The Crete public school district is reviewing its volunteer policies after a man accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl recently accompanied students on a field trip.
The American Civil Liberties Union, however, wants the district to do as much as possible to ensure student safety, such as additional training for staff on the obligations of reporting student concerns.
"I would want the schools to be sending a strong message that they're there to protect students," said Amy Miller, lawyer with ACLU Nebraska.
The 52-year-old man had gone on previous field trips with the science class because he has kids in the school, said Kyle McGowan, superintendent of Crete Public Schools.
But allowing Chad Eggebraaten to accompany students after a felony sexual assault charge was filed against him was "poor judgement," McGowan said Friday.
Eggebraaten, of Crete, is awaiting trial after allegedly sexually assaulting the girl in May. The girl was an eighth-grader at the time.
According to the case's affidavit, Eggebraaten drove the girl to his house, pushed her onto his bed and pinned her down. She refused to take off her pants, but he ripped them off and assaulted her, according to the affidavit.
He also told the girl that next time they hung out, they would have sex and she would "have to pretend to enjoy it," according to the affidavit for his arrest filed by the Nebraska State Patrol.
The court ordered Eggebraaten to stay away from the girl and all kids under the age of 15. At least one staff member knew of the court order, McGowan said.
On Oct. 2, Eggebraaten accompanied juniors and seniors on a field trip to a nearby lake, McGowan said.
The school's science teacher invited him and other parents to chaperone the trip, McGowan said.
Staff members have faced "consequences," McGowan said, but would not elaborate.
The girl was not on the field trip but apparently saw Eggebraaten at the school and went to the principal's office, McGowan said.
McGowan first heard about the situation Oct. 5 when the girl's parents showed up at his office.
The district currently requires background checks on its employees and substitute teachers but not volunteers, McGowan said.
"Our screening process basically for volunteers has been the familiarity with teachers and with parents," he said. "Our school is definitely committed to children, and I think we demonstrate that daily. Was a mistake made on Oct. 2? I believe bad judgement was used on Oct. 2."
Contact the writer: