Reeds Spring, Mo. School District cancels “listening sessions” conducted by the United States Department of Justice Wednesday

Published: Sep. 27, 2022 at 11:29 AM CDT|Updated: Sep. 27, 2022 at 3:37 PM CDT
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REEDS SPRING, Mo. (KY3) - The Reeds Spring School District received pushback following a decision to cancel a meeting with the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. The school and the Department of Justice scheduled the listening session with students as part of an ongoing investigation of student-on-student harassment.

In a September 12 email, the district asked middle school parents to sign permission slips for their children to be part of the 30-minute sessions. They were told participation was voluntary, no student information would be collected, and students would remain anonymous. The investigation focuses on student-on-student harassment based on sex, including sexual orientation.

District leaders say since sending out those forms, they have received numerous calls and emails from parents with concerns. Reeds Spring Schools Communication Director Ben Fisher says parents expressed concerns the permission slip sent home did not fully explain the nature and scope of the listening sessions. Also, the Department of Justice would not allow parents to attend the sessions with their students. Parents were told district administrators planned to participate in the interviews to ensure the safety and confidentiality of the students.

Fisher says the department of Justice has not given a timeline for the length of the investigation. Reeds Spring will work with the DOJ and update the community as appropriate. The district says it believes a safe environment is essential and is committed to providing a learning environment that is free from bullying, discrimination, and harassment.

Fisher said he does not believe the sessions will be rescheduled. However, families wishing to speak with the DOJ may contact attorney Veronica Percia at veronica.percia@usdoj.gov or attorney James Eichner at james.eichner@usdoj.gov.

Under Department of Justice policy, it will not make any comments about investigations or even confirm or deny the existence of investigations until charges are publicly filed.

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