Superintendent Cyndy S. Taymore
360 Lynn Fells Parkway
Melrose , MA 02176
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2015
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Statement of Melrose Superintendent Cyndy Taymore Regarding OCR Resolution Agreement
MELROSE — Superintendent Cyndy Taymore issues the following statement:
“On Dec. 17, I, on behalf of the Melrose Public Schools, signed a resolution with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. This agreement will be effective through December 2018. It concludes an investigation into the district that began in November 2014 after allegations were made that one of our Melrose Memorial Middle School students had been subjected to harassment based on race in the spring of 2014.
“Once I received verbal notification from OCR determining that the school district was found to be in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, we began a dialogue with OCR to resolve this matter and move the district forward by implementing a series of initiatives to prevent a similar event from occurring in the future.
“This resolution shows the commitment of all members of the Melrose Public Schools to ensure no student is discriminated again based on race, color or origin. As part of the agreement, the district will receive technical support from OCR to assist the schools with their programs and policies surrounding this subject.
“Going forward, we will actively investigate all reports of discrimination, harassment or hostile environments and will take the necessary steps to remedy situations as needed.
“In October, a harassment officer was appointed by the school committee to ensure the district remains in compliance with any reports of harassment or discrimination and to ensure that such reports are investigated and resolved appropriately. This person will also assist with general training for administrators and teachers to better maintain a respectful learning environment for all students. The Assistant Superintendent for Pupil Personnel Services is responsible for coordinating the district’s compliance with Title VI and Title IX.
“As upsetting as the precipitating event was, it provided us with an opportunity to address a difficult topic in our schools and our community. The safety and well-being of our students is paramount. We have been actively engaged in improving our staff and students’ awareness and responsiveness across all schools for the past 20 months and will keep this dialogue active and open.
“We appreciate the continued support and guidance from OCR as we review our policies and procedures.”