Combating Sexual Harassment In BUSD
Sexual harassment is a top priority for my campaign. The District has not been able to manage complaints of sex-based harm effectively, and it has resulted in alarming responses such as writing alleged assaulters' names on bathroom walls. This is disturbing to me as a parent and a civil rights education lawyer.
I will implement a tried and true approach to addressing sexual harassment, using my years of experience with the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights. I will bring federal compliance systems-based expertise to the Board.
The first step is to hire more Title IX staff who are supported by the superintendent and District systems, policies, and procedures as a whole. We want to avoid the high turn-over of the past few years. The District needs at least one strong Title IX coordinator with two investigators, or two Title IX coordinators with one investigator. All staff should be annually or semi-annually trained in fundamental training to prevent sexual harassment, as they already are.
But we must go further. A core of the Title IX team as well as the superintendent associate supers, school principals, and assistant principals across all schools in Berkeley should receive specialized Title IX investigation training.
School site principals and assistant principals are often the first to hear from staff about any incident of discrimination, harassment, bullying, or harm. They have options to either resolve the problem informally or move it up the chain to a Title IX coordinator (in the case of sex-based harm). If there are robust and effective systems in place, we will be able to provide a prompt and effective (the legal standard) response to notice of sex-based harm.
All of this must be knitted together with a properly implemented District-wide Restorative Justice program that promotes culture and practices based on de-escalation, positive behavioral interventions, and responses to trauma that recognizes that race, sex, disability, LGBTQ concerns are co-equal.