Friday, November 22, 2013
The Georgetown County School District is in the process of making revisions and amendments to its sexual harassment and bullying policies.
At its meeting Tuesday, the board heard from attorney Andrea White who has been working with Dr. Marthena Grate-Morant on the changes.
One change that was made was the creation of separate sexual harassment policies for staff and students. Currently there is only one policy to cover both groups.
An addition to the new staff policy states, “leering or any kind of behavior that makes a person feel uncomfortable” will not be tolerated.
Other things against district rules — carried over from the current policy — include: sexually oriented communication, subtle requests for sexual activity, persistent attempts to change a professional relationship into a personal “social-sexual” relationship, and any sexual relationship between a district worker and student.
The new student policy states sexual harassment may include but is not limited to: verbal harassment (sexually offensive comments or slurs), physical harassment, and visual harassment (sexually offensive cartoons, drawings or posters).
“Sexual harassment is prohibited against members of the same sex as well as against members of the opposite sex,” the proposed policy states.
Any student who feels they have been the victim of sexual harassment is encouraged to file a complaint with their principal, the policy states.
If the principal is the one being accused, the student’s parents should file a complaint with the district’s Title IX coordinator, according to the policy. In some cases, according to one of the proposed revisions, the school board may hold a hearing to address the complaint. Under the proposed bullying policy changes, anonymous reports about bullying are encouraged but “disciplinary action generally will not be taken solely on the basis of an anonymous report.”
All complaints will be investigated “promptly, thoroughly and confidentially,” the policy addition states.
The board will vote on the changes to the policies at its next meeting which will be in January because there is no meeting in December.
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