US attorneys want to speak with Shawnee Mission parents about sexual harassment problems

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- Attorneys from the U.S. Justice Department are coming to Overland Park next week. They want to hear from parents in the Shawnee Mission School District whose students have experienced problems with sexual harassment.

Charlie Tietgen’s daughter, Claire, has been a student in the district most of her life, but she struggled with disabilities, and because of that, she suffered from bullying and harassment.

Her parents feel the district didn't follow its own zero tolerance policies in handling those instanced. They believe the district needs to make some changes.

"One, the way they document it. We would like more transparency with the school," Tietgen said. "Also, we'd like them to uphold the regulations and the disciplines that they have in place -- that they don't. So those, I think, first of all, need to be followed."

According to a letter the Tietgens shared with FOX4, Justice Department attorneys are coming next week to hear other students' stories.

The letter says: "We are inquiring into the Shawnee Mission School District`s response to sexual harassment, and we are interested in meeting with families who have experience with this issue."

The Tietgens started a nonprofit called E3 Sports Facility in Overland Park. That's where the attorneys will hold a community meeting Tuesday night. Families can also schedule private interviews.

The Tietgens believe there are other families like theirs who have stories and concerns of their own to share, who want their children to feel safe and to send a clear message that harassment will not be tolerated.

"This is where parents send kids to be safe, and parents need to know that in schools today, schools aren't safe," Claire Tietgen said.

The Shawnee Mission School District issued the following response:

"The Shawnee Mission School District strongly believes in the right of all students to be safe from bullying and other threats. We have not been contacted by the Office of Civil Rights, but stand willing to work with them on this very important issue."

FOX4 also contacted the Justice Department but have not heard back.

If you'd like more information on the public meeting or private interviews with the Justice Department attorneys, visit this site.