Dayton school board updates sexual harassment policy for board members

Policy follows after one board member accused another of sexual harassment and bullying

Dayton Public Schools’ board of education has passed a sexual harassment policy that encompasses board members, something that one board member has been pushing to pass for the last two years.

The policy set up a way for everyone, including board members, to report sexual harassment, along with ethics violations and discrimination.

The same board policy was voted down last year after several members abstained. But this year it passed unanimously at the Nov. 21 meeting.

Board member Jocelyn Rhynard first proposed the sexual harassment policy. She is now running for state senate to represent Dayton and its suburbs.

“This is a big win not just for the future of the board, but for the district and community as a whole,” Rhynard said of the policy passing. “The board came together in the spirit of collaboration and cooperation, when we clearly stated we will not stand for sexual harassment or misconduct among employees.”

Rhynard proposed the policy last year after accusing another board member, Will Smith, of sexually harassing her earlier in 2022. After introducing the policy, she said she had been bullied and retaliated against.

Smith denied the accusations and said there had been “no bullying of anyone on this board.”

“I am grateful that the policy has passed, and employees and board members can feel protected,” Rhynard said. “This has been a long, hard-fought battle, but even when the path is difficult, I am committed to doing the hard things, especially in the times it matters most, and especially in the name of protecting others.”

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