In response to a sexual harassment infraction between a former Marian coach and former student in 2013, that was brought to the school’s attention last winter on social media, Marian’s administration said that an update to the school’s sexual harassment policy that reaffirmed student-staff boundaries was necessary. “All of our teachers have to complete Safe Environment Training through the Archdiocese, and we run a background check on each staff member every three years as a part of their evaluation,” Principal Mrs. Susie Sullivan said. “This [policy] is just one more piece, to put something formal in place in our sexual harassment policy.”
“I think that this has created a bit more awareness for teachers and it’s a difficult balance between building relationships and not crossing that fine line,” Sullivan said. She wanted to ensure students’ safety and the protection of staff members through the additions to the handbook policy. Updates to the policy include prohibiting texts and individual meetings outside of school between faculty and their students.
“Student safety is my number one priority. And I want them to have a sense of awareness, that they should listen to their gut if they feel that something isn’t right,” Sullivan said.
This past summer, a Marian girl had parked in the lower lot when Mr. Kevin Adcock of outdoor maintenance asked her to move her car for parking lot maintenance. Not recognizing Adcock as a Marian staff member, but mistakenly as a stranger, she called her dad, who then called the police. The issue was resolved, and members of the maintenance staff now wear Marian polo shirts to help girls identify them more easily. “She did everything she was supposed to do,” Sullivan said.
While she hopes that no student is ever involved in sexual harassment and that the updates will continue to be nothing more than proactive, Sullivan urges students to follow their intuition. “I just want girls to trust their gut,” Sullivan said, “If something doesn’t feel right, tell someone.”