5145.5 - Sexual Discrimination and Sexual Harassment

Policy 5145.5


P5145.5(a)


Students

Sexual Discrimination and Sexual Harassment

It is the policy of the Board of Education that any form of sex discrimination or sexual harassment is prohibited, whether by students, Board employees or third parties subject to the control of the Board. Students, Board employees and third parties are expected to adhere to a standard of conduct that is respectful of the rights of students. Any student or employee who engages in conduct prohibited by this policy shall be subject to disciplinary action.

The Superintendent of Schools, and/or his or her designee, shall develop Administrative Regulations implementing this Policy.

Definitions

Sex discrimination Sex discrimination involves treating someone unfavorably because of that person's sex. Discrimination against an individual because of gender identity, including transgender status, or sexual orientation is also in violation of this policy.

Sexual harassment: In a school setting, sexual harassment is conduct that 1) is sexual in nature; 2) is unwelcome; and 3) denies or limits a student's ability to participate in or benefit from a school's educational program. Sexual harassment can be verbal, nonverbal or physical. Sexual violence is a form of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment creates a hostile environment if the conduct is sufficiently severe or pervasive such that it interferes with or limits a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the school's program. Although not an exhaustive list, the following are examples of sexual conduct prohibited by this policy:
  1. Statements or other conduct indicating that a student's submission to, or rejection of, sexual overtures or advances will affect the student's grades and/or other academic progress.
  2. Unwelcome attention and/or advances of a sexual nature, including verbal comments, sexual invitations, leering and physical touching.
  3. Display of sexually suggestive objects, or use of sexually suggestive or obscene remarks, invitations, letters, emails, text messages, notes, slurs, jokes, pictures, cartoons, epithets or gestures.
  4. Touching of a sexual nature or telling sexual or dirty jokes.
  5. Transmitting or displaying emails or websites of a sexual nature.
  6. Using computer systems, including email, instant messaging, text messaging, blogging or the use of social networking websites, or other forms of electronic communications, to engage in any conduct prohibited by this policy.

Sexual Violence: Sexual violence is a form of sexual harassment. For the purposes of this policy, sexual violence refers to physical acts that are sexual in nature, perpetrated against a person's will or where a person is incapable of giving consent due to the victim's use of drugs or alcohol.


Procedure

Students and staff are expected to report any incidents of sexual discrimination or harassment that occur on school grounds, during after school activities, or during off campus school events.  School personnel are required to follow appropriate protocols, laid out in the regulation, for handling issues brought forward, including reporting incidents to school administrators who are responsible for investigating and employing appropriate disciplinary measures consistent with school policy. Students in grades K-12 are encouraged to reach out to trusted adults when they either witness or experience issues related to sexual discrimination and harassment. An Anonymous Alert app is available to students in grades 9-12 for students to report issues of concern confidentially.

A summary of all such incidents and their dates of resolutions shall be included in the annual report required as outlined in Policy 0523.

The district will not tolerate any reprisals or retaliation that occur as a result of the good faith reporting of charges of sexual harassment or sex discrimination. Any such substantiated reprisals or retaliation will result in disciplinary action against the retaliator.

The school district will periodically provide staff development for district administrators, and periodically distribute this Policy and the implementing Administrative Regulations to staff and students in an effort to maintain an environment free of sexual discrimination and sex harassment.

Sex discrimination and/or sexual harassment may also constitute bullying behavior under the Board’s Bullying Behavior in the Schools Policy.

Legal References: United States Constitution, Article XIV
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. § 1681, et seq. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 34 C.F.R § 106.1, et seq. Gebser v. Lago Vista Independent School District, 524 U.S. 274 (1998) Davis v. Monroe County Board of Education, 526 U.S. 629 (1999)

Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, Revised Sexual Harassment Guidance: Harassment of Students by School Employees, Other Students, or Third Parties, 66 Fed. Reg. 5512 (Jan. 19, 2001).

Office of Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education Dear Colleague Letter: Sexual Violence (April 4, 2011).

Constitution of the State of Connecticut, Article I, Section 20.


Adopted: December 15, 2020
Newtown Public Schools


R5145.5(a)
Students

Sexual Discrimination and Sexual Harassment

It is the policy of the Board of Education that any form of sex discrimination or sexual harassment is forbidden, whether by students, Board employees or third parties subject to the control of the board. Students, Board employees and third parties are expected to adhere to a standard of conduct that is respectful of the rights of students. Any student or employee who engages in conduct prohibited by the Board's sex discrimination and sexual harassment policy shall be subject to disciplinary action.

Complaint Procedure
  1. It is the express policy of the Board of Education to encourage victims of sex discrimination or sexual harassment to promptly report such claims. Preferably, complaints should be filed within thirty (30) days of the alleged occurrence. Timely reporting of complaints facilitates the investigation and resolution of such complaints.
  1. As soon as a student feels that he or she has been subjected to sex discrimination or sexual harassment, he/she or his/her parent/legal guardian should make a written complaint to the Assistant Superintendent of Schools, 3 Primrose Street, Newtown, CT, 06470 or to the building principal, or his/her designee. The student will be provided a copy of the Board's policy and made aware of his or her rights.
  1. The complaint should state the:
  1. Name of the complainant,
  2. Date of the complaint,
  3. Date(s) of the alleged harassment/discrimination,
  4. Name(s) of the harasser(s) or discriminator(s),
  5. Location where such harassment/discrimination occurred,
  6. Names of any witness(es) to the harassment/discrimination,
  7. Detailed statement of the circumstances constituting the alleged harassment/discrimination; and
  8. Remedy requested.
  1. Any student who makes an oral complaint of harassment or sex discrimination to any of the above-mentioned personnel will be provided a copy of this regulation and will be requested to make a written complaint pursuant to the above procedure. In appropriate circumstances, such as due to the age of the student making the complaint, a parent or school administrator may be permitted to fill out the form on the student's behalf.
  1. If the complainant is a minor student, the person to whom the complaint is given should consider whether a child abuse report should be completed in accordance with the Board's policy on the Reports of Suspected Child Abuse or Neglect of Children.
  1. All complaints are to be forwarded immediately to the building principal or designee unless that individual is the subject of the complaint, in which case the complaint should be forwarded directly to Title IX Coordinator or his/her designee.
  1. The Title IX Coordinator or designee shall promptly investigate all complaints of sexual discrimination or sexual harassment against a student, regardless of whether the conduct occurred on or off-school grounds. The investigation shall be conducted discreetly, maintaining confidentiality insofar as possible while still conducting an effective and thorough investigation.
  1. Any student who makes a complaint shall be notified of the District's intent to investigate the complaint. In the event the student requests confidentiality or that an investigation not be conducted, the District will take reasonable steps to investigate and respond to the complaint to the extent possible, given the request for confidentiality or that the District not investigate the complaint. If the student insists that his/her personally identifiable information not be shared with the alleged perpetrator, the student will be informed that the District's ability to investigate and/or take corrective action may be limited.
  1. Upon receipt of a sexual harassment or sex discrimination complaint, the Title IX Coordinator shall either promptly commence an investigation of the complaint, or shall designate a school administrator to promptly investigate the complaint. The District Title IX Coordinator or designee shall:
  1. offer to meet with the complainant within ten (10) school days to discuss the nature of the complaint, identify individuals the complainant believes has relevant information, and obtain any relevant documents the complainant may have;  
  1. provide  the  complainant  with  a  copy  of  the  Board's  sexual  harassment  policy  and  accompanying regulations;
  1. consider whether any interim measures may be appropriate to protect the alleged victim, pending the outcome of the investigation;
  1. investigate  the  factual  basis  of  the  complaint,  including,  as  applicable,  conducting  interviews  with individuals deemed relevant to the complaint;
  1. consider whether alleged sex discrimination or sexual harassment has created a hostile school environment, including consideration of the effects of off-campus conduct on the school;
  1. communicate the outcome of the investigation in writing to the complainant, and to any individual properly identified as a party to the complaint (to the extent permitted by state and federal confidentiality requirements), within sixty (60) school days from the date the complaint was received by the Assistant Superintendent's office. The investigator may extend this deadline for no more than fifteen (15) additional school days if needed to complete the investigation. The complainant shall be notified of such extension.
  1. The written notice shall include a finding whether the complaint was substantiated and if so, shall identify, to the extent possible, how the district will remedy the discrimination or harassment, adhering to the requirements of state and federal law;
  1. when sex discrimination or sexual harassment has been found, take steps that are reasonably calculated to end the discrimination, take corrective and/or disciplinary action aimed at preventing the recurrence of the harassment or discrimination, as deemed appropriate by the Assistant Superintendent or his/her designee, and take steps to remedy the effects of the sex discrimination or sexual harassment;
  1. If the student complainant or alleged perpetrator is dissatisfied with the findings of the investigation, he or she may file a written appeal within thirty (30) calendar days to the Title IX Coordinator, or if he/she conducted the investigation, to the Superintendent of Schools, who shall review the Title IX Coordinator’s or designee's written report, the information collected by the Title IX Coordinator or designee together with the recommended disposition of the complaint to determine whether the alleged conduct constitutes sexual harassment or sex discrimination. The Superintendent may also designate an outside investigator to conduct the review in lieu of, or in addition to, his or her review of the findings. The Title IX Coordinator or Superintendent of Schools may    determine if further action and/or investigation is warranted. After completing this review, the Title IX Coordinator or Superintendent of Schools shall respond to the complainant, in writing, within fifteen (15) school days following the receipt of the written request for review.

If a sex discrimination complaint raises a concern about bullying behavior, the Title IX Coordinator shall notify the Building Safe School Climate Specialist or designee who shall coordinate any bullying investigation with the District Title IX Coordinator, so as to ensure that any such bullying investigation complies with the requirements of applicable Board policies.

Retaliation against any individual who complains pursuant to the Board's policy and regulations is strictly prohibited. The district will take actions necessary to prevent retaliation as a result of filing a complaint.

At any time, a complainant alleging sex discrimination or sexual harassment may file a formal complaint with the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, 8th Floor, 5 Post Office Square, Suite 900, Boston, MA  02109-0111 (Telephone: (617) 289-0111.

Copies of this regulation will be distributed to all students.
Title IX Coordinator
The Title IX Coordinator for the Newtown Board of Education is the Assistant Superintendent of Schools whose office is located at 3 Primrose Street, Newtown, CT and whose telephone number is (203) 426-7616.

TO OBTAIN A COPY OF THE COMPLAINT FORM REGARDING SEXUAL DISCRIMINATION AND SEXUAL HARASSMENT (STUDENTS) PLEASE CLICK ON THE PDF ICON AT THE TOP OF THIS PAGE.
 
Inspiring Each Student to Excel

3 Primrose St., Newtown, CT 06470
Phone: 203-426-7600
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