4410 - SEXUAL HARASSMENT
All employees and students are entitled to work and study in school-related environments that are free of sexual harassment. To this end, the Board prohibits employees and students from engaging in sexual harassment and advises employees and students that when evidence of sexual harassment is established, disciplinary action may be taken, up to and including dismissal (for employees) and suspension (for students).
Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when:
A. Submission to the conduct is made, either explicitly or implicitly, a term or condition of an individual's employment, academic progress, or completion of school-related activity; or
B. Submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such an individual, or, in the case of a student, submission to or rejection of such conduct is used in evaluating the student's performance or affecting the student's opportunities within a course of study or other school-related activity; or
C. Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an employee's work performance or a student's educational performance, or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment.
Examples of sexual harassment include, but are not limited to, deliberate, unwelcome touching; suggestions or demands for sexual involvement accompanied by implied or overt promises or threats; pressure for sexual activity; continued or repeated offensive sexual flirtations, advances or propositions; continued or repeated verbal remarks about an individual's body; sexually degrading words used toward an individual or to describe an individual; or the display in the work place or school setting of sexually suggestive objects or pictures.
A hostile environment exists if the conduct of a sexual nature is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive to limit a student's ability to participate in or benefit from the educational program or creates a hostile or abusive educational or work environment.
Sexual harassment does not include personal compliments welcomed by the recipient or social interactions or relations freely entered into by an employee or prospective employee or appropriate social interactions between students that do not violate the Code of Student Conduct. In the case of consensual relations between students, there may be reason to question the consensual nature of the conduct if one or both of the students are very young or there is a large age disparity between the students.
It is possible for sexual harassment to occur at various levels: between peers or coworkers, between supervisors and subordinates, between employees and students, between students, or imposed by non-employees on employees and/or students.
Romantic or sexual advances toward students by employees or romantic or sexual relationships between school system employees and students are never appropriate, whether they are consensual or non-consensual or otherwise outside the definition of sexual harassment. Such relationships are prohibited. Employees engaging in inappropriate relationships with students, or who fail to report such relationships to the Superintendent, will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal.
All complaints of sexual harassment shall be promptly and thoroughly investigated. A student does not have to report an incident of harassment to trigger an investigation if a school official knows or, in the exercise of reasonable care, should have known about the harassment. Suspected sexual harassment shall be investigated according to the following procedures:
A. All complaints and investigations of sexual harassment shall be confidential. Information shall be given only to those individuals who need to have access to it in order to investigate appropriately and address the complaint.
B. A student who believes that he/she has suffered sexual harassment may report the matter in writing to the school principal. Written complaints may also be made to the assistant superintendent for student services for cases of student to student harassment and to the assistant superintendent for administrative services for complaints of harassment by a school employee. Any teacher or other school employee who receives from a student a report (oral or written) of alleged sexual harassment shall immediately report the same to the school principal, and the principal shall promptly inform the Superintendent of the allegations. Failure by the employee to do so may subject the employee to disciplinary action. If the student's school principal is the alleged offender, such report by the student or by other school employees shall be made to the Superintendent or assistant superintendent for administrative services.
C. An employee who believes that he/she has suffered sexual harassment may report the matter in writing to the assistant superintendent for administrative services. However, any school employee who occupies an organizationally superior position relative to an employee who receives from such employee a report, whether oral or written, of alleged sexual harassment shall promptly report the same to the Superintendent or the assistant superintendent for administrative services. Failure by such employee to do so may subject the employee to disciplinary action. If the assistant superintendent for administrative services is the alleged offender, such report shall be made to the Superintendent.
D. In any case involving alleged sexual harassment by the Superintendent, reports shall be made to any member of the Board.
E. Claims of sexual harassment shall be promptly and thoroughly investigated, and appropriate action shall be taken. The actions taken should be reasonably calculated to end any harassment, eliminate a hostile environment if one has been created, and prevent harassment from occurring again. Violations shall be deemed to be serious disciplinary infractions. In the case of students, the Student Code of Conduct outlines the range of disciplinary consequences.
F. No employee or student will be subject to negative action in retaliation for reporting alleged sexual harassment in accordance with this policy. Such retaliation is against the law and is prohibited by this policy.
G. The Superintendent may establish such guidelines and additional procedures as he/she deems necessary for the purpose of implementation of this policy.
H. The Superintendent shall recommend and the Board shall approve the appointment of a member of the central office staff to coordinate compliance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and this policy.
I. Anyone who has brought a complaint under this policy and is not satisfied with the results of the investigation may file a formal grievance with the Title IX coordinator, and the results of this review may be appealed to the Board.
The Superintendent or designee shall ensure that copies of this policy are distributed to employees and students.
Legal Reference: G.S.115C-36; Title VII of the Civil Rights
Act of 1964, as amended; Titles VI and IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
Adopted Effective: July 1, 1999