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Preventing Adult Sexual Misconduct and Child Sexual Abuse

Protecting the children on our campuses is one of the most important tasks we face.  Resources and guidance are available here to raise awareness about child sexual abuse, build skills to recognize warning signs of adult sexual misconduct, report ALL concerns and thoroughly investigate ALL reports received.  

TITLE IX of the Education Amendments of 1972

All public and private elementary and secondary schools, school districts, colleges, and universities (hereinafter “schools”) receiving any Federal funds must comply with Title IX.  Under Title IX, discrimination on the basis of sex can include sexual harassment or sexual violence, such as rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, and sexual coercion. The following steps were designed to help districts and schools ensure that all student rights under Title IX are protected. 

Title IX

Know Your Rights

SIA presents the ESCAPE Program

ESCAPE Program Logo: End Sexual abuse of Children with Awareness, Prevention and Education

6 Steps Printable Checklist

Step 1. Policy & Procedure: Best Practices for Safe and Appropriate Boundaries

  • Adopt or update your Board Policy from the California School Boards Association (CSBA) sample Board Policy: 4119.224/4219.24/4319.24 Personnel.  This article provides further information from the CSBA. 
  • Include in your Administrative Regulation District-wide Best Practices for Boundaries for adult-to-student and student-to-student interactions. 
  • Include training requirements in the policy as well as criteria for establishing a qualified trainer at the district according to Step 3.
  • Include reporting requirements and procedures according to Step 4.
  • ​Consider the Model Code of Educator Ethics as a guidance document.

Step 2. Screening & Hiring: Employees and Volunteers

Establish district-wide recommended hiring practices to include;

  • Completing required fingerprinting/Department of Justice criminal background checks,
  • Conducting employment history reference checks with prior districts specifically related to sexual misconduct claims and disciplinary action,
  • Reviewing any action taken against a teaching certificate in any of the 50 states SIa provides NASDTEC services to all member districts.  See SIA Member Alert,  
  • Adopting recommended Sample Interview Questions from Diane Cranley; author of 8 Ways to Create Their Fate, that address an employee’s use of safe and appropriate boundaries,
  • Considering screening tools that can help identify a high risk for boundary violations, and
  • Establishing visitor screening procedures that will limit access to campus and screen visitors and contractors against the Megan’s Law database.

Step 3. Training and Awareness: Employees/Volunteers, Students & Parents

  • Ensure all employees are assigned and have completed training on District-wide safe and appropriate boundaries for adult-to-student and student-to-student interactions. 
    • Require this training annually of every district employee and volunteer. 
    • Ensure trainers conducting group training are qualified to train on the subject matter. 
    • Provide a variety of awareness materials to all employees via multiple media channels such as email, written and electronic newsletters, and website pages. 
  • Educate students and parents on the importance of understanding and respecting safe and appropriate boundaries. 

Educating School Adults:

 
Websites
Articles
Educational Video Series

SIA along with Diane Cranley, a renowned expert in sexual abuse preventionhas prepared this Educational Video Series aimed at helping school staff identify and report suspicious behaviors that may indicate adult sexual misconduct or child sexual abuse and develop best practices for the prevention of adult sexual misconduct and child sexual abuse in schools.  

A series of discussion guides accompany each module of the series to help facilitate discussions between staff about preventing child sexual abuse.

  • Module 1: Introduction and Overview - focuses on introducing concepts of the series and alarming statistics around child sexual abuse. 
  • Module 2: Grooming - explains grooming behavior in the steps involved in grooming a student to become a victim of sexual abuse.
  • Module 3: On-Site Isolation Boundaries - helps school administrators and staff set appropriate boundaries for children to avoid students being isolated by potential child molesters.
  • Module 4: On-Site Behavioral Boundaries - Like Module 3, Module 4 helps school administrators and staff set appropriate behavioral boundaries for staff and children, to prevent potentially harmful or abusive behaviors.
  • Module 5: Off-Site Boundaries - helps school administrators and staff set appropriate boundaries and identifies best practices for off-site activities involving students and staff.
  • Module 6: Off-Hours Behavioral Boundaries - examines boundaries that restrict staff access to students during non-school hours.     
  • Module 7: Electronic Social Media Boundaries - teachers school administrators and staff to set appropriate boundaries with electronic communication between staff and students, especially private communication.
  • Module 8: Gift Boundaries - discusses the importance of establishing policies for gifts given to students and their families from staff, to ensure they remain appropriate.
  • Module 9: Student-to-Student Boundaries - addresses sexual abuse and behavior that may occur between students, and how to handle these situations.

​Educate Students on Safe and Appropriate Boundaries

Educate Parents on Safe and Appropriate Boundaries

Step 4. Reporting:

 

Duty to Report

In the event that School Adults observe suspicious or inappropriate behaviors on the part of other School Adults or between students, it is their personal duty to immediately report their observations to protect students from misconduct, harassment or sexual abuse.  Note that there are multiple possible reporting agencies and depending upon the situation, multiple reports may be required. This Duty to Report document outlines the responsibilties.  

District Responsibilities

  • Disseminate and post the Reporting Poster provided.
  • Adopt an electronic reporting tool with anonymous reporting capability to ensure that anyone can report misconduct at any time. 
  • Identify a district coordinator to oversee all reports and investigations. Title IX Coordinator or Uniform Complaint Procedure Coordinator are possible candidates.
  • Ensure all reports are handled according to the best practices Response to Reports and District Policy for investigation. 

Step 5. Investigation:

  • A District coordinator, will be established to oversee all reports and investigations.  The District coordinator will review every report received to ensure that best practices are being followed with regards to investigation. 
  • When a report is made concerning a possible policy violation or an allegation of serious misconduct, the District coordinator in coordination with the site supervisor, shall conduct a prompt initial investigation according to the District Policy for investigations . The investigation shall include a review of the full history of concerns relating to the subject of the concern/complaint.
  • Any report that identifies a student or students as possible victims will warrant a third-party investigation process led by professionals to remove all bias and ensure a thorough and fair investigation.
  • Investigations will be completed in a timely fashion with recommendations made for any necessary employment action, including specialized training when misconduct is not present, but healthy boundaries have not been maintained.
  • Law Enforcement Investigation:  When law enforcement has begun an investigation of an incident it is imperative that all district investigations are conducted with legal counsel and in cooperation with law enforcement.

Step 6. Response: 

Communication

Identify or establish protocols for how the district will communicate with families and communities in the event of an incident to ensure transparency, yet maintain privacy as required. 

Disciplinary Action
  • All School Adults shall be disciplined up to and including termination and/or legal action, for noncompliance with the District policy on safe and appropriate boundaries.
  • A School Adult who has knowledge of but fails to report conduct in violation of the District policy may also be subject to discipline. 
  • A volunteer, student teacher, independent contractor or a School Adult employed by an independent contractor who violates this policy may be prohibited from working or serving in District Schools and programs for an appropriate period of time or permanently, as determined by the Superintendent or designee.

Guidance

Title IX and Sex Discrimination

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) enforces, among other statutes, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Title IX protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive Federal financial assistance. Title IX states that:  No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.  Title IX Coordinator's Guide

REMS Technical Assistance Center - Addressing Adult Sexual Misconduct in the School Setting

A Training Guide for Administrators and Educators on Addressing Adult Sexual Misconduct in the School Setting is the Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) Technical Assistance (TA) Center’s NEW training guide designed to help schools and school districts understand adult sexual misconduct (ASM), develop related policies and procedures, train on ASM awareness and prevention, and recognize the role of social media and technology in ASM. 

Center for Disease Control (CDC) Preventing Child Sexual Abuse Within Youth-serving Organizations

To help prevent child sexual abuse, CDC has published the report Preventing Child Sexual Abuse Within Youth-Serving Organizations: Getting Started on Policies and Procedures. This report describes six key components for preventing child sexual abuse in youth-serving organizations: 1) screening and selecting employees and volunteers; 2) establishing guidelines on interactions between persons; 3) monitoring behavior; 4) ensuring safe environments; 5) responding to inappropriate behavior, breaches in policy, and allegations and suspicions of child sexual abuse; and 6) training in child sexual-abuse prevention.

Regulations

TITLE 34 Education, Subtitle B Regulations of  the Offices of the Department of Education, Chapter I Office for Civil Rights, Department of Education, Part 106 Non-Discrimination on the Basis of Sex in Education Programs or Activities Receiving Federal Financial Assistance

California Education Code - ARTICLE 4. Sex Equity in Education Act [221.5 - 231.5]

California Education Code - CHAPTER 3.2. Staff Development in the Detection of Child Abuse and Neglect [44691- 44691.]

California Penal Code - ARTICLE 2.5. Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act [11164 - 11174.3]

resources

Relevant Resources:

Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-SUICIDE or 1-800-799-4TTY (Hearing Impaired)