and faculty who have histories of sexual harassment and assault.
4. Appoint or hire a staff member whose responsibilities include thoroughly investigating claims of sexual harassment and assault against PUSD’s staff.
5. Train counselors to appropriately work with students who are survivors of sexual harassment and assault (both by Westview staff and otherwise) in dealing with the trauma, anxiety, and depression that follows.
This petition was created to show that Westview students, alumni, and families do not tolerate this pedophilic, grooming behavior from Poway Unified's faculty. We do not believe Derek Peterson, Tim Medlock, and whoever else has allegations against them will properly guide and teach our students with their best interests in mind. We demand that you protect the children who attend your school.
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