The Manchester Board of Education addresses three board policies with a first and final reading to adopt with a “one and done” vote that addressed Title IX policies involving sexual harassment, bullying and student harassment concerns and one that covers drug and alcohol testing for employees.
Director of Schools Dr. Joey Vaughn said that they are Tennessee School Board Association recommended policy.
“The Title IX policy is brand new across the state,” Vaughn said.
One detail of note in the policy is the inclusion of a specific point of contact within the system. Dr. Mick Shuran is the Title IX coordinator for the district.
“In order to maintain a safe civil and supportive learning environment, all forms of sexual harassment and discrimination on the basis of sex are prohibited,” the policy reads, in addition to defining types of behavior that could be included and mandates supportive measures for complainants and respondents as appropriate. The policy also lays out a procedure for complaints, grievances and responses to allegation.
The anti-bullying policy covers the behavior of staff, students and parents. It is a broad-reaching policy that covers activities on campus and off campus if the action as the effect of creating a hostile educational environment of disruption of the learning environment. The principal or designee will handle school level complaints within 48 hours of the complaint. Investigations and intervention should be taken within 20 calendar days from receipt of the initial report.
The board approved drug testing policy went into effect Tuesday, Feb. 9. It maintains that the district maintain a workplace free from the effects of drug and alcohol abuse.
It prohibits employees from using, possessing or selling illegal drugs on or off the job. Employees shall not report to work under the influence of alcohol or use prescription drugs illegally.
Testing for drugs and alcohol will not be random for general employees, however, all new hires will be asked to submit a substance test to be considered for employment.
In the event of the cause for reasonable suspicion, a drug test may be required if the employee is seen violating the substance abuse policy, show an apparent state of physical impairment, show marked behavior changes otherwise unexplainable, is involved in an accident or series of accidents involving suspected drug abuse or violates criminal statutes involving drugs or alcohol.
Vaughn said that the longstanding board policy has before not included new hire testing, but that the practice is commonplace with systems in the state.
Chairman of the Board Travis Hillis confirmed before the vote that procedures were in place concerning the proper handling of reasonable suspicion tests.
Test screens the policies passed unanimously.