Friday, July 25, 2014

Director Martin-Morris Community Meeting

Director Martin-Morris is hosting a community meeting tomorrow on August 9 at 10:00 at the Northeast Branch Library, 6801 35th Ave. N.E.

You should go.

You should go and ask the Director about seriously he takes the issue of sexual harassment. Never mind what he says; let's take a look at what he has done.
He didn't bother to enforce the Sexual Harassment Policy 3208. It calls for an annual report, but the first annual report is about 18 months overdue. Did he ever ask for it? If not, why not? Doesn't he take sexual harassment seriously enough to read the policy on it? If he did ask for it, then why didn't he get it?  Is that what it looks like when the Board takes the issue of sexual harassment seriously? Is he going to ask for it immediately now?

He sits on the Audit and Finance Committee and has received quarterly reports called Corrective Action Reports that showed how Paul Apostle never even started to address any of the audit findings assigned to him. Among them, one that dealt with how the District handles sexual harassment charges. Instead of holding Mr Apostle accountable, the Audit and Finance Committee and Director Martin-Morris simply extended the deadline for Mr. Apostle to take action. From four months to one year and then to two years. Is that what it looks like when the Board takes the issue of sexual harassment seriously? Is he going to demand that these tasks be completely immediately now?

As a member of the Audit and Finance Committee Director Martin-Morris was in receipt of the Comprehensive Program Review from the OSPI. Among the findings on that Review was one that called for a review and revision of the Sexual Harassment policy and procedure. In the District's response, they commit to updating the policy and procedure by July 1, 2014. That was three weeks ago, but no such update has been done. Is that what it looks like when the Board takes the issue of sexual harassment seriously? Is he going to review and revise the policy immediately now?

Director Martin-Morris was one of the Board member who heard the appeal of the Garfield rape decision. The superintendent concluded that no sexual harassment had occurred. Perhaps Director Martin-Morris can explain how the superintendent was able to reach that conclusion and how he was able to reach it as well. Even the most generous reading would only allow him to say that it isn't possible to reach any conclusion. The boy's own testimony, however, confirms that he violated the policy against unwanted touching, so a more balanced view would be that there was sexual harassment. But there is no way that anyone could definitively determine that there was no sexual harassment. How did the superintendent do it and how did the Board support that conclusion?

Whether there was sexual harassment in that case or not, it is an undeniable objective truth that the district staff did not follow the policy and procedures following a charge of sexual harassment. Is that what it looks like when the Board takes the issue of sexual harassment seriously? How is Director Martin-Morris holding staff accountable for their failure to follow policy and, beyond that, how is he holding them accountable for their adversarial approach to the victim and her family?

Oh yes, please do go to Director Martin-Morris' community meeting. It's a precious opportunity. Bring printouts of the documents with you.

1 comment:

Melissa Westbrook said...

Charlie, I think that's on August 9th. I know - reading the calendar at the SPS website can be confusing.