The petition below can be found and signed at:
Petition to Respect Parents' Rights
Protect West Bend's Students From Far-Reaching Harassment Policy
We, the undersigned students, taxpayers, parents, leaders, residents, and business owners of the West Bend School District, petition members of the West Bend Board of Education to revise the overreaching proposed school harassment policy to include the following commonsense principles:
1. Develop a policy that respects the Free Speech Rights of area students as guaranteed under the First Amendment; and
2. Develop an even-handed policy that applies to all students and does not provide preferential treatment to certain groups of students; and
3. Develop a policy that respects the rights of parents by requiring Parental Notification when a student is involved in a harassment disciplinary action which is not the current practice. Many parents are offended by the notion that disciplinary proceedings may take place without their knowledge; and
4. Develop steps for disciplinary action that respect the rights of both parties to a harassment case.
As currently drafted, the proposed policy allows alleged "victims" to self-define what they view as "harassing" or "offensive" conduct. Without having reasonable standards put in place, the proposed policy makes the West Bend School District and its taxpayers vulnerable to legal challenges and uncapped compensatory settlements.
By signing this petition, we affirm that we live in the West Bend School District and are not in agreement with the proposed harassment policy as written, and we strongly advise the Board of Education to permanently table any action on this matter until the above principles are incorporated into the final policy to be adopted by the District.