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Harassment Matters

Harassment Matters

I am thankful. As I sit down to compose this article, it's Cyber Monday. Our family returned yesterday evening from a delightful weekend trip to Dallas, where we people-watched and purposely did no shopping.

I am thankful. As I sit down to compose this article, it's Cyber Monday. Our family returned yesterday evening from a delightful weekend trip to Dallas, where we people-watched and purposely did no shopping. We had a lighthearted time with lots of laughter all around.

Although it’s unfortunate to have to think of pesky legal issues during this season of joy and extra days off, think we must. Lately, numerous incidents of sexual harassment in the workplace have been reported in the media. As this issue unfolds and more people come forward, we’re likely in a place where addressing harassment (sexual or otherwise) will be a top priority for some time to come.


As you know, schools aren’t immune. Now is a great time for school leaders to evaluate their harassment policies and procedures applicable to both employees and students. Ask targeted questions about your policies when reviewing them. Are they in keeping with the current social and legal climate? Are there logical procedures in place for reports to be easily made? Does the post-report process demonstrate the district's thoughtful, sincere and timely investigation and possible action?

Finally, consider opportunities to better educate students and staff about harassment. Get out ahead of this before it comes to you in the form of an incident. If you can prevent even one person from being a victim, it will have been time well spent. Please

Terri Thomas

Legal Services

Terri Thomas serves as Director of Legal Services for OPSRC. Ms. Thomas is an attorney practicing exclusively in the area of Oklahoma school law, with a primary focus on rural and smaller school districts. Prior to OPSRC, she served as legal counsel for the Organization of Rural Oklahoma Schools (OROS).

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