Burlington School District (BSD) is pleased to announce that following three years of hard work and a renewed focus on training in Hazing, Harassment, and Bullying (HHB) procedures, the District has been released from its 2019 settlement agreement with the United States Department of Justice.
In a letter to the District, the DOJ noted, “We also recognized the efforts of the District’s leadership to prioritize equity work and appreciate the District’s commitment to continue its work in this area. In particular, we have observed that District employees’ compliance with your policies and procedures regarding harassment has increased tremendously since our initial investigation.”
“I’m incredibly proud of the work our team has done to get to this point,” said Superintendent Flanagan. “This major milestone is a testament to the hard work of our Director of Equity, Sparks, and to our Office of Equity, Principal Oropeza, our leadership team, and the Sustainability Academy staff. Sparks and these leaders led us in making changes to the way we report, how we investigate, and how we educate students, staff, and the community around HHB, and, most importantly, gender identity and bias. Though it was hard work, BSD is now better able to support and keep students safe.”
“Although BSD humbly appreciates being released from the settlement agreement, we must also acknowledge the issues that caused BSD to be in the agreement from the start,” said Sparks, BSD’s Director of Equity. “First and foremost, our responsibility is to keep students, and staff safe from situations of Hazing, Harassment, and Bullying. Through our work with the DOJ, we have implemented several strategies and systems to ensure all incidents of HHB are addressed thoroughly and swiftly.”
Both Sparks and Flanagan also noted that even though the agreement is no longer in place, the systems and best practices that have replaced them will continue.