It's beginning to look like Seattle Public Schools is finally going to take real action in response to the reported rape of November, 2012 and how that case exposed district failures in both prevention and response to sexual assault and harassment complaints. The real action from the District now includes improvements to both prevention and response. There had been nothing but talk so far, but now we're starting to see signs of real action - and, of course, the usual amount of forming a committee to make a plan to talk about proposing changes.
This real action includes:
- Significant changes to field trip procedures - done
- A draft revision to the Sexual Harassment procedure - should be complete by September 30
- A task force to work on revisions to the sexual harassment policy - formed by September 30
- Assignment of Title IX officers
Still remaining are:
- Revisions to the Sexual Harassment Policy (the task force will take a year)
- Training of Title IX Officers (no promises)
- Staff training (Coming soon.)
- Posting of required Title IX notices (Coming soon!)
- Issuance of required written notifications of Title IX rights (referenced in revised procedure)
And, of course:
- Actual compliance
Regrettably, the actual compliance may never come. Better rules don't help if people don't follow them, and Seattle Public Schools has a very poor record when it comes to following rules, enforcing rules, or holding people accountable for violating rules.
But let's give credit where credit is due. The credit should go first to those who did the hard work to shame the District in the national and local press which has caused them to take action. They would never have taken action without that. Credit should also go to those within the District who are now shuffling towards action and those few within the District who are driving that movement against the natural resistance.