OSAGE BEACH, Mo. -- "Those proper steps were adhered to through this situation."
That's School of the Osage Superintendent Brent Depee responding to a lawsuit filed against the district and school board, claiming the school didn't do enough to prevent the sexual abuse of their child, by former middle school teacher Mark Edwards. Edwards was charged and arrested last month on statutory sodomy and sexual contact with a student.
"I received the first report the Tuesday evening. First thing Wednesday monring, we interviewed our teacher and placed him on paid administrative leave," Depee said.
From there, Depee says they made a hotline call to the Missouri Children’s Division, and then handed everything over to the Miller County Sheriff's Department. Edwards was arrested just days later.
The lawsuit, filed by the family of the student, states the district was made aware of Edwards' inappropriate conduct, but kept him on as a teacher knowing he was a danger to students. It also claims the training of the school's staff is inadequate, something the superintendent disputes
"It is an interactive video that all employees at School of the Osage go through once a year that talks about sexual abuse and how to handle that," Depee said.
In the lawsuit, the family says their child suffered physical injury and trauma, as well as emotional distress, feeling of low-self worth, and was unable to sleep. The superintendent says the incident is damaging to the students involved and the student body, and will do everything to make sure it doesn't happen again.
"There's a trust between families, businesses, and the school district. This hurts that trust. As somebody who works towards that, it's a blow to our school district and it's a blow to our students. For that, I'm distraught over it," Depee added. "But, my job henceforward is to move forward and make sure that we follow all policies and procedures to make sure this doesn't happen again."
Edwards was scheduled for a bond reduction hearing Wednesday, that has been rescheduled, as a second student under the age of 14 has come forward claiming Edwards inappropriately touched her in April 2017, resulting in a third charge against him.