The Board of Education is committed to safeguarding the right of all students and staff within the school district to learn and work in an environment that is free from all forms of sexual harassment and gender discrimination. Therefore, the Board, consistent with state and federal law, condemns all unwelcome and/or unwanted behavior of a sexual nature that may impose a requirement of sexual cooperation as a condition of academic achievement or employment, or that has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive learning or working environment.
Sexual harassment can occur staff-to-student, student-to-staff, staff-to staff, student-to-student, male-to-female, female-to-male, male-to-male or female-to-female. It shall be a violation of this policy for any student, employee or third party (school visitor, vendor, etc.) to sexually harass, or discriminate based upon gender, any student, employee, or any other individual associated with the school.
Generally, sexual harassment is defined as all sexually inappropriate conduct that is unwelcome and/or unwanted, including sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and physical or purely verbal conduct of a sexual nature, when:
1. submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or a student’s right to a fair and equal educational opportunity;
2. submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for employment decisions or educational decisions affecting such individual;
3. such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or academic performance or creating a sexually intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or learning environment;
4. conditions exist within the school environment that allow or foster harassing activities of a sexual nature, including but not limited to obscene pictures, lewd jokes, sexual comments, gestures and innuendos, and sexual advances.
Examples of conduct that may constitute sexual harassment and would therefore be prohibited include:
· Unwelcome leering, sexual flirtations or propositions
· Unwelcome sexual slurs, epithets, threats, verbal abuse, derogatory comments or sexually degrading descriptions
· Unwelcome graphic verbal comments about an individual’s body or overly personal conversation
· Unwelcome sexual jokes, stories, drawings, pictures, objects or gestures
· Unwelcome spreading of sexual rumors
· Unwelcome teasing or sexual remarks about students enrolled in a
predominantly single-sex class
· Unwelcome touching of an individual’s body or clothes in a
· Deliberately limiting a student’s access to educational tools based on gender or sexual preference
· Conditioning academic and/or student activity privileges on submission to unwanted sexual conduct from students or staff
· Cornering or blocking of a sexual nature of normal movements
Gender discrimination is defined as pervasive and/or severe conduct intended to intimidate or demean a person or persons of the other gender or that which treats a person of the other gender differently in the learning or working environment because of his or her gender.
The Board also specifically prohibits all student-employee relationships of a sexual or quasi-sexual nature, whether or not consensual.
The Board acknowledges that the determination of whether sexual harassment or gender discrimination has occurred will be objective, based upon the viewpoint of a reasonable person, taking into consideration the perspective of the complainant and/or victim. While the accused’s conduct and/or intention may be considered, sexual harassment may be found even where the accused had no intent to sexually harass another individual.
Sexual Harassment Complaints
Any student or employee who believes that he or she has been subjected to sexual harassment or gender discrimination may report all incidents pursuant to the District policy and regulation. Anyone with relevant information may report allegations of harassment or discrimination, whether that person is a student, District employee, parent or guardian, or any other person who has relevant information. The person reporting the harassment or discrimination need not be a witness to the alleged incident of harassment or discrimination in order to report allegations of harassment or discrimination.
Students or their parents/guardians should report harassment or discrimination by another student to the Site Level Complaint Manager. Students and staff should report sexual harassment or gender discrimination by a staff member to the Title IX Compliance Officer. Parents and students have the right to file complaints with the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Justice, and other state or local entities.
A staff member, Building Principal or Superintendent shall promptly report to the Site-level Complaint Manager and the Title IX Compliance Officer any harassment on the basis of sex that they observe, are informed of, or reasonably suspect. The Title IX Compliance Officer shall make a determination as to who will investigate the complaint (e.g., Building Principal, Title IX Compliance Officer, Assistant Title IX Compliance Officer, or outside investigator).
Generally, the Site-level Complaint Manager must investigate student-to-student sexual harassment complaints unless the complaint is directed against the Site-level Complaint Manager, in which case the Title IX Compliance Officer shall investigate it. Depending on the circumstances, the Title IX Compliance Officer may also conduct the investigation of a student-to-student sexual harassment complaint. Any sexual harassment/gender discrimination complaint involving an adult staff member must be reviewed by the Title IX Compliance Officer and investigated by someone not associated with the school district site where the complaint arose.
The complainant, the alleged victim, and the alleged witnesses of an incident of harassment or discrimination shall have the right to request that an investigator of the same sex as he or she interview him or her. The District shall inform the complainant, alleged victim and alleged witnesses of this right prior to interviewing them. In the event that the alleged perpetrator of an incident of harassment or discrimination is the Compliance Officer, that Compliance Officer will not conduct the investigation into the incident.
Any person reporting harassment or discrimination must be treated respectfully and appropriately by the Compliance Officer to whom he or she reports the allegations, and by any other person within the District’s control who is involved in the reporting process.
Alleged incidents of harassment or discrimination may be reported anonymously. The District will investigate such alleged incidents to the best of its ability as thoroughly as allegations that are not reported anonymously.
The District will investigate allegations of discrimination or harassment to the best of its ability regardless of whether the alleged victim of the harassment or discrimination is identified or is willing to speak with the Compliance Officer or with any other person investigating the allegations.
In reaching a conclusion regarding whether or not allegations of harassment or discrimination are substantiated, the District will expressly make findings regarding the credibility of the alleged perpetrator. The finding may be that there is insufficient evidence to determine credibility. In all cases, the credibility finding will take into account such factors as whether the alleged perpetrator’s statement(s) regarding an alleged prior incident of harassment or discrimination has been contradicted by the statements of the alleged victim or by any witness or witnesses to the alleged prior incident.
Any staff member who fails to report a complaint of sexual harassment or gender discrimination may be subject to disciplinary action in accordance with law and any applicable collectively negotiated agreement.
All complaints of sexual harassment and gender discrimination will be held in confidence to the extent practicable to enable the District to conduct a thorough investigation as permitted by law. While the District respects the privacy and anonymity of all parties and witnesses to complaints brought under this policy, it cannot guarantee absolute confidentiality; for example, the District may have to reveal the identity of a victim or witness to comply with a discovery or disclosure obligation under law. Examples of steps that will be taken to maintain confidentiality are: conducting the investigation interviews in a location that is private, maintaining confidential files of the investigation, and limiting access to the Final Report and its findings on a need-to-know basis only.
If the District has knowledge of or reason to know of the occurrence of any alleged sexual harassment or gender discrimination, the District shall, even in the absence of a complaint, cause a prompt and thorough investigation of any such incident to be made. The investigation shall be commenced promptly after receipt of the complaint, or after the District has knowledge of or reason to know of the occurrence, and shall be concluded without unreasonable delay, as determined by the discretion of the Title IX Compliance Officer.
All complaints of sexual harassment and gender discrimination shall be taken seriously and an investigation shall be conducted to the extent possible. The investigator shall prepare a written report of the investigation. The report shall be filed with the Title IX Compliance Officer. In the case of an employee complainant, the report also shall be filed in the employee’s personnel file. The fact of a disciplinary outcome of any investigation of a sexual harassment/gender discrimination complaint shall only be relayed to the student and his/her guardian or the employee, as the case may be, as well as the accused, in compliance with state and federal privacy laws and regulations. The written report becomes the final District determination 30 days after the issuance of the written report if no appeal is made, or 30 days after the issuance of the appeal determination.
If the results of the District’s investigation indicate that sexual harassment, gender discrimination or other inappropriate behavior has occurred, immediate and appropriate corrective action will be taken. Corrective action shall be, among other things, calculated to end the harassment or discrimination and prevent retaliation, and designed to ensure that the offending conduct does not limit and/or interrupt the ability of the complainant (and the victim, if different) to participate in, or benefit from, the educational services, programs and/or opportunities provided by the District. Counseling memoranda, letters of reprimand, mandatory sexual harassment training, and appropriate disciplinary actions, are among the measures that may be taken.
It is the policy of the District to determine when appropriate disciplinary action should be taken against the offending individual in accordance with law, district policy and any applicable collectively negotiated agreement. Disciplinary action up to and including discharge of an employee and permanent suspension of a student may occur. Follow-up inquiries shall be made to ensure that the harassment has not continued or resumed.
If the District has issued a letter to the perpetrator of an incident of harassment or discrimination directing the perpetrator not to engage in further harassing or discriminatory actions, and the perpetrator disobeys that directive and engages in a further act of harassment or discrimination, the District will take additional steps with respect to the perpetrator beyond the actions that have already been taken.
If the complainant, or his/her parent/guardian in the case of a student complainant, or the accused is not satisfied with the results of the investigation, an appeal of the finding may be made to the Board of Education within 30 calendar days of the receipt of the written report by the Board of Education.
The Board prohibits retaliation against students or District employees who report allegations of harassment or discrimination on the basis of sex, or who participate in the reporting or investigation of such allegations, including against any witness who testifies in a sexual harassment/gender discrimination investigation. Follow-up inquiries by the Site-level Complaint Manager and the Title IX Compliance Officer shall be made to ensure that the complainant and/or witnesses have not suffered retaliation.
The initiation of a complaint of sexual harassment will not reflect negatively on the student or the employee who initiates the complaint, nor will it affect the student’s academic standing, rights, or privileges, or the employee’s job assignment, status, rights, privileges, or benefits.
The District shall provide appropriate training to students, to supervisory and other staff, and to Board of Education members regarding awareness of and sensitivity to issues involving sexual harassment and gender discrimination, including condemnation of such conduct, the sanctions for harassment and preventive measures to help reduce incidents of sexual harassment.
The Superintendent of Schools is directed to develop and implement specific procedures for reporting, investigating and resolving sexual harassment and gender discrimination complaints.
A copy of this policy and its accompanying regulation shall be distributed annually to all students and personnel, as well as new hires, and posted in appropriate places in the district.
Education Amendments of 1972, Title IX U.S.C.§1681
34 CFR §§ 100 et seq.
Gebser v. Lago Vista Independent School District , 1998 WL 32355 (1998)
Franklin v. Gwent County Public Schools, 503 U.S. 60 (1992)
Meritor Savings Bank, FSB v. Vinson, 477 U.S. 57 (1986)
Office for Civil Rights: Sexual Harassment Guidance: Harassment of Students by School Employees, Other Students and Third Parties, 62 CFR 12034 (March 13, 1997)