SCCSD Superintendent Gausman releases statement concerning recent student conduct allegations

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – There were concerns that ranged from bullying to issues with special education programs that are being raised with the Sioux City Community School District Board of Directors.

The parents of three district students voiced their concerns at Monday night’s regular board meeting.

One parent told the board that her daughter suffered serious injuries after being the target of a new social media challenge called the “skull breaker.”

Another parent went as far as to call for the resignation of Superintendent Dr. Paul Gausman after he said the district failed to investigate the sexual assault of his daughter.

The Board of Directors took no action and made no comment on the concerns.

Superintendant Gausman said the student privacy laws prevent him from talking specifically about the allegations but he did read a prepared statement concerning the recent student conduct allegations at Monday night’s meeting.

“I can tell you with great certainty that all our staff are committed to providing a safe and supported environment that is conducive to student learning. I recognize that not everyone will always agree with the actions we take or the outcome of a particular matter, still, our efforts are focused on supporting and providing a safe learning environment for all of our students,” said Superintendant Gausman.

He went on to outline the practices used by the district when a concern is brought to their attention.

Here is the full statement that Superintendent Dr. Paul Gausman read at Monday night’s board meeting.

As the Superintendent of the District, I feel I need to address recent allegations that have been made about how we handle reported concerns involving our students. First and foremost, I want to be very clear that the District is committed to providing an environment where students and staff members are treated with dignity and respect.

As the Superintendent, it is my job to model accountability and student-centered leadership. It is also my job to support our staff in doing the same. I can tell you with great certainty that all of our staff are committed to providing a safe, supportive environment that is conducive to student learning.

However, due to student privacy laws, we are not able to comment on specific matters. Many people do not understand why we cannot provide details on individual cases, so I want to take a moment to explain. The federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) as well as state confidentiality laws protect student information and almost always prevent us from discussing specific matters. This means we cannot confirm if a concern about a specific student was brought forth, if it was investigated, or if any action was taken. These laws protect the privacy of all of our students, and the District must follow these laws.

While we cannot comment on any specific instances of concern, I can tell you about the practices we follow when a concern is brought to our attention.

Board Policies set out various procedures that are in place for parents, students, and staff to follow when there are concerns about specific conduct that might impact a student’s educational opportunities. Those procedures are also in our Parent/Guardian and Student Handbook. If a concern is reported, we take steps to understand what occurred and then take appropriate action after considering all of the facts and circumstances.

Although our procedures are based on the laws that apply to schools, we may work in collaboration with other agencies, such as DHS or law enforcement when it is appropriate. We may also:

· Implement a student safety plan or

· Provide services such as counseling or academic support

I recognize that not everyone will always agree with the actions we take or the outcome of a particular matter, still, our efforts are focused on supporting and providing a safe learning environment for all of our students.

From Sioux City Community School District Superintendent Dr. Paul Gausman

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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