In response to a federal directive that schools prohibit the aiding and abetting of sexual abuse, Longview School District is planning to add a new clause to its policy on sexual harassment of students.
That clause will forbid district staff from providing recommendations for any employee who they know has engaged in a relationship with a student. It can be added to the policy only after the Longview School Board reviews the clause twice, then votes to adopt the changes.
The U.S. Department of Education released a directive in June 2018, calling for an end to the “abhorrent practice” of school employees getting rehired at different schools after a case of sexual misconduct with a student.
“For too long, and too often, teachers or other school staff who have engaged in sexual misconduct with a student or minor at one school have been able to obtain employment at another school, without that other school ever learning of the prior misconduct,” the directive reads. “This sometimes occurs because someone from the employee’s prior school provides a recommendation that helps the employee obtain new employment.”
If a district does not have a policy specifically prohibiting such practices, it cannot receive federal funding through the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, according to the directive.
That act provides grants to districts that serve low-income students, as well as money for textbooks, library books, special education centers and scholarships.
The Longview School Board will review the proposed clause for the first time at its Monday night meeting. The earliest the board can vote to adopt the changes is at its next regular meeting, which is currently scheduled for June 10.
However, the board will vote to schedule a regular meeting for May 28 to replace a previously canceled meeting that fell on Memorial Day. Adding that meeting would allow the board to vote sooner on the adoption.
Also Monday the board will:
- Vote to adopt new curriculum for Advanced Placement Spanish, high school earth and space science, middle school science and English language arts classes. The cost to adopt the recommended materials in all four areas is about $500,000.
- Hear a report about the district’s special education programs.
- Hear proposed revisions for district policies on home and hospital instruction, student conduct and student discipline.
- Review three Center for Educational Effectiveness surveys that gauged staff, parent and student perceptions of the district in areas and traits commonly observed in successful schools.
The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. in the Administrative Office on Lilac Street.