Policy JICK: Sexual Harassment of Students

The School district affirms its commitment to preventing the sexual harassment of students and adopts this policy to cover all students within the school district.

It is the goal of the Amherst Public School District, Pelham Elementary School District, and Amherst-Pelham Regional District to promote a school environment that is free of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment of students occurring in the schools or at school-related events is unlawful and will not be tolerated by the school district. Further, any retaliation against an individual who has complained about sexual harassment or retaliation against individuals for cooperating with an investigation of a sexual harassment complaint is similarly unlawful and will not be tolerated. To achieve the goal of providing a school environment free from sexual harassment, the inappropriate conduct described below will not be tolerated and the possible consequences of such conduct are listed.

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

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

While it is not possible to list all those additional circumstances that may constitute sexual harassment, the following are some examples of conduct which, if unwelcome, may constitute sexual harassment depending upon the totality of the circumstances including the severity of 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 sexual harassment 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 of another 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 as serious offenses, which could result in a permanent separation from the school through expulsion (for student offenders) or dismissal from employment (for adult offenders.)

PROCESS FOR FILING STUDENT COMPLAINTS:

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

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

In all cases, a high degree of confidentiality will be maintained by the school and school authorities to protect both the student and the alleged 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
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