OSPI decision in BI schools case appealed

Marcus Gerlach of Bainbridge Island filed an appeal in Kitsap County Superior Court March 31 against the BI School District, its school board members and the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

A hearing is set for April 28 at 1:30 p.m. at the courthouse in Port Orchard. Gerlach asks for reconsideration of dismissal for an OSPI ruling based on omitted facts, incorrectly applied law and more.

That case involves a minor, M.G., who was reportedly sexually harassed by female students from October 2019 to January 2021. Judge Michelle Adams dismissed the case March 24.

The appeal says she has a conflict of interest as she is married to an employee of an unnamed school district. It says the judge ignored BISD’s own investigator notes, which were biased against M.G. The school’s investigator is with the Washington School Risk Management Pool. The appeal says the defense never would have allowed Adams to judge the case if it knew she was married to a school district employee beforehand.

As to ignoring facts, the appeal says Erin Murphy is employed by BISD and also is an executive board member of the risk management pool, and she did not disqualify herself from the investigation. Also, superintendent Peter Bang-Knudsen was friends with one of the alleged cyber-stalker’s family. Adams refused to acknowledge that OSPI allowed a cyber-stalker to target and attack a male, the appeal says.

OSPI, in its decision, disregarded its duty to protect the male from sexual harassment because it instead wanted to protect BISD from claims of discrimination, the appeal says.

The appeal goes on to say OSPI’s ruling called M.G.’s injury “imaginary” despite evidence that female students sexually harassed M.G. Court papers say teacher Charisa Moore was more concerned about the female students than M.G.

The appeal continues, saying after two months Moore finally admitted that M.G. was sexually harassed by two female BISD students. She warned one of “possible” discipline. BISD confirmed “fabricated” stories by female students, but there was no discipline.

The appeal claims Judge Adams ignored elements to the detriment of the Section 504 student (M.G.) and to the benefit of her spouse’s funding agency, OSPI. Also, OSPI failed to conduct an impartial, unbiased and neutral investigation.

So, the court should approve the motion for reconsideration, and vacate the order of Adams, who should recuse herself from further proceedings. The appeal includes exhibits to support all of the claims.