Policy 3420

Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment in the School District

Purpose

The Board affirms its commitment to non-discrimination and recognizes its responsibility to provide an environment that is free of discrimination, harassment, and intimidation as required by federal and state law. Discrimination and harassment are a violation of law and stand in direct opposition to District policy. Therefore, the Board does not discriminate in its employment and admission to programs and activities as applicable, on the basis of actual or perceived race, color, creed, gender, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, economic status, marital status, veterans’ status, political affiliation, domestic victim status, use of a guide dog, hearing dog or service dog, disability, deny access under the Boy Scouts of America Equal Access Act, or other classifications protected under federal or state law.

The Board also prohibits discrimination and/or harassment based on an individual’s opposition to discrimination or participation in a related investigation or complaint proceeding under District policy or relevant anti-discrimination laws. This policy of non-discrimination and anti-harassment will be enforced on District premises and in school buildings, and at all school-sponsored events, programs and activities, including those that take place at locations off school premises or in another state.

It is intended that this policy apply to the dealings between or among employees with employees; employees with students; students with students; employees/students with vendors/contractors and others who do business with the District, as well as school volunteers, visitors, guests, and other third parties who are participating in, observing, or otherwise engaging in activities subject to the supervision and control of the District.

This policy will also constitute the Grievance Procedure required by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 for complaints of sex discrimination, including harassment, within educational institutions receiving federal financial assistance.

Prohibited Conduct

The characterizations and examples below are intended to serve as a general guide for individuals in determining whether to file a complaint of discrimination or harassment, and should not be construed to add or limit the rights individuals and entities possess as a matter of law.

Discrimination is, generally, the practice of conferring or denying privileges on the basis of membership in a legally protected class. Discriminatory actions may include, but are not limited to: refusing to promote or hire an individual on the basis of his or her membership in a protected class, denying an individual access to facilities or educational benefits on the basis of his or her membership in a protected class, or impermissibly instituting policies or practices that disproportionately and adversely impact members of a protected class.

Harassment generally consists of subjecting an individual, on the basis of his or her membership in a protected class, to conduct and/or communications that are sufficiently severe, pervasive, or persistent as to have the purpose or effect of: creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment; substantially or unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or a student’s educational performance, opportunities, benefits, or well-being; or otherwise adversely affecting an individual’s employment or educational opportunities.

Harassment can include unwelcome verbal, written, or physical conduct which offends, denigrates, or belittles an individual because of his or her membership in a protected class. This conduct includes, but is not limited to: derogatory remarks, jokes, demeaning comments or behavior, slurs, mimicking, name calling, graffiti, innuendo, gestures, physical contact, stalking, threatening, bullying, extorting, or the display or circulation of written materials or pictures.

Sexual Harassment in the District

Harassment on the basis of sex is a form of discrimination and violates state and federal law. Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and/or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitutes sexual harassment when:

  • a) Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or educational opportunities;
  • b) Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individual; or
  • c) Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or education, or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment.

Sexually harassing conduct in the District, whether committed by supervisors or non-supervisory personnel, is prohibited. Such prohibited conduct includes, but is not limited to:

  • a) Unwelcome sexual flirtations, advances or propositions;
  • b) Verbal or written abuse of a sexual nature;
  • c) Graphic verbal comments about an individual’s body;
  • d) Sexually degrading words used to describe an individual; and,
  • e) The display in the work place of sexually suggestive objects or pictures.

Sexual Harassment of and/or Between Students

Sexual harassment of students consists of verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, by an employee, agent, other third parties who are participating in, observing, or otherwise engaging in activities subject to the supervision and control of the District, or another student of the District that denies, limits, or conditions the provision of aid, benefits, services, or treatment protected under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 on the basis of sex. Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and/or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitutes sexual harassment when:

  • a) Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s education; or
  • b) Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with the individual’s education or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment.
    • Such actions include, but are not limited to, the following conduct directed at students:
      • 1. Unwelcome sexual flirtations, advances or propositions;
      • 2. Verbal or written abuse of a sexual nature;
      • 3. Graphic verbal comments about the student’s body;
      • 4. Sexually degrading words used to describe a student; and,
      • 5. Unwelcome and non-consensual physical touching of a sexual nature.

Given the special nature of the relationship between students and employees of the District, extreme caution should be exercised by employees of the District to avoid any situation involving comments of a sexual nature, particularly in the presence of students. It is recognized that discussions involving sexual relations and the human body are part of mandated curriculum in certain areas (e.g., health education) and are, therefore, not restricted by this policy. Nonetheless, there is no conflict between this policy and the mandates of the District’s curriculum. Thus, the teaching of the District’s curriculum will not necessarily constitute a defense to a charged violation of this policy.

Civil Rights Compliance Officer

The Broadalbin-Perth Central School District will designate one or more individuals to serve as Civil Rights Compliance Officer. The Civil Rights Compliance Officer will be responsible for coordinating the District’s efforts to comply with and carry out its responsibilities regarding non-discrimination and anti-harassment, including investigations of complaints alleging discrimination, harassment, or the failure of the District to comply with its obligations under relevant non-discrimination and anti-harassment laws and regulations (e.g., the Americans with Disabilities Act, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973).

Prior to the beginning of each school year, the Broadalbin-Perth Central School District will issue an appropriate public announcement or publication which advises students, parents or guardians, employees and other relevant individuals of the District’s established grievance procedures for resolving complaints of discrimination and harassment. Included in the announcement or publication will be the name, address, telephone number, and email address of the Civil Rights Compliance Officer(s). The Broadalbin-Perth Central School District’s website will reflect current and complete contact information for the Civil Rights Compliance Officer(s).

The Civil Rights Compliance Officer(s) for the Broadalbin-Perth Central School District is:

Stephen Tomlinson, Superintendent of Schools/Title IX Coordinator

20 Pine Street

Broadalbin, NY 12025

Telephone:  (518) 954-2500

tomlinsons@bpcsd.org

Investigation of Complaints and Grievances

The Broadalbin-Perth Central School District will act to promptly, thoroughly, and equitably investigate all complaints, whether verbal or written, of discrimination and/or harassment based on any of the characteristics described previously, and will promptly take appropriate action to protect individuals from further discrimination or harassment. In the event an anonymous complaint is filed, the District will respond to the extent possible. Regulations regarding reporting, investigating, and remedying allegations of discrimination and/or harassment can be found in the corresponding regulation #3420R.

It is essential that any individual who is aware of a possible occurrence of discrimination or harassment immediately report such occurrence. All reports will be directed or forwarded to the District’s designated Civil Rights Compliance Officer(s). These complaints are recommended to be in writing, although verbal complaints of discrimination or harassment will also be promptly investigated in accordance with applicable law and District policy and procedure. In the event the Civil Rights Compliance Officer is the alleged offender, the report will be directed to another Civil Rights Compliance Officer, if the District has designated another individual to serve in that capacity, or to the Superintendent, or, if the Superintendent is the alleged offender, to the President of the Board of Education.

To the extent possible, all complaints will be treated as confidential. Disclosure may, however, be necessary to complete a thorough investigation of the charges and/or notify law enforcement officials.

If an investigation reveals that discrimination or harassment has occurred, the Broadalbin-Perth Central School District will take immediate corrective action as warranted. Such action will be taken in accordance with applicable laws and regulations, as well as any and all relevant Codes of Conduct, District policies and administrative regulations, collective bargaining agreements, and/or third-party contracts.

Knowingly Makes False Accusations

Any employee or student who knowingly makes false accusations against another individual as to allegations of discrimination or harassment will face appropriate disciplinary action.

Prohibition of Retaliatory Behavior

The Board prohibits any retaliatory behavior directed against complainants, victims, witnesses, and/or any other individuals who participated in the investigation of a complaint of discrimination and/or harassment. Complaints of retaliation may be directed to the Civil Rights Compliance Officer. In the event the Civil Rights Compliance Officer is the alleged offender, the report will be directed to another Civil Rights Compliance Officer, if the District has designated another individual to serve in that capacity, or to the Superintendent, or if the Superintendent is the alleged offender, to the President of the Board of Education.

Where appropriate, follow-up inquiries will be made to ensure that discrimination and/or harassment has not resumed and that those involved in the investigation have not suffered retaliation.

Additional Provisions

In order to promote familiarity with issues pertaining to discrimination and harassment in the schools, and to help reduce incidents of prohibited conduct, the Broadalbin-Perth Central School District will provide appropriate information and/or training to staff and students. As may be necessary, special training will be provided for individuals involved in the investigation of discrimination and/or harassment complaints.

A copy of this policy and its accompanying regulations will be available upon request and will be posted and/or published in appropriate locations and/or school publications.

This policy should not be read to abrogate other District policies and/or regulations or the District Code of Conduct prohibiting other forms of unlawful discrimination, harassment, and/or inappropriate behavior within this District. It is the intention of the Broadalbin-Perth Central School District that all such policies and/or regulations be read consistently to provide protection from unlawful discrimination and harassment. However, different treatment of any individual which has a legitimate, legal, and non-discriminatory reason will not be considered a violation of District policy.