Policy JICK: Sexual Harassment of Students

The School district affirms its commitment to preventing the sexualharassment of students and adopts this policy to cover all studentswithin the school district.

It is the goal of the Amherst Public School District, PelhamElementary School District, and Amherst-Pelham Regional District topromote a school environment that is free of sexual harassment. Sexualharassment of students occurring in the schools or at school-relatedevents is unlawful and will not be tolerated by the school district.Further, any retaliation against an individual who has complained aboutsexual harassment or retaliation against individuals for cooperatingwith an investigation of a sexual harassment complaint is similarlyunlawful and will not be tolerated. To achieve the goal of providing aschool environment free from sexual harassment, the inappropriateconduct described below will not be tolerated and the possibleconsequences of such conduct are listed.

Complaints of sexual harassment will be responded to promptly and ifsuch inappropriate conduct is determined to have occurred, action willbe taken promptly to eliminate such conduct and to impose correctiveand/or disciplinary action as appropriate.

DEFINITION: Massachusetts General Law Chapter 151C, Section 1(e)defines sexual harassment as “any sexual advances, requests for sexualfavors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:(1) submission to or rejection of such advances, requests or conduct ismade either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of theprovision of the benefits, privileges or placement services ofemployment or as a basis for the evaluation of academic achievement; or(2) such advances, requests or conduct have the purpose or effect ofunreasonably interfering with an individual’s education by creating anintimidating, hostile, humiliating or sexually offensive educationalenvironment.”

While it is not possible to list all those additional circumstancesthat may constitute sexual harassment, the following are some examplesof conduct which, if unwelcome, may constitute sexual harassmentdepending upon the totality of the circumstances including the severityof the conduct and its pervasiveness:

  • Unwelcome sexual advances - whether they involve physical touching or not;

  • Sexual epithets, jokes, written or oral references to an individual’s sexual conduct, sexual orientation, gender identity, gossip regarding one’s sex life; comment on an individual’s body, comment about an individual’s sexual activity, deficiencies, or prowess;

  • Displaying sexually suggestive objects, pictures, cartoons;

  • Unwelcome leering, whistling, brushing against the body, sexual gestures, suggestive or insulting comments;

  • Inquiries into one’s sexual experiences; and,

  • Discussion of one’s sexual activities.

CONSEQUENCES: Staff members found to have engaged in acts of sexualharassment will face one or more of the following consequences: (1)written reprimand and warning, (2) suspension without pay, (3)dismissal, and/or (4) referral to the police.

Students found to have engaged in acts of sexual harassment ofanother student will face one or more of the following consequences: (1)apology to the victim, (2) parent conference, (3) detention, (4)suspension, (5) expulsion, and/or (6) referral to the police.

Reprisals, threats or intimidation of the victim will be treated asserious offenses, which could result in a permanent separation from theschool through expulsion (for student offenders) or dismissal fromemployment (for adult offenders.)

PROCESS FOR FILING STUDENT COMPLAINTS:

A. When the alleged offender is an adult. If a student believes thatshe/he has been the victim of sexual harassment by an adult or hasquestions about this issue, she/he should seek the help of another adultthat she/he trusts, such as a teacher, counselor, parent or guardian,Dean of Students, or one of the building administrators. The Principaland/or Superintendent will be advised of all such complaints and willimmediately conduct an investigation. If it is determined that an adulthas sexually harassed a student, the Superintendent of Schools shall beinformed immediately and disciplinary action towards the adult willoccur as set forth earlier in this policy.

B. When the alleged offender is a student. If a student believesthat she/he has been the victim of sexual harassment by another studentor has questions about this issue, she/he should seek the help ofanother adult that she/he trusts, such as a teacher, counselor, parentor guardian, Dean of Students, or one of the building administrators.The Principal will be advised of all such complaints and willimmediately conduct an investigation. If it is determined that astudent has sexually harassed another student, the perpetrator will besubject to the disciplinary actions set forth earlier in this policy.

In all cases, a high degree of confidentiality will be maintained bythe school and school authorities to protect both the student and thealleged offender.

Additional information on regulations and procedures may be obtained from:

Student Services Administrator
Amherst-Pelham Regional Schools
170 Chestnut Street
Amherst, MA 01002 (413) 362-1871

LEGAL REF:

Title VII, Section 703, Civil Rights Act of 1964 as amended 45
Federal Regulation 74676 issued by EEO Commission
Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. 1681 et seq. (Title IX)
Board of Education 603 CMR 26:00

Region Voted to Approve: 8/29/06
Amherst Voted to Approve: 9/19/06
Pelham Voted to Approve: 9/07/06
Effective Date: 9/19/06