Lansing School District changes sexual assault policy

Posted at 8:06 AM, Nov 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-04 08:06:33-04

Laws about how schools have to react to reports of sexual assault, violence, and harassment are always updating. Lansing School Board Trustee Myra Ford says the district's policies have to change with them.

"It's really not so much that we're replacing something as that we're updating it to match changes in the law," Ford said at the board meeting Thursday.

The board adopted new district-wide policies about sexual violence Thursday night. It gives specifics on how people should make and take reports of sexual assault and harassment, what the district will do for the victim during the investigation, and how the district will help victims and prevent further sexual violence. The new policy can be found here.

"It not only outlines what they're required to report as far as staff, students, so forth, but it also talks about the timeline in terms of how many days you have to be able to report it," Ford said.

LSD staff have already been trained in the new policy, but now that the policy has been officially adopted, the information can be shared with parents and students. "We've had some incidents in the district in the last year, year and a half, involving some students who were perhaps harassed or intimidated, any number of things that come up, and we felt that we need to get this out there and make sure that people know," Ford said.

The district plans to adopt a full set of updated policies by the first of the year. "Some of those policies we felt shouldn't wait, and that's kind of why we went with this one tonight because we felt this one is important enough that it shouldn't wait," Ford said.

She says a group of people came to the Board of Education meeting last month to express concern about the old policy, and that helped push the timeline up on adopting the new one.