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Goals & Objectives (Series 0000)

 All policies are listed in policy number order. If you would like to search the page by policy title or policy number, hit the Control and F keys (Command and F if you’re on a Mac) at the same time and type in your keyword or policy number. Otherwise the Goals & Objectives Policies are as follows:


Policy 0050 | Anti-Racism

View the PDF of the Anti-Racism Policy here.

The Board of Education (the Board) of the Bethlehem Central School District ( the District) is committed to establishing and sustaining an equitable community that ensures each individual student’s and staff member’s success. The Board rejects all forms of racism as destructive to the District’s mission, core values, and goals and condemns racial violence, white supremacy, hate speech, and bigotry in all forms. Racism, whether intentional or not, has no place in our schools, district, or community.

The District can play a vital role in ending systemic and institutional racism, individual racism, cultural racism, and racial injustice that can harm our students, staff, and community. The District seeks to create an inclusive educational environment where all students, staff members, parents, and community members are treated with dignity and respect.

Definitions

  1. Racism: a system of advantage based on race.
  2. Anti-racism: the practice of identifying, challenging, and changing the values, structures, and behaviors that perpetuate racism.
  3. Individual racism: beliefs, attitudes, and actions of individuals that support or perpetuate racism. Individual racism includes both privately held beliefs, conscious and unconscious, and external behaviors and actions towards others.
  4. Cultural racism: representations and messages attributing value and normality to behaviors and values associated with white people or “whiteness” and devaluing those associated with other racially defined groups.
  5. Systemic racism: a system in which public policies, institutional practices, cultural representations, and other social norms, conscious or unconscious, reinforce and perpetuate racial group inequity.
  6. Institutional racism: practices or policies within and between institutions – such as discipline policies in schools – that create different outcomes for different racial groups.
  7. Implicit bias: a belief or attitude that affects a person’s understanding, decisions, and actions, and that exists without conscious awareness.
  8. Microaggressions: everyday verbal and nonverbal slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages that target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership.

Communication

  1. The superintendent or their designee shall develop a public statement against racism, and all other forms of discrimination, that shall be posted in each District building in a location visible to students, staff, and visitors entering the school.
  2. The District shall support and sustain district-wide equity and inclusion committees to strengthen dialogue regarding anti-racist initiatives.
  3. The District shall establish an organization or committee of students, parents, and staff to promote anti-racism, equity, and diversity and to serve as leaders within the District.
  4. The District shall foster community partnerships to support the District’s anti-racism efforts and engage family members in the development and implementation of culturally appropriate and effective partnerships between home and school to ensure that each school building is welcoming and inclusive to all.
  5. The District shall dedicate time for celebrations of diversity and critical conversations about race among staff and with students.

Curriculum and Instruction

The superintendent or their designee shall:

  1. Ensure that curriculum and instructional materials reflect the District’s commitment to anti-racism. Curriculum and age-appropriate instructional materials for all grades shall reflect cultural and racial diversity and contain a range of perspectives and experiences, including those of historically underrepresented groups of color.
  2. Examine curriculum and instructional materials for racial bias and make revisions as needed.
  3. Design in-class and co-curricular programs and activities to foster respect for cultural and racial diversity.

Hiring and Training

The superintendent or their designee shall:

  1. Continue to seek a diverse faculty and staff and to assess the District’s hiring practices through an equity lens. The District shall be intentional about recruiting, employing, retaining, and supporting a racially and culturally diverse workforce of equally qualified administrative, instructional, and support personnel.
  2. Ensure that all District staff receive training about racism and how racism produces inequitable practices and outcomes.
  3. Ensure that District staff receive training, as necessary, in teaching revised curriculum and instructional materials.
  4. Ensure that all District staff receive training in anti-racist practices, including, but not limited to, training in cultural awareness and/or culturally responsive teaching practices, recognizing implicit bias and microaggressions. Training should raise awareness of the issues that perpetuate achievement disparities and lead to disproportionate levels of student success.

Reporting

  1. The District shall ensure there are various methods for students and staff to report incidents of racism. Complaints of racial misconduct should be reported and resolved in accordance with the District’s Code of Conduct, (5300).
  2. The District shall track reports of racist incidents.
  3. The superintendent or their designee shall provide a semi-annual report to the Board on anti-racist activities within the District to determine the extent to which progress is made toward attaining the goals of this policy.

Ref:

  • 0100, Equal Opportunity and Nondiscrimination
  • 0110, Discrimination and/or Harassment of Employees and Certain Non-employees
  • 0115, Discrimination, Harassment, Hazing, and Bullying of Students
  • 4511, Textbook Selection and Adoption
  • 4000, Instructional Goals
  • 5300, Code of Conduct
  • 9700, Staff Development

Cross Ref.:

Adoption date: December 2, 2020

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Policy 0110 | Discrimination and/or Harassment of Employees and Certain Non-Employees

View the PDF version of Policy 0110 here.

The Board of Education (the Board) of the Bethlehem Central School District (the District) recognizes that discrimination and/or harassment of employees (including all staff, applicants for employment, both paid and unpaid interns, exempt and non-exempt status, part-time, seasonal, and temporary workers, regardless of immigration status) and certain “non-employees” (including contractors, subcontractors, vendors, consultant and other persons providing services pursuant to a contract, or their employees) on the basis of sex, gender and/or sexual orientation is abusive and illegal behavior that harms targets and negatively impacts the school culture by creating an environment of fear, distrust, intimidation and intolerance. The Board further recognizes that preventing and remedying such harassment in schools is essential to ensure a healthy, nondiscriminatory environment in which employees and “non-employees” can work productively.  

NOTE: if a Formal Title IX Complaint is made under Policy # 0120, this policy DOES NOT apply.  However, if the Formal Title IX Complaint is dismissed, the District may still choose to investigate the alleged sexual harassment under this policy, if the District determines that the alleged sexual harassment may potentially violate this policy.

The Board, its officers, and employees shall not discriminate against any employee or applicant on the basis of legally protected classes such as, but not limited to: race; color; national origin; creed; religion; marital status; sex (including pregnancy, childbirth or related medical condition); age; sexual orientation; disability (physical or mental); predisposing genetic characteristic; military work or status; domestic violence victim status; or use of a guide dog, hearing dog, or service dog, as applicable. The District will provide notice of this policy in accordance with federal and state law and regulation. This policy of nondiscrimination includes recruitment and appointment of employees and employment pay, benefits, advancement, and/or terminations.

This policy prohibits discrimination and/or harassment of employees (including all staff, applicants for employment, both paid and unpaid interns, exempt and non-exempt status, part-time, seasonal, and temporary workers, regardless of immigration status) and certain “non-employees” (which includes contractors, subcontractors, vendors, consultant and other persons providing services pursuant to a contract, or their employees) on the basis of their protected status by others in the District’s environment, including students. 

discrimination and/or harassment of students by others, including employees, is covered by Policy # 0115 and # 0115-R Harassment, Discrimination, and Bullying of Students, and/or the Formal Title IX Complaint Policy # 0120.

The Board is committed to providing a working environment that promotes respect, dignity and equality and that is free from all forms of discrimination and/or harassment. To this end, the Board condemns and strictly prohibits all forms of discrimination and/or harassment on school grounds, school buses and at all school-sponsored activities, programs and events, including those that take place at locations outside the District, or outside the school setting if the harassment impacts individual’s employment in a way that violates their legal rights, including when employees and “non-employees” travel on District business, or when harassment is done by electronic means (including on social media). For employees, discrimination and/or harassment are considered forms of employee misconduct. The District will enforce sanctions against all those who engage in sexual harassment, and against supervisory and managerial personnel who knowingly allow such behavior to continue or engage in retaliation. If a student violates this policy by engaging in discrimination and/or harassment of an employee, the student may face discipline pursuant to the Code of Conduct.

Under various state and federal laws, employees and “non-employees” have legal protections against discrimination and/or harassment in the school environment as described above. Additionally, local laws may apply to the District. The District’s Code of Conduct also addresses appropriate behavior in the school environment. discrimination and/or harassment can occur between persons of all ages and genders.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination and/or is unlawful under federal, state, and (where applicable) local law. Sexual harassment includes harassment on the basis of actual or perceived or self-identified sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and transgender status.  

Sexual harassment includes unwelcome conduct which is either of a sexual nature, or which is directed at an individual because of that individual’s sex, when:

  1. submission to that conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment;
  2. submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis for decisions affecting an individual’s employment; or
  3. the conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an employee’s or “non-employee’s” work or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment, even if the complaining individual is not the intended target of the sexual harassment.

Sexual harassment can include unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature, or verbal, nonverbal or physical aggression, intimidation or hostility that is based on actual or perceived gender and sexual stereotypes. Examples of sexual harassment can be found in the accompanying regulation (0110-R).

Sexual harassment may subject the District to liability for harm done to targets. Harassers may also be individually subject to civil liability if sued in a court of law or criminal liability if prosecuted.

Reporting

Targets of discrimination and/or harassment and persons with knowledge of discrimination and/or/or harassment should report it immediately. The District will promptly investigate all complaints of discrimination and/or harassment, either formal or informal, verbal or written. To the extent possible, all complaints will be treated in a confidential manner. Limited disclosure may be necessary to complete a thorough investigation. If the complainant reports that they feel unsafe at school due to the nature of the complaint, the District will determine if accommodations need to be made until the issue is resolved.

If, after appropriate investigation, the District finds that a student, an employee, “non-employee” or a third party has violated this policy, prompt corrective action will be taken in accordance with the applicable collective bargaining agreement, contract, District policies, and state law. Individual nondisclosure agreements in connection with the resolution of a discrimination and/or harassment claim may only be used as permitted by law, described in the accompanying regulation. Mandatory arbitration of claims is prohibited in all District contracts and agreements entered into on or after July 11, 2018.

All complainants and those who participate in discrimination and/or harassment complaints or the investigation of a complaint of discrimination and/or harassment have the right to be free from retaliation of any kind, when they do so with a good faith belief that discrimination and/or harassment has occurred. Such prohibited retaliation can include, but is not limited to, discipline, discrimination, demotion, denial of privileges, or any action that would keep a person from coming forward to make or support a discrimination and/or harassment claim. Such actions need not be job-related, or occur in the workplace, to constitute unlawful retaliation.

The superintendent is directed to develop and implement regulations for reporting, investigating and remedying allegations of discrimination and/or harassment. These regulations are to be attached to this policy. In addition, training programs shall be established annually for employees, to raise awareness of the issues surrounding discrimination and/or harassment and to implement preventative measures to help reduce incidents of discrimination and/or harassment. 

Annual Notification and Review

At the beginning of each school year, the District shall publish a notice of the established grievance procedures for resolving complaints of discrimination and/or harassment to employees and the community. The public notice shall:

  • Provide the name, address, and telephone number of the person designated to coordinate activities concerning discrimination.
  • Be included in announcements, bulletins, catalogues, and applications made available by the District.

This policy shall be posted in a prominent place in each District facility, on the District’s website, and shall also be published in employee handbooks, and other appropriate school publications.

Ref:   

  • Education Amendments of 1972, Title IX, 20 U.S.C.§1681 et seq., 34 CFR Part 106
  • Title VII of Civil Rights Act (1964), 42 U.S.C. §2000-e; 34 CFR §100 et seq.
  • Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §12101 et seq.
  • Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. §794
  • Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 P.L. 110-233 34 C.F.R. §§ 100.6, 104.8, 106.9, 110.25
  • Executive Law §296 (prohibition of discrimination and/or harassment of employees)
  • Executive Law §296-d (prohibition of discrimination and/or harassment of non-employees)
  • Labor Law §201-g (required sexual harassment policy and training)
  • Civil Practice Law and Rules §§5003-b (nondisclosure agreements optional); 7515 (mandatory arbitration prohibited)
  • General Obligations Law §5-336 (nondisclosure agreements optional)
  • Davis v. Monroe County Board of Education, 526 U.S. 629, 652 (1999)
  • Gebser v. Lago Vista Independent School District, 524 U.S, 274 (1998)
  • Faragher v. City of Boca Raton, 524 U.S. 775 (1998)
  • Burlington Industries v. Ellerth, 524 U.S. 742 (1998)
  • Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore Services, Inc., 523 U.S. 75 (1998)
  • Franklin v. Gwinnett County Public Schools, 503 U.S. 60 (1992)
  • Meritor Savings Bank, FSB v. Vinson, 477 U.S. 57 (1986)
  • Office for Civil Rights, Dear Colleague Letter: Sexual Harassment Issues (2006)
  • Office for Civil Rights, Dear Colleague Letter: Bullying (October 26, 2010)

Adoption date: June 19, 2002
Re-adopted date: December 18, 2019
Re-adopted date: September 2, 2020
Re-adopted date: February 3, 2021

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Policy 0110-E | Sexual Harassment Exhibit

View the PDF version of Policy Exhibit 0110E here.


Policy 0110-R | Discrimination and Harassment of Employees and Certain Non-Employees Regulation

View the PDF version of Policy Regulation 0110R here.

This regulation is intended to create and preserve a working environment free from unlawful discrimination and/or harassment on the basis of sex, gender, and/or sexual orientation in furtherance of the District’s commitment to provide a healthy and productive environment for all employees (including all staff, applicants for employment, both paid and unpaid interns. exempt and non-exempt status, part-time, seasonal, and temporary workers, regardless of immigration status) and “non-employees” (i.e., contractors, subcontractors, vendors, consultant and other persons providing services pursuant to a contract, or their employees) that promotes respect, dignity and equality. 

NOTE: once a Formal Title IX Complaint is made under Policy No. 0120, this policy DOES NOT apply.  However, if the Formal Title IX Complaint is dismissed, the district may still choose to investigate the alleged discrimination and/or harassment under this policy, if the district determines that the alleged discrimination and/or harassment may potentially violate this policy.

Discrimination and Harassment

The Board of Education, its officers, and employees shall not discriminate against any employee or applicant on the basis of legally protected classes such as, but not limited to: race; color; national origin; creed; religion; marital status; sex (including pregnancy, childbirth or related medical condition); age; sexual orientation; disability (physical or mental); predisposing genetic characteristic; military work or status; domestic violence victim status; or use of a guide dog, hearing dog, or service dog, as applicable. 

This policy prohibits discrimination and harassment of employees (including all staff, applicants for employment, both paid and unpaid interns, exempt and non-exempt status, part-time, seasonal, and temporary workers, regardless of immigration status) and certain “non-employees” (which includes contractors, subcontractors, vendors, consultant and other persons providing services pursuant to a contract, or their employees) on the basis of their protected status by others in the district’s environment, including students. 

Discrimination and harassment of students by others, including employees, is covered by Policy # 0115 and # 0115-R Harassment, Discrimination, and Bullying of Students, and/or the Formal Title IX Complaint, Policy # 0120.

Discrimination or harassment may occur on school grounds, school buses and at all school-sponsored activities, programs and events, including those that take place at locations outside the District, or outside the school setting if the harassment impacts the individual’s employment in a way that violates their legal rights, including when employees or “non-employees” travel on District business, or when the harassment is done by electronic means (including on social media).

Sexual Harassment Defined 

Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination and is unlawful under federal, state, and (where applicable) local law. Sexual harassment includes harassment on the basis of actual or perceived or self-identified sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and transgender status. 

Sexual harassment includes unwelcome conduct which is either of a sexual nature, or which is directed at an individual because of that individual’s sex, gender, or sexual orientation, when: 

  1. submission to that conduct or communication is made a term or condition, either explicitly or implicitly, of an employee’s or “non-employee’s” employment; or
  2. submission to or rejection of that conduct or communication by an individual is used as the basis for decisions affecting an employee’s or “non-employee’s” employment ; or
  3. the conduct or communication has the purpose or effect of substantially or unreasonably interfering with an employee’s or “non-employee’s” work performance , or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working or educational environment, even if the complaining individual is not the intended victim of the discrimination and/or harassment.

Sexual harassment can include unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature, or verbal, nonverbal or physical aggression, intimidation or hostility that is based on actual or perceived gender and sexual stereotypes. 

Unacceptable Conduct School-related conduct that the District considers unacceptable and which may constitute sexual harassment includes, but is not limited to, the following: 

  1. rape, attempted rape, sexual assault, attempted sexual assault, forcible sexual abuse, hazing, and other sexual and gender-based activity of a criminal nature as defined under the State Penal Law;
  2. unwelcome sexual advances or invitations or requests for sexual activity, including but not limited to those in exchange for promotions, preferences, favors, selection for job assignments, etc., or when accompanied by implied or overt threats concerning the victim’s work evaluations, other benefits or detriments;
  3. unwelcome and/or offensive public sexual display of affection, including kissing, hugging, making out, groping, fondling, petting, inappropriate touching of one’s self or others (e.g., pinching, patting, grabbing, poking), sexually suggestive dancing, and massages;
  4. any unwelcome communication that is sexually suggestive, sexually degrading or derogatory or implies sexual motives or intentions, such as sexual remarks or innuendoes about an individual’s clothing, appearance or activities; sexual jokes; sexual gestures; public conversations about sexual activities or exploits; sexual rumors and “ratings lists;” howling, catcalls, and whistles; sexually graphic computer files, messages or games, etc;
  5. unwelcome and offensive name calling or profanity that is sexually suggestive or explicit, sexually degrading or derogatory, implies sexual intentions, or that is based on sexual stereotypes or sexual orientation, gender identity or expression;
  6. unwelcome physical contact or closeness that is sexually suggestive, sexually degrading or derogatory, or sexually intimidating such as the unwelcome touching of another’s body parts, cornering or blocking an individual, standing too close, spanking, pinching, following, stalking, frontal body hugs, etc.;
  7. unwelcome and sexually offensive physical pranks or touching of an individual’s clothing, such as hazing and initiation, “streaking,” “mooning,” “wedgies” (pulling underwear up at the waist so it goes in between the buttocks), bra-snapping, skirt “flip-ups,” “spiking” (pulling down someone’s pants or swimming suit); pinching; placing hands inside an individual’s pants, shirt, blouse, or dress, etc.;
  8. unwelcome leers, stares, gestures, or slang that are sexually suggestive; sexually degrading or derogatory or imply sexual motives or intentions;
  9. clothing with sexually obscene or sexually explicit slogans or messages;
  10. unwelcome and offensive skits, assemblies, and productions that are sexually suggestive, sexually degrading or derogatory, or that imply sexual motives or intentions, or that are based on sexual stereotypes;
  11. unwelcome written or pictorial display or distribution (including via electronic devices) of pornographic or other sexually explicit materials such as signs, graffiti, calendars, objects, magazines, videos, films, Internet material, etc.;
  12. other hostile actions taken against an individual because of that person’s sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or transgender status, such as interfering with, destroying or damaging a person’s work or school area or equipment; sabotaging that person’s work activities; bullying, yelling, or name calling; or otherwise interfering with that person’s ability to work; and
  13. any unwelcome behavior based on sexual stereotypes and attitudes that is offensive, degrading, derogatory, intimidating, or demeaning, including, but not limited to:
    1. disparaging remarks, slurs, jokes about or aggression toward an individual because the person displays mannerisms or a style of dress inconsistent with stereotypical characteristics of the person’s sex;
    2. ostracizing or refusing to participate in group activities with an individual during  work activities because of the individual’s sex, gender expression or gender identity;
    3. taunting or teasing an individual because they are participating in an activity not typically associated with the individual’s sex or gender. 

For purposes of this regulation, action or conduct shall be considered “unwelcome” if the employee or non-employee did not request or invite it and regarded the conduct as undesirable or offensive. 

Determining if Prohibited Conduct is Discrimination and/or Harassment 

Complaints of discrimination and/or harassment will be thoroughly investigated to determine whether the totality of the behavior and circumstances meet any of the elements of the above definition of discrimination and/or harassment and should therefore be treated as discrimination and/or harassment. Not all unacceptable conduct may constitute discrimination and/or harassment. Discrimination and/or harassment is an unlawful discriminatory practice only when the alleged harassing conduct (1) subjects an individual to inferior terms, conditions or privileges of employment because of the individual’s protected status, and (2) rises above the level of what a reasonable victim of discrimination with the same protected characteristic or characteristics would consider petty slights or trivial inconveniences. If the behavior doesn’t rise to the level of discrimination and/or harassment, but is found to be objectionable behavior, the individual will be educated and counseled in order to prevent the behavior from continuing. 

In evaluating the totality of the circumstances and making a determination of whether conduct constitutes discrimination and/or harassment, the individual investigating the complaint should consider:

  1. the degree to which the conduct altered the conditions of the employee’s or “non-employee’s” working environment;
  2. the type, frequency and duration of the conduct;
  3. the identity of and relationship between the alleged harasser and the subject of the harassment (e.g., sexually based conduct by an authority figure is more likely to create a hostile environment than similar conduct by a student or a co-worker);
  4. the number of individuals involved;
  5. the age and sex of the alleged harasser and the subject of the harassment;
  6. the location of the incidents and context in which they occurred;
  7. other incidents; and
  8. incidents of gender-based, but non-discrimination and/or harassment.

As mentioned above, if a complainant makes a Formal Title IX Complaint under Policy # 0120, this policy will not apply.  Instead, Formal Title IX Complaints made under The Education Amendments of 1972, Title IX shall be addressed in accordance with the process outlined in District policy # 0120, Formal Title IX Complaint Procedure.  If a decision is made to dismiss a Formal Title IX Complaint, the district may still choose to investigate the alleged discrimination and/or harassment under this policy. 

Reporting Complaints of Discrimination and/or Harassment 

Any employee or non-employee who believes he or she has been the victim of discrimination and/or harassment by a student, District employee or “non-employee” or third party related to the school is encouraged to report complaints as soon as possible after the incident in order to enable the District to promptly and effectively investigate and resolve the complaint. Any person who witnesses or is aware of discrimination and/or harassment of an employee, or “non-employee” is also encouraged to report the incident or behavior to the District. Victims are encouraged to submit the complaint in writing; however, complaints may be filed verbally.   

Complaints should be filed with the employee’s supervisor, the relevant building principal, the Compliance Officer (Mrs. Kathleen Johnston, Director of Special Education), or the Title IX Coordinator (Ms. Amy Baluch, Director of Human Resources). 

School employees receiving complaints of discrimination and/or harassment from employees and “non-employees” shall either direct the complainant to the building principal, Compliance Officer, or Title IX Coordinator, or may report the incident themselves. Supervisory and managerial personnel are required to report complaints of discrimination and/or harassment received by staff, and will be subject to discipline for failing to report suspected or reported discrimination and/or harassment, knowingly allowing discrimination and/or harassment to continue, or engaging in any retaliation. 

In order to assist investigators, victims should document the harassment as soon as it occurs and with as much detail as possible including: the nature of the harassment; dates, times, places it has occurred; name of harasser(s); witnesses to the harassment; and the victim’s response to the harassment. 

Confidentiality 

It is District policy to respect the privacy of all parties and witnesses to complaints of discrimination amd/or harassment. To the extent possible, the District will not release the details of a complaint or the identity of the complainant or the individual(s) against whom the complaint is filed to any third parties who do not need to know such information. However, because an individual’s need for confidentiality must be balanced with the District’s legal obligation to provide due process to the accused, to conduct a thorough investigation, or to take necessary action to resolve the complaint, the District retains the right to disclose the identity of parties and witnesses to complaints in appropriate circumstances to individuals with a need to know. The staff member responsible for investigating complaints will discuss confidentiality standards and concerns with all complainants. 

If a complainant requests that their name not be revealed to the individual(s) against whom a complaint is filed, the staff member responsible for conducting the investigation shall inform the complainant that: 

  1. the request may limit the District’s ability to respond to their complaint;
  2. District policy and federal law prohibit retaliation against complainants and witnesses;
  3. the District will attempt to prevent any retaliation; and
  4. the District will take strong responsive action if retaliation occurs.

If the complainant still requests confidentiality after being given the notice above, the investigator will take all reasonable steps to investigate and respond to the complaint consistent with the request as long as doing so does not preclude the District from responding effectively to the harassment and preventing the harassment of other students or employees. 

Investigation and Resolution Procedure for Discrimination and/or Harassment Complaints

I. Initial (Building-level) Procedure 

The building principal, Compliance Officer, or the Title IX Coordinator shall conduct a preliminary review when they receive a verbal or written complaint of discrimination and/or harassment, or if they observe discrimination and/or harassment. Except in the case of severe or criminal conduct, the building principal, Compliance Officer, or Title IX Coordinator should make all reasonable efforts to resolve complaints at the school level. The goal of investigation and resolution procedures is to end the harassment and obtain a prompt and equitable resolution to a complaint. All persons involved in an investigation (complainants, witnesses and alleged harassers) will be accorded due process to protect their rights to a fair and impartial investigation. This investigation shall be prompt and thorough, and shall be completed as soon as possible. 

The building principal, Compliance Officer, or a designee, will promptly inform the Title IX Coordinator of any reports of suspected sexual harassment, including sexual assault or other serious behaviors that may fall within the scope of the Formal Title IX Complaint Policy.  Investigation of suspected sexual harassment will be coordinated with the Title IX Coordinator.  In some instances, where a Formal Title IX Complaint has been filed but some of the allegations may potentially violate this policy, the investigation under the Formal Title IX Complaint Policy and this policy may occur simultaneously.  In such cases, interviews may be conducted with two investigators, with one investigator handling questions related to the Formal Title IX Complaint and another investigator handling questions related to violations of this policy.   

Immediately, but no later than two (2) working days following receipt of a complaint, the building principal, Compliance Officer, or Title IX Coordinator shall begin an investigation of the complaint according to the following steps: 

  1. Interview the victim and document the conversation. Instruct the victim to have no contact or communication regarding the complaint with the alleged harasser. Ask the victim specifically what action they want taken in order to resolve the complaint. Refer the victim, as appropriate, to  other appropriate school staff or appropriate outside agencies for counseling services.
  2. Review any written documentation of the harassment prepared by the victim. If the victim has not prepared written documentation, ask the victim to do so. If the complainant refuses to complete a complaint form or written documentation, the building principal, Compliance Officer, or Title IX Coordinator shall complete a complaint form (see exhibit 0110-E) based on the verbal report.
  3. Request, review, obtain and preserve relevant evidence of harassment (e.g., documents, emails, text messages, social media communications, phone records, etc.), if any exist.
  4. Interview the alleged harasser regarding the complaint and inform the alleged harasser that if the objectionable conduct has occurred, it must cease immediately. Document the conversation. Provide the alleged harasser an opportunity to respond to the charges in writing.
  5. Instruct the alleged harasser to have no contact or communication regarding the complaint with the victim and to not retaliate against the victim. Warn the alleged harasser that if they make contact with or retaliates against the victim, they will be subject to immediate disciplinary action.
  6. Interview any witnesses to the complaint. Caution each witness to keep the complaint and their participation in the investigation confidential. Employees may be required to cooperate as needed in investigations of suspected discrimination and/or harassment, in a manner that is consistent with any applicable collective bargaining agreement.
  7. Review all documentation and information relevant to the complaint.
  8. Where appropriate, suggest mediation as a potential means of resolving the complaint. In addition to mediation, use appropriate alternative methods to resolve the complaint, including but not limited to:   
    1. discussion with the accused, informing him or her of the District’s policies and indicating that the behavior must stop;
    2. suggesting counseling and/or sensitivity training;
    3. conducting training for the department or school in which the behavior occurred, calling attention to the consequences of engaging in such behavior;
    4. requesting a letter of apology to the complainant;
    5. writing letters of caution or reprimand; and/or
    6. separating the parties.
  9. Parent/Student/Employee/“Non-Employee” Involvement and Notification
    1. Parents of accused students shall be notified within one (1) school day of allegations.
    2. If the accused is a disabled student receiving special education services under an IEP or section 504/Americans with Disabilities Act accommodations, the committee on special education may be consulted to determine the degree to which the student’s disability either caused or is affected by the discrimination or policy violation. In addition, due process procedures required for persons with disabilities under state and federal law shall be followed.
    3. The investigator shall report back to both the victim and the accused, notifying them in writing, and also in person as appropriate regarding the outcome of the investigation and the action taken to resolve the complaint. The investigator shall instruct the target to report immediately if the objectionable behavior occurs again or if the alleged harasser retaliates against him/her.
    4. The investigator shall notify the victim that if they desire further investigation and action, they may request a District level investigation by contacting the superintendent. The investigator shall also notify the victim of their right to contact the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights and/or a private attorney. Employees may also contact the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the New York State Division of Human Rights.
  10. Create a written report of the investigation, kept in a secure and confidential location, containing:
    1. A list of all documentation and other evidence reviewed, along with a detailed summary;
    2. A list of names of those interviewed along with a detailed summary of their statements;
    3. A timeline of events;
    4. A summary of prior relevant incidents, reported or unreported;
    5. A determination, based on a preponderance of the evidence, as to whether each incident of alleged conduct did or did not occur; and
    6. The final resolution of the complaint, together with any corrective action(s). 

If the initial investigation results in a determination that discrimination and/or harassment did occur, the investigator will promptly notify the superintendent, who shall then take prompt disciplinary action in accordance with District policy, the applicable collective bargaining agreement or state law. 

If a complaint received by the building principal, Compliance Officer, or Title IX Coordinator contains evidence or allegations of serious or extreme harassment, such as sexual assault, criminal touching, quid pro quo (e.g., offering employment reward or punishment as an inducement for sexual favors), or acts which shock the conscience of a reasonable person, the complaint shall be referred promptly to the superintendent. In addition, where the building principal, Compliance Officer, or Title IX Coordinator has a reasonable suspicion that the alleged harassment involves criminal activity, they should immediately notify the superintendent, who shall then contact appropriate law enforcement authorities. Where criminal activity is alleged or suspected by a District employee, the accused employee shall be suspended or placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, consistent with all contractual or statutory requirements. 

Any party who is not satisfied with the outcome of the initial investigation by the building principal, Compliance Officer, or Title IX Coordinator may request a District-level investigation by submitting a written complaint to the superintendent within thirty (30) days. 

The building principal, Compliance Officer, or Title IX Coordinator (i.e., the investigator) shall promptly submit a copy of all building-level investigation and interview documentation to the superintendent, following the receipt of any request for a District-level investigation. 

II. District-level Procedure 

The superintendent shall promptly investigate and resolve all discrimination and/or harassment complaints that are referred to him/her by a building principal, Compliance Officer, or Title IX Coordinator, as well as those appealed to the superintendent following an initial investigation by a building principal, Compliance Officer, or Title IX Coordinator. In the event the complaint of discrimination and/or harassment involves the superintendent, the complaint shall be filed with or referred to the Board president. The Board, on its own initiative or at the request of the superintendent, may refer the complaint to a trained investigator not employed by the District for investigation. 

The District level investigation should begin as soon as possible but not later than three (3) working days following receipt of the complaint by the superintendent or Board president. 

In conducting the District level investigation, the District will use investigators who have received training in discrimination and/or harassment investigation or who have previous experience investigating discrimination and/or harassment complaints. 

If a District investigation results in a determination that discrimination and/or harassment did occur, prompt corrective action will be taken to end the harassment. Where appropriate, District investigators may suggest mediation as a means of exploring options of corrective action and informally resolving the complaint. 

No later than thirty (30) days following receipt of the complaint, the superintendent or the appointed investigator will notify the victim and alleged harasser, in writing, of the outcome of the investigation. If additional time is needed to complete the investigation or take appropriate action, the superintendent or investigator will provide all parties with a written status report within thirty (30) days following receipt of the complaint. 

The victim and the alleged harasser have the right to be represented by a person of their choice, at their own expense, during discrimination and/or harassment investigations and hearings. 

External Remedies 

Victims have the right to register discrimination and/or harassment complaints with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR). The OCR can be contacted at (800) 421-3481, 400 Maryland Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20202-1100, or at https://www2.ed.gov/about/ offices/list/ocr/index.html

Victims also have the right to register complaints with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the New York State Division of Human Rights (DHR). The EEOC can be contacted at (800) 669-4000, https://www.eeoc.gov/employees/howtofile.cfm, info@eeoc.gov, or at 33 Whitehall Street, 5th Floor, New York, NY 10004 or 300 Pearl Street, Suite 450, Buffalo, NY 14202. The DHR can be contacted at (888) 392-3644, www.dhr.ny.gov/complaint, or at 1 Fordham Plaza, Fourth Floor, Bronx, NY 10458. 

Nothing in these regulations shall be construed to limit the right of the complainant to file a lawsuit in either state or federal court, or to contact law enforcement officials if the discrimination and/or harassment involves unwanted physical touching, coerced physical confinement or coerced sex acts, which may constitute a crime. No District contract or collective bargaining agreement entered into after July 11, 2018 may include a binding arbitration clause for discrimination and/or harassment requiring arbitration before bringing a discrimination and/or harassment claim to a court. 

Nondisclosure Agreements 

The District may include nondisclosure agreements (to not disclose the underlying facts and circumstances of a discrimination and/or harassment complaint) in any discrimination and/or harassment settlement agreement or resolution only if it is the complainant’s preference. Such preference must be memorialized in an agreement signed by all parties. Any such nondisclosure agreement shall be provided to all parties. Complainants shall have twenty-one (21) days to consider any such nondisclosure provision before it is signed by all parties, and shall have seven (7) days to revoke the agreement after signing. Nondisclosure agreements shall only become effective after this seven-day period has passed. 

Retaliation Prohibited 

Any act of retaliation against any person who opposes discriminating or harassing behavior, or who has filed a complaint in good faith, is prohibited and illegal, and therefore subject to disciplinary action. Likewise, retaliation against any person who has, in good faith, testified, assisted, or participated in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing of a discrimination and/or harassment complaint is prohibited. 

For purposes of this policy, retaliation includes but is not limited to: verbal or physical threats, intimidation, ridicule, bribes, destruction of property, spreading rumors, stalking, harassing phone calls, discipline, discrimination, demotion, denial of privileges, any action that would keep a reasonable person from coming forward to make or support a discrimination and/or harassment claim, and any other form of harassment. Such actions need not be job-related  or occur in the workplace, to constitute unlawful retaliation. Any person who retaliates is subject to immediate disciplinary action, up to and including suspension or termination. 

Discipline/Penalties 

Any individual who violates the discrimination and/or harassment policy by engaging in prohibited discrimination and/or harassment will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action. Disciplinary measures available to school authorities include, but are not limited to the following: 

  • Students: Discipline may range from a reprimand up to and including suspension from school, to be imposed consistent with the student conduct and discipline policy and applicable law.
  • Employees: Discipline may range from a warning up to and including termination, to be imposed consistent with all applicable contractual and statutory rights.
  • Volunteers: Penalties may range from a warning up to and including loss of volunteer assignment.
  • “Non-employees” (i.e., contractors, subcontractors, vendors, consultant and other persons providing services pursuant to a contract, or their employees): Penalties may range from a warning up to and including loss of District business.
  • Other individuals: Penalties may range from a warning up to and including denial of future access to school property.

False Complaints 

False or malicious complaints of discrimination and/or harassment may result in corrective or disciplinary action taken against the complainant. 

Training 

All employees shall be informed of this policy in employee handbooks and on the District website. A poster summarizing the policy shall also be posted in a prominent location at each school. The District shall provide all existing employees with either a paper or electronic copy of the District’s discrimination and/or harassment policy and regulation. 

All new employees shall receive copies of and training on this policy and regulation at new employee orientation or as soon as possible after starting their job. All other employees shall be provided with copies of this policy and regulation and training regarding this policy at least once a year in furtherance of the District’s commitment to a harassment-free learning and working environment. Building principals, the Title IX Coordinator, and other administrative employees who have specific responsibilities for investigating and resolving complaints of discrimination and/or harassment shall receive yearly training on their responsibilities pursuant to this policy and regulation and related legal developments. 

Annual employee training programs shall be interactive and include: (i) an explanation of discrimination and/or harassment consistent with guidance issued by the NYS Department of Labor and the NYS Division of Human Rights; (ii) examples of conduct that is unlawful discrimination and/or harassment; (iii) information on federal and state laws about discrimination and/or harassment and remedies available to victims of discrimination and/or harassment; (iv) information concerning employees’ right to make complaints and all available forums for investigating complaints; and (v) address the conduct and responsibilities of supervisors. 

Building principals in each school and program directors shall be responsible for informing staff on a yearly basis of the terms of this policy, including the procedures established for investigation and resolution of complaints, general issues surrounding discrimination and/or harassment, the rights and responsibilities employees, and the impact of discrimination and/or harassment on the victim. 

Adoption date: June 19, 2002 
Re-adopted date: December 18, 2019   
Revised date: September 2, 2020
Re-adopted date: February 3, 2021

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Policy 0115 | Discrimination, Harassment, Hazing, and Bullying of Students

View the PDF version of Policy 0115 here.

The Board of Education (the Board) is committed to providing an educational and working environment that promotes respect, dignity, and equality. The Board recognizes that discrimination, harassment, hazing, and bullying is detrimental to student learning and achievement. It interferes with the mission of the Bethlehem Central School District (the District) to educate its students and disrupts the operation of the schools. Such behavior affects not only the students who are its targets, but also those individuals who participate and witness such acts. To this end, the Board condemns and strictly prohibits all forms of harassment, discrimination, hazing, and bullying of students on school grounds (including all school buildings, Operations & Management, Transportation); school buses;  at all school-sponsored activities, programs, and events including those that take place at locations outside the District; and off school grounds in certain instances.

NOTE: if a Formal Title IX Sexual Harassment Complaint is made under Policy No. 0120-P, this policy DOES NOT apply.  However, if the Formal Title IX Complaint is dismissed, the District may still choose to investigate the alleged sexual harassment under this policy, if the District determines that the alleged sexual harassment may potentially violate this policy.

This policy prohibits discrimination, harassment, hazing, and bullying of students by others in the District’s environment, including both students and employees.  However, discrimination and harassment of employees and certain non-employees by others, including students, is covered by Policy # 0110 and # 0110-R, Discrimination and Harassment of Employees and Certain Non-Employees,  and/or the Formal Title IX Complaint Policy # 0120-P/E. 

Equal Opportunity and Nondiscrimination

The Board, its officers, and employees shall not discriminate against any student on the basis of legally protected classes such as, but not limited to: race; color; national origin; creed; religion; marital status; sex (including pregnancy, childbirth or related medical condition); age; sexual orientation; disability (physical or mental); predisposing genetic characteristic; military work or status; domestic violence victim status; or use of a guide dog, hearing dog, or service dog, as applicable. The District will provide notice of this policy in accordance with federal and state law and regulation.

This policy of nondiscrimination includes access by students to educational programs, counseling services for students, course offerings, and student activities. 

Discrimination, Harassment, Hazing, and Bullying Prohibited

The Dignity for All Students Act (“DASA”) and other state and federal laws prohibit discrimination, harassment, hazing and bullying of students.  

The District has designated the following administrators to serve as Dignity for All Students Act (DASA) Coordinators for each of its schools:

  • District-Wide 
    David F. Hurst
    Assistant Superintendent for Educational Programs
    700 Delaware Avenue
    Delmar, NY 12054
    dhurst@bethlehemschools.org
    (518)439-3102
  • Bethlehem High School
    Nicole Conway
    (518) 439-4921
  • Bethlehem Middle School
    Jacqueline Munroe
    (518) 439-7460
  • Eagle Elementary School
    Dianna Reagan
    (518) 694-8825
  • Elsmere Elementary School
    Kate Kloss
    (518) 439-4996
  • Glenmont Elementary School
    Laura Heffernan
    (518) 463-1154
  • Hamagrael Elementary School
    David Ksanznak
    (518) 439-4905
  • Slingerlands Elementary School
    Heidi Bonacquist
    (518) 439-7681

For the purposes of this policy, the terms “harassment” “hazing,” and “bullying” shall mean the creation of a hostile environment by conduct or by threats, intimidation or abuse, including cyberbullying, that: 

  1. is so severe or pervasive that it has or would have the effect of unreasonably and substantially interfering with a student’s educational performance, opportunities or benefits, or mental, emotional or physical well-being; or
  2. reasonably causes, or would reasonably be expected to cause, a student to fear for his or her physical safety; or
  3. reasonably causes, or would reasonably be expected to cause, physical injury or emotional harm to a student; or
  4. occurs off school property and creates, or would foreseeably create, a risk of substantial disruption within the school environment, where it is foreseeable that the conduct, threats, intimidation, or abuse might reach school property.

Acts of harassment and bullying shall include, but not be limited to, those acts based on a person’s actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender, gender expression, gender identity, or sex. For the purposes of this definition the term “threats, intimidation, or abuse” shall include verbal and nonverbal actions. 

More detailed definitions can be found in the corresponding regulation, Policy # 0115-R. 

Reporting

In order for the District to effectively enforce this policy and to take prompt corrective measures, it is essential that all victims and persons with knowledge of harassment, hazing, and bullying report such behavior immediately to a District staff member, who will immediately report it to a DASA Coordinator, principal, building administrator, or Title IX Coordinator. Any District employee who witnesses or learns of potential sexual harassment of a student must report such behavior immediately to a DASA Coordinator, principal, building administrator, or Title IX Coordinator.  

Investigation

The District will promptly investigate all complaints, formal or informal, verbal or written. To the extent possible, all complaints will be treated in a confidential manner, although disclosure may be necessary to complete a thorough investigation.

If, after appropriate investigation, the District finds that a student, an employee, or a third party has violated this policy, prompt corrective action will be taken in accordance with the applicable collective bargaining agreement, District policies, and state and federal law.

The superintendent shall maintain and implement regulations for reporting, investigating, and remedying allegations of discrimination, harassment, discrimination, hazing, and bullying. These regulations are attached to this policy, as Policy # 0115-R.  Consult these regulations for further details regarding the investigation process. 

No Retaliation

All complainants and those who participate in the investigation of a complaint have the right to be free from retaliation of any kind, when they do so with a good faith belief that a violation of this policy has occurred. Such prohibited retaliation can include, but is not limited to, discipline, discrimination, demotion, denial of privileges, or any action that would keep a person from coming forward to make or support a sexual harassment claim. Such actions need not be job- or education-related, or occur in the workplace or educational environment, to constitute unlawful retaliation.

Training

Programs are established for students and employees to raise awareness of the issues surrounding discrimination, harassment, including sexual harassment, hazing, and bullying to implement preventative measures to help reduce incidents of discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment, hazing, and bullying. Age-appropriate instructional materials will be incorporated into the curriculum to educate students on how to recognize and reduce the incidence of harassment, including sexual harassment, hazing, and bullying. 

Annual Notice

At the beginning of each school year, the District shall publish a notice of the established grievance procedures for resolving complaints of discrimination against students to parents/guardians, employees, students, and the community. The public notice shall:

  • Inform parents, employees, students and the community that all aspects of the education program are offered without regard to actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression or sex, and any other class protected by law.
  • Provide the name, address, and telephone number of the person designated to coordinate activities concerning discrimination.
  • Be included in announcements, bulletins, catalogues, and applications made available by the District.
  • The superintendent has been designated to handle general inquiries regarding the District’s nondiscrimination policies. Contact information for the superintendent is available on the District’s website. 

This policy shall be posted in a prominent place in each District facility and shall also be published in student registration materials; student, parent, and employee handbooks; and other appropriate school publications.

Cross-ref:

  • 0110, Sexual Harassment of Employees and Certain Non-Employees
  • 5300, Code of Conduct
  • 0120-P, Formal Title IX Complaint Procedure

Ref:

  • Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §12101 et seq.
  • Title VI, Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §2000d et seq.
  • Title VII, Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §2000e et seq.; 34 CFR §100 et seq.
  • Title IX, Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. §1681 et seq.; 34 CFR Part 106§504, Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. §794
  • Individuals with Disabilities Education Law, 20 U.S.C §§1400 et seq.
  • Executive Law §290 et seq. (New York State Human Rights Law)
  • Education Law §11(7) and 8 NYCRR 100.2(k)
  • Education Law §§313(3), 3201, 3201-a
  • Davis v. Monroe County Board of Education, 526 U.S. 629 (1999)
  • Gebser v. Lago Vista Independent School District, 524 U.S, 274 (1998)
  • Faragher v. City of Boca Raton, 524 U.S. 775 (1998)
  • Burlington Industries v. Ellerth, 524 U.S. 742 (1998)
  • Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore Services, Inc., 523 U.S. 75 (1998)
  • Franklin v. Gwinnett County Public Schools, 503 U.S. 60 (1992)
  • Meritor Savings Bank, FSB v. Vinson, 477 U.S. 57 (1986)

Adoption date: May 19, 2010
Re-adopted: December 18, 2019
Revised date: September 2, 2020
Re-approved: February 3, 2021

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Policy 0115-R | Discrimination, Harassment, Hazing, and Bullying of Students Regulation

View the PDF version of Policy Regulation 0115R here.

This regulation sets forth detailed guidelines for reporting, investigating, and remedying allegations of discrimination, harassment, including sexual harassment, hazing, and bullying of students at the Bethlehem Central School District (the District). This policy prohibits discrimination, harassment, bullying, and cyberbullying against students in school based on any of the following protected characteristics: race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender (including gender identity and expression), sex, or any other characteristic protected by federal or state law.  

NOTE: if a Formal Title IX Complaint is made under Policy # 0120, this policy DOES NOT apply.  However, if the Formal Title IX Complaint is dismissed, the district may still choose to investigate the alleged sexual harassment under this policy, if the district determines that the alleged sexual harassment may potentially violate this policy.

This policy prohibits discrimination, harassment, hazing, and bullying of students by others in the district’s environment, including both students and employees.  However, discrimination and harassment of employees and certain non-employees by others, including students, is covered by Policy # 0110 and # 0110-R,  Discrimination and Harassment of Employees and Certain Non-Employees,  and/or the Formal Title IX Complaint Policy # 0120]. 

Definitions

  1. Harassment and Bullying – the creation of a hostile environment by conduct or by threats, intimidation, or abuse, including cyberbullying, that has or would have the effect of unreasonably and substantially interfering with a student’s educational performance, opportunities or benefits, or mental, emotional, or physical well-being; or reasonably causes or would reasonably be expected to cause a student to fear for his or her physical safety; or reasonably causes or would reasonably be expected to cause physical injury or emotional harm to a student; or occurs off school property and creates or would foreseeably create a risk of substantial disruption within the school environment, where it is foreseeable that the conduct, threats, intimidation or abuse might reach school property.

    Acts of harassment and bullying shall include, but not be limited to, those acts based on a person’s actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender or sex. For the purposes of this definition the term “threats, intimidation or abuse” shall include verbal and non-verbal actions. 

  2. Material Incident of Harassment, Bullying, and/or Discrimination –  a single verified incident or a series of related verified incidents where a student is subjected to harassment, bullying and/or discrimination by a student and/or employee on school property or at a school function. This term includes a verified incident or a series of related verified incidents of harassment or bullying that occur off school property where such acts create or would foreseeably create a risk of substantial disruption within the school environment, where it is foreseeable that the conduct, threats, intimidation or abuse might reach school property, and is the subject of a written or oral complaint to the superintendent, principal, or their designee, or other school employee.

    Material incidents of harassment, bullying, and/or discrimination would include, but are not limited to: threats, intimidation or abuse based on a person’s actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practices, disability, sexual orientation, gender, or sex.

  3. Harassment – the creation of a hostile environment by conduct or verbal threats, intimidation, or abuse that has or would have the following effect:
    • reasonably and substantially interfering with a student’s educational performance, opportunities or benefits; or
    • would reasonably be expected to cause a student to fear for his or her physical safety.
  4. Discrimination – the act of denying rights, benefits, justice, equitable treatment or access to facilities available to all others, to an individual or group of people because of the group, class or category to which that person belongs.  It includes any form of discrimination against students prohibited by state or federal law such as, for example, the denial of equal treatment, admission and/or access to programs, facilities and services based on the person’s actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender (including gender identity), or sex.
  5. Bullying – an unwanted, aggressive behavior that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Bullying can occur before and after school hours, in a school building, on a playground, on a school bus while a student is traveling to or from school, or on the Internet.

    According to the United States Department of Education (USDOE), www.stopbullying.gov/what-is-bullying/definition/index.html, bullying generally involves the following characteristics:

    • An Imbalance of Power: Students who bully others use their power, such as physical strength, access to embarrassing information, or popularity, to control or harm others. Power imbalances can change over time and in different situations, even if they involve the same people.
    • The Intent to Cause Harm: Determining the intent of an individual who demonstrates bullying behaviors may be difficult. The perception of the person who is the victim of those behaviors should also be considered.
    • Repetition: Bullying behaviors generally happen more than once or have the potential to happen more than once.

      Examples of bullying include, but are not limited to:

      • Verbal: Name-calling, teasing, inappropriate sexual comments, taunting, and threatening to cause harm.
      • Social: Spreading rumors about someone, excluding others on purpose, telling other students not to be friends with someone, and embarrassing someone in public.
      • Physical: Hitting, punching, shoving, kicking, pinching, spitting, tripping, pushing and taking or breaking someone’s things.
  6. Cyberbullying – harassment or bullying that happens through any form of electronic communication.  It includes but is not limited to  text or images, posted on personal web sites, blogs or transmitted via email, discussion groups, message boards, chat rooms, instant messages, or via cellular phones.
  7. Hazing – a form of harassment that involves committing an act against a student or coercing a student into committing an act that creates a risk of emotional, physical, or psychological harm to a person, in order for the student to be initiated into or affiliated with a student organization, or for any other purpose. The fact that the victim may consent to the act does not excuse the behavior or lessen the offense.
  8. Sexual harassment – harassment of students on the basis of sex, gender and/or sexual orientation that is abusive and illegal behavior and that harms victims and negatively impacts the school culture by creating and environment of fear, distrust, intimidation and intolerance.

    Sexual harassment can include unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature, or verbal, nonverbal or physical aggression, intimidation or hostility that is based on actual or perceived gender and sexual stereotypes.

    School-related conduct that the District considers unacceptable and which may constitute sexual harassment includes, but is not limited to, the following:

    • rape, attempted rape, sexual assault, attempted sexual assault, forcible sexual abuse, hazing, and other sexual and gender-based activity of a criminal nature as defined under the State Penal Law;
    • unwelcome sexual advances or invitations or requests for sexual activity, including but not limited to those in exchange for grades, promotions, preferences, favors, selection for extracurricular activities, homework, etc., or when accompanied by implied or overt threats concerning the victim’s school evaluations, other benefits or detriments;
    • unwelcome and/or offensive public sexual display of affection, including kissing, hugging, making out, groping, fondling, petting, inappropriate touching of one’s self or others (e.g., pinching, patting, grabbing, poking), sexually suggestive dancing, and massages;
    • any unwelcome communication that is sexually suggestive, sexually degrading or derogatory or implies sexual motives or intentions, such as sexual remarks or innuendoes about an individual’s clothing, appearance or activities; sexual jokes; sexual gestures; public conversations about sexual activities or exploits; sexual rumors and “ratings lists;” howling, catcalls, and whistles; sexually graphic computer files, messages or games, etc;
    • unwelcome and offensive name calling or profanity that is sexually suggestive or explicit, sexually degrading or derogatory, implies sexual intentions, or that is based on sexual stereotypes or sexual orientation, gender identity or expression;
    • unwelcome physical contact or closeness that is sexually suggestive, sexually degrading or derogatory, or sexually intimidating such as the unwelcome touching of another’s body parts, cornering or blocking an individual, standing too close, spanking, pinching, following, stalking, frontal body hugs, etc.;
    • unwelcome and sexually offensive physical pranks or touching of an individual’s clothing, such as hazing and initiation, “streaking,” “mooning,” “wedgies” (pulling underwear up at the waist so it goes in between the buttocks), bra-snapping, skirt “flip-ups,” “spiking” (pulling down someone’s pants or swimming suit); pinching; placing hands inside an individual’s pants, shirt, blouse, or dress, etc.;
    • unwelcome leers, stares, gestures, or slang that are sexually suggestive; sexually degrading or derogatory or imply sexual motives or intentions;
    • clothing with sexually obscene or sexually explicit slogans or messages;
    • unwelcome and offensive skits, assemblies, and productions that are sexually suggestive, sexually degrading or derogatory, or that imply sexual motives or intentions, or that are based on sexual stereotypes;
    • unwelcome written or pictorial display or distribution (including via electronic devices) of pornographic or other sexually explicit materials such as signs, graffiti, calendars, objects, magazines, videos, films, Internet material, etc.;
    • other hostile actions taken against an individual because of that person’s sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or transgender status, such as interfering with, destroying or damaging a person’s work or school area or equipment; sabotaging that person’s work or school activities; bullying, yelling, or name calling; or otherwise interfering with that person’s ability to work or participate in school functions and activities; and
    • any unwelcome behavior based on sexual stereotypes and attitudes that is offensive, degrading, derogatory, intimidating, or demeaning, including, but not limited to:
      • disparaging remarks, slurs, jokes about or aggression toward an individual because the person displays mannerisms or a style of dress inconsistent with stereotypical characteristics of the person’s sex;
      • ostracizing or refusing to participate in group activities with an individual during class projects, physical education classes or field trips because of the individual’s sex, gender expression or gender identity; or
      • taunting or teasing an individual because they are participating in an activity not typically associated with the individual’s sex or gender. 

For purposes of this regulation, action or conduct shall be considered “unwelcome” if the student did not request or invite it and regarded the conduct as undesirable or offensive. 

Sexual harassment may occur on school grounds, school buses and at all school-sponsored activities, programs and events, including those that take place at locations outside the District, or outside the school setting if the harassment impacts the individual’s education  in a way that violates their legal rights, including when the harassment is done by electronic means (including on social media). 

Prevention

The school setting provides an opportunity to teach students, and emphasize among staff, that cooperation with and respect for others is a key value of the district. A program geared to prevention is designed to not only decrease incidents of harassment, bullying and/or discrimination, but to help students build more supportive relationships with one another by integrating the prevention and intervention program into classroom instruction. Staff members and students should be sensitized, through districtwide professional development and instruction, to the warning signs of harassment, bullying and/or discrimination, as well as to their responsibility to become actively involved in the prevention of such acts before they occur.

Intervention

Intervention by adults and bystanders, including students, with proper training can be an important step in preventing escalation and resolving issues at the earliest stages. Remedial responses to harassment, bullying and/or discrimination will likely involve staff intervention. Responses may include measures designed to correct the behavior, prevent another occurrence of the behavior, and protect the targeted student. Remediation can be targeted to the individual(s) involved in the aforementioned behavioral approaches, or environmental approaches which are targeted to the school or district as a whole. 

In addition, intervention will focus upon the safety of the targeted student. Staff who are aware of incidents of harassment, bullying and/or discrimination are expected to refer the targeted student to designated resources for assistance and/or intervene in accordance

Provisions for Students Who Do Not Feel Safe at School 

The district acknowledges that, notwithstanding actions taken by the district, intervention might require a specific, coordinated approach, if a student does not feel safe at school. Students who do not feel safe at school are limited in their capacity to learn and reach their academic potential. Staff, when aware of incidents of harassment, bullying and/or discrimination should determine if accommodations are needed in order to help ensure the safety of the student and bring this to the attention of the building principal, his/her designee, or other staff as determined by the principal/designee. 

The building principal, or designated staff, the student, and the person in parental relation to the student shall work together to define and implement any needed accommodations. The district recognizes that there is a need to balance accommodations that enhance student safety against the potential of further stigmatizing the targeted student. Therefore, each case shall be handled individually, and the student, person in parental relation, and school administration shall collaborate to establish safety provisions that best meet the needs of the student. Follow-up discussion and/or meetings will be scheduled, as needed, to ensure that safety concerns have been adequately addressed and to determine when and if accommodations need to be added, changed, or discontinued.

Reporting Complaints

Students who have been subjected to harassment, bullying and/or discrimination, persons in parental relation whose children have been subjected to such behavior, or other students who observe or are told of such behavior, are encouraged and expected to make verbal and/or written reports to the principal, superintendent, and/or designated school personnel in accordance with the training and guidelines provided and the relevant provisions of the district’s Code of Conduct. 

Any person with knowledge of harassment, hazing, and/or bullying by a student, District employee, or third party related to the District should report the complaint to a District staff member, who will immediately report it to a DASA Coordinator, a principal, building administrator, or Title IX coordinator as soon as possible after the incident so that it may be effectively investigated and resolved. 

All district staff, when aware of harassment, bullying and/or discrimination, are required to orally report the incident(s) within one school day to the Dignity Act Coordinator, principal, superintendent or his/her designee and report it in writing within two (2) school days after making an oral report.  Any school employee who witnesses sexual harassment or what might be considered sexual harassment or otherwise becomes aware of potential sexual harassment must immediately notify the Dignity Act Coordinator and/or the Title IX Coordinator.

In order to assist investigators, reporting individuals should document the discrimination, harassment, hazing, and/or bullying as soon as it occurs and with as much detail as possible, including: the nature of the incident(s); dates, times, and places it has occurred; name of perpetrator(s); witnesses to the incident(s); and the victim’s response to the incident.

A report of harassment, bullying, and/or discrimination may include, but is not limited to, the following examples: 

  • a report regarding the denial of access to school facilities including, but not limited to, restrooms, changing rooms, locker rooms, and/or field trips, based on a person’s actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender (which includes gender identity and/or expression), or sex;
  • a report regarding application of a dress code, specific grooming or appearance standards that is based on a person’s actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender (which includes gender identity and/or expression), or sex;
  • a report regarding the use of name(s) and pronoun(s) or the pronunciation of name(s) that is based on a person’s actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender (which includes gender identity and/or expression), or sex; or
  • a report regarding any other form of harassment, bullying, and/or discrimination, based on a person’s actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender (which includes gender identity and/or expression), or sex.

Confidentiality

It is District policy to respect the privacy of all parties and witnesses to complaints of discrimination, harassment, hazing, and/or bullying. To the extent possible, the District will not release the details of a complaint or the identity of the complainant or the individual(s) against whom the complaint is filed to any third parties who do not need to know such information. However, because an individual’s need for confidentiality must be balanced with the District’s legal obligation to provide due process to the accused, to conduct a thorough investigation, or to take necessary action to resolve the complaint, the District retains the right to disclose the identity of parties and witnesses to complaints in appropriate circumstances to individuals with a need to know. The staff member responsible for investigating complaints will discuss confidentiality standards and concerns with all complainants.

If a complainant requests that his/her name not be revealed to the individual(s) against whom a complaint is filed, the staff member responsible for conducting the investigation shall inform the complainant that:

  1. the request may limit the District’s ability to respond to his/her complaint;
  2. District policy and applicable law prohibit retaliation against complainants and witnesses;
  3. the District will not tolerate any retaliation against complainants and witnesses; and
  4. the District will take strong responsive action if retaliation occurs.

If the complainant still requests confidentiality after being given the notice above, the investigator will take all reasonable steps to investigate and respond to the complaint consistent with the request, as long as doing so does not preclude the District from responding effectively to the harassment, hazing, and/or bullying and preventing the harassment, hazing, and/or bullying of other students or employees.

Investigation and Resolution Procedure of Complaints of Discrimination, Harassment, Hazing, and Bullying

A. Initial (Building-Level) Procedure

Preliminary Review

Whenever a complaint of harassment (other than sexual harassment), hazing, and/or bullying is received, whether verbal or written, it will be subject to a preliminary review and investigation. Except in the case of severe or criminal conduct, the DASA Coordinator for the building should make all reasonable efforts to resolve complaints at the building level. The goal of building-level procedures is to end the discrimination, harassment, hazing, and/or bullying and obtain a prompt and equitable resolution to a complaint. 

The DASA Coordinator, or a designee, will promptly inform the Title IX Coordinator of any reports of suspected sexual harassment, including sexual assault or other serious behaviors that may fall within the scope of the Formal Title IX Complaint Policy.  Investigation of suspected sexual harassment will be coordinated with the Title IX Coordinator.  In some instances, where a Formal Title IX Complaint has been filed but some of the allegations may potentially violate this policy, the investigation under the Formal Title IX Complaint Policy and this policy may occur simultaneously.  In such cases, interviews may be conducted with two investigators, with one investigator handling questions related to the Formal Title IX Complaint and another investigator handling questions related to violations of this policy.   

If a complaint contains evidence or allegations of serious or extreme discrimination, harassment, hazing, or bullying, the complaint shall be referred promptly to the superintendent. In addition, where the principal, building administrator, or Title IX coordinator has a reasonable suspicion that the alleged discrimination, harassment, hazing, or bullying incident involves criminal activity, he/she should immediately notify the superintendent, who shall then contact the school attorney and appropriate child protection and law enforcement authorities. Where criminal activity is alleged or suspected by a District employee, the accused employee shall be suspended or placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, consistent with all contractual or statutory requirements.

Informal Resolution

Where appropriate, informal methods may be used to resolve the complaint, including but not limited to:

  • discussion with the accused, informing him or her of the District’s policies and indicating that the behavior must stop;
  • suggesting counseling and/or sensitivity training;
  • conducting training for the department or school in which the behavior occurred, calling attention to the consequences of engaging in such behavior;
  • mediation;
  • requesting a letter of apology to the victim;
  • writing letters of caution or reprimand; and/or
  • separating the parties.
Parental Participation

Generally, parents/guardians of student victims and accused students should be notified within one school day of allegations. Also, generally, the parents/guardians of students who file complaints should be allowed to participate at each stage of both informal and formal investigation and resolution procedures.

However, in certain circumstances, disclosure to the persons in parental relation of the basis for which a student is harassed, bullied and/or discriminated against may result in additional negative consequences to the student’s health and well-being. Prior to notification of any person in parental relation regarding an incident of harassment, bullying and/or discrimination, school authorities must consider notification as they would any other educationally-relevant decision, taking into account the health, well-being, and safety of students involved in the incident. 

The school district may seek counsel from the school attorney to determine the best course of action. 

The Investigation

As soon as possible, but no later than two (2) working days following receipt of a complaint, the DASA Coordinator for the building, or a designee, should begin an investigation of the complaint.  All persons involved in an investigation (complainants, witnesses and alleged accused) will be accorded due process to protect their rights to a fair and impartial investigation. This investigation shall be prompt and thorough, and shall be completed as soon as possible.  

The investigation will proceed according to the following steps: 

  • Interview the victim and document the conversation. Instruct the victim to have no contact or communication regarding the complaint with the alleged accused. Ask the victim specifically what action he/she wants taken in order to resolve the complaint. Refer the victim, as appropriate, to school social workers, school psychologists, crisis team managers, other school staff, or appropriate outside agencies for counseling services.  Determine whether other measures should be recommended to assure safe school environment.
  • Review any written documentation of the harassment prepared by the victim. If the victim has not prepared written documentation, ask the victim to do so, providing alternative formats for individuals with disabilities and young children, who have difficulty writing and need accommodation. If the complainant refuses to complete a complaint form or written documentation, the building principal or Title IX Coordinator may complete a complaint form based on the verbal report.
  • Request, review, obtain and preserve relevant evidence (e.g., documents, emails, text messages, social media communications, phone records, etc.), if any exists.
  • Interview the alleged accused regarding the complaint and inform the alleged accused that if the objectionable conduct has occurred, it must cease immediately. Document the conversation. Provide the alleged accused an opportunity to respond to the charges in writing.
  • Instruct the alleged accused to have no contact or communication regarding the complaint with the victim and to not retaliate against the victim. Warn the alleged accused that if he/she makes contact with or retaliates against the victim, he/she will be subject to immediate disciplinary action.
  • Interview any witnesses to the complaint. Caution each witness to keep the complaint and his/her participation in the investigation confidential. Employees may be required to cooperate as needed in investigations of suspected sexual harassment, in a manner that is consistent with any applicable collective bargaining agreement.
  • Review all documentation and information relevant to the complaint.
  • If either the target or the accused is a disabled student receiving special education services under an IEP or section 504/Americans with Disabilities Act accommodations, the committee on special education may be consulted to determine the degree to which the student’s disability either caused or is affected by the discrimination or policy violation. In addition, due process procedures required for persons with disabilities under state and federal law shall be followed.
Written Report

The investigator must create a written report of the investigation, kept in a secure and confidential location, containing: 

  • A list of all documentation and other evidence reviewed, along with a detailed summary;
  • A list of names of those interviewed along with a detailed summary of their statements;
  • A timeline of events;
  • A summary of prior relevant incidents, reported or unreported;
  • A determination, based on a preponderance of the evidence, as to whether each incident of alleged conduct did or did not occur; and
  • The final resolution of the complaint, together with any corrective action(s).
Notice of Outcome

The investigator shall report back to both the victim and the accused, and their parents or guardians (when appropriate), notifying them in writing, and also in person as appropriate regarding the outcome of the investigation and the action taken to resolve the complaint. Parent(s) and guardian(s) will also receive the notification. The investigator shall instruct the target to report immediately if the objectionable behavior occurs again or if the alleged harasser retaliates against him/her. 

The investigator shall notify the victim that if he/she desires further investigation and action, he/she may request a District level investigation by contacting the superintendent. The investigator shall also notify the victim of his/her right to contact the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights and/or a private attorney. 

If the initial investigation results in a determination that discrimination, harassment, bullying, or hazing did occur, the investigator will promptly notify the building principal (for accused students) or supervisor (for accused employees), who shall then determine whether discipline should be imposed in accordance with the Code of Conduct, District policy, the applicable collective bargaining agreement, or state law.  In accordance with a progressive model of discipline embodied in the Code of Conduct, student offenders shall further be advised that their behavior must improve. Student offenders will receive in-school guidance on making positive choices in their relationships with others. 

Request for District-Level Procedure

Any party who is not satisfied with the outcome of the initial investigation by the DASA Coordinator, or designee, may request a District-level investigation by submitting a written complaint to the superintendent within thirty (30) days. The building principal or Title IX Coordinator (i.e., the investigator) shall promptly submit a copy of all building-level investigation and interview documentation to the superintendent, following the receipt of any request for a District-level investigation. 

B. District-Level Procedure

The superintendent shall promptly investigate and resolve all discrimination, harassment, hazing, and bullying complaints that are referred to him/her, as well as those appealed to the superintendent following an initial investigation by a DASA Coordinator or designee. In the event the complaint involves the superintendent, the complaint shall be filed with or referred to the Board of Education (the Board) president, who shall refer the complaint to an appropriate individual for investigation.

The District-level investigation should begin as soon as possible, but not later than three (3) working days following receipt of the complaint by the superintendent or Board president.

In conducting the formal District-level investigation, the District will use individuals who have received formal training regarding such investigations or who have previous experience investigating such complaints.

If a District investigation results in a determination that discrimination, harassment, hazing, or bullying did occur, prompt corrective action will be taken to end the misbehavior. Where appropriate, District investigators may suggest mediation as a means of exploring options of corrective action and informally resolving the complaint.

No later than thirty (30) days following receipt of the complaint, the superintendent (or, in cases involving the superintendent, the Board-appointed investigator) will notify the victim and alleged perpetrator, in writing, of the outcome of the investigation. If additional time is needed to complete the investigation or take appropriate action, the superintendent or Board-appointed investigator will provide all parties with a written status report within thirty days (3) following receipt of the complaint.

The target and the alleged harasser have the right to be represented by a person of their choice, at their own expense, during District-level investigations and hearings.

Discipline/Penalties

Any individual who violates this policy by engaging in prohibited discrimination, harassment, hazing, or bullying will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action. Disciplinary measures available to school authorities include, but are not limited to, the following:

Students: Discipline may range from a reprimand, up to and including suspension from school, to be imposed consistent with the student conduct and discipline policy and applicable law. The response to a student’s violations of the policy shall be age-appropriate and include both consequences and appropriate remedial responses. Consequences shall be unique to the individual incident and shall vary in method and severity according to the nature of the behavior, the developmental age of the student, the student’s previous disciplinary record, other extenuating circumstances, and must be consistent with the Code of Conduct.

Employees: Discipline may range from a warning, up to and including termination, to be imposed consistent with all applicable contractual and statutory rights. The discipline must follow all applicable school and/or district policies and procedures, including contractual provisions and due process obligations related to staff-to-student misconduct.

Volunteers: Penalties may range from a warning, up to and including loss of volunteer assignment.

Vendors: Penalties may range from a warning, up to and including loss of District business.

Other individuals: Penalties may range from a warning, up to and including denial of future access to school property.

Education

All students shall be informed of this policy in student handbooks and student registration materials. A poster summarizing the policy shall also be posted in a prominent location at each District building.

Administrative employees who have specific responsibilities for investigating and resolving complaints of harassment, hazing, and bullying shall receive yearly training on this policy, regulation, and related legal developments.

Principals/supervisors in each school shall be responsible for informing students and staff on a yearly basis of the terms of this policy, including the procedures for reporting a complaint and the impact of harassment, hazing, and bullying on the victim and the bystander.

External Remedies 

Victims have the right to register complaints with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights and the New York State Attorney General’s Office. The OCR can be contacted at (800) 421-3481, 400 Maryland Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20202-1100, or at https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ ocr/index.html. 

Nothing in these regulations shall be construed to limit the right of the complainant to file a lawsuit in either state or federal court, or to contact law enforcement officials if the sexual harassment involves unwanted physical touching, coerced physical confinement or coerced sex acts, which may constitute a crime. No District contract or collective bargaining agreement entered into after July 11, 2018 may include a binding arbitration clause for sexual harassment requiring arbitration before bringing a sexual harassment claim to a court. 

Retaliation Prohibited 

Any act of retaliation against any person who opposes discrimination, harassment, bullying, or hazing, or who has filed a complaint in good faith, is prohibited and illegal, and therefore subject to disciplinary action. Likewise, retaliation against any person who has, in good faith, testified, assisted, or participated in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing of a discrimination, harassment, bullying, or hazing complaint is prohibited.

For purposes of this policy, retaliation includes but is not limited to: verbal or physical threats, intimidation, ridicule, bribes, destruction of property, spreading rumors, stalking, harassing phone calls, discipline, discrimination, demotion, denial of privileges, any action that would keep a reasonable person from coming forward to make or support a discrimination, harassment, bullying or hazing claim. Any person who retaliates is subject to immediate disciplinary action, up to and including suspension or termination. 

Dissemination, Monitoring, Review, and Reporting

All students shall be informed of this policy in student handbooks, on the District website, and in student registration materials. A poster summarizing the policy shall also be posted in a prominent location at each school. All secondary school student body officers shall receive District training about the policy at the beginning of each school year. 

Each year, as a part of the required annual review of the Code of Conduct, this policy may be reviewed to assess its effectiveness and compliance with state and federal law. If changes are needed, the proposed policy revisions could be recommended to the board for its consideration.

In addition to tracking harassment, bullying and/or discrimination incidents for purposes of district-wide analysis and annual statewide reporting, building principals will report incident data to the Superintendent periodically throughout the school year, on a schedule to be determined by the Superintendent. 

The board shall receive the annual Violent and Disruptive Incident Report (VADIR), as well as other relevant data, for each school and for the district as a whole, with particular attention to the trends in incidents of harassment, bullying and/or discrimination. Based on the review of the data, the board may consider further action, including but not limited to modification of this policy and additional training. Districts must ensure that they report such information to the public in a manner that complies with student privacy rights under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

Training

Age-appropriate curricular materials will be made available so that it can be incorporated in instruction K-12 to ensure that all students are educated to recognize and report discrimination, harassment, bullying, and hazing. 

All new employees shall receive copies of and training on this policy and regulation at new employee orientation or as soon as possible after starting their job. All other employees shall be provided with copies of this policy and regulation and training regarding this policy at least once a year in furtherance of the District’s commitment to a harassment-free learning environment. 

Training opportunities shall be provided to all employees, including, but not limited to teachers, administrators, monitors, aides, bus drivers, coaches, custodians, cafeteria staff, and hall monitors. Such training shall:

  • Raise awareness and sensitivity to potential acts of harassment, bullying and discrimination directed at students.
  • Address the social patterns of harassment, bullying and discrimination, the identification and mitigation of such acts, and strategies for effectively addressing problems of exclusion, bias and aggression in educational settings.
  • Enable employees to prevent and respond to incidents of harassment, bullying and/or discrimination.
  • Make school employees aware of the effects of harassment, bullying, cyberbullying, and/or discrimination of students.
  • Ensure the effective implementation of school policy on school conduct and discipline
  • Include safe and supportive school climate concepts in curriculum and classroom management. 

In compliance with Education Law §13(3), the DASA Coordinator at every school must be thoroughly trained in human relations in the areas of race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender (which includes a person’s actual or perceived sex, and gender identity and expression), and sex. The DASA Coordinator must be licensed and/or certified by the Commissioner as a classroom teacher, school counselor, school psychologist, school nurse, school social worker, school administrator or supervisor, or superintendent of schools.

Building principals, the Title IX Coordinator, and other administrative employees who have specific responsibilities for investigating and resolving complaints shall receive yearly training on their responsibilities pursuant to this policy and regulation and related legal developments.  Additionally, building principals in each school and program directors shall be responsible for informing students and staff on a yearly basis of the terms of this policy, including the procedures established for investigation and resolution of complaints, general issues surrounding discrimination, harassment, bullying, and hazing, the rights and responsibilities of students and employees, and the impacts on the victim. 

Adoption date: July 7, 2010
Re-Adopted date: December 18, 2019
Revised date: September 2, 2020
Revised date: February 3, 2021

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Policy 0120-P | Formal Title IX Complaint Procedure

View the PDF version of the Formal Title IX Complaint Procedure here.

Reporting Complaints

Any person who believes they have been the subject of sexual harassment by a student, a Bethlehem Central School District (“District”) employee or “non-employee” or third party related to the school is encouraged to report complaints as soon as possible after the incident in order to enable the district to promptly and effectively investigate and resolve the complaint. Any person who witnesses or is aware of sexual harassment of a student, employee, or “non-employee” is also required to report the incident or behavior to the District. Complainants are encouraged to submit the complaint in writing; however, complaints may be filed verbally.

Complaints should be filed with the Building Principal or the Title IX Coordinator. The District’s Title IX Coordinator is Amy Baluch, Director of Human Resources, and can be contacted as follows:

Any person may report sex discrimination, including sexual harassment (whether or not the person reporting is the person alleged to be the victim of conduct that could constitute sex discrimination or sexual harassment), in person, by mail, by telephone, or by e-mail, using the above-listed contact information for the Title IX Coordinator, or by any other means that results in the Title IX Coordinator receiving the person’s verbal or written report. Such a report may be made at any time, including during non-business hours, by using the telephone number or e-mail address, or by mail to the office address, listed for the Title IX Coordinator.

Any school employee who receives a complaint of sexual harassment shall inform the complainant of the employee’s obligation to report the complaint to the school administration, and then shall immediately notify the Building Principal and/or the Title IX Coordinator. Any school employee who witnesses sexual harassment or what might be considered sexual harassment or otherwise becomes aware of potential sexual harassment shall immediately notify the building principal and/or the Title IX Coordinator.

Upon the receipt of a complaint of sexual harassment, the Title IX Coordinator will promptly contact the complainant confidentially to discuss the availability of supportive measures, consider the complainant’s wishes with respect to supportive measures, inform the complainant of the availability of supportive measures with or without the filing of a Formal Title IX Complaint, and explain to the complainant the process for filing a Formal Title IX Complaint (as explained below).

Supportive Measures

Supportive measures are non-disciplinary, non-punitive individualized services that will be offered as appropriate, as reasonably available, and without fee or charge to the complainant or the respondent before or after the filing of a Formal Title IX Complaint or where no Formal Title IX Complaint has been filed. Such measures are designed to restore or preserve equal access to the district’s education program or activity without unreasonably burdening the other party, including measures designed to protect the safety of all parties or the district’s educational environment, or deter sexual harassment. Supportive measures may include:

  • counseling,
  • extensions of deadlines or other course-related adjustments,
  • modifications of work or class schedules,
  • campus escort services,
  • safety plans,
  • no contact orders, or other mutual restrictions on contact between the parties,
  • changes in work locations,
  • leaves of absence,
  • increased security and monitoring of certain areas of the campus, and
  • other similar measures.

The district will maintain as confidential any supportive measures provided to the complainant and/or respondent, to the extent that maintaining such confidentiality would not impair the district’s ability to provide the supportive measures. The Title IX Coordinator is responsible for coordinating the effective implementation of supportive measures.

Formal Title IX Complaint

Federal law allows an employee, student, or a student’s parent (the “complainant”) to file a “formal Title IX complaint” of sexual harassment when:

  • the complainant files and signs a written document alleging sexual harassment against an alleged harasser and requesting that the district investigate the allegation of sexual harassment;
  • the complainant (or the complainant’s child) is participating in or attempting to participate in the district’s education programs or activities;
  • the alleged sexual harassment occurred in the district’s education program or activity, within the United States; and
  • the alleged sexual harassment constitutes “Title IX sexual harassment,” because it is conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one of the following:
    • a district employee conditions the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of the district on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct;
    • unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the recipient’s education program or activity; or
    • “Sexual assault,” “dating violence,” “domestic violence,” or “stalking” as defined in Appendix A.

For the purpose of this policy, the district’s “education program or activity” includes locations, events, or circumstances over which the district exercised substantial control over both the respondent and the context in which the sexual harassment occurred.

If the Title IX Coordinator becomes aware of a complaint of sexual harassment, the Title IX Coordinator will discuss the Formal Title IX Complaint and grievance process with the complainant so the complainant can make an informed decision whether to file a Formal Title IX Complaint. A complainant’s wishes with respect to whether the district will investigate will be respected unless the Title IX Coordinator determines that signing a formal complaint to initiate an investigation over the wishes of the complainant is not clearly unreasonable in light of the known circumstances. In instances where the allegations are of a serious nature and the complainant declines to file a formal complaint, the Title IX Coordinator retains the ability to sign a formal complaint based on such allegations.

If the allegations in a Formal Title IX Complaint do not meet the definition of Title IX sexual harassment listed above, the district must dismiss the Formal Title IX Complaint, but may still address the allegations using the process outlined in Board Policy No. 0110-R, Discrimination and Harassment of Employees and Certain Non-Employees (for employees and adult non-employees) and in Board Policy No. 0115-R, Discrimination, Harassment, Hazing, and Bullying of Students (for students). The district will investigate complaints of sexual harassment in accordance with these regulations whether or not a Formal Title IX Complaint is submitted. The district will offer a complainant supportive measures, as described in these regulations, whether or not a Formal Title IX Complaint is submitted.

Upon receipt of a Formal Title IX Complaint, the District must provide the following written notice to the parties:

  • Notice of the District’s grievance procedures, including any informal resolution process.
  • Notice of the allegations of sexual harassment potentially constituting Title IX sexual harassment as defined above, including sufficient time to prepare a response before any initial interview, and sufficient details known at the time, including:
    • the identities of the parties involved in the incident, if known,
    • the conduct allegedly constituting Title IX sexual harassment, and
    • the date and location of the alleged incident, if known.
  • A statement that the respondent is presumed not responsible for the alleged conduct and that a determination regarding responsibility is made at the conclusion of the grievance process.
  • A statement that the parties that they may have an advisor of their choice, who may be, but is not required to be, an attorney, and may inspect and review evidence.
  • Notice of any provision in the district’s code of conduct that prohibits knowingly making false statements or knowingly submitting false information during the grievance process.

Emergency Removal Pending an Investigation

No discipline will be imposed upon students prior to the completion of the investigation or decision-making processes outlined below. However, the District may remove an accused student from the district’s education program or activity on an emergency basis, provided that the district undertakes an individualized safety and risk analysis, determines that an immediate threat to the physical health or safety of any student or other individual arising from the allegations of sexual harassment justifies removal, and provides the accused with notice and an opportunity to challenge the decision immediately following the removal.

Further, the District may place an accused employee on administrative leave during the pendency of the investigation and decision-making process.

Investigation of Formal Title IX Complaints

A Formal Title IX Complaint will then be investigated by the Title IX Coordinator or another designated investigator who: (1) is not decision-maker who will determine responsibility or dismissal, or the decision-maker for any appeal; and (2) has received training on the following topics (collectively referred to as the “Title IX Training”):

  • the definition of sexual harassment;
  • the scope of the district’s education program or activity;
  • how to conduct an investigation and grievance process including appeals and informal resolution processes;
  • how to serve impartially, including by avoiding prejudgment of the facts at issue, conflicts of interest, and bias;
  • technology to be used at a live hearing;
  • issues of relevance of questions and evidence, including when questions and evidence about the complainant’s sexual predisposition or prior sexual behavior are not relevant; and
  • issues of relevance to create an investigative report that fairly summarizes relevant evidence.

Any investigation of a Formal Title IX Complaint must comply with the following rules and procedures:

  • the burden of proof and the burden of gathering evidence sufficient to reach a determination regarding responsibility rests on the district and not on the parties;
  • investigations must be conducted by an investigator who is trained as set forth above, and does not have a conflict of interest or bias for or against complainants or respondents generally or an individual complainant or respondent;
  • investigators must presume that the respondent is not responsible for the alleged conduct until a determination regarding responsibility is made at the end of the grievance process;
  • the district cannot access, consider, disclose, or otherwise use a party’s records that are made or maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other recognized professional or paraprofessional acting in the professional’s or paraprofessional’s capacity, or assisting in that capacity, and which are made and maintained in connection with the provision of treatment to the party, unless the district obtains that party’s voluntary, written consent to do so;
  • the parties must have an equal opportunity to present witnesses, including fact and expert witnesses, and other inculpatory and exculpatory evidence;
  • the district cannot restrict the ability of either party to discuss the allegations under investigation or to gather and present relevant evidence;
  • the parties have the same opportunities to have others present, including the opportunity to be accompanied to any related meeting or proceeding by the advisor of their choice, who may be, but is not required to be, an attorney;
  • any party whose participation is invited or expected must be provided with written notice of the date, time, location, participants, and purpose of all investigative interviews or other meetings, with sufficient time for the party to prepare to participate;
  • the investigator must make an objective evaluation of relevant evidence, including both inculpatory and exculpatory evidence;
  • the investigator’s credibility determinations may not be based on a person’s status as a complainant, respondent, or witness; and
  • the investigation must not require, allow, rely upon, or otherwise use questions or evidence that constitute, or seek disclosure of, information protected under a legally recognized privilege, unless the person holding such privilege has waived the privilege.

The investigation must be completed within a reasonable prompt time frame, but must allow for the temporary delay of the grievance process or the limited extension of time frames for good cause with written notice to the complainant and the respondent of the delay or extension and the reasons for the action. The standard of evidence used for the investigation is a preponderance of the evidence.

The district may dismiss the Formal Title IX Complaint or any allegations therein, if at any time during the investigation:

  • a complainant notifies the Title IX Coordinator in writing that the complainant would like to withdraw the formal complaint or any allegations therein;
  • the respondent is no longer enrolled or employed by the district; or
  • specific circumstances prevent the district from gathering evidence sufficient to reach a determination as to the formal complaint or allegations therein.

Once the investigation is complete, the investigator must create an investigative report that fairly summarizes relevant evidence. Prior to the completion of the report, both parties must be provided with an equal opportunity to inspect and review any evidence obtained as part of the investigation that is directly related to the allegations raised in a Formal Title IX Complaint, including the evidence that the investigator does not intend to rely upon in reaching a determination regarding responsibility and inculpatory or exculpatory evidence whether obtained from a party or other source, so that each party can meaningfully respond to the evidence prior to the conclusion of the investigation. Prior to completion of the investigative report, the district must send the evidence for inspection and review to each party and the party’s advisor, if any, in an electronic format or a hard copy. The parties must have at least 10 days to submit a written response to the evidence, which the investigator will consider prior to completion of the investigative report.

At least 10 days prior to the time of determination regarding responsibility, the district must send to each party and the party’s advisor, if any, the investigative report in an electronic format or a hard copy, for their review and written response. Once the investigative report is sent to the parties, and before reaching a determination regarding responsibility, the decision-maker must afford each party the opportunity to submit written, relevant questions that a party wants asked of any party or witness, provide each party with the answers, and allow for additional, limited follow-up questions from each party.

Questions and evidence about the complainant’s sexual predisposition or prior sexual behavior cannot be considered as relevant, unless such questions and evidence about the complainant’s prior sexual behavior are offered to prove that someone other than the respondent committed the conduct alleged by the complainant, or if the questions and evidence concern specific incidents of the complainant’s prior sexual behavior with respect to the respondent and are offered to prove consent. The decision-maker(s) must explain to the party proposing the questions any decision to exclude a question as not relevant.

Decision by the Building Principal

Once the investigation report is sent to the parties, the investigator will refer the report to the Building Principal (for students) or the Director of Human Resources, Amy Baluch, or a designated decision maker who (1) is not same person as the investigator, Title IX Coordinator, or the decision-maker for an appeal; and (2) has received the Title IX Training. This decision maker must issue a written decision regarding responsibility, which includes the following:

  • identification of the allegations potentially constituting Title IX sexual harassment;
  • a description of the procedural steps taken from the receipt of the formal complaint through the determination, including any notifications to the parties, interviews with parties and witnesses, site visits, and methods used to gather other evidence;
  • findings of fact supporting the determination;
  • conclusions regarding the application of the recipient’s code of conduct to the facts;
  • a statement of, and rationale for, the result as to each allegation, including a determination regarding responsibility, any disciplinary sanctions the district imposes on the respondent, and whether remedies designed to restore or preserve equal access to the district’s education program or activity will be provided by the district to the complainant; and
  • the district’s procedures and permissible bases for the complainant and respondent to appeal.

The district must provide the written determination to the parties simultaneously. The determination regarding responsibility becomes final either on the date that the district provides the parties with the written determination of the result of the appeal, if an appeal is filed, or if an appeal is not filed, the date on which an appeal would no longer be considered timely. The Title IX Coordinator is responsible for effective implementation of any remedies.

Any individual who violates the sexual harassment policy by engaging in prohibited Title IX Sexual Harassment will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action. Disciplinary measures that may be imposed include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Students: Discipline may range from a reprimand up to and including a short-term suspension from school, to be imposed consistent with the student conduct and discipline policy and applicable law. Specifically, the penalties described in the Code of Conduct Policy #5300 Level II Consequences and Level III Consequences may be applied. These include but are not limited to:
    • In-school suspension;
    • External Suspension;
    • Suspension from transportation;
    • Loss of computer or Internet privileges; or
    • Exclusion from school.

      If the Building Principal or other designated decision maker believes a long-term suspension may be warranted, the decision maker will refer the matter to the Superintendent for a Superintendent’s hearing to determine whether a harsher penalty may be warranted under the code of conduct.

  • Employees: Discipline may range from a warning up to and including termination, to be imposed consistent with all applicable contractual and statutory rights. Specifically, the following penalties may be applied: counseling; administrative leave; leave without pay; disciplinary proceedings; termination.
  • Volunteers: Penalties may range from a warning up to and including loss of volunteer assignment.
  • “Non-employees” (i.e., contractors, subcontractors, vendors, consultants and other persons providing services pursuant to a contract, or their employees): Penalties may range from a warning up to and including loss of district business.
  • Other individuals: Penalties may range from a warning up to and including denial of future access to school property.

Appeal Procedure

Both parties may appeal from (1) a decision maker’s determination regarding responsibility for Title IX sexual harassment, or (2) the dismissal of a Formal Title IX Complaint or any allegations therein, by submitting a written appeal to the President of the Board of Education within ten (10) days from receipt of the decision being appealed from.

An appeal may only be based on one or more of the following reasons:

  • procedural irregularity that affected the outcome of the matter;
  • new evidence that was not reasonably available at the time the determination regarding responsibility or dismissal was made, that could affect the outcome of the matter; and
  • the Title IX Coordinator, investigator(s), or decision-maker(s) had a conflict of interest or bias for or against complainants or respondents generally or the individual complainant or respondent that affected the outcome of the matter.

If an appeal is received, the President of the Board of Education, or a designee who (1) has received the Title IX Training, and (2) is not the same person as the decision-maker, Title IX Coordinator, or the investigator will:

  • notify the other party in writing when an appeal is filed and implement appeal procedures equally for both parties;
  • give both parties a reasonable, equal opportunity to submit a written statement in support of, or challenging, the outcome;
  • issue a written decision describing the result of the appeal and the rationale for the result; and
  • provide the written decision simultaneously to both parties within 30 days of receiving the appeal.

Informal Resolution of Complaint

Mediation and alternate methods of resolution may be used at any time after a formal complaint is filed and before a determination is made upon voluntary, written agreement of the target and alleged harasser. The district cannot require the parties to participate in an informal resolution process. The district must provide written notice to the parties of the following:

  • the allegations;
  • the requirements of the informal resolution process including the circumstances under which it precludes the parties from resuming a formal complaint arising from the same allegations (provided, however, that the party has a right to withdraw from the informal resolution process at any time prior to agreeing to a resolution); and
  • any consequences resulting from participating in the informal resolution process, including the records that could be shared.

An informal resolution process cannot be offered or used to resolve allegations that an employee sexually harassed a student.

Retaliation

No person may intimidate, threaten, coerce, or discriminate against any individual for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by Title IX or this Policy, or because the individual has made a report or complaint, testified, assisted, or participated or refused to participate in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing under this part.

Intimidation, threats, coercion, or discrimination, including charges against an individual for code of conduct violations that do not involve sex discrimination or sexual harassment, but arise out of the same facts or circumstances as a report or complaint of sex discrimination, or a report or formal complaint of sexual harassment, for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by Title IX or this Policy, constitutes retaliation.

The district will keep confidential the identity of any individual who has made a report or complaint of sex discrimination, except as authorized under FERPA, required by law, or to carry out the purposes of Title IX, including the conduct of any investigation or judicial proceeding arising under Title IX, including:

  • any individual who has made a report or filed a formal complaint of sexual harassment,
  • any complainant,
  • any individual who has been reported to be the perpetrator of sex discrimination,
  • any respondent, and
  • any witness.

Complaints alleging retaliation may be filed according to the procedures outlined in this Policy.

The exercise of rights protected under the First Amendment does not constitute retaliation. Additionally, charging an individual with a code of conduct violation for making a materially false statement in bad faith in the course of a grievance proceeding under this part does not constitute retaliation, provided, however, that a determination regarding responsibility, alone, is not sufficient to conclude that any party made a materially false statement in bad faith.

Documentation

This policy shall be included in student and employee handbooks, on the district website, and in student registration materials. A poster summarizing the policy shall also be posted in a prominent location at each school.

For a period of seven years, the district will maintain records of:

  • Each sexual harassment investigation under this Policy, including any determination regarding responsibility, any disciplinary sanctions imposed on the respondent, and any remedies provided to the complainant designed to restore or preserve equal access to the district’s education program or activity;
  • Any appeal and the result therefrom;
  • Any informal resolution and the result therefrom; and
  • All materials used to train Title IX Coordinators, investigators, decision-makers, and any person who facilitates an informal resolution process. The Title IX training materials are also publicly available on the district’s website.

Additionally, the district will create, and maintain for a period of seven years, records of any actions, including any supportive measures, taken in response to a report of sexual harassment or Formal Title IX Complaint. In each instance, the district will document the basis for its conclusion that its response was not deliberately indifferent, and document that it has taken measures designed to restore or preserve equal access to the district’s education program or activity. If the District does not provide a complainant with supportive measures, the District will document the reasons why such a response was not clearly unreasonable in light of the known circumstances.

External Remedies

Complainants have the right to file sexual harassment complaints with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR). The OCR can be contacted at (800) 421-3481, 400 Maryland Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20202-1100, or at https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ ocr/docs/howto.html.

Employee complainants also have the right to file complaints with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the New York State Division of Human Rights (DHR). The EEOC can be contacted at (800) 669 4000, https://www.eeoc.gov/employees/ howtofile.cfm, info@eeoc.gov, or at 33 Whitehall Street, 5th Floor, New York, NY 10004 or 300 Pearl Street, Suite 450, Buffalo, NY 14202. The DHR can be contacted at (888) 392-3644, www.dhr.ny.gov/complaint, or at 1 Fordham Plaza, Fourth Floor, Bronx, NY 10458.

Nothing in these regulations shall be construed to limit the right of the complainant to file a lawsuit in either state or federal court, or to contact law enforcement officials if the sexual harassment involves unwanted physical touching, coerced physical confinement or coerced sex acts, which may constitute a crime. No district contract or collective bargaining agreement entered into after July 11, 2018 may include a binding arbitration clause for sexual harassment requiring arbitration before bringing a sexual harassment claim to a court.

Appendix A

  1. Dating violence – The term “dating violence” means violence committed by a person:
    1. who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim; and
    2. where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors:
      1. The length of the relationship.
      2. The type of relationship.
      3. The frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.
  2. Domestic Violence – The term “domestic violence” includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction receiving grant monies, or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction.
  3. Sexual Assault – The term “sexual assault” means an offense classified as a forcible or nonforcible sex offense under the uniform crime reporting system of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which include the following:
    1. Forcible Sexual Offenses:
      1. Forcible Rape (Except Statutory Rape) – The carnal knowledge of a person, forcibly and/or against that person’s will or not forcibly or against the person’s will in instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.
      2. Forcible Sodomy – Oral or anal sexual intercourse with another person, forcibly and/or against that person’s will or not forcibly or against the person’s will in instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her youth or because of his/her temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.
      3. Sexual Assault With An Object – To use an object or instrument to unlawfully penetrate, however slightly, the genital or anal opening of the body of another person, forcibly and/or against that person’s will or not forcibly or against the person’s will in instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her youth or because of his/her temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.
      4. Forcible Fondling – The touching of the private body parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification, forcibly and/or against that person’s will or not forcibly or against the person’s will in instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her youth or because of his/her temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.
    2. Nonforcible Sexual Offenses:
      1. Incest – Nonforcible sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by law.
      2. Statutory Rape – Nonforcible sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent.
  4. Stalking – The term “stalking” means engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to:
    1. fear for his or her safety or the safety of others; or
    2. suffer substantial emotional distress

Adopted: September 2, 2020

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Policy 0120-E | Formal Title IX Complaint Exhibit

View the PDF version of the Formal Title IX Complaint Exhibit here.

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Policy 0200 | Strategic Planning Process

View the PDF version of the Strategic Planning Process here.

Planning and Evaluation

The Board of Education (the Board) of the Bethlehem Central School District (the District) recognizes that comprehensive program planning and evaluation are essential educational practices allowing for informed decision making by both staff and the community. Wherever possible, community and staff expertise will be used in the District’s planning and evaluation process.

To these ends, the superintendent shall:

  1. develop a process by which program areas are budgeted;
  2. develop three to five year enrollment projections; and
  3. implement evaluation procedures for new and existing programs.

The Board and the superintendent will review all program plans, evaluation designs, and reports for information and/or acceptance.

Objectives, Program Measurements, and Schedule of Reports

Consistent with the Board’s belief in comprehensive planning, the superintendent shall facilitate the participatory development of District goals on an annual basis. The superintendent shall report annually to the Board outlining the effectiveness of programs in meeting their objectives, per midyear/end-of-year goal assessment reports.

Adoption date: June 19, 2002 
Re-approved date: November 28, 2018
Revised date: February 3, 2021

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Policy 0320 | Evaluation of Superintendent

View the PDF version of the Evaluation of Superintendent Policy here.

The Board of Education (the Board) of the Bethlehem Central School District (the District) recognizes that student growth, District progress, and community satisfaction are all affected by the performance of the superintendent. The superintendent cannot function effectively without periodic feedback about their performance. Therefore, the Board recognizes its responsibilities to evaluate the superintendent.

At the beginning of each year of the superintendent’s appointment, the Board and the superintendent will meet to discuss a plan of performance review and accountability for that school year. Such a plan will be directly related to the approved job description of the superintendent and shall center on performance standards keyed to their job responsibilities. The superintendent’s evaluation will gauge their success in meeting the established performance standards.

Ref: 8 NYCRR §100.2(o)(2)

Adoption date: June 19, 2002
Re-approved date: November 28, 2018
Revised date: February 3, 2021

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Policy 0330 | Evaluation of Professional Staff

View the PDF version of the Evaluation of Professional Staff Policy here.

The Board of Education (the Board) of the Bethlehem Central School District (the District) recognizes that a well-developed and rigorously administered evaluation process is key to securing and maintaining an effective District workforce. The Board views the evaluation of professional staff as an essential growth tool for improving individual performance and the District’s overall ability to meet its educational objectives. To these ends, the performance of all professional staff will be reviewed and evaluated at least annually in accordance with the regulations of the commissioner. The purposes of teacher and administrator evaluations are:

1. to clarify the duties and responsibilities of staff;
2. to enrich, develop, and improve effective professional skills and performance by:

a. informing each staff member of how his or her performance is perceived in relation to the expectations of the District; and
b. identifying an individual’s strengths and weaknesses;

3. to enhance the instructional program by providing individual staff members with methods by which performance may be improved; and
4. to provide the Board and the superintendent with accurate and timely assessments of employee performance to enable them to fulfill their legal responsibilities in making personnel decisions, including the granting of tenure or voting disciplinary charges.

As part of its oversight responsibilities for the District, the Board shall ensure that evaluations are conducted regularly, that the results of the evaluations are thoroughly documented, and that administrators are properly trained to conduct evaluations. The superintendent is responsible for administering the evaluation process.

The procedures and guidelines for formal observations and evaluations of teachers and administrators shall be those agreed to with the employee organization(s) representing such professional staff and set forth in their respective collective bargaining agreements.

Ref:
Education Law §3031
8 NYCRR §100.2(o)(1)

Adoption date: June 19, 2002
Re-approved date: November 28, 2018

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Policy 0335 | Evaluation of Administrative Staff

View the PDF version of the Evaluation of Administrative Staff Policy here.

The Board of Education (the Board) of the Bethlehem Central School District (the District) views the evaluation of administrators as an essential growth tool for improving the District’s overall ability to meet its educational objectives. To this end, the evaluation process for all administrators will be conducted on a yearly basis and will be directly related to their approved job descriptions. The format of the evaluation will be centered on performance standards keyed to the administrator’s job responsibilities.

Performance standards will be developed at the beginning of each school year and agreed upon by the administrator and their supervisor. At the end of the school year, a joint appraisal will be conducted between the administrator and their supervisor to gauge the administrator’s success in meeting the performance standards.

Adoption date: June 19, 2002
Re-approved date: November 28, 2018
Revised date: February 3, 2021

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Policy 0340 | Evaluation of Support Staff

View the PDF version of the Evaluation of Support Staff Policy here.

The Board of Education (the Board) of the Bethlehem Central School District (the District) believes that the evaluation of support staff is an essential component of supervision and decision making regarding staff promotions and retention. The Board therefore directs the superintendent to develop standards and procedures for the evaluation of all support staff.

Each support staff member will be formally evaluated in accordance with the terms of the applicable collective bargaining agreement or, if the support staff member is not represented by an employee organization, each year by their immediate supervisor or other designated person.

The purposes of support staff evaluations are:

  1. to provide an objective basis for employee improvement; and
  2. to ensure that employees meet performance standards.

Adoption date: June 19, 2002
Re-approved date: November 28, 2018
Revised date: February 3, 2021

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