School district’s probe of 2015 sex assault ‘inadequate,’ law firm finds


PALO ALTO –The Palo Alto Unified School District’s investigation into a 2015 sexual assault was riddled with flaws, according to documents released this week.

The 23-page report, conducted by the Cozen O’Connor law firm, was issued to the district March 13 but not released to the public until Monday in response to a public records request.

The request was made by Kathy Jordan, a district parent and school board candidate who is representing the alleged victim’s family. Jordan says she sought the report’s release because the victim’s family members felt it would back their belief that the district did not properly conduct its investigation.

The report found that although the district responded promptly to the incident and initially took all proper steps, the overall investigation was “inadequate.”

“… There was no coordinated oversight by the District’s Title IX Coordinator of the investigation … there was no written notice of outcome provided to the Complainant … (and) while administrators were involved in supporting the Complainant, the efforts were ad hoc, rather than coordinated or tied to a demonstrated understanding of Title IX obligations,” the report states.

In addition, the law firm found that the district did not document the investigation, didn’t conduct any follow-ups with law enforcement and didn’t try to determine whether there was a hostile environment at the school as alleged or attempt to remedy it.

The law firm recommended that all district employees receive training on their responsibilities under Title IX, the federal civil rights law that oversees public education, and that designated administrators be “actively engaged” with the Title IX coordinator at every school.

The report stems from a November 2015 incident in which a female Paly student told school authorities she was sexually assaulted in the school’s quad by a male student. Adam Paulson, the school’s new principal at the time, was the …read more

Source:: The Mercury News

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