Moving the Mission Forward

MSM Initiatives: A Voice for Human Dignity

Click here to read a letter introducing the initiatives from MSM leadership.

As a response to the independent investigation conducted in 2021, our school leadership is resolved to ensure our policies, words, and actions reflect our mission and our Catholic social teaching honoring the dignity of the human person. We must have standards and protocols that ensure everyone in our community - students, alumni, parents, faculty, staff - feel safe, recognized and protected at Mount St. Mary. Our leadership is committed to listening to the voices of victims and involving our community as we renew our commitment to our mission and values. 

As we move forward, we have leaned on the expertise of legal professionals, law enforcement, social services, and educational professionals. We are fully cooperating with local law enforcement, and we encourage any victim to do the same.

There are four initiatives underway to respond to what we have learned about our community and how we want to move our mission forward. Each initiative includes objectives and actions completed to date that are outlined below. We will update this page regularly to reflect progress, and will continue to revise our plan to reflect the needs of our students and community. 

Initiative 1: Voices for Human Dignity: Preventing and Responding to Sexual Harassment Through Training

Mount St. Mary Catholic High School will provide mission and value-aligned training and tools to our employees, volunteers, students, and parents, so that we can effectively support human dignity in our school community.

Initiative 2: Voices for Human Dignity: Building Effective Policies and Procedures

Mount St. Mary Catholic High School will update our policies and procedures in accordance with best practices, so that we can effectively support human dignity in our school community.

Initiative 3: Voices for Human Dignity: Supporting our Community

Mount St. Mary Catholic High School will provide counseling and additional support to current and former students involved in the recent investigation.

Initiative 4: Voices for Human Dignity: A Mount St. Mary Task Force for Change

Mount St. Mary is forming a task force to engage community members in a review of specific elements of our school culture, and to make recommendations that will better align our practices to our school’s mission, vision, and dedication to being a voice for dignity and respect.

 

Initiatives, Objectives, & Actions Defined

Initiative 1: Voices for Human Dignity: Preventing and Responding to Sexual Harassment Through Training

Mount St. Mary Catholic High School will provide mission and value-aligned training and tools to our employees, volunteers, students, and parents, so that we can effectively support human dignity in our school community.

  • Objectives 
    • Require training in sexual harassment prevention for all students, employees, and volunteers. 
    • Require training for employees and volunteers about making reports to authorities.
    • Require training for employees and volunteers about ethical standards and practices for supervising students in classrooms, during school sponsored-activities (transportation, competitions, games, field trips, etc.).
    • Require training for the administrative team (including Administration, Counselors, and Directors) about consistent strategies for documentation.
    • Offer training for parents about sexual harassment and sexual harassment prevention.
  • Actions Completed to Date 
    • Trainings:
      • Identified training for employees and volunteers about ethical standards and practices for supervising students with a completion date by the end of February 2022.
      • Identified training for employees and volunteers about making reports to authorities with a completion date by the end of February 2022.
      • Completed all staff safe environment training (January 31, 2022)
    • Administration is working with experts to develop anti-sexual harassment training for employees, volunteers, parents and students.
    • In December 2021, eleven of our staff members, including all administrators and counselors were trained in a 14-hour anti-sexual harassment seminar.

 

Initiative 2: Voices for Human Dignity: Building Effective Policies and Procedures

Mount St. Mary Catholic High School will update our policies and procedures in accordance with best practices, so that we can effectively support human dignity in our school community.

  • Objectives 
    • Assess and review current policy and procedures related to sexual harassment
    • Interview experts for guidance (law enforcement, legal etc.)
    • Develop new language for policy
    • Vet the policy language in the community and with experts
    • Amend handbooks with new policy
    • Implement best practices in our policies and procedures learned from training 
    • Establish and communicate a protocol for responding to student reports
  • Actions Completed to Date 
    • School administration assessed current policy and procedures. (November and December 2021)
    • The task force and our interim principal will continue to lead ongoing assessment and revision of these policies and procedures.
    • School administration, including counselors, athletic directors, and director-level positions attended a required anti-sexual harassment training. (December 2021)
    • Research of policies, procedures, and training related to preventing and addressing discrimination, harassment, and sexual harassment began in November 2021 led by school administration. The task force and our interim principal will continue to lead ongoing research and revisions.
    • School administration developed a draft Anti-Discrimination, Anti-Harassment, and Anti-Sexual Harassment policy in December 2021. The policy will be distributed to local law enforcement, legal experts, and community stakeholders via the task force for review.

 

Initiative 3: Voices for Human Dignity: Supporting our Community

Mount St. Mary Catholic High School will provide counseling and additional support to current and former students involved in the recent investigation.

  • Objectives 
    • Ensure access to counseling for current and former students who have experienced sexual harassment and assault.
    • Explore the inclusion of a student advisory council for current students to elevate their voices regarding school policies, procedures, and practices.
  • Actions Completed to Date 
    • Contact was made by the Mount St. Mary Board to victims who cooperated as part of the independent investigation, and resources have been offered. (January 2022)

 

Initiative 4: Voices for Human Dignity: A Mount St. Mary Task Force for Change

Mount St. Mary is forming a task force to engage a variety of external and internal community members in a review of specific elements of our school culture, and to make recommendations that will better align our practices to our school’s mission, vision, and dedication to being a voice for dignity and respect.

  • Objectives 
    • Review our student, faculty, and athletic handbooks to align MSM mission and values with expectations and protocols.
    • Make recommendations regarding updating policies, procedures, and practices.
    • Review methods that students have for communicating concerns to staff, and make recommendations for change. Increase avenues for student communication with staff by providing students with resources and opportunities for engagement.
    • Review elements of school climate and identify elements that prevent students from feeling like they can report incidents to staff, and make recommendations for change.
    • Review current curricular offerings regarding anti-sexual harassment and make recommendations for future opportunities.
  • Actions Completed to Date 
    • Development of a framework for the task force in January 2022, led by our interim principal. 
    • Awaiting confirmation for a task force chair- (Task Force Chair Confirmed 1/28/2022)
    • Awaiting confirmation of task force participants- (Task Force Members Confirmed 2/14/2022)
    • Initial Task Force meeting & planning session- (Completed 2/ 17/2022)

 

We want to reiterate our commitment to our community. We love our students, we love our families, and we are working with multiple experts and stakeholders to ensure that our policies, procedures, and practices reflect our shared mission and values. We know that we must do better, and with your help, we can and we will. 

We welcome and encourage our community to engage with us in dialogue. You can always reach out to the school directly by calling or emailing our Interim Principal, Dr. Floyd, or you can engage in dialogue with the Task Force by reaching out to the Task Force Chair once they are announced. 

God Bless You, God Bless Your Family, and God Bless Mount St. Mary Catholic High School.