Outdoor School Leader charged with 54 accounts of sexual assault


Outdoor School Leader Jared White charged with 54 accounts of sexual assault

By Emily Diamond, Editor-in-Chief

Outdoor school program leader Jared Kelly White was arrested on Feb. 2 due to 54 accounts of sexual abuse. He had worked at Outdoor school from March 2014 to fall of this past year at Sandy River. He was also a volunteer at the Namanu and Arrah Wanna Outdoor School sites, plus a student leader at the Adams site.

Multiple Cleveland students were present on Oct. 22, 2015 when law enforcement informed Multnomah Education Service District (MESD) that White was being investigated for child sexual abuse. When MESD learned of the law enforcement investigation, they immediately placed White on administrative leave, and he has not been back to work since.

Junior Marlee Perron remembers the instance when White was asked to leave Outdoor School. “On Oct. 22, it was field day. He has a station called ‘Scooter Says’ and he just wasn’t there. I was confused where he was and someone told me he had a family emergency and had to leave. When I learned about what happened, the pieces just all came together.”

“It’s just really weird because I’ve been to outdoor school twice and I’ve worked with him both times,” Perron said.

As a program leader, White worked with the four field studies. He led the kids and was a personal mentor to student leaders. “When I found out, I immediately thought back to all the time I spent with him,” junior Emily Saling said. “I would never have thought about that even happening.”

The MESD sent out a letter to all students and student leaders who overlapped outdoor school sessions with White. In the letter, MESD explained they perform background checks on all staff. “MESD performed a full background and fingerprint check on Mr. White before he began working in this program. These background checks revealed no history or indication of abuse or criminal activity. During his time in the program, MESD did not receive any complaints or concern of any kind about Mr. White,” the letter quotes.

Additionally, they reported that “victims of Mr. White’s actions were acquaintances and not students that attended Outdoor School. Law enforcement believes, however, that there may be more victims.”

Perron admits that this instance brings a negative reputation for Outdoor School. “Other than this instance, ODS is so great. This is the only bad thing to have ever happened,” Perron said. She explained that they have strict rules in place to prevent incidents like these. For example, Everyone must travel in groups of threes, including student leaders.

This came at a poor time for Outdoor School, as they are currently attempting to expand the program throughout Oregon, which requires a voting process. “Now this is one more thing going against outdoor school,” Perron said.

Perron and Saling hope this incident won’t halt the expansion or affect parents sending their kids to outdoor school.

“I hope it won’t discourage parents from sending their kids to ODS because it is such a great opportunity for kids to get outside and learn about the outdoors and the world around them and not be stuck in the classroom,” Saling said.