Update: Parent reportedly rescinds Title IX complaint against Community High School administration

Dean Marci Tuzinsky had been accused of misconduct in her handling of several alleged sexual assault incidences at Community High School.

Back to Article
Back to Article

Update: Parent reportedly rescinds Title IX complaint against Community High School administration

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Update

April 30 –  Community High School parent Jenny Hannibal, who announced through social media April 25 that she was filing a Title IX complaint against the school for mishandling sexual harassment and assault allegations at the school, has released a new statement on her Facebook account stating that she is now aware that her complaint contained “inaccuracies that are significant enough to rewrite and retract” the complaint. While saying that she is unable to comment on specific inaccuracies due to privacy concerns, Hannibal states that she “has become much more aware of the ways that Community High School teachers and staff have carefully handled incidents of sexual assault with the upmost concern for students involved.”

Hannibal states that she has met with CHS families and staff to discuss the district’s sexual assault policies “to help shape a more transparent and consistent policy that reflects national [practices].”

Hannibal’s second Facebook post says she will submit the complaint to the Michigan Office of Civil Rights when it is revised.

 

Original Article

April 26- A Community High School parent has filed a Title IX complaint against the school administration for alleged “systemic and ongoing mishandling of sexual assault cases.” The complaint alleges “non-compliance of procedures” for sexual misconduct, and claims Community High Dean Marci Tuzinsky has not properly reported several incidents of sexual assault of students.

Title IX is a federal law which dictates that no person shall be subjected to discrimination under federally-financed assisted programs, including educational institutions. According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, school officials are considered “mandatory reporters,” thus they are required to “make an immediate report…by telephone or through the online reporting system, of suspected child abuse or child neglect.” Child abuse and neglect includes claims of sexual misconduct and assault, such as those specified within the complaint. AAPS Title IX policy states that “any district employee who either reasonably believes a student has been discriminated against based on sex or who receives a complaint of sex discrimination, harassment or violence from a student must immediately submit the Complaint Form to the Responsible Administrator.”

On April 25, a parent identified in the complaint as Jenny Hannibal posted a copy of her complaint on Facebook. The Optimist attempted to reach the parent through Facebook but has not received a reply. The posted complaint alleges that “multiple instances of sexual assault have occurred at Community High School that lack an appropriate school response, notification of proper authorities, and proper documentation.” The alleged assaults, the complaint states, “can be verified by teachers at the school.” These include instances of sexual assault of female students by male students on school grounds and visible on school surveillance cameras, a male student with multiple allegations of sexual assault being permitted to continue attending the school, and multiple instances of neglect with respect to school officials following proper procedures as mandatory reporters. Hannibal further claims that “teachers have been aware of the situation for some time” and that their internal attempts to provoke change have been suppressed or “met with threats of retaliation,” specifically job loss or transfers. Hannibal’s complaint stated that she does not know most of the girls included within the complaint, none of whom are named within the complaint, and that her child is not a victim in any of the sexual assault claims.

The complaint also alleges that, despite the school administration being aware of sexual misconduct allegations among students, they “did not file any Title IX forms for the twelve incidents” within the complaint. Under the Michigan Freedom of Information Act, which ensures public access to information from Michigan government entities, Hannibal reportedly requested Community High Title IX Complaint forms from Ann Arbor Public Schools and data detailing incidents of sexual assault in the past four calendar years. AAPS officials, she said, reported that the district only had one Title IX Complaint Form filled out by a victim’s mother on file. Additionally, she said in the complaint, the administration did not produce data relating to recent instances of sexual assault or harassment, despite such data being mandated by state law.

The Optimist reached out to Dean Tuzinsky’s office at Community High School today and the call was transferred to District Media Contact Andrew Cluley, who forwarded a statement from AAPS Superintendent Jeanine Swift that was also sent to Community High School parents on Friday. In the statement, Swift said that “when a situation emerges regarding the safety of our students, members of our team follow appropriate steps, including contacting the parent/guardian of the students involved, notification of DHS, conducting a thorough investigation of the matter, and contacting AAPD in full support of a law enforcement investigation…we are not able to speak directly to the specifics of this case as those matters are protected under Federal privacy laws, [yet] we absolutely can assure that we consistently follow this protocol and steps as appropriate in matters of student safety.”

Hannibal is seeking an investigation from the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) into Community High’s responses to the alleged incidents. Although the OCR has a requirement for complaints to be filed within 180 days of the incidents, Hannibal is requesting a waiver concerning the 180-day filing requirement as part of her complaint. Hannibal’s complaint says that she is seeking “a revised approach to student on student sexual assault” in the Ann Arbor Public Schools, and specifically that:

  • The district “review and update school policies, the employee handbook, and student handbook, specifically updating the sexual harassment and assault policies with significant input and guidance from professionals who specialize in Title IX issues.”
  • “All faculty and staff be trained in Title IX, other civil rights law, policies and procedures, by a professional who specializes in Title IX issues.”
  • “All faculty and staff be trained to receive complaints of sexual harassment and assault compassionately and effectively, by a professional who specializes in Title IX issues.”

According to MLive, who reported that Hannibal also sent a copy of her complaint to them, a Michigan Department of Civil Rights spokesperson said Friday that the complaint has not been put within their records, and it may still be processing.

Swift’s statement included a notice to Community High parents that there will be a meeting for them with AAPS officials and counselors concerning the allegations on Tuesday, April 30, at 7:45 a.m. at Community High School.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

[/infographic]