NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Metro Schools says it will bring in a team of outside experts to look at how it investigates sexual harassment complaints.
That's a direct result of a NewsChannel 5 investigation that exposed horrific allegations that had been ignored.
The district issued a news release Monday.
“We take very seriously our responsibility to protect the well-being of every single student and employee, and their right to learn and work in a respectful and safe environment free of harassment, discrimination, retaliation or other misconduct,” Director of Schools Dr. Shawn Joseph said in the release.
“Starting right now, we are taking a laser-sharp focus on creating an environment in which professionalism, respect and safety for all students, employees, and families mark every interaction.”
The release stated that "the district will seek to engage an external team of experts to
validate best practices as well as identify areas for improvement."
It also outlined the following steps:
- As new allegations surface, continue to promptly address them by conducting the necessary interviews and review of all evidence to ensure investigations arrive at a thorough conclusion and that appropriate action is taken;
- As another layer of accountability and accuracy, conduct a review of cases over the last year to ensure each investigation was closed out thoroughly;
- Collaborate with HR professionals in the corporate and non-profit sectors on best practices, including the sharing of resources and relevant training opportunities; and,
- Examine ways to conduct a district-wide climate assessment among key stakeholders.
While the district announced those new steps, in an email to School Board members, Joseph downplayed the concerns.
"Internally, we believe our practices are strong," Joseph said, "but it is wise to have independent verification."
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