California School District Upgrades Title IX Policies

Conejo Valley Unified School District is mandating training for school principals

The Conejo Valley Unified School District in California is making changes to its Title IX policies. The district dealt with a sexual harassment issue at Westlake High School when a freshman football player was charged with making vulgar and sexually charged statements to a 15-year-old freshman girl. District administrators, though, didn’t credit that incident in making the changes. The sexual harassment case is called the “Conti incident.”

At an Oct. 22 school district meeting, deputy superintendent of instructional services Bob Iezza said a request from the American Association of University Women got the changes in motion, according to the Thousand Oaks Acorn.

“Part of our general mission deals with promoting equality for women and girls, so we’re always advocating for that,” said Sally Hibbits of the AAUW Thousand Oaks chapter. “Did (the Conti issue) instigate this? Probably not.  But it did raise awareness.”

According to the Conti family, comments about their daughter were reported to a teacher Thursday evening, but weren’t relayed to the school administration immediately.  They say the teacher planned on speaking to officials the following Monday. According to the family, another incident happened the following Friday. The student’s brother, Dominic and, father, Larry, got involved in a physical altercation with the male student that led to the brother’s suspension, which the family fought at the district level.

In announcing the changes, the school district said they will be doing the following:

  • Mandating training for all district principals that addresses discrimination, sexual harassment, bullying, cyber bullying and reporting of child abuse and neglect.
  • Retraining of staff members in regards to their responsibilities in reporting and investigating incidents, procedures on how to handle complaints and how to pass information on to students.
  • Designated Title IX coordinators at each school.
  • Adding information to the schools’ websites.
  • Working to better educate students on what actions cross the line and are prohibited, and how students should make complaints when necessary.

“We are pleased the district has finally addressed their practices and possible past violations,” said Larry Conti in a statement to the Acorn. “Our family and those who supported our efforts earlier this year knew the policies were not in place when our daughter was sexually harassed at Westlake High School.”

Photo: Facebook

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Tagged with: Sexual Harassment

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