Notices & Disclosures
Erin’s Law and Gavin’s Law Parent Notification
SC Whitmore School
Student Safety Policy: Erin’s Law and Gavin’s Law
At SC Whitmore, we prioritize the safety and well-being of our students in accordance with the laws of South Carolina.
In the year of 2014, the State of South Carolina passed Act 293 known as “Erin’s Law,” as part of health and safety education for its public schools. The purpose of the law is to ensure all students, pre-kindergarten through high school, receive this prevention instruction during the academic school year. The intent of Erin’s Law is to give students skills in knowing how to stay safe from sexual assault and how to report any incidents of sexual assault.
The South Carolina Department of Education created Erin’s Law instructional units in support of the new legislation that amended the Comprehensive Health Education Act. South Carolina Code of Laws Section 59-32-20 (B) was amended to read that the State Board of Education through the South Carolina Department of Education “shall select or develop instructional units in sexual abuse and assault awareness and prevention, with separate units appropriate for each age level from four-year-old kindergarten through twelfth grade.”
In the year of 2023, the State of South Carolina passed Act 54 of 2023 known as “Gavin’s Law.” The legislation states the crimes are for “threaten(ing) to release, exhibit, or distribute a private image of another in order to compel or attempt to compel the victim to do any act or refrain from doing any act against” that person’s will. Convictions can be punished by up to 20 years in prison if the victim was a child or a vulnerable adult, and up to five years for the first conviction if the victim is an adult.
Gavin’s Law also requires that schools collaborate with the State Department of Education, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, and the Attorney General’s office to implement a policy to educate and notify students of the law, which includes adequate notice to students, parents or guardians, the public, and school personnel of the change in law and the dangers of sexual extortion. The Department of Education recommends Gavin’s Law be taught as part of the Erin’s Law curriculum with age-appropriate instruction on the dangers and consequences of sexual extortion.
In line with our commitment to the safety and well-being of our students, we have implemented the following policies, as required by Erin’s Law, S.C. Code Section 59-32-20 and 59-32-30(G) and Gavin’s Law, S.C. Code Section 16-15-430, to create a safe and supportive learning environment for all students:
- Age-appropriate curricula: We will incorporate age-appropriate prevention education programs into our curriculum that address child sexual abuse, assault, exploitation, and extortion. These programs will be tailored to different grade levels to ensure students receive the information in an age-sensitive manner.
- Awareness campaigns: We will regularly conduct awareness campaigns to educate students, parents, and staff about the signs, risks, and prevention of child sexual abuse, bullying, and extortion. These campaigns will aim to foster a culture of openness, trust, and mutual support within our school community.
- • Safe reporting channels: We will establish multiple safe and confidential reporting channels, such as trusted staff members, anonymous hotlines, or online platforms, to encourage students to report any incidents of abuse, bullying, harassment, or extortion without fear of reprisal.
- • Prompt response: Upon receiving any reports, we will ensure a prompt and thorough investigation, adhering to all legal requirements and protecting the privacy of all parties involved to the extent legally possible.
Staff Training and Support:
- • Professional development: All school staff, including teachers, administrators, and support personnel, will receive regular training on recognizing and responding to signs of child sexual abuse, bullying, harassment, and extortion. This training will equip them with the necessary skills and knowledge to support students effectively.
- • Supportive environment: We will foster a supportive environment where students feel comfortable reaching out to trusted adults. Staff members will be trained to listen, believe, and respond empathetically to students who disclose abuse, bullying, harassment, and/or extortion.
By implementing this policy, we aim to ensure the safety, well-being, and success of all our students. Together, we can create a nurturing environment where every student feels protected, valued, and empowered to thrive.
Proviso 1.3 Pursuant to Section 59-20-80
In order to ensure transparency with the South Carolina Department of Education and our stakeholders we have posted our annual budget and salary details for the school year below.
School Report Card
Freedom of Information
SCWS recognizes the right of any person, subject to the provisions of the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”), to inspect or receive copies of any public record, as defined by law, in accordance with reasonable rules concerning time and place of access. In this regard, the following provisions govern such requests:
- All requests to inspect and/or receive copies of records should be made in writing to the attention of the Board Chair or Executive Director.
- Within 10 (ten) business days of receipt of a written request to copy, review, or receive public records, the Board Chair or Executive Director will send written notification to the person making the request. The notification will confirm whether or not the records are subject to disclosure, when the records can be made available, and state approximate actual costs, if any, which will be incurred by SCWS and charged to respond to the request. Specifically, the FOIA allows the collection of reasonable fees, not to exceed actual cost of the search, retrieval, and redaction of records. The fee for the search, retrieval, or redaction of records shall not exceed the prorated hourly salary of the lowest paid employee who, in the reasonable discretion of the custodian of the records, has the necessary skill and training to perform the request.
- Requested documents may be provided in digital form via a thumb drive or other electronic device or method used to transmit digital files. Where an electronic version of a requested public record does not exist, SCWS is not required to create an electronic version.
The following materials are usually exempt from disclosure:
- Records that are specifically required by federal or State statute or regulation to be kept confidential;
- Records related to an investigation or prosecution of criminal activity;
- Information of a personal nature where the public disclosure thereof will constitute unreasonable invasion of personal privacy;
- Documents incidental to proposed contractual arrangements and proposed sale or purchase of property;
- Salaries of employees, except as provided by the FOIA;
- Correspondence or work products of legal counsel for SCWS and any other material that would violate attorney-client relationship;
- Personally identifiable information in educational records;
- Test questions, scoring keys and other materials when disclosing such documents would compromise the validity of the test;
- Materials gathered by a public body during a search to fill an employment position, except as provided by the FOIA; and
- Any other matters exempt from disclosure under the FOIA.
S.C. Code, 1976, as amended:
Section 30-4-10, et seq. – South Carolina Freedom of Information Act
Schedule of Fees for Public Records
South Carolina Freedom of Information Act (§ 30-4-30(B))
A reasonable fee not to exceed the actual cost will be charged for the search, retrieval, and, when appropriate, redaction, of records produced in response to a request for public records under the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”). Additionally, copies will be charged at a cost not to exceed the prevailing commercial rate for the producing of copies. In certain cases, particularly FOIA requests in which a large number of records or confidential information is requested, a deposit not exceeding 25% of the total estimated fee will be required prior to commencing the retrieval and production of records.
Reasonable efforts will be made to produce records at the lowest possible cost, and the following fee schedule will apply:
- Copying costs will be charged at a commercially reasonable rate of $0.10 per page, and, the fee for non-standard size documents, such as architectural plans or property plats, will be individually determined at the time of copying based on actual copying cost.
- Search, retrieval, and redaction costs of records will be charged at the prorated hourly salary of the lowest paid employee who, in the reasonable discretion of the custodian of the records, has the necessary skill and training to perform the search, retrieval, and, if appropriate, redaction. Records requests involving specialized, technical, or confidential information, or otherwise requiring redaction, will in many cases require an employee with a higher salary to perform the search, retrieval, and/or redaction. The fee rate, accordingly, will vary based on the nature of the records requested, depending on the necessary skill and training level necessary. Time will be billed based on 1/4 hour increments.
The fee schedule may change from time to time as salaries and commercially reasonable copying costs change.
Fees will not be charged for examination and review of documents to determine if the documents are subject to disclosure. Additionally, copying costs will not be charged for copies of records that are transmitted in electronic format, although if requested records are not already in electronic format, fees will be charged for staff time required to transfer the documents to electronic format.