Homewood-Flossmoor High School administrators took steps last school year to review and update harassment protocols and work continues this year.
In a memo to parents, students and staff dated Friday, Nov. 4, District 233 Superintendent Scott Wakeley and H-F Principal Clinton Alexander outlined five steps the administration took in the 2021-22 school year after students raised concerns about sexual harassment.
This was the fifth memo District 233 sent to parents in a move toward transparency as they respond to an alleged sexual assault at the school on Monday, Oct. 31. Police questioned both the victim and the alleged attacker. No charges have been filed.
This past March, students and parents complained that the district wasn’t doing enough to keep students safe after a student complained about a sexual harassment incident on campus.
In the memo, administrators say five specific steps have been taken, “including enhancing our already robust harassment prevention protocols and resources.”
The five points outlined are:
- The district reviewed its policies, including the Title IX Grievance Procedure. The school board at its Aug. 16 meeting approved the most current version.
- The language on sexual harassment was updated in the student handbook.
- Steps have been taken to assure health curriculum lessons related to consent, sexual abuse and sexual health “are taught with fidelity.”
- The district has added social work services support for students.
- The district has taken steps to raise awareness of sexual harassment and sexual violence issues, including posting sexual assault hotline information in student bathrooms.
This year, under Alexander’s direction, a 75-member Principal’s Advisory Council was organized. It meets monthly and offers students a chance to talk about topics that are important to them.
The council is also a way for students to take part in leadership learning opportunities. The memo informs parents, students and staff that “harassment prevention and combating sexual violence will be topics of discussion” with council members.
The memo also outlines a timeline for school actions once the Oct. 31 alleged sexual assault happened. The student was working with another student rehearsing lines for a play in a practice room – separate from the classroom – when the alleged incident occurred.
The student did not report the alleged actions to the teacher but told a friend. The friend told a teacher at 8:50 a.m. and upon learning of the alleged incident, teachers spoke to the student.
Staff members then spoke with the student about the alleged sexual assault. The girl, and a friend of her choosing, went to the nurse’s office. After a talk, the nurse informed the administration of the situation at 9:18 a.m. The police were called.
Once Flossmoor police arrived at 9:35 a.m., the reporting of and management of the alleged incident became an official police matter. District 233 has no jurisdiction in the procedures or steps that police are taking in the investigation.
The female student’s parent/guardian was contacted at 9:29 a.m. and she was released to a family member at 11:26 a.m.
The memo states: “Thus far, we can affirm that school personnel followed our established crisis protocols, responded quickly and appropriately and treated all students, parents/guardians and extended family members with care and compassion.”