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In Its Response to Sex Abuse Allegation, Sidwell Friends Joins Other Private Schools In Pursuing Transparency

Officials at Sidwell Friends School were quick to respond when they received a call recently that a long-time music teacher had been accused of sexually abusing a former student at another school two decades earlier.

Within a week, they had obtained a police report, confronted the teacher, met with attorneys and drafted a public statement that included an admission that an administrator who had offered Michael Henderson the job had known “boundaries had been crossed” in his previous job but hired him anyway.

A letter to the school community announcing Henderson’s dismissal apologized for the school’s “grave lapse in judgement” and encouraged current or former students, parents, or employees to come forward and report any inappropriate behavior or abuse by any one at the school. Henderson, through his attorney, has denied any wrongdoing.