HARASSMENT POLICY AND PROCEDURES
Discrimination on the basis of race, creed, ancestry, color, gender, age, religion, handicap or disability, marital or parental status, home, veteran status, status as a Vietnam-era disabled veteran, national origin, sexual orientation or any other legally protected status (in compliance with Titles I, VI, VII, IX and Section 504, Rehabilitation Act of 1973, McKinney-Vento Act) is illegal so is harassment on the basis of any of these categories.
District Policy 4111 of the Lunenburg School District states:
All persons associated with the District’s public school including, but not necessarily limited to, the Committee, the administration, staff, and students, are expected to conduct themselves at all times so as to provide an atmosphere free from sexual harassment. Any person who engages in sexual harassment while acting, as a member of the school community, will be in violation of this policy. Further, any retaliation against an individual who has complained about sexual harassment or retaliation against individuals for cooperating in an investigation of sexual harassment complaint is similarly unlawful and will not be tolerated.
Because the District takes allegations of sexual harassment seriously, we will respond promptly to complaints of sexual harassment and where it is determined that such inappropriate conduct has occurred, we will act promptly to eliminate the conduct and impose such corrective action as is necessary, including disciplinary action where appropriate.
Please note that while this policy sets forth our goals of promoting a workplace and school environment that is free of sexual harassment, the policy is not designed or intended to limit our authority to discipline or take remedial action for workplace or school conduct which we deem unacceptable, regardless of whether that conduct satisfies the definition of sexual harassment.
Definition of Sexual Harassment: Unwelcome sexual advances; requests for sexual favors; or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature may constitute sexual harassment where one or more of these factors are present:
1. Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of a person’s employment or educational development.
2. Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment or education decisions affecting such individual.
3. Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or educational performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or educational environment.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU FEEL YOU OR SOMEONE ELSE HAS BEEN THE VICTIM OF HARASSING CONDUCT
You have the right to complain if you feel you have been, or are being, harassed. You also have the right to report harassment you know is happening to someone else. School personnel are required to report harassment of students immediately. The Lunenburg Public Schools has created a Harassment Resource Committee and has a Harassment Resource Coordinator to help you. The committee has been created to help prevent harassment in the Lunenburg Public Schools, to investigate and resolve complaints if problems arise, and to act as a resource for employees/volunteers/students.
Ms. Loxi Jo Calmes is our Title IX and Disability Coordinator. That means she is the person to whom you should go if you feel you have been the victim of discrimination on the basis of your sex or a disability. Ms. Calmes is also a member of the Harassment Resource Committee. The committee is composed of the school principals, the school psychologist, and the Superintendent.
If you need to talk with someone about harassment or to make a complaint of harassment, you should contact Ms. Calmes, your building principal, or any member of the Harassment Resource Committee.
FORMAL COMPLAINT PROCESS
This is the process for student harassment complaints.
1. A student or other member of the school community makes a complaint about harassment. Ms. Calmes receives it. If it is not in writing, the individual making the complaint will be asked to put it into written form. If that is not possible for some reason, Ms. Calmes will write up a statement based on the verbal complaint, and ask the person making the complaint to read it to assure its accuracy. If, for any reason, the person making the complaint cannot read the statement, it will be read to him or her. All complaints will be considered whether they are made orally or in writing. If the individual requests informal resolution, the process described below entitled, “Informal Resolution Process,” will be followed.
2. Ms. Calmes will decide not later than the next work/school day after the complaint has been put into final written form whether the complaint should go before the Harassment Resource Committee. All complaints, which allege inappropriate physical contact, inappropriate exposure of parts of the body, or conduct in the nature of criminal conduct, must go before the committee (other action may also be taken simultaneously, depending on the seriousness of the situation). For complaints of other kinds of harassing conduct, Ms. Calmes will have the discretion to: immediately begin an investigation without calling the committee together; refer the matter immediately to the superintendent; or refer the matter to the committee. If Ms. Calmes begins an investigation or refers the complaint to the committee, she will also notify the superintendent of the complaint and give the superintendent a brief summary of the allegations.
3. If the individual alleged to be the subject of harassment is less than 18 years old, his or her parent(s) or guardian(s) will be contacted immediately, unless the student requests that they not be contacted, in which case Ms. Calmes or the committee member(s) involved will consider the student’s request. The school has the right to contact parent(s) or guardian(s) even if a student requests otherwise.
4. Ms. Calmes or a committee member assigned by the committee will notify the person or persons accused of harassment, and the parent(s) or guardian(s) of any person under 18, of the complaint not later than the work/school day following the first meeting with the person complaining.
5. If the complaint alleges conduct considered to be in the nature of criminal conduct, the school has the right to, and in most cases will, contact the police. Ms. Calmes or a member of the committee assigned to do so will notify the person who believes he or she has been harassed, and his or her parent(s) or guardian(s), that the police are being contacted. Ms. Calmes may notify the person or person accused of harassment and his or her parent(s) or guardian(s) (of any person under 18) of the police contact, as well.
6. If the complaint is presented to the committee, the committee will assign an impartial investigator. In most cases, Ms. Calmes or the investigator designated by the committee will begin to investigate the complaint not later than the next work/school day after the formal complaint is received. Each party will have the opportunity to tell his or her side of the story, present documents or other evidence for the investigator to consider, and request the investigator to contact specific witnesses.
7. Everyone in the school community is obligated to cooperate in a harassment investigation.
8. Either Ms. Calmes, or when it is convened, the committee may determine that interim action should be taken during the investigation to protect one or both parties to the complaint or others. It might be necessary, for example, to separate the parties temporarily so they are not in contact with each other.
9. The investigation will be conducted in as confidential a manner as possible, consistent with the need to assure a prompt, thorough, impartial investigation. Faculty members or others who are determined by Ms. Calmes or the committee to have a need to know about the investigation will be informed promptly. Anyone who is informed will be required to maintain the confidentiality of the information.
10. Upon completion of the investigation, Ms. Calmes or the committee will make a report to the principal. The report will include findings of fact and recommendations for action, if necessary. The principal will determine the appropriate action.
11. If the report recommends that an individual be suspended or expelled, the individual will be given a hearing at which he or she will be afforded due process, including prior written notice, the right to speak and to present evidence, the right to have the evidence against him or her explained, and the right to present witnesses. If it is determined that there is an immediate threat to any person or a danger to the school environment, a temporary suspension may be imposed prior to the hearing, and the hearing will be scheduled within a reasonable time.
12. The parties to the complaint will be informed of whether the complaint has been substantiated. If harassment or conduct in the nature of harassment is found and disciplinary action is imposed, the complaining party will not be informed of the discipline, but will be told if some part of the decision affects him or her, for example, instruction to the party complained to avoid contact with the complaining party.
13. When harassment or conduct in the nature of harassment has occurred, the school department will work to prevent any reoccurrence of the problem and to correct any negative effects the problem has caused the complaining party or others.
An individual who expresses a concern about harassment or who files a complaint may request informal resolution of the problem. Informal resolution will vary from situation to situation, but is likely to include informal investigation by Ms. Calmes into the problem, discussion of alternative interventions, and mediation-type activities designed to improve communication and/or eliminate a problem without resort to the formal process. At any time during the informal process, however, the complaining party will have the right to end the informal activity and begin, or restart, formal complaint processing without any prejudice to the complaining party or his or her allegations.
In the event of a finding of harassment or conduct in the nature of harassment, appropriate action will be taken. It will be based on the nature, frequency and severity of the conduct and the student’s previous disciplinary history, if any. Possible actions may include, but are not necessarily limited to, counseling, oral or written reprimands, detention, withdrawal of privileges such as participation in school social events, assignment of community service, probation, suspension or expulsion.
PROTECTION FROM RETALIATION
Any member of the school community who makes a complaint of harassment, or who cooperates in the processing or investigation of a harassment complaint, is protected against retaliation for having done so.
Voted/adopted Lunenburg School Committee July 27, 1999 and November 23, 2009
Brian Spadafino, Principal, Lunenburg High School, 1079 Massachusetts Avenue, Lunenburg, MA 01462 (978-582-4115).
Mr. Timothy Santry, Principal, Turkey Hill Middle School, 129 Northfield Road, Lunenburg, MA 01462
Ms. Elaine Blaisdell, Principal, Lunenburg Primary School, 1401 Mass Avenue, Lunenburg, MA 01462
Title IX and Disability Coordinator
Ms. Loxi Jo Calmes, Superintendent of Schools, 1025 Massachusetts Avenue, Lunenburg, MA 01462