What are we Doing to Keep Our Students Safe From Sex Offenders?
By Aymia Browder
Visualize riding the school bus home with your schoolmate who has just been sexually assaulted in a place that has security all around, a place that is supposed to be safe. Can you picture the trembling hands, the excessive heart rate, the level of pain that your school acquaintance could be suffering from? Well how would you feel if you found out that it was an instructor on school premises that violated them?
In October of 2019 an adolescent student of Cuyahoga Community College reported to the Garfield Heights police department that they had been sexually assaulted by Tri-C’s Dance Academy instructor, Terrance Greene. Greene was arrested and according to the Cleveland municipal courts he is now released on bond, and was allowed to resign from his position at Tri-C. Since Greene’s recent arrest nine former students of Greene have come forth stating that he violated them also. Two of the students made it publicly known that they reported him in the past to their school officials and no action was taken.
There are a lot of shrewd events that take place on school grounds, but how does something to this degree happen on Tri-c’s grounds? The truth is it can happen anywhere.
According to the Cuyahoga County records the first student, Nathaniel Hutson who reported Greene of sexual abuse did so in 2003. Greene was arrested then acquitted in 2004, the reason he was not found guilty of a crime is because the case was not examined properly. A rape kit was not performed therefore Hutson’s claim was treated as an allegation. After Greene’s acquittal returned to teach at the Cleveland School of the Arts in spite of his record.
The second claim against Greene was made in 2014 by a former student Nehemiah Spencer; the case was assigned to sex crimes Detective Tom Ross. According to the Cuyahoga County police records Ross did not properly investigate the case, Ross also did not follow up with any of the cases assigned to him. This ruined the chances of either Greene being cleared of a disturbing crime or Spencer receiving the justice that he is due. Ross’s follow up could have prevented the other victims that claim they have been assaulted after the event of this incident, and it have blocked Greene’s entrance as a staff member of Tri-C.
The Systemic errors that failed the children in the past are the same errors that fail the children today. If any of the County officials would have followed the proper protocol for any abusive situation, then we wouldn’t have a child of our own in distress. We are a family at Cuyahoga Community College, everything that effects one of us, may have impact on us all.
No one knows the devastation that the parents had to face when they learned of this event. Does anyone know the terror that the victims must have felt when they had to notify someone? What about the persecution the child may have endured from their peers and adults who may hold favor for the person that is accused?
Dance is a close and intimate activity, there should be an intense background check completed for all the candidates for hire. For the safety of the staff and student there should be more than one adult instructor present for all the classes and practices.
Are we doing all that we can to lessen the possibility of this occurring again on campus grounds? As a community it is our duty to try and offer help to everyone. How can we begin to help victims of a sex crime recover from the trauma they may be facing? One thing that we can do as a community is not stigmatize anyone who wants to seek help for reporting sexual abuse. Hutson made a public announcement to CBS 19 News stating that after he reported Greene, his schoolmates ridiculed him and made his high school experience unbearable that he had to transfer.
If the community would not make seeking help for Sex Offenders extremely rare, than maybe more individuals would seek help. This could also serve as an aide to keep track of who and what is going on around the minor children as well as the adults of campus.
Unfortunately, not many parents want their children around a sex predator, but it seems like it is out of any individuals control. At Cuyahoga Community College a new policy is needed, and the system can use a readjustment. The safety of our students should be top priority.
If you know of anyone who may be in need to speak with someone regarding a sex offense, please log on to Tri-C’s website under Student complaints, concerns and compliments; then click on Title IX. If you suspect a child is being abused, please call the state hotline at 855- O- H-CHILD or 855-642-4453.