Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education meeting highlights 5-19-2022

APRIL 19, 2022


  • Sexual harassment - root cause analysis
  • Action plan 
  • Board comments 


Present were Dan Heintz, James Posch, Jodi Sourini, and Beverly Wright. President Malia Lewis attended virtually. Also present were Superintendent Elizabeth Kirby and Treasurer Scott Gainer. The meeting lasted about two hours.

Sexual harassment - root cause analysis

Karen Liddell-Anderson, CHUH director of student services, facilitated a committee convened in response to student complaints and dissatisfaction with the response of school leaders to reports of sexual harassment among the high school students. She presented and defined the root cause analysis process, which is designed to understand the root causes of a problem in order to effectively solve it. The process identifies and analyzes factors that contribute to a root cause of a problem. Once the root cause is identified along with factors that can be controlled, solutions can be developed to eliminate, mitigate, or prevent the identified problems. The committee of students, parents, and school staff (which included Title IX coordinators) identified contributing issues and organized them into five groups by commonality: training needs, community partners, safe place or person, supervision and unsecured areas, and behavioral expectations. The committee did not find dress code an issue, but it will be addressed. Presently, there is not a formal dress code committee because feedback is still being received from stakeholders. 

Title IX coordinators Toia Robinson and Paul Rusinko also explained Title IX and its place in the process of addressing sex-based harassment.

Action plan

In response to the committee recommendations, Superintendent Kirby proposed ongoing training in sex-based harassment across stakeholder groups. The stakeholders include staff, students, and parents or guardians. Dr. Kirby emphasized that this is an iterative process that needs continued review, refinement, and adjustment. The district will continue to capitalize on community partnerships with the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center, MetroHealth, and others to access resources and support for students.

Communication is being expanded and signage revised in response to student requests for simple directions on how to report feeling unsafe in school. Signs and charts are now posted around Heights High, and a resources wall is outside the media center.

Mr. Bob Swaggard, director of curriculum and instruction, said the current curriculum is being audited in preparation for curriculum writing during the summer. Including instruction in sex education and consent must align with Ohio policy.

The superintendent’s presentation is available on BoardDocs.

Board comments 

Mr. Heintz asked for clarification on how student complaints are handled and by whom because there are three different jurisdictions: the district code of conduct, Title IX, and law enforcement. Toia Robinson responded that if Title IX receives the complaint and determines it is a Title IX concern, they handle the investigation. If it is not, then the district may enter. Mr. Heintz also recommended that information be shared with the community and that parents, coaches, and advisors needed education on these issues.

Several board members asked about inclusion of middle school and elementary students in the action plan because the report centered on the high school. 

Mr. Posch asked how a student would be allowed to find a safe place in the middle of the school day or even a class. 

Upcoming meetings include a regular board meeting on May 3, 7 p.m. and a work session May 17, 6:30 p.m. The Lay Facilities Committee will meet April 26 at 6 p.m. All meetings are held at the board of education offices.

LWV Observer: Rosemarie Fairman.

Documents for all board meetings can be accessed from the Board of Education webpage: Go to “BoardDocs” in the menu; on BoardDocs go to “MEETINGS” in the top menu; click on “Agenda.” Board meetings are livestreamed on the district’s YouTube channel ( and recorded for later viewing.

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