5125 - Harassment and Sexual Harassment of Students
Director of Human Resources, Title IX Coordinator
100 West Street, Milford, NH 03055
For purposes of these complaint procedures, the following definitions will be used. The Human Rights Officer/Title IX Coordinator shall assess all reports and complaints to ensure that they are addressed under the appropriate policy and complaint procedure.
A. Discrimination/Harassment Complaint Procedure Definitions
- Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of a student’s educational benefits;
- Submission to or rejection of such conduct by a student is used as the basis for decisions on educational benefits; or
- Such conduct has the purpose and effect of substantially interfering with a student’s academic performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment.
B. Title IX Sexual Harassment Complaint Procedure Definitions
- “Sexual Harassment”: Under the federal Title IX regulations, sexual harassment includes the following conduct on the basis of sex which takes place within the context of the school district’s education programs and activities:
- “Quid pro quo” sexual harassment by a school employee: Conditioning a school aid, benefit or service (such as a better grade or a college recommendation) on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct;
- “Hostile environment” sexual harassment: Unwelcome conduct based on sex that a reasonable person would determine is so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive that it effectively denies an individual’s equal access to the school unit’s education programs and activities; or
- Sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking as these terms are defined in federal laws.
- “Report”: Under the Title IX regulations, any individual may make a report of sexual harassment involving a student, whether the individual is the alleged victim or not. School employees are required to report possible incidents of sexual harassment involving a student. A report must be made to the Human Rights Officer/Title IX Coordinator. A report triggers certain actions by the HRO/Title IX Coordinator for the alleged victim of sexual harassment, but an investigation is not conducted unless a “Formal Complaint” (as defined below) is filed.
- “Formal Complaint”: Under the Title IX regulations, the alleged victim of sexual harassment can file a written complaint that triggers the complaint procedure in Section 3 of Policy 5130. Only a student and/or their parent/legal guardian (and in certain circumstances, the HRO/Title IX Coordinator) may file a formal complaint.
- “Student”: For the purposes of this procedure, a student an individual who is enrolled or participating in the school district’s education programs and activities, or is attempting to enroll or participate.
Section 2. Unlawful Discrimination/Harassment Complaint Procedure
This procedure should be used for any complaint of unlawful harassment or discrimination complaint based on a protected category which does not involve Title IX sexual harassment.
A. How to Make a Complaint
- School employees are required to promptly make a report to the HRO/Title IX Coordinator if they have reason to believe that a student has been discriminated against or harassed.
- Students and others who believe that they, or another student has been harassed or discriminated against should report their concern promptly to the HRO/Title IX Coordinator, or to the building principal (who will report the matter to the HRO/Title IX Coordinator.
- The individual making the report must provide basic information in writing concerning the allegation of harassment or discrimination (i.e., date, time, location, individual(s) who alleged engaged in harassment or discrimination, description of allegation) to the HRO/Title IX Coordinator.
- If an individual is unsure as to whether unlawful discrimination or harassment has occurred, or who need assistance in preparing a written complaint, they are encouraged to discuss the matter with the HRO/Title IX Coordinator.
- Individuals will not be retaliated against for reporting suspected discrimination or harassment, or for participating in an investigation. Retaliation is illegal under federal and state nondiscrimination laws, and any retaliation will result in disciplinary action, up to and including discharge for employees, and expulsion for students.
- Individuals are encouraged to utilize the school district’s Complaint Procedure. However, individuals are hereby notified that they also have the right to report incidents of discrimination or harassment directly to the New Hampshire Commission for Human Rights, 2 Chenell Drive, Unit 2, Concord, NH 03301-8501 (telephone: 603-271-2767) and/or to the federal Office for Civil Rights, Regional Director, U.S. Department of Education, 5 Post Office Square, 8th Floor, Boston, MA 02110-1491 (telephone: 617-289-0111).
B. Complaint Handling and Investigation
- The HRO/Title IX Coordinator may pursue an informal resolution of the Complaint with the agreement of the parties involved. Any party to the Complaint may decide to end an informal resolution process and pursue the formal process at any point. Any informal resolution is subject to the approval of the parties and the Superintendent, who will consider whether the informal resolution is in the best interest of the school district and the parties in light of the particular circumstances and applicable policies and laws.
- The HRO/Title IX Coordinator may implement supportive measures to a student to reduce the risk of further discrimination or harassment to a student while an investigation is pending. Examples of supportive measures include, but are not limited to ordering no contact between the individuals involved or changing classes.
- The Complaint will be investigated by the a trained internal or external individual designated by the Superintendent and the HRO/Title IX Coordinator.. Any Complaint about an employee who holds a supervisory position will be investigated by a person who is not subject to that supervisor’s authority. Any Complaint about the Superintendent will be submitted to the Chair of the School Board, who should consult with legal counsel concerning the handling and investigation of the Complaint.
- The investigator shall consult with the HRO/Title IX Coordinator as agreed during the investigation process.
- The respondent will be provided with an opportunity to be heard as part of the investigation. The complainant shall not be required to attend meetings with the respondent, but may choose to do so as part of an informal resolution process.
- The complainant and the respondent may suggest witnesses to be interviewed and/or submit materials they believe are relevant to the Complaint.
- If the complaint is against is an employee of the District, any rights conferred under an applicable collective bargaining agreement shall be applied.
- Privacy rights of all parties to the complaint shall be maintained in accordance with applicable state and federal laws.
- The investigation shall be completed within 40 business days of receiving the complaint, if practicable. Reasonable extensions of time for good reason shall be allowed.
- The investigator shall provide a written report and findings to the HRO/Title IX Coordinator.
- The HRO/Title IX Coordinator shall consult with the Superintendent concerning the investigation and findings.
- If there is a finding that discrimination or harassment occurred, the HRO/Title IX Coordinator, in consultation with the Superintendent shall:
- Determine what remedial action, if any is required to end the discrimination or harassment, remedy its effects, and prevent recurrence.
- Determine what disciplinary action should be taken against the individual(s) who engaged in discrimination or harassment, if any;
- Inform the complainant and the respondent in writing of the results of the investigation and its resolution (in accordance with applicable state and federal privacy laws).
1. After the conclusion of the investigation, the complainant or respondent may seek an appeal of the findings solely on the basis of either (a) prejudicial procedural error or (b) the discovery of previously unavailable relevant evidence that could significantly impact the outcome.
Cross Reference: Policy 5125-R – Student Discrimination/Harassment and Title IX