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Park City School District nears end of harassment incident reviews

Row of blue school lockers.
Helistockter - stock.adobe.com

The Park City School District is continuing to review harassment incident reports from the 2022-2023 school year. It expects to finish the reviews by June.

In March, the district signed a joint resolution with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights to resolve harassment and discrimination compliance concerns. As part of the resolution, the district must review reported harassment incidents from the 2022-2023 school year.

Superintendent Jill Gildea said the district has been working on incidents involving 29 individuals, although there are multiple cases for some students. To complete the review, the district is looking at how an incident was handled at the time it was reported including reviewing paperwork and checking whether the family of the child was interviewed. Gildea said the district then looks into how the student was supported and if those efforts were sufficient.

The district expects to be finished with its review by May 30.

All new reports of harassment are now being submitted through the district's newly finished standardized reporting system. Gildea said the district expects to have an increase in harassment reports with the new system.

“If we see something we do want people to say something and we anticipate we will have actually an increase in reporting so that we do know which areas to focus in on with additional education for students and our community.”

Gildea said the district is also focusing on learning how to better communicate its policies for addressing harassment and ways to prevent it.

The district currently escalates consequences for repeat offenders, which can vary depending on the age of the student.

Among the possible punishments for students are phone calls to parents, referral to a small support group, in-school suspension, out-of-school suspension and online learning.

Gildea said dealing with harassment in local schools has been a concern since before the OCR resolution was signed.

“From the moment and even before, right, even before any of these issues were filed with OCR, as we were working through these, there has been an acknowledgment, ‘Hey, this is a concern.’”

District schools have also made efforts to prevent harassment. Treasure Mountain Junior High students learn more about how to prevent harassment every week in an advisory class and Gildea said Ecker Hill Middle School rolled out lessons on harassment this year as well. Gildea also said the leadership class at Park City High School has also helped.

“We have seen kids wanting to solve this, we have seen leadership class talking about current issues,” she said. “Social justice courses talking about this and providing their ideas as to what may help in this scenario, including educating the adults.”

In addition, she said, a wellness and problem-solving program has been developed for elementary students.

The district expects to be in full compliance with the terms of the OCR resolution by the summer of 2026.