Whitman social studies teacher arrested on charges of sexual abuse


Anna Yuan

The MPD arrested social studies Kirkland Shipley on Tuesday on counts of sexual abuse.

By Sonya Rashkovan

The Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia arrested social studies teacher Kirkland Shipley, the Whitman girls crew coach, on Tuesday for charges related to sexual abuse of a secondary education student. 

The charges stem from alleged sexual contact between Shipley and a former female Whitman student in 2018. The student was an 18-year-old Whitman senior and Shipley was 44 at the time of the purported incidents. Shipley was her rowing coach, and the student had him as a teacher in a history and geography class, according to the arrest affidavit.  

The criminal complaint also alleges that Shipley was sexually involved with a former female student of his in 2013, beginning when the minor was 17 years old and Shipley was 39. According to the affidavit, Shipley coached the student on both the Whitman crew team and a D.C.-based rowing team that she participated in during the summer following her graduation from Whitman. 

After Shipley appeared in D.C. Superior Court on Tuesday, a judge released the 47-year-old but barred him from contacting students whom he had coached or taught at any point, according to the Washington Post.

“These charges are deeply troubling and are a violation of the core values of our school and school system,” Principal Robert Dodd wrote in a letter to community members on Tuesday. “We hold our employees to a high standard of character and this behavior is completely unacceptable.” 

Dodd added in his message that MCPS is collaborating with the MPD on the department’s investigation into Shipley, who has taught at Whitman for 20 years.

MCPS has placed Shipley on administrative leave. Whitman administrators have not announced who may fill Shipley’s positions as a teacher in the social studies department and as the girls crew coach this fall.

Shipley’s court hearing is scheduled for Sept. 15.

This is a developing story. 

D.C. Police encourage anyone with information pertaining to the investigation to call the department at 202-727-4800.