Adventure Club Talks Policies After Former Employee is Arrested for Sex Crimes

BENTONVILLE, AR--The Bentonville School District is considering changes to their ethics policy after police say a district employee admitted to raping a five year old student at R.E. Baker Elementary School during an after school program just last month. 

Ali Matar Jr. was terminated by the school district after he admitted to police that he raped a young student while the two were alone in the library.

The school district is working to prevent incidents like this from ever happening again.

Summer session for the adventure club is about to be underway at Mary May Jones Elementary School and after the most recent firing, staff members are combing through their policies with a fine-toothed comb.

Tammy Dallman, Adventure Club Program Director said, "Unfortunately, somebody mistrusts the community, and now we need to overcome that. And in doing that, we will work with the district and police and reviewing policies."

Parents have been sending their kids to the Adventure Club Program for more than 20 years and Tammy Dallman has been the program director for the last three.

Dallman said, "We have about 360 kids approximately enrolled at this time."

But after former Adventure Club Employee, Ali Matar Jr., was arrested in connection with sexual abuse against students, parents might be wondering what policies are in place for the people who care for their kids.

Deb Kee, Director of Early Childhood Programs, Bentonville Public Schools said, "They have to have a high school diploma or a GED or be 18-years-old or older."

Kee insists the program's hiring-process is a strict one. "We interview staff, we do reference checks, we do background checks."

According to the state, kids at the camp must be constantly supervised.

Dallman said, "And that's the purpose of have 27 with two staff because the schedule is very busy. They do a role sheet to confirm that all the children are there. Then, that role sheet is taken with them everywhere they go. Even if they go to the bathroom, they are to count their children."

Moving forward, the Adventure Club staff is ensuring safety by taking a closer look at procedures.

Dallman said, "It provides us the opportunity to beef up supervision, even, and so this is a good time to make sure that we are testing out different supervision-type things, and making sure we are covering all our bases."

The Bentonville School District is currently revising its ethics policy and we could be seeing some changes come fall.

Lisa Clark with the Bentonville School Board said, "The Board of Education regularly reviews the district's personnel policies to determine if additional policies or amendments to existing policies are warranted. This is a part of the oversight responsibilities of the school board. The proposed Ethics Policy that was brought before the board at the June 2 meeting came from a discussion that was started months ago, in an effort to continue to ensure that Bentonville Public Schools are observing best practices for our students, staff, and community."

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