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This site will be available through June 30th and then will be removed.

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Holly Area Schools Harassment / Bullying Polices


5517 - ANTI-HARASSMENT

General Policy Statement

It is the policy of the Board of Education to maintain an education and work environment which is free from all forms of unlawful harassment, including sexual harassment. This commitment applies to all School District operations, programs, and activities. All students, administrators, teachers, staff, and all other school personnel share responsibility for avoiding, discouraging, and reporting any form of unlawful harassment. This policy applies to unlawful conduct occurring on school property, or at another location if such conduct occurs during an activity sponsored by the Board.

The Board will vigorously enforce its prohibition against harassment based on sex, race, color, national origin, religion, disability, genetic information, or any other unlawful basis, and encourages those within the School District community as well as third parties, who feel aggrieved to seek assistance to rectify the problems. The Board will investigate all allegations of harassment and in those cases where unlawful harassment is substantiated, the Board will take immediate steps to end the harassment. Individuals who are found to have engaged in unlawful harassment will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action.

For purposes of this policy, "School District community" means students, administrators, teachers, staff, and all other school personnel, including Board members, agents, volunteers, contractors, or other persons subject to the control and supervision of the Board.

For purposes of this policy, "third parties" include, but are not limited to, guests and/or visitors on School District property (e.g., visiting speakers, participants on opposing athletic teams, parents), vendors doing business with, or seeking to do business with, the Board, and other individuals who come in contact with members of the School District community at school-related events/activities (whether on or off School District property).

Other Violations of the Anti-Harassment Policy

The Board will also take immediate steps to impose disciplinary action on individuals engaging in any of the following prohibited acts:

 

A.

Retaliating against a person who has made a report or filed a complaint alleging harassment, or who has participated as a witness in a harassment investigation.

 
 

B.

Filing a malicious or knowingly false report or complaint of harassment.

 
 

C.

Disregarding, failing to investigate adequately, or delaying investigation of allegations of harassment, when responsibility for reporting and/or investigating harassment charges comprises part of one's supervisory duties.

Definitions

Sexual Harassment

Pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, "sexual harassment" is defined as:

Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, when:

 

A.

Submission to such conduct is made either implicitly or explicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment, or status in a class, educational program, or activity.

 
 

B.

Submission or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment or educational decisions affecting such individual.

 
 

C.

Such conduct has the purpose or effect of interfering with the individual's work or educational performance; of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working, and/or learning environment; or of interfering with one's ability to participate in or benefit from a class or an educational program or activity.

Sexual harassment may involve the behavior of a person of either gender against a person of the same or opposite gender.

Prohibited acts that constitute sexual harassment may take a variety of forms. Examples of the kinds of conduct that may constitute sexual harassment include, but are not limited to:

 

A.

Unwelcome sexual propositions, invitations, solicitations, and flirtations.

   
 

B.

Physical assault.

   
 

C.

Threats or insinuations that a person's employment, wages, academic grade, promotion, classroom work or assignments, academic status, participation in athletics or extra-curricular programs or events, or other conditions of employment or education may be adversely affected by not submitting to sexual advances.

   
 

D.

Unwelcome verbal expressions of a sexual nature, including graphic sexual commentaries about a person's body, dress, appearance, or sexual activities; the unwelcome use of sexually degrading language, jokes or innuendoes; unwelcome suggestive or insulting sounds or whistles; obscene telephone calls.

   
 

E.

Sexually suggestive objects, pictures, videotapes, audio recordings or literature, placed in the work or educational environment, which may embarrass or offend individuals.

 
 

F.

Unwelcome and inappropriate touching, patting, or pinching; obscene gestures.

   
 

G.

A pattern of conduct, which can be subtle in nature, that has sexual overtones and is intended to create or has the effect of creating discomfort and/or humiliation to another.

     
 

H.

Remarks speculating about a person's sexual activities or sexual history, or remarks about one's own sexual activities or sexual history.

   
 

I.

Inappropriate boundary invasions by a District employee or other adult member of the School District community into a student's personal space and personal life.

Not all behavior with sexual connotations constitutes unlawful sexual harassment. Conduct must be sufficiently severe, pervasive, and persistent such that it adversely affects an individual's employment or education, or such that it creates a hostile or abusive employment or educational environment.

NOTE: Sexual conduct/relationships with students by District employees or any other adult member of the School District community is prohibited, and any teacher, administrator, coach, or other school authority who engages in sexual conduct with a student may also be guilty of the criminal charge of "sexual battery". The issue of consent is irrelevant in regard to such criminal charge and/or with respect to the application of this policy to District employees or other adult members of the School District community.

Race/Color Harassment

Prohibited racial harassment occurs when unwelcome physical, verbal, or nonverbal conduct is based upon an individual's race or color and when the conduct has the purpose or effect of interfering with the individual's work or educational performance; of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working, and/or learning environment; or of interfering with one's ability to participate in or benefit from a class or an educational program or activity. Such harassment may occur where conduct is directed at the characteristics of a person's race or color, such as racial slurs, nicknames implying stereotypes, epithets, and/or negative references relative to racial customs.

Religious (Creed) Harassment

Prohibited religious harassment occurs when unwelcome physical, verbal, or nonverbal conduct is based upon an individual's religion or creed and when the conduct has the purpose or effect of interfering with the individual's work or educational performance; of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working and/or learning environment; or of interfering with one's ability to participate in or benefit from a class or an educational program or activity. Such harassment may occur where conduct is directed at the characteristics of a person's religious tradition, clothing, or surnames, and/or involves religious slurs.

National Origin Harassment

Prohibited national origin harassment occurs when unwelcome physical, verbal, or nonverbal conduct is based upon an individual's national origin and when the conduct has the purpose or effect of interfering with the individual's work or educational performance; of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working and/or learning environment; or of interfering with one's ability to participate in or benefit from a class or an educational program or activity. Such harassment may occur where conduct is directed at the characteristics of a person's national origin, such as negative comments regarding customs, manner of speaking, language, surnames, or ethnic slurs.

Disability Harassment

Prohibited disability harassment occurs when unwelcome physical, verbal, or nonverbal conduct is based upon an individual's disability and when the conduct has the purpose or effect of interfering with the individual's work or educational performance; of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working and/or learning environment; or of interfering with one's ability to participate in or benefit from a class or an educational program or activity. Such harassment may occur where conduct is directed at the characteristics of a person's disabling condition, such as negative comments about speech patterns, movement, physical impairments or defects/appearances, or the like. Such harassment may further occur where conduct is directed at or pertains to a person's genetic information.

Reports and Complaints of Harassing Conduct

Members of the School District community and third parties are encouraged to promptly report incidents of harassing conduct to an administrator, supervisor or other School District official so that the Board may address the conduct before it becomes severe, pervasive, or persistent.

Members of the School District community or third parties who believe they have been unlawfully harassed by another member of the School District community or a third party are entitled to utilize the Board's complaint process. Initiating a complaint, whether formally or informally, will not adversely affect the complaining individual's employment or participation in educational or extra-curricular programs. While there are no time limits for initiating complaints of harassment under this policy, individuals should make every effort to file a complaint as soon as possible after the conduct occurs while the facts are known and potential witnesses are available.

The names and titles of the Anti-Harassment Complaint Coordinators with whom complaints of sexual and other forms of unlawful harassment should be filed are set forth in the administrative guidelines that supplement this policy. The names and titles of these individuals will be published annually in the student and staff handbooks.

The Superintendent shall establish administrative guidelines describing both a formal and an informal process for making a charge of harassment, a process for investigating claims of harassment, and a process for rendering a decision regarding whether the claim of harassment was substantiated. This policy and the administrative guidelines will be readily available to all members of the School District community and posted in appropriate places throughout the School District.

Any Board employee who directly observes unlawful harassment of a student is obligated, in accordance with this policy, to report such observations to one of the Complaint Coordinators. Thereafter, the Complaint Coordinator must contact the student, if age eighteen (18) or older, or the student's parents if under the age eighteen (18), to advise s/he/them of the Board's intent to investigate the alleged misconduct, including the obligation of the Complaint Coordinator or designee to conduct an investigation following all the procedures outlined for a formal complaint.

Privacy/Confidentiality

The School District will respect the privacy of the complainant, the individual(s) against whom the complaint is filed, and the witnesses as much as possible, consistent with the Board’s legal obligations to investigate, to take appropriate action, and to conform with any discovery or disclosure obligations. All records generated under the terms of this policy and its related administrative guidelines shall be maintained as confidential to the extent permitted by law.

Informal Process for Addressing Complaints of Harassment

The administrative guidelines will include an informal complaint process to provide members of the School District community or third parties who believe they are being unlawfully harassed with a range of options designed to bring about a resolution of their concerns. Members of the School District community or third parties who believe that they have been unlawfully harassed may initiate their complaint through this informal complaint process, but are not required to do so. The administrative guidelines will include as a requirement the prerequisite that the informal process is only available in those circumstances where the parties (alleged target of harassment and alleged harasser(s)) agree to participate in the informal process. Those members of the School District community or third parties who believe that they have been unlawfully harassed may proceed immediately to the formal complaint process and individuals who seek resolution through the informal procedure may request that the informal process be terminated at any time to move to the formal complaint process. However, all complaints of harassment involving a District employee or any other adult member of the School District community against a student will be formally investigated.

Formal Process for Addressing Complaints of Harassment

The administrative guidelines will also include a formal complaint process. While the formal complaint process may serve as the first step to resolution of a charge of unlawful harassment, it is also available in those circumstances when the informal complaint process fails to satisfactorily resolve a concern. Because of the need for flexibility, no specific time lines are established for initiating the formal complaint process; however, once the formal complaint process is begun, the investigation will be completed in a timely manner (ordinarily, within thirty-one (31) calendar days of the complaint being received).

Members of the School District community or third parties who feel they have been unlawfully harassed should file a formal written complaint with the principal of their school building or with one of the Complaint Coordinators identified in the administrative guidelines. Oral complaints of harassment will be reduced to writing by the individual receiving the complaint and the Complainant will be asked to verify the accuracy of the reported charge by signing the document. Complaints received by a school building principal will be immediately reported to the appropriate Complaint Coordinator identified in the administrative guidelines.

After a complaint is filed, the Complaint Coordinator or designee shall conduct a prompt and timely investigation. The investigation may include interviews of the complainant, the individual accused of engaging in harassing behavior, and any other witness who may reasonably be expected to have information relevant to the situation. All interviewed parties and witnesses will be provided an opportunity to present any evidence that they reasonably believe to be relevant to the situation.

At the conclusion of the investigation the Complaint Coordinator or designee will prepare and deliver to the Superintendent a written report summarizing the evidence gathered during the investigation and providing his/her recommendations regarding whether or not the complaint of unlawful harassment has been substantiated. The written report must be based on the totality of the circumstances involved in the complaint, the nature of the alleged conduct, the context in which the alleged conduct occurred, and the ages and maturity of the individuals involved.

Upon review of the written report the Superintendent will either issue a final decision regarding whether or not the complaint of unlawful harassment was substantiated, or request that further investigation be conducted. A copy of Superintendent's action will be delivered to both the Complainant and the individual accused of the harassing conduct.

A Complainant who is dissatisfied with the Superintendent's decision may appeal it to the Board of Education by submitting written notice to the Superintendent within ten (10) days of the date of the Superintendent's decision. Upon receipt of a notice of appeal, the Board shall meet in executive session at its next regularly scheduled meeting, which is scheduled to occur at least ten (10) days after the Superintendent's receipt of the appeal notice, to review the complaint and the summary of the investigation. Following the meeting, the Board will issue a decision either affirming, modifying, or rejecting the Superintendent's decision. The decision of the Board shall be final.

The Complaint process set forth in the policy and in the administrative guidelines is not intended to interfere with the rights of a member of the School District community or a third party to pursue a complaint of unlawful harassment with the United States Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, the Michigan Civil Rights Commission, or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The Board reserves the right to investigate and resolve a complaint or report of unlawful harassment regardless of whether the member of the School District community or third party alleging the harassment pursues the complaint. The Board also reserves the right to have the formal complaint investigation conducted by an external person in accordance with this policy and administrative guidelines or in such other manner as deemed appropriate by the Board or its designee.

Sanctions and Monitoring

The Board shall vigorously enforce its prohibitions against unlawful harassment. While observing the principles of due process, a violation of this policy may result in disciplinary action up to and including the discharge of an employee or the suspension/expulsion of a student. All disciplinary action will be taken in accordance with applicable State law and the terms of the relevant collective bargaining agreement(s). When imposing discipline, the Superintendent shall consider the totality of the circumstances involved in the matter, including the ages and maturity levels of those involved. In those cases where unlawful harassment is not substantiated, the Board may consider whether the alleged conduct nevertheless warrants discipline in accordance with other Board policies, consistent with the terms of the relevant collective bargaining agreement(s).

Where the Board becomes aware that a prior remedial action has been taken against a member of the School District community, all subsequent sanctions imposed by the Board and/or Superintendent shall be reasonably calculated to eliminate such conduct in the future.

Education and Training

In support of this Anti-Harassment Policy, the Board promotes preventative educational measures to create greater awareness of unlawful discriminatory practices. The Superintendent or designee shall provide appropriate training to all members of the School District community related to the implementation of this policy and its accompanying administrative guidelines. All training regarding the Board's policy and administrative guidelines and harassment in general, will be age and content appropriate.

Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. 2000d et seq.
29 U.S.C. 621 et seq.
42 U.S.C. 2000e et seq.
42 U.S.C. 1983
42 U.S.C. 2000ff et seq., The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act
29 C.F.R. Part 1635
Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. 1681 et seq.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. 794
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq.
The Handicappers’ Civil Rights Act, M.C.L.A. 37.1101 et seq.
The Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, M.C.L.A. 37.2101, et seq.
Policies on Bullying, Michigan State Board of Education, 7-19-01
Model Anti-Bullying Policy, Michigan State Board of Education, 09-2006
National School Boards Association Inquiry and Analysis – May 2008


 


5517.01 - BULLYING AND OTHER AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIOR TOWARD STUDENTS

It is the policy of the District to provide a safe and nurturing educational environment for all of its students.

This policy protects all students from bullying/aggressive behavior regardless of the subject matter or motivation for such impermissible behavior.

Bullying or other aggressive behavior toward a student, whether by other students, staff, or third parties, including Board members, parents, guests, contractors, vendors, and volunteers, is strictly prohibited. This prohibition includes written, physical, verbal, and psychological abuse, including hazing, gestures, comments, threats, or actions to a student, which cause or threaten to cause bodily harm, reasonable fear for personal safety or personal degradation.

Demonstration of appropriate behavior, treating others with civility and respect, and refusing to tolerate harassment or bullying is expected of administrators, faculty, staff, and volunteers to provide positive examples for student behavior.

This policy applies to all "at school" activities in the District, including activities on school property, in a school vehicle, and those occurring off school property, if the student or employee is at any school-sponsored, school-approved or school-related activity or function, such as field trips or athletic events where students are under the school’s control, or where an employee is engaged in school business. Misconduct occurring outside of school may also be disciplined if it interferes with the school environment.

Notification

Notice of this policy will be annually circulated to and posted in conspicuous locations in all school buildings and departments within the District and discussed with students, as well as incorporated into the teacher, student, and parent/guardian handbooks. State and Federal rights posters on discrimination and harassment shall also be posted at each building. All new hires will be required to review and sign off on this policy and the related complaint procedure.

Parents or legal guardians of the alleged victim(s), as well as of the alleged aggressor(s), shall be promptly notified of any complaint or investigation as well as the results of the investigation to the extent consistent with student confidentiality requirements. A record of the time and form of notice or attempts at notice shall be kept in the investigation file.

To the extent appropriate and/or legally permitted, confidentiality will be maintained during the investigation process. However, a proper investigation will, in some circumstances, require the disclosure of names and allegations. Further, the appropriate authorities may be notified, depending on the nature of the complaint and/or the results of the investigation.

Implementation

The Superintendent is responsible to implement this policy, and may develop further guidelines, not inconsistent with this policy.

This policy is not intended to and should not be interpreted to interfere with legitimate free speech rights of any individual. However, the District reserves the right and responsibility to maintain a safe environment for students, conducive to learning and other legitimate objectives of the school program.

Procedure

Any student who believes s/he has been or is the victim of bullying, hazing, or other aggressive behavior should immediately report the situation to the Principal or assistant principal. The student may also report concerns to a teacher or counselor who will be responsible for notifying the appropriate administrator or Board official. Complaints against the building principal should be filed with the Superintendent. Complaints against the Superintendent should be filed with the Board President.

Every student is encouraged, and every staff member is required, to report any situation that they believe to be aggressive behavior directed toward a student. Reports shall be made to those identified above. Reports may be made anonymously, but formal disciplinary action may not be taken solely on the basis of an anonymous report.

The Principal (or other administrator as designated) shall promptly investigate and document all complaints about bullying, aggressive or other behavior that may violate this policy. The investigation must be completed as promptly as the circumstances permit after a report or complaint is made.

If the investigation finds an instance of bullying or aggressive behavior has occurred, it will result in prompt and appropriate remedial action. This may include up to expulsion for students, up to discharge for employees, exclusion for parents, guests, volunteers and contractors, and removal from any official position and/or a request to resign for Board members. Individuals may also be referred to law enforcement or other appropriate officials.

The individual responsible for conducting the investigation shall document all reported incidents and report all verified incidents of bullying, aggressive or other prohibited behavior, as well as any remedial action taken, including disciplinary actions and referrals, to the Superintendent. The Superintendent shall submit a compiled report to the Board on an annual basis.

Non-Retaliation/False Reports

Retaliation or false allegations against any person who reports, is thought to have reported, files a complaint, participates in an investigation or inquiry concerning allegations of bullying or aggressive behavior (as a witness or otherwise), or is the target of the bullying or aggressive behavior being investigated, is prohibited and will not be tolerated. Such retaliation shall be considered a serious violation of Board policy, independent of whether a complaint of bullying is substantiated. Suspected retaliation should be reported in the same manner as bullying/aggressive behavior.

Making intentionally false reports about bullying/aggressive behavior for the purpose of getting someone in trouble is similarly prohibited and will not be tolerated. Retaliation and intentionally false reports may result in disciplinary action as indicated above.

Prevention/Training

The Superintendent shall establish a program or other initiatives involving school staff, students, clubs or other student groups, administrators, volunteers, parents, law enforcement, community members, and other stakeholders, aimed at the prevention of bullying or other aggressive behavior.

Definitions

The following definitions are provided for guidance only. If a student or other individual believes there has been bullying, hazing, harassment or other aggressive behavior, regardless of whether it fits a particular definition, s/he should report it immediately and allow the administration to determine the appropriate course of action.

"Aggressive behavior" is defined as inappropriate conduct that is repeated enough, or serious enough, to negatively impact a student’s educational, physical, or emotional well-being. Such behavior includes, for example, bullying, hazing, stalking, intimidation, menacing, coercion, name-calling, taunting, making threats, and hitting/pushing/shoving.

"At School" is defined as in a classroom, elsewhere on school premises, on a school bus or other school-related vehicle, or at a school-sponsored activity or event whether or not it is held on school premises. It also includes conduct using a telecommunications access device or telecommunications service provider that occurs off school premises if either owned by or under the control of the District.

"Bullying" is defined as any gesture or written, verbal, graphic, or physical act (including electronically transmitted acts – i.e. internet, telephone or cell phone, personal digital assistant (PDA), or wireless hand held device) that, without regard to its subject matter or motivating animus, is intended or that a reasonable person would know is likely to harm one (1) or more students either directly or indirectly by doing any of the following:

 

A.

substantially interfering with educational opportunities, benefits, or programs of one (1) or more students;

   
 

B.

adversely affecting the ability of a student to participate in or benefit from the school district's educational programs or activities by placing the student in reasonable fear of physical harm or by causing substantial emotional distress;

   
 

C.

having an actual and substantial detrimental effect on a student's physical or mental health; and/or

   
 

D.

causing substantial disruption in, or substantial interference with, the orderly operation of the school.

Bullying can be physical, verbal, psychological, or a combination of all three. Some examples of bullying are:

 

A.

Physical – hitting, kicking, spitting, pushing, pulling; taking and/or damaging personal belongings or extorting money, blocking or impeding student movement, unwelcome physical contact.

   
 

B.

Verbal – taunting, malicious teasing, insulting, name calling, making threats.

   
 

C.

Psychological – spreading rumors, manipulating social relationships, coercion, or engaging in social exclusion/shunning, extortion, or intimidation. This may occur in a number of different ways, including but not limited to notes, emails, social media postings, and graffiti.

"Harassment" includes, but is not limited to, any act which subjects an individual or group to unwanted, abusive behavior of a nonverbal, verbal, written or physical nature, often on the basis of age, race, religion, color, national origin, marital status or disability, but may also include sexual orientation, physical characteristics (e.g., height, weight, complexion), cultural background, socioeconomic status, or geographic location (e.g., from rival school, different state, rural area, city, etc.).

"Intimidation/Menacing" includes, but is not limited to, any threat or act intended to: place a person in fear of physical injury or offensive physical contact; to substantially damage or interfere with person's property; or to intentionally interfere with or block a person's movement without good reason.

"Staff" includes all school employees and Board members.

"Third parties" include, but are not limited to, coaches, school volunteers, parents, school visitors, service contractors, vendors, or others engaged in District business, and others not directly subject to school control at inter-district or intra-district athletic competitions or other school events.

For further definition and instances that could possibly be construed as:

Harassment, see Policy 5517;
Hazing, see Policy 5516.

MCL 380.1310B (Matt's Safe School Law, PA 241 of 2011)
Policies on Bullying, Michigan State Board of Education
Model Anti-Bullying Policy, Michigan State Board of Education

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