weather icon Clear

‘Leading with respect’: Veterans Affairs Department emphasizes nonabusive behavior

Most veterans who avail themselves to medical care at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs know that the organization is committed to embracing a welcoming, diverse and respectful culture that does not tolerate harassing, disruptive or abusive behavior of any kind.

In December 2022, VA Director Denis McDonough wrote an open letter to veterans emphasizing that commitment. But for reasons unknown, this past month the VA has decided to resend the letter to its mailing list, and include a brochure with the heading, “Leading with respect.” The multi-page document has details that are designed to “ensure a harassment-free VA.”

Why the VA has seen fit to reissue the letter along with a brochure is not specified. It could be that there has been an uptick in abusive behavior at the VA in some of its many offices, but that is not stated nor has anything like that been reported in the national media. More likely, the VA just wants to drive home that such behavior will not be tolerated, and is again letting veterans know what is and what is not acceptable.

Examples are given of acceptable behavior including fostering a safe environment, holding oneself accountable, looking out for one another and promoting dignity and civility. In a red and orange box in order to stand out, examples are given that define prohibited behaviors, harassment and sexual assault: Offensive jokes or insults, rude or disrespectful flirting, rumors and gossip, intentionally misgendering, crude gestures, sexist remarks, cat calls, stalking, sexual touching and advances, groping and sexual coercion.

In his letter, McDonough stressed that in the event anyone experiences any harassment or sexual assault at a VA facility, it should be immediately reported. “We will investigate every report and take appropriate action,” he explained. He also noted that, “There is no wrong door for reporting” such negative behavior. “You can report to whomever you feel most comfortable speaking with about harassment or sexual assault.” Some resources that can be considered as designated points of contact include leaders at VA medical centers or clinics, vet centers, veterans’ benefit offices or veterans’ national cemeteries. There is also a toll-free number that can be called: (800) 698-2411.

The VA has also developed an initiative for individuals to commit to ending abusive behavior. It’s called the White Ribbon Pledge, and everyone is invited to take part. Go to va.gov/health/harassment-free. There is also free, on-line training available. For more information, go to veterantraining.va.gov/bystandertraining.

“Together, we will ensure that VA remains a trusted and safe environment for all,” McDonough said.

Cool down your home with hot-weather tips

It’s that time of year again when triple digits fill the week’s weather forecast. We know with rising temperatures come rising utility bills (often accompanied by rising blood pressure, yikes).

A popular Eagle tradition

The annual Boulder City High School Grad Walk was held this past Friday.

May the Fourth Be With You (a day early)

LEFT: Sophomore Delaney Loeslein gets some assistance during the class challenge of Hungry, Hungry Hippo at Friday’s BCHS year-end assembly.

DIY could be more costly and risky than DIFM

Back in the days of my home-show appearances, attendees would often ask me the same kind of question—“Do you think I could renovate my own bathroom (kitchen, bedroom…)?” To which I would always answer, “Do you know how to replace a light switch?” That would always make them chuckle.

Therapy dogs make testing ‘stress free’ at King Elementary

Test anxiety is a common concern for teachers, parents, and students, especially this time of year for King students as they prepare to take the state test for the first time.

Statehouse daughter heads services to veterans

It’s not out of the ordinary for journalists to sometimes leave the profession and try something new. Especially when they feel a family connection urging them to enter into a divergent field of employment. That’s what happened to one local individual.

Howard turns passion into full-time job

For many self-published authors, the passion to put words on a page ends up being a hobby they do when everyday life frees up a few minutes here and there to do so.

BCHS gearing up for spring play

Spring is in the air and life is abuzz in the Boulder City High School Theatre Department. While residents all over town are packing their winter clothes and embarking on spring cleaning projects; students in the drama department are collaborating on their spring performance of “Yard Sale” by Tim Kelly.

Andrew Mitchell Elementary goes beyond 7 Habits

As a Leader In Me School, Mitchell Elementary frequently refers to the 7 Habits. As a matter of fact, each day at our morning ceremony, students and staff recite our mission statement, which refers specifically to the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.