Policies and Regulations NEPN Code: JIAA-R SFSD Logo

Students
Harassment

  1. Definitions
    1. Harassment: Harassment consists of physical or verbal conduct related to a person’s race, color, religion, creed, ancestry, national origin, gender (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, disability, parental status or marital status or other basis prohibited by law, when the conduct is so severe or pervasive, and objectively offensive that it:
      1. has the purpose of effecting or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive academic environment, or
      2. has the purpose or effect of substantially or unreasonably interfering with a student’s academic performance which deprives the student access to educational opportunities.
    2. Sexual Harassment: Sexual harassment is any unwelcome sexual advance(s), request(s) for sexual favors, and/or other verbal, physical and/or visual contact(s) of a sexual nature, or communication of a sexual nature, including sexual violence when:
        1. submission to such conduct or communication is made, either explicitly or implicitly, a term of a student’s academic status or progress;
        2. submission or rejection of such conduct or communication by a student is used as the basis of educational decisions affecting the student; or
        3. submission to or rejection of the conduct or communication by the student is used as the basis for any decision affecting the student regarding benefits and services, honors, programs, or activities available at or through the school; or
        4. such conduct is so severe or pervasive, and objectively offensive that such conduct or communication has the purpose or effect of depriving the student access to educational opportunities or benefits provided by the school.

        Sexual harassment may include, but is not limited to, the following conduct when such conduct is severe or pervasive, and objectively offensive:
        1. unwelcome verbal harassment or abuse based upon gender;
        2. unwelcome pressure for sexual activity;
        3. unwelcome, gender motivated, or inappropriate patting, pinching, or physical contact, other than necessary restraint of students by teachers, administrators, or other District \personnel to avoid physical harm to persons or property;
        4. unwelcome behavior or words, based upon gender, including demands for sexual favors, accompanied by implied or overt threats concerning a student’s educational status; or
        5. unwelcome behavior or words, based upon gender, including demands for sexual favors, accompanied by implied or overt promises of preferential treatment with regard to a student’s educational status.
        6. Sexual violence which includes physical sexual acts against a person’s will, or where a person is incapable of giving consent.
  2. Reporting Incidents of Harassment – Grievance Procedures
    Any student or parent of any student who believes the student has been the victim of harassment as defined above by a student or by District personnel shall report the alleged acts immediately to the building principal/supervisor, department director, or the Civil Rights Officer/Title IX Coordinator available from the building principal/supervisor, the Human Resources Department or on the District website.
    1. Designated Personnel. The building principal/supervisor is the person designated by the District for receiving reports of harassment at each District building. All other written reports shall be directed to the applicable department director.

      Before a student makes a report of sexual violence, the building principal/supervisor should inform the student 1) of the obligation to report the names of the alleged perpetrator and student involved as well as relevant facts to the Civil Rights Officer/Title IX Coordinator; 2) the student’s option to request that the school maintain his or her confidentiality, which the Civil Rights Officer/Title IX Coordinator will consider; and 3) that the student has the ability to share information confidentially with counseling services.

      Upon receipt of a report of harassment, the building principal/supervisor or department director shall ask the individual to complete the Complaint Investigation form and immediately notify the Civil Rights Officer/Title IX Coordinator and forward the written report form to the Civil Rights Officer/Title IX Coordinator. Failure to forward any harassment report or complaint as provided herein will result in disciplinary action. If the complaint involves the building principal or department director, the complaint shall be filed directly with the Civil Rights Officer/Title IX Coordinator. If the complaint involves the Civil Rights Officer/Title IX Coordinator, the complaint shall be filed directly with the Superintendent.
    2. Districtwide. The School Board hereby designates the In-House Counsel as the District’s Civil Rights Officer/Title IX Coordinator to receive reports or complaints of harassment from any student or parent who believes they were a victim of harassment and also from the building principal/supervisor or department director as outlined above. The District shall post on student bulletin boards and the website the mailing address and telephone number of the Civil Rights Officer/Title IX Coordinator.
    3. Submission of a complaint or report of harassment. Submission of a complaint or report of harassment will not affect the student’s status with the District (e.g. grades extra-curricular activities).
    4. Confidentiality. The District will make attempts to respect the confidentiality of the complainant and the individual(s) against whom the complaint is filed as much as possible consistent with the District’s legal obligations and the necessity to investigate allegations of harassment and take disciplinary action when the conduct has occurred.
    5. Procedure. The Complainant will be asked to put the facts surrounding the conduct in writing on the Complaint Investigation form provided by the District that includes the following: Complainant’s name and address; date of the incident; type of harassment; description of the incident; name of any witnesses; what action, if any, has been taken; and signature of the complainant.
    6. Required Reporting. If the accusations include possible criminal activity such as molestation, sexual battery, or similar contact, the Civil Rights Officer/Title IX Coordinator shall comply with all mandatory state reporting requirements including, but not limited to, contact with the Department of Social Services or law enforcement.
      Nothing in this procedure forecloses individuals from seeking redress for their concerns through other legal avenues, such as law enforcement, the Office of Civil Rights, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the South Dakota Division of Civil Rights.
  3. Investigation
    Upon receipt of a written report alleging harassment, the Civil Rights Officer/Title IX Coordinator shall immediately authorize an investigation. This investigation may be conducted by the Civil Rights Officer/Title IX Coordinator or other District officials or by a third party designated by the District. The investigating party shall provide a written report of the status of the investigation within ten (10) working days to the Superintendent and the Civil Rights Officer/Title IX Coordinator.

    In determining whether alleged conduct constitutes harassment, the District should consider the surrounding circumstances, the nature of the advances, if any, relationships between the parties involved, and the context in which the alleged incidents occurred.

    The investigation may consist of personal interviews with the complainant, the individual(s) against whom the complaint is filed, and others who may have knowledge of the alleged incident(s) or circumstances giving rise to the complaint. The investigation may also consist of any other methods and documents deemed pertinent by the investigating party.

    In addition, the District may take immediate steps, at its discretion, to protect the complainant, students, and employees pending completion of an investigation of alleged harassment.

    During the investigation all parties directly involved in the complaint may have representation. If any party elects to be represented at any step of the complaint procedure, the name of the representative must be declared in writing to the Civil Rights Officer/Title IX Coordinator within two (2) days of the filing of the Complaint Investigation form, notification of any investigation, or the filing of any appeal.
  4. School District Action
    1. Upon receipt of a recommendation that the allegations of a complaint constitute a violation of District policy, the District will take such action as appropriate based upon the results of the investigation. A finding will be determined on the basis of whether or not it is more likely than not the conduct as alleged occurred.
    2. The results of the investigation of each complaint will be reported in writing and kept on file in the Human Resources Department. The report shall include findings of fact and will document the disciplinary action taken, if any, as a result of the complaint.
    3. The complainant will be advised of the decision in writing on a form supplied by the District within ten (10) working days from the conclusion of the investigation.
    4. If either party is not satisfied with the written decision he or she may appeal the decision in writing to the Superintendent within ten (10) working days following receipt of the decision. The appeal must include the original complaint form, a copy of the written decision, and a written statement as to the reason for appeal.
    5. The Superintendent will review the material submitted, investigate the circumstances, and respond in writing within fourteen (14) working days of the appeal with a determination to uphold, modify, or reverse the decision. At the Superintendent’s discretion, an additional investigation may be conducted, including interviews with the complainant, the individual(s) against whom the complaint is filed, and others who may have knowledge of the alleged incident(s) or circumstances giving rise to the complaint. The appeal may also include any other methods or documents deemed pertinent by the Superintendent.
    6. If either party is not satisfied with the decision rendered by the Superintendent, he or she may request a hearing in executive session with the School Board. The request for hearing must be submitted in writing through the Superintendent’s Office within ten (10) working days following receipt of the Superintendent’s decision. The appeal must include the original Complaint Investigation form, a copy of the written decision from the Superintendent, and a written statement as to the reasons for appeal. The hearing will be scheduled within thirty (30) working days of the request for hearing. The parties involved will be notified in writing of the time and date of the scheduled hearing.
    7. The School Board will render a decision in writing within ten (10) working days of the hearing.
  5. Prohibition against Retaliation
    The District strictly prohibits and will discipline any individual who retaliates against any student or parent who reports alleged harassment or who retaliates against any person who testifies, assists, or participates in any investigation, proceeding, or hearing related to a harassment complaint.

    Retaliation includes, but is not limited to, any form of intimidation, reprisal, or harassment. Retaliation is itself a violation of federal and state laws and District policy prohibiting discrimination and may lead to separate disciplinary action against an individual.

    If any student who has filed a complaint or has testified, assisted or participated in the investigation of harassment believes that he or she has been retaliated against because of his or her participation, he or she should follow the procedures set forth above.
  6. False Charges
    Charges found to have been intentionally dishonest or made maliciously without regard for truth may subject complainants to disciplinary action. False accusations can have a serious detrimental effect on innocent parties.
  7. Uncomfortable Situations
    The District recognizes that not every uncomfortable situation constitutes harassment. Whether a particular action or incident is a personal, social relationship without a discriminatory educational effect requires a determination based on all the facts and surrounding circumstances.
  8. Discipline
    Any action taken by the District pursuant to this policy will be consistent with requirements of applicable District policies and the District’s progressive discipline plan. The District will take such disciplinary action it deems necessary and appropriate to attempt, to end the harassment and prevent its recurrence.

 

Legal References:

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972
South Dakota Executive Order 81-08
Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

Related Policies/Regulations:

AC/AC-R – Equal Opportunity/Nondiscrimination
JFCE – Student Bullying
GBAA/GBAA-R – Harassment (Personnel)

 

Regulation   Board Action (formerly 5000(a))
Approved: 04-13-92 26837T  
Amended: 02-28-94 27602.2f  
Revised: 04-14-97 28758  
Revised: 07-12-99 29400  
Revised: 07-08-02 33293  
Revised: 04-13-09 35348  
Revised: 09-13-10 35819  
Reviewed: 08-11-14 36976  
Revised: 04-13-15 37178  
Reviewed: 08-24-15 37275  
feedback