PALO ALTO (KTVU) -- More changes for the Palo Alto school district, following a 2 Investigates report that uncovered a campus sex assault scandal.
On Tuesday district officials announced a new Title IX coordinator, who was supposed to start next week will actually begin work on Wednesday. The staffing change comes after more than a dozen new alleged victims have come forward with reports of assaults at district schools last month.
At the bi-monthly Palo Alto school board meeting Tuesday night, board members got an earful from angry parents prior to retreating behind closed-doors for a session that's off the public record. The ill will is fallout from a campus sex assault scandal, with many parents critical of how at least two cases were handled.
"It's time to take action ownership of the mishaps that have happened. It's just unbelievable," said Samira Guccione, whose daughter is graduating from Palo Alto High School this month.
Disbelief by many parents turned to distain following a 2 Investigates report last month. An unidentified 14-year-old girl told KTVU a student-athlete at Paly forced her to perform oral sex in a school bathroom last October. In juvenile court, the accused student-athlete was found guilty of having oral sex with a minor. After 2 Investigates’ report, he decided not to finish the school year on campus.
The Title IX coordinator at the time, Holly Wade, never launched a Title IX investigation as required by federal law. Her last day on the job will be Friday, according to the district.
District Superintendent Dr. Glen "Max" McGee blamed outside legal counsel for the lapse.
"We still have some serious matters to address in improving our Title IX process in tackling sexual harassment and assault both inside and outside of school," McGee told the heavily-attended open session meeting.
McGee says over the past few days the district has worked with officials in the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights (OCR), to align district policies with federal and state law. Some parents questioned why that wasn't already completed considering the Title IX law has been on the books since 1972.
"It seems to me that the administration is oblivious that there's a poor climate at Paly," said parent Mudita Jain, who has a daughter and son attending schools in the PAUSD.
McGee says he hopes a new Title IX coordinator will help change the climate at Paly high and in the district. He also wants to have revised district policies ready for presentation to the board at a meeting scheduled for June 22.