Nov 30 2017

OPINION: Sexual Harassment Prevention Training Should Be Required in Piedmont Schools

Piedmont Unified School District should go beyond state law and require all staff members to be trained in sexual harassment prevention. 

Dear School Board members,

      I urge you to adopt a policy requiring all PUSD staff members who work with students or who supervise other staff to be trained in sexual harassment prevention. While California law requires employers with more than 50 employees to *offer* such training under AB 1825, such training should be mandatory.

      Recent events at PHS as well as the scandals on this topic in the country at large should make clear to you the value of taking positive steps to reduce the likelihood of sexual harassment of PUSD students and employees in the future and avoid to the loss of talented employees who may not be aware of the offensiveness of their inappropriate conduct. Such a policy would also give you more latitude in disciplining staff who sexually harass students or other staff in the future.

      In light of the greater awareness of sexual harassment in recent months, many organizations and employers are now requiring training in sexual harassment prevention for supervisors and instructors. I, myself, have been required to complete such training for my managerial position with the City of San Jose, my instructor position at UC Berkeley, and my position as a Piedmont City Councilmember, and I found it quite valuable in all cases.

       This article in today’s Chronicle ( highlights some of the inexpensive options for providing this important training. As noted in the article, online training can cost less than $50 per person, while in-person training can cost a total of $1,500 to $5,000 — but those costs are still much less than hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars it could cost to investigate improper behavior and deal with lawsuits.

      While mandatory training may not be popular with some administrators or staff members, it is your responsibility as a board to set policy, and I encourage you to take additional steps to mitigate this pervasive problem by requiring training.

Thank you for your attention.

Tim Rood, Piedmont High School parent

November 29, 2017

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.

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