Ketchikan school board votes to investigate district’s actions in Edwards’ case

The Ketchikan School District is going to hire an independent investigator to look into the district’s actions regarding former teacher Doug Edwards, who faces charges that he sexually assaulted a 14-year-old girl at the high school, as well as other locations.

The school board voted Monday to hire an investigator at the end of a special meeting called to discuss a personnel complaint against Superintendent Robert Boyle.

Board President Trevor Shaw confirms the complaint was related to the Edwards case.

The complaint was filed in late June with a two-week deadline to respond.

Shaw said Tuesday that Boyle was out of town, and got back on the day of that deadline, which was Monday.

Shaw said Monday’s executive session lasted about an hour and 40 minutes.

When they came back into regular session, the board voted for Shaw to identify an entity to look into the district’s actions related to Edwards’ conduct.

“The whole goal is to find someone who could be a third-party investigator who has no relation, existing relation, connection or prior relationship with the district, to be able to come in and do a full and independent review,” Shaw said. “Just in my initial conversations this morning, this is still kind of uncharted territory. We’re kind of taking it as it comes.”

Shaw is consulting with state and national school board associations, along with other colleagues, for advice on who to approach for the job. He said the board consulted its attorney before voting Monday.

Shaw stressed that the investigation isn’t into Edward’s alleged criminal behavior.

“That’s not what we’re doing. We’re investigating what the district’s response and actions were in relation to a former employee who happened to commit criminal behavior,” he said. “This is nothing to do with an investigation specifically of Mr. Edwards, but how the district and administration handled his conduct, what they knew of his conduct and the aftermath of that.”

Shaw said the board likely will have to schedule a special meeting later this month to take further action.

Edwards was the long-time culinary arts teacher at Ketchikan High School and a local pastor.

He retired at the end of this school year, and was charged just days after with multiple counts of sexual abuse of a minor.

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