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SPARCC Issues Apology for Use of Non-approved Materials in Class

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The Safe Place and Rape Crisis Center (SPARCC) has issued an apology to the students, staff and administration at Pine View School for the use of inappropriate materials to seniors last Wednesday. SPARCC has conducted classes on healthy relationships in the school district, and until now, has always used pre-approved materials that conform to curriculum guidelines and School Board policy.

 On November 7, an unsuitable video was shown to Pine View students that was not approved by the school district. After observing the video in class, a teacher notified school administration of their concern about the contents of the video, and an investigation was conducted. Previously, SPARCC had used an approved video to teach this coursework. After an initial investigation, it was discovered that a SPARCC counselor took it upon herself to show this video, knowing it had not been previously vetted, and broke curriculum protocol. In addition, school staff at Pine View did not follow the correct process for guest speakers by admitting this counselor in the school in advance of their appointment and showing materials that had not been approved. 

 In a statement from SPARCC, President and CEO, Jessica Hays wrote, “We sincerely apologize for the incident last Wednesday at Pine View. The staff member did not follow established protocol regarding the programming presented, and the organization has acted to ensure that this does not happen again. SPARCC has had a positive relationship with Sarasota County Schools that has spanned more than 15 years and we take the trust placed in our organization very seriously. Preventing domestic/dating violence and sexual assault is central to our mission and SPARCC aims to be a trusted resource for our community.”

 “We appreciate SPARCC’s shared concerns regarding this incident,” noted Dr. Stephen Covert, principal at Pine View School. “I am thankful for their swift review of the events and apology to our students, staff, school leaders and families. Until now, SPARCC has been a trusted resource for our students and school community, however, I am disappointed that the action of one resulted in an unacceptable situation for our students. I want to assure our school community that we will follow district guidelines and will take extra precautions in the future to ensure only pre-approved materials are used in the classroom.”

 Until a complete review is conducted, the school district has suspended SPARCC from presenting programming in Sarasota County schools. The district has also reinforced guest speaker protocols with school leaders and staff to ensure anyone presenting to students has a pre-approved set of curricula that is reviewed and accepted by the school principal.

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