4 South HS administrators cleared of wrongdoing in student-on-student groping incident

Posted at 10:00 PM, Oct 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-25 07:21:44-04

DENVER – Four officials from South High School in Denver, including the school's principal and a student adviser, will be returning to work after being placed on administrative leave.

A Denver Public School investigation cleared the South High School administrators of any wrongdoing after allegations surfaced school staff mishandled a student-on-student groping incident.

According to Denver7 Investigates sources, confirmed Monday afternoon to Tony Kovaleski, DPS took the course that it did against principal Jen Hanson, student adviser Lynette Lucero and two other staff members after district officials learned of concerns the school delayed reporting the incident, which occurred during a homecoming week event. The district notified parents of its actions Oct. 20.

However, in a letter sent to parents Tuesday, district officials announced Hanson, Lucero, instructional superintendent Sean Precious and a fourth faculty member, Barbara Downing, were no longer on administrative leave and will be returning to school after the review found the groping incident was handled in a timely and appropriate manner. 

"During this detailed review, we found that Principal Hanson and Student Advisor Lucero took appropriate actions in response to concerns, including the timely sharing of information with law enforcement, providing supports to students and families, and planning additional education for students," the letter read.

Police said Tuesday morning that the groping incident might have taken place on Sept. 14, but officers didn't learn about it until the 27th.

Denver Police officials say they investigated the groping claims but closed the case when parents decided they did not want to move forward with charges. No arrests or charges were filed, and police declined to release reports due to the lack of charges. 

Tuesday's letter acknowledged that it had been "a difficult and uncertain couple of days" for the four administrators removed from their jobs, but officials stated the action the district took is routine procedure anytime law enforcement gets involved and in no way implies "any judgment regarding the actions of the individuals."

District officials said Hanson and Lucero are eager to return to school and that the two are "critical members of a strong leadership team at South that is driving growth for our students."

DPS declined to share further details about the incident citing student privacy concerns.