Plum schools develop ‘more robust’ complaint-reporting methods

Dec 2, 2015 by

The Plum Borough School District has provided enhanced information on its website about Title IX, including ways to report sexual harassment and discrimination.

The enhancements include two new links to Title IX information — one on the School Safety & Security page and another under the “resources” section of the website. Both links include an electronic form to submit a complaint via email to the district.

Providing the enhanced information is among several actions the district has taken following the arrests of two high school teachers and a former substitute teacher and baseball coach who all face charges of institutional sexual assault. Police reports indicate the male teachers had sexual relationships with high school girls.

Michael Brewer, director of administrative services and Title IX coordinator for the district, unveiled the new Title IX pages to members of the Safe and Supportive Schools steering committee at its meeting Tuesday.

He said that after working with a Title IX expert at the University of Pittsburgh for the past two months, it was recommended that the district develop a “more robust” Title IX site.

The new information includes a list and contact information for all “internal support personnel,” including nurses, resource officers, principals, school psychologists and counselors.

Previously the Title IX information had been listed under athletics and it did not include the electronic reporting form. Mr. Brewer said to date there has been just one Title IX report and it was a parent complaining about a child’s playtime.

Solicitor Lee Price said Title IX was initially created to ensure equity in sports opportunities for males and females but has expanded over the years to include sexual discrimination and sexual harassment as well.

Every school entity that receives federal funds must have a Title IX coordinator.

The steering committee also discussed the creation of a safety coordinator for the district, a position the school board is considering, and some members asked why the recently resurrected anonymous tip line has not been posted in district buildings.

The number had been removed from student handbooks in recent years, a fact that was discovered during one of the initial meetings of the steering committee several months ago.

Parent Bill Chapla pushed for the posting of the tip line and the hiring of a safety coordinator, saying that students don’t know the line number and that the safety coordinator position is necessary to ensure the safety of the students.

“There’s a culture that needs eradicated from the school district,” Mr. Chapla said.

Trials for the accused teachers are set to start in February. In addition, District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. said recently that a grand jury investigating whether Plum officials knew of the inappropriate relationships between teachers and students but failed to report them is expected to wrap up its work by the end of the month.

Source: Plum schools develop ‘more robust’ complaint-reporting methods | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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