Woodland elementary school principal accused of child abuse

WOODLAND, Wash. -- Woodland Police are investigating a child abuse accusation against Woodland Primary School Principal Mark Houk.

Sources tell KATU News the child is a student at the school and the district alerted police last week. Police are still investigating and have not made an arrest.

"I'm shocked," said parent Tiffany Hall. "When you're a mom, your first instinct is definitely to protect your children."

Another parent wasn't as convinced there was something to be concerned about.

"It doesn't surprise me because you get a lot of kids that know they can say things," said parent Ashley Schang. "Not to say the kid was lying, but it happens on both ends so it's equally frustrating."

Woodland Public Schools Superintendent Michael Green said Houk has been principal for 13 or 14 years and went through background and reference checks, like all administrators do. The district will do its own investigation, which typically consists of interviewing people involved.

Green made the distinction between the confirmed child abuse investigation and rumors of a sexual abuse allegation.

"I have never had a claim of child sexual abuse come to my desk," he said.

He called the situation "difficult" but wouldn't comment more on the abuse report or Houk's character.

"The bottom line for parents is that we do keep student safety a priority," Green said. "As a parent of kids in schools myself, I would not be concerned at present with the safety of kids coming to school at all."

Houk is on paid leave during the investigation but KATU News made contact with him at his Woodland home in an effort to get his side of the story.

"I don't think there's any side," Houk said. "You can go talk to our school district."