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Framingham school superintendent says response team making progress after assault investigation

Posted by John Swinconeck  May 7, 2013 09:55 AM

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FRAMINGHAM — A community response team is moving forward in its work to improve student safety and community relations after allegations that the district mishandled sexual assault complaints at Framingham High School, the superintendent said Monday night.

Framingham School Committee Chair Beverly Hugo stated in April that the district would review its policies and procedures after the US Department of Education's Office for Civil RIghts began investigating allegations that the district did not properly handle complaints that a Framingham High School student allegedly sexually assaulted two younger, female high school students in the school last year.

The accused student received a five-day suspension in June 2012. He did not face criminal charges.

In April, the Civil Rights office said it would also be investigating a complaint that the school district had not designated a coordinator to oversee the district's compliance with the federal Title IX law. Title IX is a 1972 law requiring gender equality in every educational program that receives federal funding.

Stacy Scott, who became superintendent in July 2012, said that he had been Title IX
coordinator since the beginning of the current 2012-2013 school year, but handed that position over to the district's director of student services, Anna Cross, in April.

On Monday, Scott told the School Committee that the community response team has "strong participation" from organizations including police and the district attorney's office, and support from the Office of Civil Rights – an organization that Scott said can provide Title IX training to assist schools in doing their own, in-house investigations.

He said more information on the team's efforts would be available in the coming weeks.

Ultimately, Scott told the School Committee, the team's purpose is to "move the community forward in a focused and thoughtful way," while improving safety and community relationships.

John Swinconeck can be reached at johnswinc@gmail.com.

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