Policies - Section 5000 » 5125 - Harassment and Sexual Harassment of Students

5125 - Harassment and Sexual Harassment of Students

 
 
5125-R        Student Discrimination/Harassment         5125-R
and Title IX Sexual Harassment Complaint Procedures
 
 
The Board has adopted these student procedures in order to provide prompt and equitable resolution of reports and complaints of unlawful discrimination and harassment of students, including sexual harassment, as described in policies 2401– Nondiscrimination/Equal Opportunity and Human Rights and 5125 Harassment and Sexual Harassment of Students.  
 
Complaints alleging discrimination or harassment of employees or other third parties based on a protected status should be addressed through the Board’s Employee and Third Party Discrimination and Harassment Complaint Procedure (Policy 2404).
 
Any individual who is unsure about whether unlawful discrimination or harassment has occurred and/or or which complaint procedure applies is encouraged to contact the Human Rights Officer (or HRO)/Title IX Coordinator.
 
Mr. Micah Klayman
Director of Human Resources, Title IX Coordinator
100 West Street, Milford, NH  03055
603-673-2202
[email protected]

 

Definitions
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

 

1. “Discrimination or harassment” means discrimination or harassment on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, religion, race, color, creed, ancestry, national origin, age, marital status, familial status, economic status, or physical or mental disability.  “Discrimination” may include treating individuals differently, or interfering with or preventing them from enjoying the advantages or privileges afforded to others because of their membership in a protected class.  Discrimination on the basis of sex shall include acts of “sexual violence,” which refers to physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent.  “Harassment” may include oral, written, graphic, electronic or physical conduct relating to an individual’s actual or perceived membership in a protected class that is sufficiently severe, pervasive or persistent so as to interfere with or limit that individual’s ability to participate in the District’s programs or activities by creating a hostile, intimidating or offensive educational environment.
 
2. “Discrimination”: Treating individuals differently, or interfering with or preventing them from enjoying the advantages or privileges afforded to others because of their membership in a protected category. 
 
3. “Harassment”:  Oral, written, graphic, electronic or physical conduct relating to an individual’s actual or perceived membership in a protected category that is sufficiently severe, pervasive or persistent so as to interfere with or limit that individual’s ability to participate in the school district’s programs or activities by creating a hostile, intimidating or offensive environment.  
 
4. Other forms of “sexual harassment”: this means unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, non-verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature in the following situations:
  1. Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of a student’s educational benefits;
  2. Submission to or rejection of such conduct by a student is used as the basis for decisions on educational benefits; or
  3. Such conduct has the purpose and effect of substantially interfering with a student’s academic performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment.
5. “Sexual orientation”: Under New Hampshire law, this means “having or being perceived as having an orientation for heterosexuality, bisexuality, or homosexuality.” 
 
6. “Gender identity”: Under New Hampshire law, this means “a person's gender-related identity, appearance, or behavior, whether or not that gender-related identity, appearance, or behavior is different from that traditionally associated with the person's physiology or assigned sex at birth.” 
 
7. “Complaint” is defined as an allegation that a student has been discriminated against or harassed on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, ancestry, national origin or disability (and not otherwise addressed in the Title IX regulations and Section 3 of Policy 5130. 
 
8. Complaints of bullying not involving the protected categories or definitions described above may be addressed under Board Policy 5009 – Pupil Safety and Violence Prevention - Bullying

 

B. Title IX Sexual Harassment Complaint Procedure Definitions

  1. “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:
    1. “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;
    2. “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
    3. Sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking as these terms are defined in federal laws.
  1. “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.
  1. “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.
  1.  “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

 
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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

 
  1. The HRO/Title IX Coordinator will promptly inform the Superintendent and the person(s) who is the subject of the Complaint (respondent) that a Complaint has been received.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. The investigator shall consult with the HRO/Title IX Coordinator as agreed during the investigation process.
  1. 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.
  1. The complainant and the respondent may suggest witnesses to be interviewed and/or submit materials they believe are relevant to the Complaint.
  1. If the complaint is against is an employee of the District, any rights conferred under an applicable collective bargaining agreement shall be applied.
  1. Privacy rights of all parties to the complaint shall be maintained in accordance with applicable state and federal laws.
  1. 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.
  1. The investigator shall provide a written report and findings to the HRO/Title IX Coordinator.
C. Findings and Subsequent Actions
  1. The HRO/Title IX Coordinator shall consult with the Superintendent concerning the investigation and findings.
  1. If there is a finding that discrimination or harassment occurred, the HRO/Title IX Coordinator, in consultation with the Superintendent shall:
    1. Determine what remedial action, if any is required to end the discrimination or harassment, remedy its effects, and prevent recurrence.
    2. Determine what disciplinary action should be taken against the individual(s) who engaged in discrimination or harassment, if any;
  1. 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).
D. Appeals

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.
 
2. Appeals must be submitted in writing to the Superintendent within five  business days after receiving notice of the resolution.  
 
3. Upon receipt of a valid appeal, the Superintendent shall provide notice to the other party, along with an opportunity to provide a written statement within five business days.
 
4. The Superintendent shall review the available documentation and may conduct further investigation if deemed appropriate. 
 
5. The Superintendent’s decision on the appeal shall be provided to the parties within 10 business days, if practicable.  The Superintendent’s decision shall be final. 
Legal Reference:     Americans with Disabilities Act (42 U.S.C. §12101 et seq., as
                                amended; 28 C.F.R. § 35.107)
                                Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) (29
                                U.S.C. § 794 et seq., as amended; 34 C.F.R. § 104.7)
                                Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (20 USC § 1681, et
                                seq.); 34 C.F.R. Part 106
                                Clery Act (20 U.S.C. §1092(f)(6)(A)(v) - definition of sexual assault)
                                Violence Against Women Act (34 U.S.C. § 1092(f)(6)(A)(v) –
                                definition of sexual assault; 34 U.S.C. § 12291(a)(10) – dating
                                violence; 34 U.S.C. §12291(a)(3) – definition of stalking; 34 U.S.C.
                                §12291(a)(8) – definition of domestic violence)
                                Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 USC § 2000d)
                                 NH RSA 186:11; 193:38; 193:39; 354-A
                                 NH Code Admin. R. Ed. 303.01(i) and (j)
 

Cross Reference: Policy 5125-R – Student Discrimination/Harassment and Title IX
                             Sexual Harassment Complaint Procedure
                             Policy 2401 – Nondiscrimination/Equal Opportunity
                             Policy 5014 - Hazing
                             Policy 5009 – Pupil Safety and Violence Prevention: Bullying and Cyberbullying
 

Adopted: 7/2020
Revised: 10/2020