Parents question HCS sexual harassment reporting, response procedures

Parents question HCS sexual harassment reporting, response procedures

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Parents took to social media to express disappointment and concern after an Horry County Schools employee was charged with indecent exposure.

Darrell Rice, identified as a janitor at Waterway Elementary in Little River, reportedly exposed his privates to a 6-year-old child, according to Horry County police. The investigation revealed the act was caught on the school's surveillance system, according to the police department.

"I am extremely disappointed, As a parent who's child attends this school, why didn't they notify any of the parents about this incident. Why did we have to find out by news/social media. No letter sent home or phone call was made. I need to be assured of my child's safety at school. If they didn't let us know about this, what else are they keeping from us???" one mother posted to social media.

Another woman urged parents to contact the school board, calling the school's lack of the communication "absolutely irresponsible."

"...there is a large group of us calling the school board tomorrow... The lack of communication with this school is absolutely irresponsible! Please, I urge u to make the same call!"

Another parent agreed the school board should have notified parents of Waterway Elementary and said the school district should provide answers as to why parents were not notified.

"I have a child that attends this school and I agree that parents should've been notified of this incident. The schools can email us school closing why can't they email us when situations like this occur. District office worked on this case over the weekend, they could've taken 15-20 mins to type out a general letter to parents to send home with kids today. Not sure if it's the school district or the school itself. But either way we parents deserve answers as to why we were not notified."

Following the arrest of Rice, parents claimed the Waterway Elementary Facebook page had been removed. Tuesday, a search for the school warranted no results.

"The school keeps deleting my posts on their website asking WHY parents weren't notified."

According to the Horry County Schools 2014-2015 Policy Manual, regarding the sexual harassment of students section, reporting and response procedures read as follows:

The District shall be responsible for ensuring that reasonable efforts are made to prevent public disclosure of the names of all parties involved in the sexual harassment allegation, except to the extent necessary to carry out an investigation and comply with statutory obligations.

If the investigation determines that sexual harassment has occurred, the District or school administration shall take reasonable, timely, age-appropriate, and effective corrective action.

Examples of corrective action include, but are not limited to: disciplinary action against the harasser, up to and including termination of an employee or expulsion of a student; special training or other interventions; apologies; dissemination of statements that the school does not tolerate sexual harassment; independent reassessment of student work; tutoring; and referrals to counseling services. 
- Horry County Schools Division of Human Resources

Following a school board meeting Monday, members voted to terminate Rice as an employee of Horry County Schools.

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