Jan 17 2018

Piedmont School District Response to Jan 8 Letter Signed by Numerous Piedmont Parents

Sexual Harassment and Intimidation –

School Board President Sarah Pearson and PUSD Superintendent Randall Booker answered the parents’ > letter as follows:

Dear Jennifer and Shannon, [Authors of correspondence to School Board]

Thank you for your letter dated January 8.  The District welcomes your questions and comments and what follows is a response to at least some of your concerns.  Please share this with the other signers, and please encourage them to attend the upcoming meetings (outlined below) to discuss these and related issues.  Community engagement is essential in developing, evaluating, and refining District policies and practices. On behalf of the Board of Education and the District staff, we look forward to working with you and other stakeholders on these critical issues concerning student safety and security.

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.  The District initiated this review following incidents of hate speech among students during the Spring of 2017 and allegations of teacher misconduct in the Fall of 2017, as the process of investigating these incidents and allegations drew staff attention to apparent gaps, ambiguities, and outdated provisions in District policies.

District staff will present the recommendations of its counsel at the 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 you to attend and provide input.

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 on-line 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.

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 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.

Review of Board training and decision-making.
On Tuesday, January 30, the Board of Education will hold a workshop on effective governance that will include self-evaluation and reflection.  The workshop, facilitated by a representative of the California School Board Association, will be from 8:30 am to 3:00 pm in the Piedmont Police Department conference room.  All are welcome to attend.  

Please feel free to contact either of us directly if you have further questions. We hope this information is useful and provides some foundation for more in-depth community discussions. On behalf of the Board, we appreciate your thoughtful suggestions and look forward to working with you.


Sarah & Randy
Sarah Pearson, Board President
Randall Booker, Superintendent 
          January 10, 2018
Read the previously published letter sent to the Piedmont Unified School District Board of Directors HERE.

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