Norman Schools To Expand Task Force For Sexual Assault Curriculum
NORMAN, Oklahoma - A former Norman High School student charged with two counts of first-degree rape remains in jail on a $150,000 bond.
Tristen Killman-Hardin, 18, is accused of raping three Norman High students, although criminal charges have only come down for one.
In light of the recent accusations, the Norman schools superintendent expanded an existing task force that will study a comprehensive sexual assault curriculum.
Norman Superintendent, Dr. Joe Siano says around 20 people will make up the expanded task force. It will include students as well as a number of community members, and administrators. He says the plan is to get the right people around one table, moving in the same direction, to make sure students and their families get the help they need.
“These issues have always been a priority for us in the district,” said Siano. “They're complex.”
It's a district-wide initiative that Siano says will need to be effective.
“And when we're effective for all kids at every school, you reduce the trauma that's out there,” said Siano.
“It's an initiative that has to start with elementary. So elementary can't be left out of the equation. A lot of times we get into these discussions and we focus on those high schools. Well, this all starts at the elementary level and building their culture. So elementary is going to be part of this discussion.”
The superintendent's announcement of a "broader" task force comes days after hundreds of Norman High School students walked out of class to protest the alleged bullying of three teens in November.
The three young ladies reported being raped by Killman-Hardin. Two of the rapes reportedly happened off campus and one allegedly took place at Norman High. Norman police confirm there are still ongoing criminal investigations in two cases.
“For kids that struggle in a lot of different areas, sexual assault being one, other traumas, we have a wraparound type of approach for those students and their families to help shepherd them through these crisis's that families go through,” said Siano.
Kathy Moxley, the Director of OU's Women's Outreach center has been chosen to head the committee. Moxley is a licensed clinical social worker and coordinates sexual assault prevention and response for the university.
“There's no reason why a district and a community like ours can't be the model for this type of initiative,” said Siano. “I feel very confident in that. I think that it's the right thing to do, and I think this is the time. This is our time to do it.”
Siano says the new task force will offer a number of different components including mental health and child abuse.
The superintendent's team plans to announce more details later this week as well as who will make up the 20 member committee.