Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Policy 3208, Sexual Harassment Annual Report

Here's the latest in a recurring topic.

School Board policy 3208, Sexual Harassment, requires an annual report.
The Superintendent shall make an annual report to the Board reviewing the use and efficacy of this policy and related procedures. Recommendations for changes to this policy, if applicable, shall be included in the report. The Superintendent is encouraged to involve staff, students, and volunteers and parents in the review process.
I have written to the Board on numerous occasions over the past two years - since the NatureBridge incident - asking for this annual report. Every time before that I have asked for it, I have been told that no such report has ever been made.

That story just changed. I just got an email from the Board office saying that the report has been made. How did I miss it? Because the claim is pretty weak.




They now claim that the report was made verbally in August and September of 2014 to the Board Operations Committee. A review of the meeting minutes, however, makes it pretty clear that the report made at those meetings was not responsive to the policy. They were Title IX reports on incidents of sexual harassment, not a review of the use and efficacy of the policy. The Title IX reports did not include any recommendations for changes to the policy. There was no community input to these reports.

Here's what the committee minutes show for August:
Title IX sexual harassment student update: The first half of the 2013-14 Title IX report was presented by Pegi McEvoy on Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying (HIB) non-sexual harassment and sexual harassment student data. The adult data for the 2013-14 school year will be presented next month. Given that the Board has asked for annual school data, the district staff recommend that the annual Title IX report be routinely scheduled for August Operations Committee to allow time to assemble a report and make recommendations based upon complete school year data. Additionally, the superintendent has asked staff to make recommendations on any related policies and procedures, as well as a possible task force. She noted that PowerSchools currently does not collect school based interventions, therefore the current report reflects those cases escalated to the Safety and Security office. A district-wide solution to collect school based information is being discussed. Enhancements to the system and additional school training will be needed to ensure fidelity. It is recommended that the Task Force also make recommendations on data collection and accountability
And September:
Title IX sexual harassment adult update: New director for labor relations Geoff Miller presented statistics for the year and said the Human Resources Department is working to build a firmer infrastructure around Title IX procedures, coaching for principals and supervisors, and investigations. 
Neither at that time nor any time before now has anyone from the District claimed that these reports were the report required by policy 3208, Sexual Harassment. Instead, they were characterized as Title IX reports. The written reports provided to the Committee were nothing like the report required by the policy. They were nothing more than counts of complaints sorted by grade, gender, and race. The bulk of the report dealt with complaints of non-sexual harassment, intimidation, or bullying.

You'll notice that the Committee asked for an annual report each August. This call for an August report, specifically the report required by policy 3208, was adopted by the Board at their meeting of July 1, 2015. So where is that report? There is none.

In the Friday Memo to the Board of December 4, 2015 (I guess my repeated calls for the report prompted a Board member to ask about it), Deputy Superintendent Charles Wright provided an update on the status of the report. Here's the short answer: there is none. Mr. Wright, apparently uncomfortable with this truth, tried to spin it with a two page, single spaced smarm. He says that they couldn't do it in August because they were all so busy with the labor negotiations. So what kept them from doing it in September, October, November, and December? He even tries to pretend that the interim report by the Interim Title IX Coordinator was kinda, sorta like the report. Except, of course, that the report he referenced (and attached) includes this gem:
This report was completed to summarize the work of the interim Title IX Coordinator. It is not intended to be the annual report required by Superintendent Procedure 3208.
Nowhere in his two page weasel effort does Mr. Wright offer a timetable for producing the report that was due in August. He does, however, promise the Final Report from the Sexual Harassment Task Force. That report was delivered on December 9, 2015 and was included in the Friday Memo to the Board on December 18, 2015. This report, of course, does not meet the requirements of the policy. It is on-topic, but the policy requires a report from the Superintendent, a decision-maker, not an advisory committee. There's a big difference, which can be seen at the end of the report in which the district deflects the bulk of the Task Force's recommendations.

So, in short, despite the recent claim that the superintendent has provided the report required by Policy 3208 the truth is that he has done no such thing. Not this year, not last year, not ever.

Now it's up to the Board to demand it. Let's see if they will. Let's also see if they will accept the feeble lie that the count of complaints delivered in August 2014 counts as a report.

3 comments:

Melissa Westbrook said...

I think Wright was too busy building up his resume with "accomplishments" and looking for a new job. That might explain his role in this.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this, Charlie.

Interim Superintendent Procedure SP3208SP, approved 12/9/14, was supposed to be updated "not later than August 1, 2015." If it has been updated, it hasn't been made public.

Section 15 of the interim Superintendent procedure states:
"The Title IX Coordinator shall prepare an annual report to the Superintendent at the conclusion of each school year. The annual report shall include a discussion of: how, where, and when the District provided notices; training and curriculum given to staff and students; and a summary of complaints made in the previous year. The summary of complaints shall indicate, at a minimum, the number of formal and informal complaints, the most common types of harassment experienced and remedies applied, the number of assaults, and the number of appeals. The annual report shall include all incidents, both student and adult."

My guess is that no one has bothered to gather and compile the information required to prepare a report because the district had not hired a permanent Title IX coordinator.

We learned from the Garfield rape incident that when administrators and staff do not follow written policy regarding sexual harassment of students, the consequences are...nothing. Has anything changed, other than revising policy language (that people can safely ignore)?

Rita

Charlie Mas said...

If he's ever asked by a prospective employer to submit a writing sample, his two page weasel in the December 4 Friday Memo would be a good choice. In it, he pretends that the complaint count submitted as a Title IX report in August and September of 2014 was the annual report for policy 3208. Here's the funny thing: in the status update he doesn't actually tell us the status of the report - other than to say that it is late. I don't think it has ever been started. He certainly doesn't offer a timetable for turning it in.