April 16, 2021
Dear Hillcrest Parents,
It is with deep sadness that we share a report of student abuse. Yesterday, Mr. James McDowell, former Hillcrest teacher and administrator, 1974 - 1984, posted the following on the Hillcrest Baby! Facebook page:
“I spent 10 years teaching and in administration at Hillcrest. I have many memories of good people and experiences. I have also carried a most painful memory. With deep sorrow and shame, I acknowledge that I am guilty of molesting two students towards the end of my time there. Today I have reached out to them to express my apology, seek forgiveness and offer restitution. To the entire community I apologize with a broken heart for this breach of trust which these days is considered criminal. This led me to step down from HC in 1984.”
We are working with the Child Safety Protection Network (an international organization, of which Hillcrest is a member, dedicated to the safeguarding of students), members of the Board of Governors, Mr. McDowell’s mission and current Hillcrest Administration to address the issue of Mr. McDowell’s past abuse of students.
Hillcrest actively works to protect our students from any abuse. Since January 2015, Hillcrest has implemented and robustly used our Student Protection policy and protocols to: guard our students from threats of abuse, teach our students what abuse is and how, no matter how old they are, to fight against any abuse, and support teachers from false claims. We are committed to act with transparency and accountability. Abuse hides itself in secrets.
Violation of Hillcrest’s Student Protection Policy may result in immediate dismissal from Hillcrest for either teachers or students.
Thank you for your prayers. If you have questions or comments please feel free to direct them to me.
With a heavy heart,
Anne Lucasse, Superintendent
0703 598 2766
Dr. John Brown, Chairman
Hillcrest Board of Governors