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Don’t Let Old Responsibilities Get Lost in the New Education Landscape

Joel Gerring

By Joel Gerring, MASB Assistant Legal Counsel

DashBoard, May 31, 2017

As legislation involving public schools continues to evolve at a rapid pace, trying to process and internalize new rules, mandates and requirements can often leave very little time to revisit and reacquaint ourselves with some very vital and longstanding responsibilities. While it is certainly necessary to get familiar with the new teacher evaluation laws, the recent restorative justice changes and the ever-evolving campus safety landscape, no district can afford the issues we are already familiar with, such as mandatory reporting, Title IX and student discipline, to be overlooked. 

Obviously, it is just as important now as it has ever been for districts to respond appropriately to matters of student well-being. Likewise, while these obligations are not new, do not assume that every staff member is familiar with their particular role as it relates to intervention and reporting. The reality is that staff and administrator turnover has been at an all-time high over the past few years, with newer and less experienced teachers entering the profession at a rapid pace. Couple this with the fact new trainings are now required for everything from student assessments to staff evaluations, and it is easy to lose sight of the fact your last comprehensive Title IX training may have been several years (and several staff members) ago. 

Having even one teacher who is unsure of how to navigate sensitive issues such as bullying, gender equity, child abuse, sexual assault and so forth can unnecessarily delay the discovery and reporting of these matters. In addition, enforcement agencies such as the Office of Civil Rights have an expectation that schools are revisiting these topics from time to time with their employees in an effort to keep awareness high and ensure diligence.    

With the school year winding down, now is the time to assess whether or not your district could use a refresher course regarding these vitally important topics. August in-service meetings are the perfect time to reacquaint veteran staff members, and introduce new members, to the expectations and common mistakes that accompany issues involving a variety of student welfare topics. Whether it’s a presentation tailored to administrators regarding Title IX mandates or a comprehensive overview of state and federal mandatory reporting requirements for your entire staff, MASB can provide the information and guidance you need. Feel free to contact the legal department to discuss your district’s particular situation and reserve a date.  

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