From A Culture Of Silence To A Culture Of Safety

The board’s myopic vision over the decades has likely ignored victims and created a legal blind spot that exposes taxpayers to multiple, costly lawsuits that will damage NPSD’s reputation.

 

1) North Penn School District’s (NPSD) Republican-led school board hasn’t provided the proactive leadership needed to identify serious risks to student learning due to a hostile learning environment.

  • A basic review of NPSD’s policies, regulations and practices raises major questions about the current board leadership’s direction.

2) Let’s review the basic legal and policy facts:

  • Districts nationwide are being sued for lack of supporting the rights of student victims. These mandates are not going away anytime soon, if ever. Damage to the reputation of a district’s mission is as significant as the multi-million dollar impact on budgets.
  • A national story recently broke about Pennridge School District’s alleged pattern of neglecting sexual assault victim’s rights and needs.
  • NPSD is the only Montgomery County school district that doesn’t conduct a climate survey to gain insights about perceptions and realities of our school’s strengths and potential risks.

3) We raised this issue in May with the board — all Republican candidates were in attendance and their silence speaks volumes. See the video facts for yourself:

  • [1:21:48] – We need a Culture of Safety, acceptance and diversity, just like there is a culture of excellence for our academics culture… We’re not proactive enough as a school district.
  • if you haven’t had a problem yet, you will, and it’s going to cost all of us when you do, not only as reputation, but in legal bills, it is a risk we have to manage… I guarantee with the number of students we have, [sexual assault] is happening.
  • though there may be changes [to Title IX], those changes aren’t going to be fast enough that we can keep our head in the sand and think that when a sexual assault or harassment happens of a student – and I guarantee, with the number of students we have that its happening, that we better be prepared to deal with it. That comes down to being proactive.

4) North Penn Neighbors for Progress will refocus the board on the moral obligation to serve the health and well-being of all students and especially on victims’ ability to seek justice and healing.

  • This obligation extends beyond simply compliance with laws. We propose the following immediate steps to become a district that engages the entire community, understands its risks, and develops plans to meet the needs of a 21st Century district.
  • Review NPSD’s legal advice regarding the appropriate guidance to reduce the district’s risk exposure to hostile learning environments for students.
  • Explore the appropriate design and use of a schools’ climate survey to gain clear understanding about our school community’s public safety issues.
  • Conduct distinct district-wide training for staff, faculty, admins and students.
  • Select a qualified investigator that understands implicit bias and has Trauma Informed Response to Sexual Assault training.
  • Promote the contact information of Title IX Coordinator and deputies to the entire school population plus the thorough grievance procedure for complainants and the accused.

5) NPNP will transform the district from a culture of silence to a culture of safety.