5145.3 – Student – Student Welfare – Nondiscrimination / Harassment

Policy – x
Regulation –
Exhibit –

Adopted – 9/15/2011
Revised – 8/25/2016

Philosophy

Students have the fundamental right to a safe and secure environment. Students and parents place their trust in school officials to take all reasonable steps to provide a setting that is free of humiliation, intimidation and threat. Accordingly, the district and staff shall not tolerate any incidents of bullying or harassment. To this end, the administration has the duty to implement programs that encourage students to behave with civility and common decency, and to establish and enforce codes of conduct that hold students accountable should they violate this policy.

Definitions

For purposes of this policy, harassment consists of verbal or physical conduct relating to an individual’s race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, ethnic group, ethnic group identification, marital or parental status, physical or mental disability, age, economic status, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression or association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics when:

  1. The harassing conduct is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive that it affects a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from an educational program or activity or creates an intimidating, threatening or abusive educational environment; or
  1. The harassing conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially or unreasonably interfering with an individual’s academic performance; or
  1. The harassing conduct otherwise adversely affects an individual’s learning opportunities.

For the purposes of this policy, bullying occurs when a student is intimidated by verbal or physical conduct or actions by one or more persons, i.e., “picked on.” Bullying includes assault; extortion; oral or written threats; teasing; putdowns; name-calling; threatening looks, gestures, or actions; cruel rumors; false accusations; social isolation; and hazing, which is defined as ritualistic behavior that subjects persons to abusive or humiliating tasks and ridicule. Intimidation refers to actions that would inflict or attempt to inflict fear, humiliation, or injury.

 Application

This policy shall apply to all academic programs and extracurricular activities, including school-sponsored events away from school and while traveling to and from any school activity.

The Board of Education prohibits harassment or bullying of any student by any employee, student or other person in the district. Staff shall be alert and immediately responsive to any individual’s conduct, which may interfere with a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from school services, activities or privileges. Upon witnessing an act of bullying or harassment, staff members are expected to immediately intervene, unless intervention would pose a threat to the staff member’s safety. All incidents of bullying or harassment are to be reported to the school principal for investigation.

Any student who feels that he/she is being or has been subjected to harassment or bullying shall immediately report the incident to a school employee. Any student who has witnessed harassment or bullying is expected to immediately report the incident to a school employee. Parents and/or guardians, on behalf of their child, are similarly expected to immediately report incidents of harassment or bullying to the principal. A school employee to whom a complaint is made shall report it to the principal or designee immediately. If the alleged harasser is the principal or designee, the person reporting the complaint shall report the incident to the Superintendent or designee. Any student who retaliates against another for reporting bullying or harassment may be subject to disciplinary action as defined in this policy.

In addition, the student or employee may file a formal complaint with the Superintendent or designee in accordance with the district’s uniform complaint procedures (BP 1312.3).

Investigation

An investigation shall be conducted by school district officials or by a third party designated by the school district. The investigation shall include interviews of all students directly involved and contact with the parent(s) of the involved students. The investigation may include interviews with students, parents, and staff; review of school records; and identification of parent and family issues.

In determining whether alleged conduct constitutes a violation of this policy, the investigator should consider the surrounding circumstances, the nature of the behavior, past incidents or continuing patterns of behavior, the relationships between the parties involved and the context in which the alleged incidents occurred. Whether a particular action or incident constitutes a violation of this policy requires a determination based on all of the facts and surrounding circumstances. The investigation will be completed thoroughly and as soon as practicable.

The administration shall take appropriate steps to protect the privacy of accusers and/or victims and to assure that they are not subjected to retaliation for making a complaint.

Disciplinary Action/Intervention

Any student who engages in harassment or bullying will be subject to disciplinary action and/or intervention including, but not limited to, warning, counseling, parent contact, detention, restriction of activities, exclusion, suspension, involuntary transfer, and expulsion (BP 5144). Depending on the severity of the incident, the principal may also take additional steps to ensure student safety. These may include, but are not limited to, implementing a safety plan; separating and supervising the students involved; providing staff support for students; and developing a supervision plan with the parents. Any employee who permits or engages in harassment or bullying may be subject to disciplinary action including, but not limited to, warning, suspension, transfer, and dismissal. Consequences shall be commensurate with the findings of the investigation. Any student or employee who engages in harassment or bullying of a student may also be subject to criminal prosecution.

Documentation

The Superintendent or designee shall maintain a record of reported cases of harassment to enable the district to monitor, address and prevent repetitive harassing behavior in its schools.

Communication Of Policy

The Superintendent or designee shall facilitate students’ access to the educational program by publicizing the District’s nondiscrimination policy and related complaint procedures to students, parents/guardians, and employees.  The Superintendent or designee shall provide training and information on the scope and use of the policy and complaint procedures and take other measures designed to increase the school community’s understanding of the requirements of law related to discrimination.  The Superintendent or designee shall regularly review the implementation of the district’s nondiscrimination policies and practices and, as necessary, shall take action to remove any identified barrier to student access to or participation in the educational program.  The Superintendent or designee shall report his or her findings and recommendations to the Board after each review.  Each school site administrator shall be responsible for implementing programs that are designed to promote positive social interactions and to inform students of their rights and responsibilities under this policy.

School Discipline Plans (BP 5144.1) shall prohibit harassment and bullying. All parents and/or guardians will receive a copy of the School Discipline Plan upon registering their child at any school site in the District. Students in grades 6 through 12 will also receive a copy of the School Discipline Plan each year. School Discipline Plans shall be articulated among the district’s schools sites to encourage consistent and developmentally appropriate application of this policy.

Legal Reference:

EDUCATION CODE

200262.4 Prohibition of discrimination on the basis of sex, especially:

221.5 Prohibited sex discrimination

221.7 School-sponsored athletic programs; prohibited sex discrimination

48900.3 Suspension or expulsion for act of hate violence

48900.4 Suspension or expulsion for threats or harassment

48904 Liability of parent/guardian for willful student misconduct

48907 Student exercise of free expression

48950 Freedom of speech

4902049023 Athletic programs

5100651007 Equitable access to technological education programs

51500 Prohibited instruction or activity

51501 Prohibited means of instruction

60044 Prohibited instructional materials

CIVIL CODE

1714.1 Liability of parents/guardians for willful misconduct of minor

CODE OF REGULATIONS, TITLE 5

4621 District policies and procedures

4622 Notice requirements

PENAL CODE

422.55 Interference with constitutional right or privilege

422.6  Crimes, harassment

 

CODE OF REGULATIONS, TITLE 5

432  Student record

4600-4687  Uniform complaint procedures

4900-4965  Nondiscrimination in elementary and secondary education programs

UNITED STATES CODE, TITLE 20

1681-1688  Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972

12101-12213  Title II equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities

UNITED STATES CODE, TITLE 29

794  Section 504 of Rehabilitation Act of 1973

UNITED STATES CODE, TITLE 42

2000d2000e-17  Title VI & VII Civil Rights Act of 1964 as amended

2000h-2-2000h-6 Title IX, 1972 Education Act Amendments

6101-6107  Age Discrimination Act of 1975

CODE OF FEDERAL REGULATIONS, TITLE 34

100.3 Prohibition of discrimination on basis of race, color or national origin

104.7 Designation of responsible employee for Section 504

106.8 Designation of responsible employee for Title IX

106.9 Notification of nondiscrimination on basis of sex

COURT DECISIONS

Donovan v. Poway Unified School District, (2008) 167 Cal.App.4th

Flores v. Morgan Hill Unified School District, (2003) 324 F.3d 1130

 

Management Resources:

 

CSBA PUBLICATIONS

Providing a Safe, Nondiscriminatory School Environment for Transgender and Gender-Nonconforming Students, Policy Brief, February 2014

Final Guidance Regarding Transgender Students, Privacy, and Facilities, March 2014

Safe Schools:  Strategies for Governing Boards to Ensure Student Success, 2011

 

FIRST AMENDMENT CENTER PUBLICATIONS

Public Schools and Sexual Orientation:  A First Amendment Framework for Finding Common Ground, 2006

NATIONAL SCHOOL BOARDS ASSOCIATION PUBLICATIONS

Dealing with Legal Matters Surrounding Students’ Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, 2004

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, OFFICE FOR CIVIL RIGHTS PUBLICATIONS

Dear Colleague Letter:  Harassment and Bullying, October 2010

Notice of Non-Discrimination, January 1999

WEB SITES

CSBA:  http://www.csba.org

California Department of Education: http://www.cde.ca.gov

California Safe Schools Coalition:  http://www.casafeschools.org

First Amendment Center:  http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org

National School Boards Association:  http://www.nsba.org

U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights: http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr

 

 

 

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