The Howard County School Board formally admonished one of its members, saying she sexually harassed a teenage boy on school grounds, but she says she’s the victim of bullying by her colleagues.
According to one of her fellow board members, what Cynthia Vaillancourt said in front of an 18-year-old was inappropriate and uncomfortable. According to the teenager and his parents, it was sexual harassment.
In front of board members, Vaillancourt asked the teenager if he knew that you have to be 18 years old to buy condoms, witnesses said.
The school district investigated the remarks after the teen's family filed a formal complaint against her.
At the public board meeting where the board voted for the admonishment, Vaillancourt was urged to take sexual harassment counseling and training.
Vaillancourt said her statement was part of a discussion of public health issues in Howard County schools.
School Board Chair Ellen Giles said she heard the condom question and that there was no context for it.
Vaillancourt's attorney told News4 it's inconceivable anyone would consider the comment harassment.
“Character assassination, intimidation and bullying is not leadership,” Vaillancourt said before the vote to formally admonish her. “Our employees deserve better, our community deserves better and I deserve better.”
School district investigators reviewed the statement and the case and recommended Vaillancourt take part in sensitivity training, too.