How appropriate – albeit coincidental – that on the same day of the riveting, powerful testimony by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford about sexual violence, and the male entitlement/rage by Brett Kavanaugh, the Fairfax County Public School Board (the largest school system in Virginia) passed the following resolution by Board member Ryan McElveen directing that “the Fairfax County School Board will lead a cultural change in Fairfax County Public Schools regarding sexual misconduct to ensure that the organization continues to foster a caring culture, encourage open communication, properly educate and train students and employees, and hold accountable those who fail to uphold our standards of conduct and reporting.” According to McElveen, it’s possible that more than 25,000 Fairfax County Public School students (14.2%) are sexually harassed each year, and that this is “absolutely unacceptable.”
The resolution (see below for full text) passed unanimously…or would have, if far-right Republican School Board member Elizabeth Schultz hadn’t abstained, claiming that this resolution is “the worst thing this Board could possibly do,” because apparently they can’t have BOTH a resolution to set clear expectations AND encourage work towards specific policy directives/actions on this issue. Alrighty…
Fairfax County School Board Resolution on Sexual Misconduct
Whereas, the Fairfax County School Board believes that all institutions—and especially school systems—have a responsibility to directly confront the enduring and pervasive problem of sexual misconduct in society;
Whereas, this responsibility requires that leaders call for reforming institutional cultures and addressing the underlying causes of sexual misconduct;
Whereas, school systems can and should have an outsized impact on society by educating the next generation of leaders about preventing sexual misconduct;
Whereas, incidents of sexual misconduct have a lasting and consequential impact on every person who is affected by them;
Whereas, 2017-18 Fairfax County Youth Survey data reveals that 14.2 percent of students reported being sexually harassed in the past year, with 20.8 percent of female students and 7.3 percent of male students reporting the aggression;
Whereas, the Fairfax County School Board is committed to ensuring that every child feels safe, secure, loved and cared for when he or she attends school, participates in school activities, and interacts with school system personnel;
Whereas, the Fairfax County School Board denounces unwelcome sexual behavior, physical interactions, statements, or online exchanges by students or school system personnel, and anyone who is subject to or observing such unwelcome conduct should immediately report it to a responsible adult in his or her school or workplace or the Title IX Coordinator in the Department of Human Resources Office of Equity and Employee Relations;
Therefore, be it resolved that the Fairfax County School Board will lead a cultural change in Fairfax County Public Schools regarding sexual misconduct to ensure that the organization continues to foster a caring culture, encourage open communication, properly educate and train students and employees, and hold accountable those who fail to uphold our standards of conduct and reporting;
Be it further resolved that, to measure the prevalence of sexual misconduct, FCPS will continue to periodically conduct anonymous surveys of students and school system personnel to determine the best focus of resources for education and prevention of sexual misconduct;
Be it further resolved that, to take preventative action, FCPS will continue to require sexual misconduct prevention education for both students (as part of the health and FLE curriculum) and school system personnel (as part of their onboarding and periodically thereafter);
Be it further resolved that FCPS will maintain its enforcement of procedures to confirm that investigations are launched immediately after suspected incidents of sexual misconduct are brought to the attention of school system officials, that interim protective measures are implemented, and that appropriate disciplinary action is taken following those investigations; and
Be it further resolved that FCPS will continually review and update its policies and procedures regarding sexual misconduct based on research and best practices.
I so move.