SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND SEXUAL VIOLENCE


I. GENERAL STATEMENT OF POLICY

Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination which violates Section 703 of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §2000e, et seq and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1992 which prohibits sex discrimination in schools. Sexual violence is a physical act of aggression that includes a sexual act or sexual purpose. It is the policy of the School District to maintain learning and working environment that is free from sexual harassment and sexual violence. The School District prohibits any form of sexual harassment and sexual violence.

It shall be a violation of this policy for any student or employee to harass a student or an employee through conduct or communication of a sexual nature as defined by this policy.

It shall be a violation of this policy for any student or employee to be sexually violent to a student or employee.

The School District will act to investigate all complaints, either formal or informal, verbal or written, of sexual harassment or sexual violence and to discipline any student or employee who sexually harasses or is sexually violent to a student or employee of the School District.


II. SEXUAL HARASSMENT/ SEXUAL VIOLENCE


A. Sexual harassment consists of unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, sexually motivated physical conduct or other verbal or physical conduct or communication of a sexual nature when:


1. Submission to that conduct or communication is made a term or condition, either explicitly or implicitly, of obtaining or retaining employment, or of obtaining an education; or
2. Submission to or rejection of that conduct or communication by an individual is used as a factor in decisions affecting that individual's employment or education; or
3. That conduct or communication has the purpose or effect of substantially or unreasonably interfering with an individual's employment or education, or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive employment or education environment.

Any sexual harassment as defined when perpetrated on any student or employee by any student or employee will be treated as sexual harassment under this policy.

B. Sexual harassment may include but is not limited to:


1. Verbal harassment and/or abuse of a sexual nature;
2. Subtle pressure for sexual activity;
3. Inappropriate patting or pinching;
4. Intentional brushing against a student's or an employee's body;
5. Demanding sexual favors accompanied by implied or overt threats concerning an individual's employment or educational status;
6. Demanding sexual favors accompanied by implied or overt promises of preferential treatment with regard to an individual's employment or educational status;
7. Any sexually motivated unwelcome touching; or
8. Sexual violence that is a physical act of aggression that includes a sexual act or sexual purpose.

C. Any person who believes he or she has been the victim of sexual harassment or sexual violence should report the alleged acts immediately to an appropriate School District official designated by this policy. The School District encourages the reporting party or complainant to use the report form available in the appendix of this handbook, from the Principal’s Office, Guidance Office, any staff member or available from the Superintendent's office.



III. MANDATORY REPORTING PROCEDURES

It is important for the school district to be aware of, and to evaluate, any occasion where sexual harassment or sexual violence may have occurred. Any individual performing services for the school district; or any third person who has observed or who has intervened after observing conduct that may constitute sexual harassment or sexual violence by any staff member, student or thirds party performing services for the school district must report the alleged acts immediately to an appropriate School District official designated by this policy. The School District encourages the reporting party or complainant to use the report form available in the appendix of this handbook, from the Principal’s Office, Guidance Office, any staff member or available from the Superintendent's office. The reporting form will also be printed in the employee and student handbook.

A. School Buildings

The building’s Title IX coordinator is the person responsible for receiving oral or written reports of sexual harassment or sexual violence at the building level. Upon receipt of a report, the coordinator must notify the District Human Rights Coordinator and the Principal who will then notify the Superintendent of Schools immediately without screening or investigating the report.

If the principal receives a report of sexual harassment of violence, he/she will immediately notify the building Title IX Coordinator and the superintendent. If the report was given verbally, the coordinator shall reduce it to written form within 24 hours and forward it to the Principal who, in turn, will forward to the Supt. If the complaint involves the building Principal, the complaint shall be filed directly with the District Human Rights Coordinator who will forward the written report to the Superintendent directly.

B. District Wide

The School Board requires that the Superintendent designates the District Human Rights Coordinator to receive reports or complaints of sexual harassment and violence from any individual, employee or victim of sexual harassment or violence and from the building Title IX Coordinators as outlined above. If the complaint involves the Superintendent, the complaint shall be filed directly with the School Board chair or vice-chair. The School District shall conspicuously post the name of the building’s Title IX Coordinators and the District Human Rights Coordinator, including a mailing address and telephone number.

C. Submission of a complaint or report of sexual harassment or sexual violence will not affect the individual's future employment, grades or work assignments.


D. Use of formal reporting forms is not mandatory.

The School District will respect the confidentiality of the complainant and the individual(s) against whom the complaint is filed as much as possible, consistent with the School District's legal obligations and the necessity to investigate allegations of sexual harassment and sexual violence and take disciplinary action when the conduct has occurred.

IV. INVESTIGATION AND RECOMMENDATION

By authority of the School District, the District Human Rights Coordinator, upon receipt of a report or complaint alleging sexual harassment or sexual violence shall immediately authorize an investigation. This investigation may be conducted by School District officials or by a third party designated by the School District. Whenever possible the investigation will be conducted by two school district officials. The investigating party shall provide a written report of the status of the investigation within 10 working days to the District Human Rights Coordinator. If the Superintendent is the subject of the complaint, the report shall be submitted to the School Board chair or vice-chair.

In determining whether alleged conduct constitutes sexual harassment or sexual violence, the School District should consider the surrounding circumstances, the nature of the sexual advances, relationships between the parties involved and the context in which the alleged incidents occurred. Whether a particular action or incident constitutes sexual harassment or sexual violence requires a determination based on all the facts and surrounding circumstances.

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 investigator.

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

V. SCHOOL DISTRICT ACTION


A. Upon receipt of a recommendation that the complaint is valid, the School District will take such action as appropriate based on the results of the investigation.


B. The Superintendent of his/her designee shall assure that the complainant is notified whether allegations of unlawful harassment were found to be correct, whether the violation of the policy was found, and whether action was taken as a result.


C. The School District shall take appropriate action against any student, teacher, administrator, or other school personnel who makes a false report of unlawful harassment knowing it to be false.


D. The Superintendent or his/her designee shall assure that a record of any complaint and the School District maintains investigation of unlawful harassment in a confidential file.


VI. REPRISAL

The School District will discipline any individual who retaliates against any person who reports alleged sexual harassment or sexual violence or who retaliates against any person who testifies, assists or participates in an investigation, proceeding or hearing relating to a sexual harassment or sexual violence complaint. Retaliation includes, but is not limited to, any form of intimidation, reprisal or harassment.

VII. ALTERNATIVE COMPLAINT PROCEDURES

These procedures do not deny the right of any individual to pursue other avenues of recourse that may include filing charges with the Commissioner of Education, initiating civil action or seeking redress under state criminal statutes and/or federal law.

A person may make a complaint of harassment to the New Hampshire Human Rights Commission or the federal Office of Civil Rights:


New Hampshire Human Rights Commission
2 Chenell Drive
Concord, NH 03301
(603) 271-2767
Office of Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Education, Region 1

John W. McCormack Post Office & Courthouse
Room 222
Post Office Square
Boston, Massachusetts 02109
(617) 223-9667

VIII. SEXUAL HARASSMENT OR SEXUAL VIOLENCE AS SEXUAL ABUSE

Under certain circumstances, sexual harassment or sexual violence may constitute sexual abuse under New Hampshire law. In such situations, the School District shall comply with said law. Nothing in this policy will prohibit the School District from taking immediate action to protect victims of alleged sexual abuse.

IX. DISCIPLINE

The School District will take such disciplinary action it deems necessary and appropriate, including warning, suspension or immediate discharge to end sexual harassment and sexual violence and prevent its recurrence.