Rossford Schools reviews sexual harassment policy after Murtha incidents

The Blade

June 29, 2019

By Jay Skebba

Rossford Schools is considering changes to its sexual harassment policy after being criticized for concluding female students touched against their wishes by a former school administrator weren’t sexually harassed because their academic performance didn’t suffer.

The move would make Rossford an outlier among most of its neighbors, as many school districts throughout the Toledo area — including Rossford — use the exact same policy language to determine if an employee committed sexual harassment.

But what actions specifically fall under those guidelines can be left up to interpretation, and that means different districts likely would have interpreted the sort of situation that transpired in Rossford in different ways.

The debate over what constitutes sexual harassment at Rossford Schools surfaced this spring when Pat Murtha resigned as athletic director and assistant high school principal. Mr. Murtha resigned April 22, and records from a district investigation obtained by The Blade in May concluded he engaged in the following behavior:

Mr. Murtha, who served as an anti-harassment compliance officer, often pinched or pulled a girl’s nose, tugged on her ears, rubbed her head, messed up her hair, and took her food without asking. She asserted Mr. Murtha touched her about 40 times since the middle of the 2017-2018 school year.

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