Sexual Assault Allegations
The board is responsible for establishing policies and for supervising the Superintendent, who is responsible for implementing those policies. Despite having policies in place that are designed to prevent unlawful discrimination and/or harassment, there have been multiple complaints in recent years of high school principals fostering a toxic school culture that permitted sexual assault and failing to respond to reports of sexual assault. Since the Superintendent is responsible for oversight of these district officials and the Board is responsible for oversight of the Superintendent, the Board and Superintendent are also responsible for these issues.
Furthermore, for many years the District administered a climate survey that covered many aspects of school life, including whether students felt safe in their schools. Several years ago, the Superintendent and Board of Education discontinued that survey, effectively eliminating student voices that would make them aware of problems like these in the schools.
The District is now facing a lawsuit that asserts officials at Fairview High School in Boulder knew during the 2016-17 school year that a student athlete was accused of raping at least two other students, but failed to investigate and did nothing to protect students from facing a hostile environment at school. The suit further claims that Fairview High leaders fostered a school culture that was permissive of sexual assault and mistreated victims, and that the school and Principal Stensrud “repeatedly turned a blind eye to rampant sexual harassment and abuse.”
It was and is the Board’s responsibility to ensure that District policies are followed and to ensure they have the information they need to oversee the Superintendent effectively. They have consistently failed to do so with respect to providing educational programs and activities that are safe and free from discrimination and harassment. As a result, students have been harassed, schools have been disrupted and the District’s reputation has been damaged.