Stevenson High redesigns procedures for reporting discrimination, harassment

  • Lincolnshire's Stevenson High School redesigned the process for reporting and investigating complaints about discrimination, racial bias or harassment.

    Lincolnshire's Stevenson High School redesigned the process for reporting and investigating complaints about discrimination, racial bias or harassment. Daily Herald File Photo, 2018

 
 
Posted8/10/2020 5:30 AM

Stevenson High School's hiring of a diversity director comes as officials have redesigned the procedures for reporting and investigating complaints about discrimination, racial bias or harassment.

Students now can report incidents to any trusted employee or via the Lincolnshire school's website.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Scannable codes that link to the reporting site will be posted throughout the school.

A social worker will follow up with a teen who makes a complaint to provide any necessary support. The social worker also will speak with relevant school officials to ensure the offensive behavior stops.

If a student prefers, complaints can be made anonymously -- just like complaints about bullying or safety, said Sarah Bowen, Stevenson's director of student services.

"While we encourage students to share their name when reporting concerns, we also know this can present a barrier for some students," Bowen said.

School officials will investigate complaints and determine consequences, including mandatory participation in lessons about race and discrimination.

The new procedures were created after students and parents told administrators they hadn't reported incidents of racial harassment, in part, because of dissatisfaction with the prior reporting process, Bowen said.

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In another new approach, Stevenson officials are encouraging students and employees to act when they witness offensive or inappropriate behavior involving race.

Witnesses should interrupt offensive comments or behavior, question the person responsible for the behavior about why they made the comment or committed the action, explain why the statement or action is offensive and back up others who point out offensive behavior.

"While we recognize that these steps may be challenging for students, staff and (the) administration, we are committed to supporting one another in developing these skills to ensure that our school is an inclusive place for all," Bowen said.

More information about the new reporting process and anti-racist strategies are on the school's website as a message to parents titled "Equity, Access and Inclusivity at Stevenson High School."

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