Mr. Kerney’s ‘Sexual Assault and AHS’ Interview Transcript


Abby Choy

TW: This article contains mentions sexual assault, which may be distressing for readers. 


This interview was conducted through email with AHS Dean Keith Kerney and The Apache Pow Wow board member Abby Choy on Sept. 28 regarding potential misconduct on campus. It has been edited for grammatical issues and clarity. 

Abby: What is the administration’s protocol when a student reports sexual misconduct on campus? 

Mr. Kerney: When a student reports misconduct, an investigation is conducted as soon as possible. It usually begins with a written statement and an interview. From there, it can go in many different directions depending on the case.

Abby: When bringing students in for questioning about these allegations, what kind of questions are asked?

Mr. Kerney: We start with the basics: Who, What, When, and Where. The answers to these questions and the type of case usually dictate the direction the investigation begins to travel in.

Abby: What do you think is the relationship between students and the administration currently? 

Mr. Kerney: Our relationship with the student hasn’t changed. We still feel the same way. In fact, we’ve received more emails than usual from students who are requesting our assistance with a variety of topics, outside of distance learning.  A lot of students still realize that we’re here to help and guide them along this road of education. Students were able to voice their concerns and we listened in the past, and we’re still listening now. Here’s an example of how I feel about the students here at AHS. When I’ve been asked if I had kids go through AHS or are attending AHS, my statement is and always will be the same. I have over 3000 kids here at the School and I’ll do anything in the world to try and protect them all to the best of my abilities. I’m sure my colleagues feel the same as well. So, really the question is, what do you as a student think the relationship is between the administration and Student Body?

Abby: Is sexual abuse a common problem at Arcadia High School?

Mr. Kerney: Statistically no it’s not, but that doesn’t account for non-reported incidents.  The school’s position is any incident is one too many.

Abby: What previous actions have been taken?

Mr. Kerney: Because of privacy issues I can’t answer this question. 

Abby: What observations have you made concerning faculty reactions to sexual


Mr. Kerney: A majority of our staff members are parents who have kids at home. Their reaction would be the same reaction your parents would have to this type of misconduct.  

Abby: How closely does the school work with police officers for these allegations?

Mr. Kerney: We work very closely with the Arcadia Police Department,  though it depends on the case to dictate how close we work together.

Abby: What do you think about students using social media as a platform to communicate their problems? 

Mr. Kerney: It would depend on the issue and the circumstances surrounding the issue. The main thing to remember is to use it responsibly, not sharing sensitive information that you don’t want the world to see or something that could put you in an uncomfortable situation. 

Abby: What advice would you give to a student who has experienced sexual abuse?

Mr. Kerney: To tell somebody, to let someone know what happened. It’s not your fault, there’s nothing to be ashamed of. Tell your story to someone that can help you A.S.A.P. No one should have to keep that kind of secret to themselves. That’s why we’ve been working on providing even more resources for students to get help like the Wellness Center, where students can speak to someone who specializes in the area of Mental Wellness and begin to get the help they need.