Northwest NEWS

July 26, 1999

Local News

Northshore Schools to fire accused Kokanee teacher

by Marshall Haley, staff reporter

   WOODINVILLE--On July 19, Northshore School District Superintendent Karen Forys sent a "Letter of Probable Cause Determination" to Kokanee Elementary teacher Carl Leede of Bothell, announcing the district's intention to fire him. As required by state law, Forys' letter cited four reasons for Leede's firing:

   Given ten days after receipt of the letter to seek a hearing on the matter, Leede filed an appeal to dispute the district's action on July 21.

   Leede has not denied hugging the seven girls who most recently filed complaints, all fifth- and sixth-graders at Kokanee. He told Snohomish County detectives that hugs are important to a child's development and he rewards positive behavior with hugs.

   Leede was arrested May 20 after seven girls accused him of hugging them from behind and putting both his hands over their breasts. Court papers say he made such contacts with the same girls as many as four times a week.

   Leede denied kissing any student on the cheek, forehead, or lips, as some of the girls told investigators. After his arrest, the school received 14 complaints about his conduct.

   Students have filed complaints against Leede's excessive touching since the 1987-88 school year. He has taught at five different grade schools during his 22 years with the Northshore School District.