Following the story we broke Tuesday about allegations that 18-year-old Roosevelt High School student and convicted sex offender Jose Reyes raped a 14-year-old special education student in a campus bathroom, the school has released a letter explaining why administrators did not notify families that the teen was enrolled at the school:
I am writing to you about an incident that has affected our school community, and to assure you that student and staff safety is our top priority.
You may have heard media reports this week related to charges of an alleged sexual offense committed by a male Roosevelt student towards a female Roosevelt student.
Creating and maintaining a safe and secure learning environment is the top priority for us here at Roosevelt. We are very distressed about the seriousness of these allegations and we are cooperating fully with the Seattle Police Department and the justice system as they investigate.
We have also been working with the family of the female student involved and providing support to the greatest extent possible.
The reports also include information that the male student was previously convicted of offenses of a sexual nature. I have been asked why we did not share information about the presence of a student offender in our school.
Seattle Public Schools complies with all laws and statutes that govern the enrollment of student offenders, including laws related to notification. In this case, we received a letter from the Sheriff’s Department informing us of the presence of this student in our school. I informed our administrative team and selected teachers.
State laws determine who should and can be notified when a student offender enrolls in a school. In general, notification is prohibited. The exception is that the principals have discretion to inform certain staff within the school for safety purposes. The extent of notification is established in the law. That means Seattle Public Schools’ employees are specifically prohibited by law from notifying other students, family or community members about the presence of a student offender in our schools.
Thank you for your on-going involvement in and support for Roosevelt and for our students, and for helping us maintain the focus on student learning.
We’re still working to find out how Reyes was able to skip class with the girl unnoticed, despite the fact that district policy would have required him to have a “safety plan” restricting his movements. We’re also trying to figure out how Reyes was even allowed to attend Roosevelt, as his address of record in the King County sex offender registry is in Kent. If in fact Reyes was living in Seattle while attending Roosevelt, he apparently did not notify police as required by state law, would have been a violation of his parole. If Reyes was living in Kent as the county’s website says, he shouldn’t have been able to enroll at a Seattle school.
School district officials tell us their records indicate Reyes was living at a home in Seattle while attending Roosevelt, but we’re working to confirm.
We’ll update when we find out more.