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 Important Announcement from the Head of School

Dear Parents, Trustees, Alumni, Faculty, and Members of the Nishimachi Community,

I wrote to the school community on May 2nd, 2017 to provide an update regarding our school's review of former faculty member Richard Biddick's tenure at Nishimachi. We continue to have no reports of any misconduct by Mr. Biddick, who taught at Nishimachi from 1982 – 1988. Mr. Biddick was convicted in the U.K. in 2016 of sexually abusing a minor in the U.K. in 1979. This was first reported to the Nishimachi community in a letter by the former Headmaster (Mr. Terry Christian) in 2016.

In my May 2nd update letter, which is attached here, I reported that Mr. Christian's letter about Mr. Biddick's U.K. conviction prompted a former Nishimachi student to approach the school and inform us of an incident of sexual misconduct by another former student. This matter did not involve any past or present faculty member.

However, over the summer, a person who attended Nishimachi in the 1970's made the school aware of allegations of sexual misconduct directed at her by a former faculty member.

Our deep commitment to student protection and safety includes the prompt and thorough review of all allegations of misconduct by faculty and/or staff. Therefore, the Board of Directors has decided that the latest report of sexual misconduct during the 1970's referenced above will be investigated by McLane Middleton, a U.S.A.-based law firm that specializes in student protection matters.

The lead investigator, David Wolowitz, is an internationally recognized expert on student protection and safety, who has conducted trainings on prevention--and investigated allegations—of sexual misconduct at schools across the world. He has also advised the East Asia Regional Council of Overseas Schools (EARCOS), among other independent schools' associations.

Even though the conduct described by the former student is deeply concerning, it is an allegation and, as such, we cannot disclose the name of the former faculty member at this time. Once we have received McLane Middleton's findings, we will make a decision about whether that person will be named when we report to the community on the outcome of the investigation. In making that decision, we will rely on—and share with you—principles for disclosure similar to those adopted by a number of leading independent schools in the U.S.A.

Parents entrust us to educate their children and to keep them safe while at Nishimachi, and we take that responsibility most seriously. As I described in my May 2nd letter, we have recently taken a number of actions to ensure we are upholding international best practices in protecting our students. We will be reviewing these practices regularly and updating them as necessary.

Although these matters relate to incidents from many years ago, they remind us that we must always be vigilant and proactive where student protection is concerned.

I encourage any students who may have been subjected to sexual misconduct by a faculty or staff member while attending Nishimachi —or members of our community at large who may have relevant information—to contact me directly.

I assure you that anyone who chooses to come forward will be treated with sensitivity and respect. Any information provided will be received with complete confidentiality.

As always, please contact me if you have any questions or concerns about our current student protection and safety protocols and procedures.

Michael Hosking
Head of School
Nishimachi International School
September 14, 2017
 
 

Nishimachi International School

2-14-7 Moto Azabu, Minato-ku Tokyo 106-0046
+81-(0)-3451-5520