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Sexual Harassment of Students

File: JFDA

This district is committed to a positive and productive education free from discrimination, including sexual harassment. This commitment extends to all students involved in academic, educational, extracurricular, athletic, and other programs or activities of the school, whether that program or activity is in a school facility, on school transportation or at a class or activity held elsewhere.

Definitions
For purposes of this policy, sexual harassment means unwelcome conduct or communication of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment can occur adult to student, student to student, or can be carried out by a group of students or adults and will be investigated by the District even if the alleged harasser is not a part of the school staff or student body. The district prohibits sexual harassment of students by other students, employees, or third parties involved in school district activities.

Under federal and state law, the term “sexual harassment” may include:

  • Acts of sexual violence;
  • Unwelcome sexual or gender-directed conduct or communication that interferes with an individual’s educational performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment;
  • Unwelcome sexual advances;
  • Requests for sexual favors;
  • Sexual demands when submission is a stated or implied condition of obtaining an education;
  • Sexual demands where submission or rejection is used as a factor in an academic, or other school-related decision affecting an individual’s education.

A “hostile environment” has been created for a student when sexual harassment is sufficiently serious to interfere with or limit the student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the school’s program. The more severe the conduct, the less need there is to demonstrate a repetitive series of incidents. In fact, a single or isolated incident of sexual harassment may create a hostile environment if the incident is sufficiently severe, violent, or egregious.

Investigation and Response
The district will take prompt, equitable, and remedial action within its authority on reports, complaints, and grievances alleging sexual harassment that come to the attention of the district, either formally or informally. The district will take these steps every time a complaint alleging sexual harassment comes to the attention of the district, either formally or informally.

Allegations of criminal misconduct will be reported to law enforcement and suspected child abuse will be reported to law enforcement or Child Protective Services. Regardless of whether the misconduct is reported to law enforcement, school staff will promptly investigate to determine what occurred and take appropriate steps to resolve the situation, to the extent that such investigation does not interfere with an ongoing criminal investigation. A criminal investigation does not relieve the district of its independent obligation to investigate and resolve sexual harassment.

Engaging in sexual harassment will result in appropriate discipline or other appropriate sanctions against offending students, staff, or other third parties involved in school district activities. Anyone else who engages in sexual harassment on school property or at school activities will have their access to school property and activities restricted, as appropriate.

If the district knows, or reasonably should know, that sexual harassment has created a hostile environment, it will promptly investigate to determine what occurred and take appropriate steps to resolve the situation. If an investigation reveals that sexual harassment has created a hostile environment, the district will take prompt and effective steps reasonably calculated to end the sexual harassment, eliminate the hostile environment, prevent its recurrence and, as appropriate, remedy its effects.

Retaliation and False Allegations
Retaliation against any person who makes or is a witness in a sexual harassment complaint is prohibited and will result in appropriate discipline. The district will take appropriate actions to protect involved persons from retaliation.

It is a violation of this policy to knowingly report false allegations of sexual harassment. Persons found to knowingly report or corroborate false allegations will be subject to appropriate discipline.

Staff Responsibilities
The superintendent will develop and implement formal and informal procedures for receiving, investigating, and resolving complaints or reports of sexual harassment. The procedures will include reasonable and prompt timelines and delineate staff responsibilities under this policy.

Any school employee who witnesses sexual harassment or receives a report, informal complaint, or written complaint about sexual harassment is responsible for informing the district Title IX Compliance Coordinator. All staff are also responsible for directing complainants to the formal complaint process.

Notice
The superintendent will develop procedures to provide information to district staff, students, parents and volunteers regarding this policy and the recognition and prevention of sexual harassment.

Policy Review
The district will review the policy internally on an annual basis.

Adopted:
06/14/16

LEGAL REFS:
WAC 392-190-058
RCW 28A.640.020
20 U.S.C. 1681-1688

CROSS REF.:
JFD, Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying of Students
JFD-R, Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying of Students – Procedures
ACA, Human Dignity
AC, Nondiscrimination
AC-R, Nondiscrimination
JFDA-R, Sexual Harassment of Students - Procedures

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