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Sonoma Academy to host ‘listening sessions’ for graduates in wake of abuse revelations

Sonoma Academy officials will host a series of listening sessions for alumni to give feedback on revelations of sexual abuse and harassment of students by three former staff members.

The first listening session, announced in a Dec. 7 email from Head of School Tucker Foehl, will take place Tuesday evening at Sonoma Academy. In previous weeks, the school’s students and parents had the opportunity to attend similar meetings with school officials.

“I want you all to know that I have been thinking about you since the release of the Debevoise Investigation Report,” Foehl wrote in his message to alumni.

The report described abuse and harassment by three former staff members that affected at least 37 students over nearly two decades. The school launched the investigation following publication of a Press Democrat investigation in June.

“I can only imagine the wide range of feelings, thoughts, and experiences that you are having in response to the information detailed within that report.

“As the Board of Trustees wrote earlier this week, our school community is heartbroken from reading the report; not just the serious misconduct described, but the failure of school leaders to act when they learned that students under their care were being subjected to abuse. We will never tolerate this type of behavior from anyone associated with Sonoma Academy.

“We want to hear from you, and be able to incorporate your questions and concerns into our plans moving forward,” Foehl said.

The first listening session will be in person at Sonoma Academy at 6 p.m. Tuesday. The school is planning additional sessions in Los Angeles, San Francisco and possibly a location on the East Coast.

You can reach Staff Writer Kaylee Tornay at 707-521-5250 or kaylee.tornay@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @ka_tornay.

Kaylee Tornay

Education, The Press Democrat

Learning is a transformative experience. Beyond that, it’s a right, under the law, for every child in this country. But we also look to local schools to do much more than teach children; they are tasked with feeding them, socializing them and offering skills in leadership and civics. My job is to help you make sense of K-12 education in Sonoma County and beyond.  

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