Will the Culver City School Board or CCUSD respond to disturbing allegations?

The Culver City school board and Culver City Unified School District have again been notified about serious allegations of sexual assault, sexual harassment, discrimination/harassment, child pornography and other hostile education environment issues at the high school. Based on the detailed and public allegations, students clearly feel that CCUSD has not built sufficient institutional remedies and safeguards that they can trust. These brave CCHS students feel that they have no recourse but to take their classmates’ safety into their own hands. They did this by exposing this criminal activity and lack of effective District response on social media. 

Considering there are two seats to be contested for the school board in this November election, I expect to hear from all the candidates on exactly what they plan to do about these disturbing and criminal activities being perpetrated at CCHS. Here are a few questions that every serious school board candidate should be addressing publicly and in writing: 

1. Should the school board consider pictures of naked teenagers under the age of 18 on a student’s cell phone to be child pornography under California Penal Code §311.1(a)? If not, why not?

2. Will the school district enact a zero-tolerance policy for sexual assault, child pornography or solicitation of child pornagraphy and expel any students who violate those policies on the first violation? 

3. If a student claims that another student has been showing naked pictures of them to other students, will the district demand access to that phone and expel the student if access is denied?

4. Will the high school inform students and parents every single year of this problem and let them know the district has a zero-tolerance policy for any such criminal activity?

5. Will the high school develop student leaders to whom students experiencing sexual assault and/or harassment can notify, since students do not seem comfortable or aware of the district’s point person? 

6. Are they in favor of using third-party investigators for these issues?

7. How exactly will they protect and assist the victims beyond lip service?  

Students—and this community—deserve to hear a crystal clear policy from the current school board and their plan of action before lawsuits begin. The CCHS students will undoubtedly have their own list of demands, as they should. I hope the school board members will give priority to meeting those demands. There are not two sides to sexual assault and child pornography. There is only effective action or cover-ups.

— Scott McVarish, Culver City

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