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Friday, June 14
The Indiana Daily Student

IPS principal resigns after criticism for not reporting child abuse

An Indianapolis Public Schools principal resigned after facing criticism for not immediately reporting allegations of sexual child abuse against a counselor at his school.

Mark Cosand, principal at Positive Supports Academy, was one of at least six school officials who failed to file a report with the Department of Child Services about the allegations against 37-year-old guidance counselor Shana Taylor.

Taylor was charged March 2 with nine counts of child seduction, one count of dissemination of matter harmful to minors and one count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Taylor reportedly had sexual relations with at least two of the male students, ages 16 and 17, she was responsible for counseling. Taylor reportedly met with one of them for oral and vaginal sex during the course of several months, according to court documents.

Taylor’s trial is set for May 11. She is being held at the Marion County Jail in lieu of $100,000 bail.

According to court documents, it took six days for IPS officials to report the case to DCS after the assistant principal initially heard about it from a parent Feb. 17. The delay violated state law, school board policy and administrative guidelines, IPS Superintendent Lewis Ferebee said.

The lapse was a “perfect storm of miscommunication,” Ferebee said.

“We failed to do the right thing in this situation,” Ferebee said.

The same day the assistant principal heard about the possible inappropriate relationship, he consulted Cosand, who was on medical leave. Cosand came in to help address the situation, but neither administrator contacted DCS.

Several other officials informed about the case also failed to report it until Feb. 23.

Ferebee clarified in a press conference March 14 that he was aware of the allegations Feb. 17 but did not have the relevant facts, including the names and ages of either the student or the teacher, necessary to file a report.

“The primary responsibility is at the school level,” Ferebee said.

IPS principals attended a training session with DCS on Thursday to clarify reporting procedures and responsibilities, Ferebee said.

“It is a perfect learning opportunity,” Ferebee said.

Cosand’s resignation was made effective March 7, according to IPS board documents.

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