COMPLAINT PROCEDURES: INVESTIGATION AND RESOLUTION OF COMPLAINTS
Harassment and bullying of students and employees are against federal, state and local policy, and are not tolerated by the board. The board is committed to providing all students with a safe and civil school environment in which all members of the school community are treated with dignity and respect. To that end, the board has in place policies, procedures, and practices that are designed to reduce and eliminate bullying and harassment as well as processes and procedures to deal with incidents of bullying and harassment. Bullying and harassment of students by other students, by school employees, and by volunteers who have direct contact with students will not be tolerated in the school or school district.
The board prohibits harassment, bullying, hazing, or any other victimization of students based on any of the following actual or perceived traits or characteristics, including but not limited to: age, race, color, religion, national origin, sex, physical or mental ability or disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, creed, marital status, physical attributes, ancestry, political party preference, political belief or familial status. Harassment against employees based upon the employee’s age, race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, marital status or creed is also prohibited. This policy is in effect while students or employees are on property within the jurisdiction of the board; while on school-owned or school-operated vehicles; while attending or engaged in school-sponsored activities; and while away from school grounds if the misconduct directly affects the good order, efficient management and welfare of the school or school district.
If after an investigation a student is found to be in violation of this policy, the student shall be disciplined by appropriate measures which may include suspension or expulsion. If after an investigation a school employee is found to be in violation of this policy, the employee shall be disciplined by appropriate measures which may include termination. If after an investigation a school volunteer is found to be in violation of this policy, the volunteer shall be subject to appropriate measures which may include exclusion from school grounds. “Volunteer” means an individual who has regular, significant contact with students.
When looking at the totality of the circumstances, harassment and bullying mean any electronic, written, verbal, or physical act or conduct toward a student which is based on any actual or perceived trait or characteristic of the student and which creates an objectively hostile school environment that meets one or more of the following conditions:
- Places the student in reasonable fear of harm to the student’s person or property;
- Has a substantially detrimental effect on the student’s physical or mental health;
- Has the effect of substantially interfering with the student’s academic performance; or
- Has the effect of substantially interfering with the student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or privileges provided by a school.
“Electronic” means any communication involving the transmission of information by wire, radio, optical cable, electromagnetic, or other similar means. “Electronic” includes but is not limited to communication via electronic mail, internet-based communications, cell phones, electronic text messaging or similar technologies.
Harassment and bullying may include, but are not limited to, the following behaviors and circumstances:
- Repeated remarks of a demeaning nature;
- Implied or explicit threats concerning one’s grades, achievements, property, etc.;
- Demeaning jokes, stories, or activities directed at the student; and/or
- Unreasonable interference with a student’s performance.
Sexual harassment of a student by an employee means unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.
In situations between students and school officials, faculty, staff, or volunteers who have direct contact with students, bullying and harassment may also include the following behaviors:
- Requiring that a student submit to bullying or harassment by another student, either explicitly or implicitly, as a term or condition of the targeted student’s education or participation in school programs or activities; and/or
- Requiring submission to or rejection of such conduct as a basis for decisions affecting the student.
Any person who promptly, reasonably, and in good faith reports an incident of bullying or harassment under this policy to a school official shall be immune from civil or criminal liability relating to such report and to the person’s participation in any administrative, judicial, or other proceeding relating to the report. Individuals who knowingly file a false complaint may be subject to appropriate disciplinary action.
Retaliation against any person, because the person has filed a bullying or harassment complaint or assisted or participated in a harassment investigation or proceeding, is also prohibited. Individuals who knowingly file false harassment complaints and any person who gives false statements in an investigation shall be subject to discipline by appropriate measures, as shall any person who is found to have retaliated against another in violation of this policy. Any student found to have retaliated in violation of this policy shall be subject to measures up to and including suspension and expulsion. Any school employee found to have retaliated in violation of this policy shall be subject to measures up to and including termination of employment. Any school volunteer found to have retaliated in violation of this policy shall be subject to measures up to and including exclusion from school grounds.
The school or school district will promptly and reasonably investigate allegations of bullying or harassment. The Title IX Coordinator will be responsible for handling all complaints by students alleging bullying or harassment. The Title IX Coordinator will be responsible for handling all complaints by employees alleging harassment. It is the responsibility of the superintendent, in conjunction with the investigator and principals, to develop procedures regarding this policy.
The board will annually publish this policy. The policy may be publicized by the following means:
- Inclusion in the student handbook
- Inclusion in the employee handbook
- Inclusion in the registration materials
- Inclusion on the school or school district’s website
A copy of the policy shall be provided to any person requesting one at the administrative office. Students who feel that they have been harassed or bullied should:
- Communicate to the harasser or bully that the student expects the behavior to stop, if the student is comfortable doing so.
- If the student needs assistance communicating with the harasser or bully, the student should ask a teacher, counselor or principal to help.
If the harassment or bullying does not stop, or the student does not feel comfortable confronting the harasser or bully, the student should:
- Tell a teacher, counselor or principal
- Write down exactly what happened in an incident report:
- What, when and where it happened
- Who was involved o Exactly what was said or what the harasser or bully did
- Witnesses to the harassment or bullying
- What the student said or did, either at the time or later
- How the student felt
- How the harasser or bully responded