MNPS Announces Plans for HR Assessment and Greater Focus to Strengthen Culture
NASHVILLE, Tennessee – (July 30, 2018) – Metro Nashville Public Schools Director, Dr. Shawn Joseph, announced again today that the district does not tolerate discrimination, retaliation or harassment, and laid out steps for strengthening policy and practice to ensure prompt, thorough and comprehensive investigations around such allegations. He further shared that the district will initiate an assessment of investigation methods and redouble efforts to address concerns around district-wide culture.
“We take very seriously our responsibility to protect the well-being of every single student and employee, and their right to learn and work in a respectful and safe environment free of harassment, discrimination, retaliation or other misconduct,” Joseph said. “Starting right now, we are taking a laser-sharp focus on creating an environment in which professionalism, respect and safety for all students, employees, and families mark every interaction.”
Within this process, MNPS also committed to protecting the privacy of those who have the courage to come forward and report incidents when they occur. Students and employees may report directly to supervisors or human resources personnel. Additionally, to further ensure privacy and confidentiality, a third-party anonymous hotline has been established for students and employees to confidentially report allegations of harassment or unwanted, inappropriate comments or physical touch (877-647-3335).
“These matters are very sensitive, and we want to maintain confidentiality to the maximum extent permitted under the law, otherwise we will never create a culture in which people feel safe in reporting these types of issues,” Joseph said.
While MNPS has clear policies in place that directly address how employees are to conduct themselves in the workplace, the district will seek to engage an external team of experts to validate best practices as well as identify areas for improvement. A proposal will be developed for the Metropolitan Nashville Board of Education’s consideration with recommendations for the use of experts to assist in this process.
Joseph said, “Our goal is to ensure that best-in-class practices are reflected in our work, and that we continue to improve.”
The district also wants to take the following steps:
- As new allegations surface, continue to promptly address them by conducting the necessary interviews and review of all evidence to ensure investigations arrive at a thorough conclusion and that appropriate action is taken;
- As another layer of accountability and accuracy, conduct a review of cases over the last year to ensure each investigation was closed out thoroughly;
- Collaborate with HR professionals in the corporate and non-profit sectors on best practices, including the sharing of resources and relevant training opportunities; and,
- Examine ways to conduct a district-wide climate assessment among key stakeholders.
Metro Nashville Public Schools is one of the nation’s top 50 largest school districts, preparing 88,000 students for higher education, work and life. With the goal of being the first choice for Nashville families, Metro Schools is committed to #ExceedingGreatExpectations with the mission of delivering a great public education to every student, every day. The district is earning a national reputation for urban school reform, social and emotional learning and rising academic achievement. The governing body for Metro Schools is the Metropolitan Nashville Board of Public Education, a nine-member elected body. For more information, visit MNPS.org, or follow us on Twitter @MetroSchools or Facebook /MetroSchools.