Oswego School District 308 Executive Director of District Student Services Valerie Patterson has been named the district's Title !X Coordinator and Nondiscrimination Coordinator for Students.
The appointment was confirmed during the Sept. 14 meeting of the Board of Education, during a first reading of changes to board policies.
According to Maureen Lemon, attorney for the district, an August court ruling determined that all school districts in the country must designate an individual to serve as the district's Title IX Coordinator.
Title IX, according to the U.S. Department of Education, states that, "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance."
Patterson's role as coordinator, will be to oversee Title IX matters in the district for both employees and students. Director of Communications and Public Relations Theresa Komitas stated, "The Title IX Coordinator oversees the school district's compliance with Title IX by ensuring students and employees receive training on recognizing, reporting, and responding to sexual harassment. The oversight also entails assessing which school board policies are involved in the reporting of sexual harassment, working with building administration and DAC administration to follow the applicable school board policies, and coordinating the response and record keeping associated with a report."
Instead of bringing the change to the policy committee, Lemon told the board that she recommended the new and related procedures first be brought to the board for a reading, to be adopted as quickly as possible.
"I was on the state committee that put these together for press," Lemon told the board, adding, "There's really not much for your policy committee to do, it's all legal, these updates."
All of the changes are already in practice in the district, Board President Lauri Doyle pointed out, clarifying that the changes put the practices into writing.
"My hope...is that the need for this position will not be great. I would hate to see this need to become a full-time position," Doyle said.
Professional development will accompany the changes, Superintendent Dr. John Sparlin said, which Lemon will lead administrators and the rest of district staff through.
The full list of board policies read by the board can be found in the district's BoardDocs site, available through the district website.
Title 9 requires the district to name a Title IX Coordinator who will lead compliance efforts.
The regulations require us to designate additional positions, including investigators and decision-makers. The regulations specify decision-makers cannot be the same person as the Title IX.