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Sexual abuse of a student by an employee, when there is a connection between the physical sexual activity and the employee's duties and obligations as a school employee, violates a student's constitutional right to bodily integrity. Sexual abuse may include fondling, sexual assault, or sexual intercourse.  U.S. Const. Amend. 14; Doe v. Taylor ISD, 15 F.3d 443 (5th Cir. 1994)

Sexual harassment of students may constitute discrimination on the basis of sex in violation of Title IX.
20 U.S.C. 1681; 34 CFR 106.11; Franklin v. Gwinnett County Schools, 503 U.S. 60 (1992)

SEXUAL HARASSMENT PROHIBITED

The School prohibits sexual harassment and harassment based on a person’s race, color, gender, national origin, disability, or religion. 

Employees shall not tolerate harassment of students and shall make reports as required at REPORTING PROCEDURES, below.

DEFINITION OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT

Sexual harassment of students is conduct that is so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it can be said to deprive the victim of access to the educational opportunities or benefits provided by the school. Sexual harassment does not include simple acts of teasing and name-calling among school children, however, even when the comments target differences in gender.  Davis v. Monroe County Bd. of Educ., 526 U.S. 629 (1999)

SEXUAL HARASSMENT

By An Employee

Sexual harassment of a student by a School employee includes both welcome and unwelcome sexual advances; requests for sexual favors; sexually motivated physical, verbal, or nonverbal conduct; or other conduct or communication of a sexual nature when:

  1. A School employee causes the student to believe that the student must submit to the conduct in order to participate in a school program or activity, or that the employee will make an educational decision based on whether or not the student submits to the conduct; or
  2. The conduct is so severe, persistent, or pervasive that it:
    1. Affects the student’s ability to participate in or benefit from an educational program or activity, or otherwise adversely affects the student’s educational opportunities; or
    2. Creates an intimidating, threatening, hostile, or abusive educational environment.

Romantic or inappropriate social relationships between students and School employees are prohibited. Any sexual relationship between a student and a School employee is always prohibited, even if consensual.

A TSBVI Principal, Residential Director, Director of Human Resources, the Superintendent, or the Superintendent’s designee shall address alleged harassment of students by employees and shall take corrective measures to address the harassment.

By Others

Sexual harassment of a student, including harassment committed by another student under the School’s disciplinary authority, includes unwelcome sexual advances; requests for sexual favors; or sexually motivated physical, verbal, or nonverbal conduct when the conduct is so severe, persistent, or pervasive that it:

  1. Affects a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from an educational program or activity, or creates an intimidating, threatening, hostile, or offensive educational environment;
  2. Has the purpose or effect of substantially or unreasonably interfering with the student’s academic performance; or
  3. Otherwise adversely affects the student’s educational opportunities.

Examples

Examples of sexual harassment of a student may include, but are not limited to, sexual advances; touching intimate body parts or coercing physical contact that is sexual in nature; jokes or conversations of a sexual nature; and other sexually motivated conduct, communications, or contact.

Necessary or permissible physical contact such as assisting a child by taking the child’s hand, comforting a child with a hug, or other physical contact not reasonably construed as sexual in nature is not sexual harassment.

CORRECTIVE ACTION

A school official who has authority to address alleged harassment by employees on the school’s behalf shall take corrective measures to address the harassment or abuse.

Gebser v. Lago Vista ISD, 118 S.Ct. 1989 524 U.S. 274 (1998); Doe v. Taylor ISD, 15 F.3d 443 (5th Cir. 1994)

RESPONDING TO STUDENT-STUDENT SEXUAL HARASSMENT

The School must reasonably respond to known student-on-student harassment where the harasser is under the School’s disciplinary authority.  Davis v. Monroe County Bd. of Educ., 526 U.S. 629 (1999)

OTHER PROHIBITED HARASSMENT

Prohibited harassment of a student is defined as physical, verbal, or nonverbal conduct based on the student’s race, color, gender, national origin, disability, or religion that is so severe, persistent, or pervasive that the conduct:

  1. Affects a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from an educational program or activity, or creates an intimidating, threatening, hostile, or offensive educational environment;
  2. Has the purpose or effect of substantially or unreasonably interfering with the student’s academic performance; or
  3. Otherwise adversely affects the student’s educational opportunities.

Examples

Examples of prohibited harassment may include, but are not limited to, offensive or derogatory language directed at another person’s religious beliefs or practices, accent, skin color, or need for accommodation; threatening or intimidating conduct; offensive jokes, name calling, slurs, or rumors; physical aggression or assault; display of graffiti or printed material promoting racial, ethnic, or other negative stereotypes; or other kinds of aggressive conduct such as theft or damage to property.

REPORTING PROCEDURES

Any student who believes that he or she has experienced prohibited harassment should immediately report the alleged acts to a teacher, counselor, principal, or other School employee.

Any School employee who receives notice that a student has or may have experienced prohibited harassment is required to immediately report the alleged acts to an appropriate person designated below.

Any other person who knows or believes that a student has experienced prohibited harassment should immediately report the alleged acts to the appropriate person designated below.

Reports of known or suspected child abuse or neglect shall be made as required by law.

Timely Reporting

Reports of harassment shall be made as soon as possible after the alleged acts. A failure to promptly report alleged harassment may impair the School’s ability to investigate and address the harassment.

Oral or written reports of prohibited harassment shall normally be made to the Principal. A person shall not be required to report harassment to the alleged harasser; nothing in this policy prevents a person from reporting harassment directly to either the Superintendent or the Director of School and Student Services/Title IX Coordinator. 

A report against the Title IX coordinator may be made directly to the Superintendent; a report against the Superintendent may be made directly to the Board.

If there is reason to believe that the behavior might rise to the definition of abuse, an investigation and corrective action shall be done in accord with Policy FFG and Administrative Procedure P.1.7.

NOTIFICATION OF REPORT

Upon receipt of a report of harassment, a principal shall immediately notify the appropriate School official listed above.

NOTICE TO PARENTS

The principal or School official shall promptly notify the parents of any student alleged to have experienced prohibited harassment by a School employee or another adult associated with the School. In cases of student-to-student harassment, the School shall promptly notify the parents of any student alleged to have experienced harassment when the allegations presented, if proven, would constitute sexual harassment or other prohibited harassment as defined by School policy.

CONFIDENTIALITY

To the greatest extent possible, the School shall respect the privacy of the complainant, persons against whom a report is filed, and witnesses. Limited disclosures may be necessary in order to conduct a thorough investigation and comply with applicable law.

INVESTIGATION OF THE REPORT

The School may request, but shall not insist upon, a written report.  If a report is made orally, the School official shall reduce the report to written form.

Upon receipt or notification of a report, the School official shall determine whether the allegations, if proven, would constitute sexual harassment or other prohibited harassment as defined by School policy. If so, the School official shall immediately authorize or undertake an investigation.

If appropriate, the School shall promptly take interim action to prevent harassment during the course of an investigation.

The investigation may be conducted by the School official or a designee or by a third party designated by the School, such as an attorney. When appropriate, the Principal shall be involved in or informed of the investigation.

The investigation may consist of personal interviews with the person making the report, the person against whom the report is filed, and others with knowledge of the circumstances surrounding the allegations. The investigation may also include analysis of other information or documents related to the allegations.

The School’s obligation to conduct an investigation is not satisfied by the fact that a criminal or regulatory investigation regarding the same or similar allegations is pending.

CONCLUDING THE INVESTIGATION

Absent extenuating circumstances, the investigation should be completed within ten business days from the date of the report; however, the investigator shall take additional time if necessary to complete a thorough investigation.

The investigator shall prepare a written report of the investigation. The report shall be filed with the School official overseeing the investigation.

SCHOOL ACTION

If the results of an investigation indicate that prohibited harassment occurred, the School shall promptly respond by taking appropriate disciplinary or corrective action reasonably calculated to address the harassment.

The School may take disciplinary action based on the results of an investigation, even if the School concludes that the conduct did not rise to the level of harassment prohibited by law or School policy.

APPEAL

A student, including a complainant, may appeal through TSBVI Policy FNG, beginning at the appropriate level. A complainant shall be informed of his or her right to file a complaint with the United States Department of Education Office for Civil Rights.

RETALIATION PROHIBITED

Retaliation against a student alleged to have experienced harassment, a witness, or another person who makes a report or participates in an investigation is strictly prohibited. A person who makes a good faith report of prohibited harassment shall not suffer retaliation for making the report. A person who intentionally makes a false claim, offers false statements, or refuses to cooperate with a School investigation regarding prohibited harassment is subject to appropriate discipline.

RECORDS RETENTION

Retention of records shall be in accordance with TSBVI Policy FB.   Information regarding this policy shall be distributed annually to School employees and included in the student handbook. Copies of the policy shall be readily available at each campus and the School’s administrative offices.

ACCESS TO POLICY

Information regarding this policy shall be distributed annually to School employees and included in the Parent and Student Handbook.  Copies of the policy shall be readily available in the Principals’ offices. 

Adopted:          1/26/07
Amended:        11/20/15
Reviewed: