Amherst schools to release Title IX report

  • Present interim Superintendent Doug Slaughter speaks at Amherst Town Meeting in April 2018 as chairman of the Amherst Select Board.

Staff Writer
Published: 11/15/2023 7:16:15 PM
Modified: 11/15/2023 7:15:28 PM

AMHERST — Three Title IX reports and two associated personnel investigatory reports looking into alleged transphobic actions by counselors at the Amherst Regional Middle School are being released and published, with some redactions, by the public school district.

The reports, examining possible anti-LGBTQ behavior and possibly the hiring practices used by the assistant superintendent at the time, were completed in October and had previously only been available to some staff, administrators and members of the Amherst Regional School Committee, and not to the public at large.

Interim Superintendent Douglas Slaughter announced to the school committee Tuesday that the reports would be made public, following a public records appeal to the Secretary of State, filed by the Daily Hampshire Gazette on Oct. 16, after the district turned down two requests from the newspaper, made in September and October, to obtain the reports.

The Gazette argued that the public records law calls for disclosure, since district leaders and public employees might be subjects and more than $70,000 was paid to Ed Mitnick of Just Training Solutions of Springfield to handle the investigation.

While Slaughter had hoped to have the reports out Wednesday, he told the Gazette Wednesday that the release would likely be delayed until midday Thursday or possibly Friday morning.

A Title IX investigation began April 14 after a resident alleged her transgender child had been harmed by the actions of school employees and was potentially suicidal after intentionally being misgendered and misnamed by three employees. That led to Assistant Superintendent Doreen Cunningham and three other staff members being placed on leave amid the investigation, while Superintendent Michael Morris left his position at the end of August. Cunningham’s employment ended in October.

After Slaughter provided the update, the Amherst Regional School Committee voted unanimously Tuesday to instruct him to have the documents published in their entirety, and in a visible way, on the school website.


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