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3/1/2021 Policy Subcommittee Minutes

Present: School Committee District Administration
Melissa Keefe, Terri Medeiros, Leah Palmer, Lori Duerr, Sonia Tellier and Anne Barnes
and Andrea Thorrold
Absent: --
Date: Monday, March 1, 2021
This meeting was conducted virtually via a Zoom Webinar.
• Review and Approve Minutes
Members reviewed the draft minutes from February 8, 2021. The minutes were approved and subsequently forwarded for posting.
Minutes from this meeting will be reviewed at the subcommittee’s next meeting.
• Continue Discussion of MASC Suggested Policy Revision re: Harassment
ü Discuss ACA. Examples were revisited. Andrea asked how much latitude the committee has with regard to selecting specific
examples to use in the policy. Sonia explained that the examples are intended to be broad and that the examples that were
contained in the earlier draft are typically those used in both education and workplace policies. Further, our district counsel
advised that the definition not be amended as it is a legal standard. Lori noted that although some districts’ policies just
address protected classes, according to district counsel, Falmouth Public Schools went beyond that to include bullying. It was
noted that age appears in the first section, associated with the employment context, and that the protected class language
includes all races.
Members opted to revise language further for clarity: Members resolved to delete “hate crimes” from the bullying section as
“Hate Crimes” stands alone as the first section in this portion of the policy. Similarly, members deleted “disability” from the
second section as it is articulated in the first section. Through further conversation and reflection on shared professional
learning, members agreed that microaggressions should not be included in the policy at this time. Terri pointed out that the
preface for the examples is “included but not limited to,” which means the committee does not need to be exhaustive.
ü Discuss ACAB. The questions previously raised by members were posed to district counsel, and Sonia reported that we
cannot increase the standard of rigor as investigations that must be investigated under Title IX are based on a legal definition.
Responses to incidents can also be conducted on the basis of the district’s discipline code, which has different criteria.
The two places where the subcommittee proposed changing the standard to “and/or” cannot be modified. Members expressed
frustration that the three-prong standard is unjust. This led to a question of whether Massachusetts Association of School
Committees (MASC) has a system in place that would enable us to learn of and track changes that other districts make to
their policies.
The language limiting investigations to incidents occurring in the US is because the federal Department of Education (DOE)
will not exercise jurisdiction over incidents outside the US. Students, however, would be subject to the district’s code of
conduct. It was noted that substantial codes of conduct are articulated in the district’s handbooks, and a statement can be
added indicating that the policy is not designed to limit the district’s authority. District counsel offered language that can be
added to the policy statement. The discipline code is narrower and has layers of infractions, the nature of which correlate to
consequences. There can be a parallel process for investigating under both Title IX and the code of conduct, but Title IX
investigations must meet the three-prong standard.
ü Concluding Conversation. Members discussed sending ACA forward to the School Committee for a first read while
continuing to work on ACAB. Sonia shared the link for the posted Code of Conduct, so all members can review it before the
next meeting. Leah inquired what would happen if an incident occurs while a policy change is being enacted but has not been
approved by the full School Committee and whether we are noncompliant without having the policy finalized and approved.
Superintendent Duerr has posed the question to district counsel and will update the members. In addition, she has asked the
Chief of Police what definition the force uses and is waiting for the information.
Ultimately, it was decided to wait for additional information before submitting ACA for first read.
• Other Item 2: Upcoming Information
üNext Meeting Monday, March 8, 2021; 5 – 6 pm
üAnticipated Agenda
Review and Approve Minutes
Return to Discussion on Policy Update for Harassment
Respectfully Submitted by,
Sonia L. Tellier Anne Barnes
Assistant Superintendent Assistant Director of Special Education