A teacher at Duke Ellington School of the Arts is on leave after allegations of sexual assault surfaced Oct. 14.

The chair of the literacy and media department at Duke Ellington School of the Arts is being investigated by Washington, D.C. police after allegations of sexual assault against a minor were raised Oct. 14.

The school placed the teacher on leave and the Metropolitan Police Department is conducting an investigation into the allegations.

Ellington Principal Sandi Logan sent a letter Oct. 17 informing Ellington parents about the accusation of sexual misconduct by the staff member that allegedly occurred in 2013, according to The Washington Post.

The accusation first materialized Oct. 14, when a former student emailed the Ellington administration, according to Kristen Metzger, a public affairs specialist for MPD. The student alleged that, in 2013, the department chair sexually assaulted a female student, who was at the time underage.

“The Duke Ellington School officials then notified MPD’s Youth and Family Services division and this is currently under investigation,” Metzger wrote in an email to The Hoya. “At this time MPD does not have a name of the victim and cannot confirm the name of the suspect. MPD will look into all allegations and address this accordingly.”

Logan referred inquiries about the accusations to D.C. Public Schools.

DCPS Press Secretary Shayne Wells identified the suspect as the head of the literacy and media department at Ellington in an email to The Hoya.

Wells emphasized that DCPS can play only a limited role in the investigation because of the special status of Ellington in the school district.

Duke Ellington School of the Arts, unlike the District’s other public high schools, is operated as a joint partnership between DCPS, The George Washington University, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the Ellington Fund, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit which helps raise money for the school.

“While Duke Ellington School of the Arts is part of D.C. Public Schools, it has a unique governance structure and its teachers are not represented by the union or considered city employees,” Wells said. “DCPS will support Duke Ellington as needed throughout the investigation.”

The Oct. 14 sexual assault allegation against a staff member is not the first DCPS has seen this month.

On Oct. 10, police in Montgomery County, Md., arrested Rudy A. Gonzalez, a DCPS music teacher at Shepherd Elementary School, on charges of second-degree rape, according to The Washington Post. The survivor alleged that she went to Gonzalez’s home for citizenship lessons, after which he served her drinks and she passed out. She was found unconscious the next morning in a Wendy’s parking lot.

Gonzalez has been placed on leave, according to Wells, and was released on bail Oct. 12.

DCPS has faced criticism for failing to inform parents of the reason behind Gonzalez’s absence in Shepherd Elementary Principal Jade Brawley’s initial letter, which was sent Oct. 8, according to WJLA. A second letter sent Oct. 16 notified parents of Gonzalez’s involvement in “an alleged incident” but did not provide details on the specific allegations.

This story was updated Oct. 26, 2018 at 1:42 a.m. 

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