A high school band teacher in Wisconsin has resigned following allegations of harassment and discrimination.
Under investigation: Robert Perkins, a band teacher at Wausau East High School, was accused of using racial and sexually dehumanizing slurs against an openly gay Asian American senior student.
The Wausau School Board accepted Perkins’ resignation on Monday amid an ongoing investigation by the Department of Public Instruction on the teacher’s alleged misconduct.
An early dismissal: Twan and Manee Vongphakdy, the victim’s parents who filed a formal complaint to the Wausau School Board against Perkins on April 5, expressed frustration over the initial handling of their son’s case.
The district had previously dismissed the complaint in late April, determining that while Perkins had engaged in “insensitive and unprofessional conduct” and used racially or sexually charged language, it did not constitute harassment or discrimination.
More investigations followed: A series of alleged incidents brought to light by USA Today Network-Wisconsin resulted in the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction launching an investigation into Perkins’ alleged misconduct in May.
The district’s investigation process was deemed deficient, as it failed to comply with its own guidelines by not sharing the investigation report with both parties at crucial stages. The initial complaint dismissal received widespread criticism from the community, prompting the Wausau Board of Education to initiate its own investigation into Perkins’ behavior. Multiple complaints against the teacher have also emerged, including some from former students.
Full accountability: When the family finally gained access to the report on Tuesday, they expressed satisfaction with the improved transparency, hoping for full accountability that confirms Perkins’ violation of Title IX laws.
“We finally saw the investigation report, which has corroborated that he’s made racist and homophobic slurs,” Twan Vongphakdy was quoted as saying. “Witness testimony showed a pattern of behaviors — it was not just one comment, and not just one student witnessed it.”
The student, who said he endured months of victim-blaming and debilitating anxiety, stated that he feels vindicated by the case’s development and Perkins’ resignation. He now seeks healing and closure as he prepares to attend the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the fall.