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Posted: 01/29/14

RCS board to examine
harassment complaint

by CHRIS GRAY
Observer Staff Writer
      Romeo school officials will discuss harassment complaints behind closed doors at its next meeting.
       At the Jan. 21 Board of Education meeting, the board voted 6-0 to enter into closed session on Feb. 3 to discuss anti-harassment complaints filed by math instructor Diana Hart. Vice-president Chris Giancarli was not present at the meeting.
       Hart, an instructor at the Romeo Engineering and Technology Center, approached the board to once more request a closed session. She said she hadn't received any information since Dec. 16 when she approached the board with anti-harassment complaints.
       "At this point I'm trying to follow the policies that you've established, I'm trying to follow the emails that I've been sent," she said. "I'm getting no correspondences at all."
       An initial anti-harassment complaint was addressed by Superintendent Nancy Campbell, and policy states the decision made was final. Officials didn't reveal the nature of the complaint, but Hart said if she were to submit a new complaint that individuals involved would be investigating themselves.
       Board policy states the board will investigate all allegations of harassment, and if unlawful harassment is substantiated the board will put an end to it. Hart also noted that the policy addresses delaying or disregarding an investigation.
       The board suggested a new allegation be put in writing and sent directly to the board president, as the board can investigate complaints through a third party.
       Board President Ed Sosnoski said if the new complaint was filed, the board would take over and follow the due process. He said he wasn't trying to delay the investigation, but wanted all the information first before moving ahead.
       "If it consists of the superintendent on down, then yes, if she is included in this, then you need to submit it directly to me," he said.
       He said he also wished to discuss the matter with administration as to whether all procedures have taken place, and to schedule a closed session for the Feb. 3 meeting.
       "If nothing has happened, I don't know if we can make that decision tonight without being educated on the whole thing thoroughly," he said.
       Trustee Sara Murray said she wanted to go into closed session on Jan. 21. Trustee Anita Banach said she wasn't sure what the board would address unless a new allegation had been brought forward.
       "There is a harassment case you (Hart) filed that was already resolved, not to your liking, but you have an answer on that," she said.
       A motion to go into closed session on Jan. 21 failed, with Murray casting the only supporting vote.


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