UPDATE: We want to update you on a story we ran yesterday. Last night at 6, Mariah Harrison reported that the Lansing School District went at least two years without a Title IX coordinator.
That’s the person who is responsible for handling cases of, among other things, sexual discrimination.
We’ve learned more today.
Months ago we filed a Freedom Of Information Act asking the Lansing School District to provide us with the names and dates of employment for their last 5 Title IX coordinators.
What we got was documents that did not include a coordinator for 2013 and 2014.
We based our story on the documents they provided and asked the district about that gap.
We ended last night’s story without a response but we got one this afternoon.
These are school board minutes showing Sergio Keck being appointed as “Title IX coordinator” in 2013 and 2014, two of the years in question.
In the documents provided to us Keck is named as coordinator in 2015 along with evidence of a training seminar Keck attended in September of that year.
We’ve asked the district why these documents were not included in our original request as required by law.
We’ll continue to follow the two open federal Title IX complaints against Lansing schools on air and online at WLNS.com.
(WLNS) — An Eastern High School graduate requested to remain off-camera as she described her 2014 rape and the confusion that followed.
“When it happens who do you go to? Who do you talk to about something so sensitive like that?” she asks.
The incident happened in a truck parked outside of Eastern High School on September 9th 2014.
An Ingham County judge found then 17-year-old Edward Jackson guilty for the attack, and sentenced him to 7-15 years in prison.
When asked if the victim had a clear picture of who she needed to report her attack to, she told our reporter a simple “No.”
According to School District documents obtained by 6 News, the correct answer appeared to be attorney Peter Jensen. School board minutes from 2011 show that Jensen was appointed as coordinator on January 6th, 2011.
6 News reached out to Jensen by phone to ask about his time as coordinator, but Jensen told us he left the Lansing School District toward the end of 2012.
The District provided us more school board minutes, and according to the papers the board didn’t approve the next coordinator, Sergio Keck, until 2015.
That leaves just over a 2 year gap where the district operated without a Title IX coordinator.
During that gap, a female student was raped.
Elizabeth Collins is the Title IX Coordinator for the Michigan Department of Education, and told 6 News that the federal guidelines are clear in that school districts must have a district level coordinator at all times.
Collins says, Title IX Coordinators are responsible for disseminating information to the school community about Title IX and it’s many protections, and the coordinator should also be involved in current investigations.
The 6 News investigation turned up another gap between 2008 and 2009, when the school board appointed Peter Tresize to the coordinator position in 2007.
Tresize told 6 News that he left the School District for a different job at the end of 2007.
According to the documents provided to us by the school district, the next coordinator, Shan Shaw, didn’t take over until January 2009.
The 2014 rape victim and her family took their case to Federal Court, and accused The Lansing School District, Superintendent Yvonne Camaal Canul, and several other district employees of violating Title IX by treating the student with deliberate indifference after coming forward about her attack.
The Lawyer representing her case is also representing another Eastern High School Student, whose family says administrators suspended the student after reporting her attack in a school stairwell.
Both victims say something needs to change.
One victim told our cameras, “Every school should be a safe place, there should never be an incident where something happens there should never be an incident where something happens and the victim doesn’t know where to turn.”
The District filed responses to the lawsuits in August.
In them, administrators acknowledge that they should have informed the students and their families of who the Title IX Coordinator was, and about their rights and protections under Title IX.
Administrators reject the claim that they showed “indifference” to the students plights.
The families attorney, Karen Truszkowski, told 6 News there are sections of the response that add up and there are sections that don’t, “they are required of course to have a title ix coordinator and to inform any student that is a victim of sexual assault or sexual harassment of their rights. Does it make sense to me? No.”
When asked directly if the Lansing School District had an active Title IX Coordinator in 2014, the District did not give us a response.
Stay with 6 News, We’ll be Here For You with whatever happens next in the cases.