Advocate: Kindred apology ordered
The Kindred School Board decided Wednesday to provide harassment training for school staff and demanded that a school employee apologize for her involvement in harassment charges, said an advocate for the two former students who brought the compl...
The Kindred School Board decided Wednesday to provide harassment training for school staff and demanded that a school employee apologize for her involvement in harassment charges, said an advocate for the two former students who brought the complaints.
The decisions came during a 4½-hour meeting between the School Board and the two female complainants, their parents and victims advocate Margaret Jakobson.
"They have taken a good first step on a long road to justice," Jakobson said. "This is far from over."
Besides the training mandate for district employees and students, Jakobson said, the board will require Julie Jensen to apologize in writing to Emily Gunkelman and the other, unnamed complainant. The board also agreed to provide counseling for the former students if deemed necessary.
Gunkelman called the action's taken Wednesday night bittersweet.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act bans Kindred school officials from commenting on the case. School attorney Jon Arntson said he could not comment on or confirm what happened in the closed-door meeting.
The two complainants say they suffered sexual harassment, including allegations that they were gay, from classmates and Jensen. After an investigation by then-principal Steve Hall, Gunkelman filed a federal complaint charging that the school didn't do enough to resolve the situation.
Jakobson said she will press for an independent fact-finding commission for future complaints in the district, and that she would continue with Gunkelman's federal complaint.
Another federal complaint may be filed because two witnesses were not allowed at Wednesday's meeting, Jakobson said. School officials said their presence would violate FERPA laws, but Jakobson said they had acquired federal permission to be there.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Forster at (701) 241-5538