Letter: New school district leadership required
Now that the independent investigation report has been released to the public, we know that the findings includes metrics where the Steamboat Springs School District staff reported:
• “37% of staff members would feel comfortable bringing up an issue concerning sexual harassment, misconduct or assault concerning students or staff to SSDS administration”
• “65% experienced or witnessed disrespect from SSSD administration to staff, students or parents”
• “34% experienced or witnessed bullying from SSSD administration to staff, students or parents”
These metrics provide a stunning indictment of the failure of leadership in our district and the lack of meaningful board oversight for a period of years.
An environment where 63% of district staff aren’t comfortable bringing an issue to district leadership doesn’t develop overnight. An environment where almost two-thirds of staff have witnessed or experienced disrespect toward staff, students or parents from district leadership doesn’t develop overnight. Finally, an environment where a third of district staff claims to have experienced or witnessed bullying from district leadership directed towards staff, students or parents, did not develop overnight.
These types of problems have all been repeatedly reported, and repeatedly ignored, by both our district leadership and multiple Steamboat Springs School Boards over a period of years. As a result, public outcry grew so loud it could no longer be ignored and a new school board initiated an independent review of the complaints.
Now, with the independent report complete and the findings made available to the public, appropriate measures should be taken quickly by the board to ensure that staff, students or parents are no longer disrespected or bullied by our district leadership moving forward.
When 63% of our district staff report they aren’t comfortable taking issues to district leadership, they are clearly asking for new leadership. When 34% of district staff report to have experienced or witnessed bullying from the district leadership, it is long past time for new leadership.
In response to the findings from the independent investigation, our school board must act to provide our district new, competent leadership without hesitation. Only a new superintendent can change the years-long cultural problems that have caused so much harm within our district.
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