Supporting Schools in Preventing Sexual Abuse
On December 5, 2018, we held a focus group session with charter school leaders in partnership with Praesidium, an industry leading consultant we are collaborating with in sex abuse prevention work. Staff from schools discussed the student protection policy that we’re drafting to serve as a guide to schools in their work to prevent sexual abuse in their schools. The Board will approve the final policy.
This session is a continuation of the support DC PCSB has offered schools in this area all year. In partnership with DCPS, we hosted the Ahead of the Curve conference on May 31, 2018. At the conference, more than 170 public charter school and DCPS staff learned how to manage and prevent sexual abuse at their schools. The conference provided training through three critical workshops:
- Understanding responsibilities as a mandated reporter and the Impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences on Future Health & Social Outcomes.
- Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Training, aimed at empowering adults to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to child sexual abuse.
- Crisis Management: What every school should know and do before, during, and after a crisis.
In addition, we hosted a second workshop specifically for public charter school leaders on August 10, 2018. This workshop focused on helping school leaders understand how sex abuse happens and how to develop school policies and practices that prevent these incidents from occurring.
The strong attendance at these events shows the great demand and need for training and encouraged DC PCSB staff to include this work as an organizational goal for this year. While DC PCSB staff has been drafting a model student protection policy for several months, before the DC Council introduced the School Safety Act of 2018. We are making sure the model policy aligns with the requirements and key elements of the proposed bill.
It is our hope this work will provide a strong foundation for our schools to build on. Going forward, we will continue to work with schools, Council, community partners, and agencies to create and implement strategies that will allow us to prevent and eliminate sexual violence in our schools.