Jan 17 2018

Piedmont School Board President Pearson Clarifies District Position on Sexual Harassment and Intimidation

Board President Sarah Pearson made an announcement at the Piedmont Unified School District Board meeting of Wednesday, January 10, 2018, as follows: 

Some community members have asked the Board for more information about our process and plan to address issues of sexual harassment and intimidation. I wanted the community to know that this topic will be discussed in more detail at the next board meeting, which will take place on Tuesday January 23, 2018, and subsequent meetings. I am grateful to the Superintendent and his staff for their ongoing efforts to address issues and wanted to share a short update.

Regarding review of policies and procedures:

In the Fall of 2017, the District asked its legal counsel to undertake a comprehensive review of all District policies and administrative regulations concerning discrimination, harassment, complaints concerning schools, complaints concerning District employees, Uniform Complaints, and student discipline.  The purpose of the review, which is still underway, is to ensure that the policies are complete, aligned with one another and consistent with current law, and reflect best practices.

District staff will present the recommendations of its counsel at the next Board of Education meeting, on Tuesday, January 23.  This presentation will be the starting point for a broader community conversation about District policies and procedures, and we strongly encourage community members to attend and provide input.

Regarding training and support for teachers and staff:  

In November 2017, all District administrative staff received their annual training to prevent, identify, address, and remedy sexual harassment in both student-to-student and adult-to-student situations.  This spring, teachers and classified staff will receive the same training, which is an online program designed specifically for use in schools.  In the past, teachers and classified staff received the training every two years, but going forward this training will be required every year for teachers and staff as well as administrators.

In January 2018, administrative staff who are in supervisory roles, as well as counselors and Wellness Center staff, will receive more comprehensive sexual harassment training presented by District’s legal counsel.  This training will be tailored for the District and include small-group discussion and analysis.  In the past, this training was presented every other year.  Going forward, this training will be repeated every year.

In addition, the District is researching training programs for members of the Board of Education.

Regarding assessment of student needs and concerns:

The California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS) is a statewide survey concerning student health and academic performance, and the District typically administers the survey in odd-number years to 5th, 7th, 9th, and 11th graders.  In addition to using the State’s questions, the District can and usually does customize the survey with its own questions.  Last year, the District decided to administer the CHKS survey every year, so District staff are already preparing survey questions for this February.  The intent is to include questions about harassment, bullying, safety, security, and registering complaints.  The complete list of questions is scheduled be presented to the Board and the community at the Board meeting on Tuesday, February 13.  Community engagement is essential in developing, evaluating, and refining District policies and practices. The Board and District staff encourage students and community members to join in our discussion of these and related issues.  Community members are also most welcome to contact the Superintendent or members of the Board directly. We appreciate questions and suggestions, and we look forward to working together.

School Board President, Sarah Pearson

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