Parkway responds to the issue of sexual assault


Susie Seidel

Holding signs stating, ‘#MeToo’, students express support for the movement encompassing the media.

The anticipation of event posters filling the walls, parents selling bagels for 75 cents per half and that voice always reminding you to stay classy at the end of the day all contribute to the climate of the school day. However, the district putting ‘Parkway’ in ‘Parkway West’ also contributes to the climate felt by students and staff in the halls through its expectations and policies.

Under scrutiny and conforming to the requests of families and taxpayers across the St. Louis area, Parkway makes strides toward progress and change to better the community, according to chief of human resources Amy Joyce.

“One of my primary job responsibilities is to ensure compliance with school board policy and state and federal law,” Joyce said. “We try to stay abreast by changing laws, requirements, training, and development to make sure that Parkway is in compliance and we are being progressive, and how we can make our employees stronger and develop them.”

With recent attention in the media to sexual harassment in Hollywood, Parkway and the West community recognizes the issue has permeated through state and local organizations.

“It’s brought a lot of awareness,” sophomore Charlotte Zera said. “With all of these people coming out, its opened my eyes to how severe it is, and how we as a community should respond to the issue by changing culture and environments.”

Students like sophomore Campbell Stewart wish there was a greater discussion on topics regarding the respect of female students.

“It’s common knowledge even if you tell someone what they’re doing is not okay, there is a chance they’ll do it again,” Stewart said. “The school should be more open in general to conversation to stop this problem from seriously affecting the school.”

Joyce believes school districts do a good job in educating employees, but believes in setting higher standards for the district.

“I think it starts with a culture,” Joyce said. “We are always open-minded and flexible and that comes from a lot of reading, going to conferences, people sharing best practices, and an environment and culture of trying new things, and if it fails we move forward.”

One way the district has strived to meet these expectations is through the Parkway Ethos Statement. The statement summarizes the standards of displaying respect, maintaining an image of professionalism, taking advantage of opportunities that can impact the district in a positive way, and represent the district in a way that upholds its reputation.

“After you have this culture and expectations, it’s continually trying to communicate that and making sure everyone is reminded at all times, this is who we are,” Joyce said.

Specifically, Parkway works against the fear of sexual misconduct in its schools and offices by annually providing training through a computer program all staff must go through. This program consists of hours of education through informative videos and testing. The repercussions of violations of Parkway’s policies are clearly stated in Section G of The Board Policy and Guidelines.

“Parkway serves as a role model for students in the community, and we are held to a higher standard for our workforce and have to understand our actions can impact the district,” Joyce said.

Despite the tension and feelings of unrest projected by the media of sexual misconduct encompassing the country, Parkway prides itself on being open and responsive to the needs of the community. Any members with strong feelings and concerns are encouraged to attend board meetings and use their voice.

“Parkway is very innovative and we are open to new ideas, new ways of doing things. We are continuously pushing ourselves not to stay in the box, we need to look out of the box,” Joyce said. “Just because we’ve done things for many years doesn’t mean we can’t do it another way.”