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Fremont Public Schools issues statement on sexual harassment and assault policies in response to social media posts

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Posted at 3:07 PM, Nov 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-08 16:07:53-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — On Monday, Fremont Public Schools issued a statement “regarding recent social media posts related to the Fremont Middle School.”

It said:

Student and staff safety is our paramount duty and we take that duty very seriously. Over the past 24 hours social media has had a number of posts related to student safety at the Middle School. The social media posts list specifics in regard to individual students and circumstances. The District will not comment on specific situations in order to protect the safety and privacy of individual students who may be involved.

Over the past 15 months the District has implemented increased training and protocols in regards to dealing with reports of sexual harassment and sexual assault. Title IX, the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) document that guides and informs employers related to sex discrimination, harassment, assault and etc, also guides and informs schools on the process and procedures that need to be followed when allegations of sexual misconduct in any way are presented. This Federal document was updated in August of 2021.

During the 2020-21 school year and so far during this school year several cases have been reported and followed up on. The District always errs on the side of reporting to the appropriate authorities and engaging an investigation into the reported actions. Although not required in the OCR protocol, the District utilizes outside resources from two separate/independent law firms to conduct the investigation and serve as the decision-maker in each case. In all cases we work closely with the students and parents to ensure their safety, security and privacy are being protected.

Training is a large part of Fremont Public Schools responsibility. Our administrators, staff and students are provided multiple opportunities to learn about sexual harassment, misconduct, reporting and appropriate responses when situations occur.

Last Spring and this Fall the District’s School Resource Officer presented information to all Middle School students in regard to the seriousness of touching other students and making inappropriate comments and sexual advances. The message includes what students should do anytime they feel they have been violated or made to feel uncomfortable in any way - tell an adult immediately. Parents were notified about the training that was occurring and the necessity for it.

At the Middle School lessons are provided during their TST (homeroom) regarding sexual harassment, dating violence, bullying, appropriate language and behavior expectations. These lessons are revisited and reinforced throughout the year.

The Middle School Principal has shared with parents on several occasions the importance of talking with their students about appropriate behavior and conduct in particular related to sexual harassment, inappropriate touching and social media harassment/bullying. Information has been shared about the seriousness of and potential results of these types of inappropriate/unwanted behaviors. Online resources for parents have also been provided to assist them in working with their students on these issues.

All school employees are considered mandatory reporters for abuse, assault, neglect, drug and alcohol incidents, etc. We report allegations immediately to the appropriate authorities any time we are made aware of them. Law enforcement and/or CPS are always notified and they conduct separate investigations related to Nebraska and Federal statutes which may have been violated when they believe the information warrants it. The District’s policies and student code of conduct are used to determine the disposition of the actions and any consequences that are justified.

Fremont Public Schools recognizes that for learning to occur students must feel safe. The message is very clear, if you see something tell someone if you know something share it with an adult. We also strongly encourage you to report violations of the law immediately to the police department.

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