Training to address sexual misconduct - WEEK.com: Peoria-area News, Weather, Sports

Training to address sexual misconduct

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A Richwoods High School teacher was arrested for allegedly having an inappropriate relationship with a 17-year-old student. He is out of jail as of Tuesday though, given a notice to appear in court later.

This allegation comes after three other Peoria Public Schools teachers were sentenced for other cases of inappropriate relationships dating back to 2013. 

Many people want to know why this keeps happening and if students and teachers have formal training to identify inappropriate behavior.

It has been almost a year since Peoria Public Schools added this to their policy: "One thing we hadn't spelled out were the staff and student relationship and what's prohibited and what's defined as sexual misconduct. So our board wanted to be proactive in defining what that means and what sexual misconduct is," stated Director of Communications, Chris Coplan. 

They also have staff training, an online public school works training, which addresses how to handle inappropriate relationships, inappropriate advances and what steps to take. Staff go through the lessons once hired and every three years after that.

They provide training for students too and partner with the Center for Prevention of Abuse and the Hult Center to help determine what is an appropriate relationship and boundaries. 

"We've had several incidents where students are reporting to the principal and the principal is required to investigate and turn it over to authorities," stated Coplan. 

If a student sees or hears something they feel is not right, students can report a situation to any school staff member they feel comfortable with. After the initial report school safety officers are brought in to follow-up. 

"...we will continue to shore up any deficiencies that we discover," said Coplan.

Coplan also said there will always be people who break policies but went on to say the district will do whatever it takes to make sure this does not happen again. 

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