"Thank you for contacting the School Board Office. Please be assured that we take the issue of sexual assault seriously and are continuing to work with all parties involved -- including state and federal agencies and the family -- to address the concerns that have been raised and ensure that the appropriate legal process is followed. The family has filed complaints with several oversight agencies, and we trust that resolution of those actions will be fair and equitable.
Kind Regards,"The Board wants us to be assured that they take the issue of sexual assault seriously? Really? Telling us that they care about it isn't convincing at all. They need to show us.
Here are seven things that the Board can - and should - do to assure us that they take the issue of sexual assault seriously.
- Demand an annual report as required by policy 3208. Demand it immediately - it is already 18 months overdue.
- Direct the superintendent to aggressively enforce policy 3208 and the associated superintendent’s procedure. Direct the superintendent to deliver meaningful consequences to any district staff - at any level - who do not comply with the policy or the procedure. Directing the superintendent in this way will require a majority vote of the Board - they will get to do it in public, which will be very encouraging to the community. They should let everyone know that they value student safety over anyone’s job.
- Direct the superintendent to include training for building leaders on the policy and on their obligations under Title IX as part of the annual building leaders meetings at the start of the school year. Again, this direction will require a public vote of the Board.
- Direct the superintendent to educate the headquarters staff on their legal duties to protect students and the correct response to reports of sexual harassment and sexual assault. Let them know that the law is a minimum - not a maximum - and encourage them to show a little human compassion to victims and their families. There is ample evidence that the JSCEE staff, starting with the Title IX officer, don’t know what they are supposed to do, and there is ample evidence that the JSCEE staff aren't showing compassion. Instead, they are treating victims and their families harshly as potential legal opponents from day one. All of these directions can be combined into a single motion.
- Direct the superintendent to enforce all guidelines, procedures, policies, state administrative codes, state statutes, and federal laws and direct him to deliver meaningful consequences to any district staff - at any level - who fail to comply. It is time to end the culture of lawlessness in Seattle Public Schools and replace it with a culture of compliance.
- Begin to enforce policy themselves. They need to stop allowing staff to fail to fulfill the requirements of their policies. Each member of the Board not only has license to this on their own, they each have an obligation to do so. Remember that every policy was adopted by a majority vote of the Board so they don’t need another majority vote of the Board to demand compliance. They should do it publicly so we can see them do it. Every one of them should be able to think of half a dozen policies that are routinely broken without even thinking hard. The Board sets the culture of the District and they foster a culture of lawlessness when they allow policy violations. Each of them. Personally. Now that they know where the culture of lawlessness leads, they cannot continue to tolerate it.
Honestly, I don't see how the Board can expect to assure the public that they care about sexual assault and student safety if they don't do these things. Their failure to take these actions will reveal the fact that they do not, in fact, care about these issues.
What else should they do?
What else should they do?