• PROHIBITION OF HARASSMENT, INTIMIDATION AND BULLYING


    The District is committed to a safe and civil educational environment for all students, employees, volunteers and patrons; free from harassment, intimidation or bullying. “Harassment, intimidation or bullying” means any intentionally written message or image, including those that are electronically transmitted, a verbal, or physical act, including but not limited to one shown to be motivated by any characteristic in RCW 9A.36.080(3), (race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation or mental or physical disability), or other distinguishing characteristics, when an act:

    • Physically harms a student or damages the student’s property; or
    • Has the effect of substantially interfering with a student’s education; or
    • Is so severe, persistent or pervasive that it creates an intimidating or threatening educational environment; or
    • Has the effect of substantially disrupting the orderly operation of the school.

    Nothing in this section requires the affected student to actually possess a characteristic that is a basis for the harassment, intimidation or bullying. “Other distinguishing characteristics” can include but are not limited to: physical appearance, clothing or other apparel, socioeconomic status, gender identity and marital status. Harassment, intimidation or bullying can take many forms including: slurs, rumors, jokes, innuendos, demeaning comments, drawings, cartoons, pranks, gestures, physical attacks, threats or other written, oral, physical or electronically transmitted messages or images. “Intentional acts” refers to the individual’s choice to engage in the act rather than the ultimate impact of the action(s). This policy is not intended to prohibit expression of religious, philosophical, or political views, provided that the expression does not substantially disrupt the educational environment. Many behaviors that do not rise to the level of harassment, intimidation or bullying may still be prohibited by other district policies or building, classroom or program rules.

    This policy is a component of the district’s responsibility to create and maintain a safe, civil, respectful and inclusive learning community and is to be implemented in conjunction with comprehensive training of staff and volunteers, including the education of students in partnership with families and the community. This policy is to be implemented in conjunction with the Comprehensive Safe Schools Planthat includes prevention, intervention, crisis response, recovery and annual review. Employees, in particular, are expected to support the dignity and safety of all members of the school community.

    Depending upon the frequency and severity of the conduct, intervention, counseling, correction, discipline and/or referral to law enforcement will be used to remediate the impact on the victim and the climate and change the behavior of the perpetrator. This includes appropriate intervention, restoration of a positive climate and support for victims and others impacted by the violation. False reports or retaliation for harassment, intimidation and bullying also constitute violations of this policy.

    The superintendent is authorized to direct the development and implementation of procedures addressing the elements of this policy, consistent with the complaint and investigation components of procedure 6590, Sexual Harassment.

    INFORMAL COMPLAINT PROCESS

    Anyone may use informal procedures to report and resolve complaints of harassment, intimidation or bullying. At the building level, programs may be established for receiving anonymous complaints. Such complaints must be appropriately investigated and handled consistent with due process requirements.

    Informal reports may be made to any staff member, although staff shall always inform complainants of their right to, and the process for, filing a formal complaint. Staff shall also direct potential complainants to an appropriate staff member who can explain the informal and formal complaint processes and what a complainant can expect. Staff shall also inform an appropriate supervisor or designated staff person when they receive complaints of harassment, intimidation, or bullying, especially when the complaint is beyond their training to resolve or alleges serious misconduct.

    Informal remedies include an opportunity for the complainant to explain to the alleged perpetrator that the conduct is unwelcome, disruptive, or inappropriate, either in writing or face-to-face; a statement from a staff member to the alleged perpetrator that the alleged conduct is not appropriate and could lead to discipline if proven or repeated; or a general public statement from an administrator in a building reviewing the district harassment, intimidation and bullying policy without identifying the complainant. Informal complaints may become formal complaints at the request of the complainant, parent, guardian, or because the district believes the complaint needs to be more thoroughly investigated.

    FORMAL COMPLAINT PROCESS

    Anyone may initiate a formal complaint of harassment, intimidation or bullying, even if the informal complaint process is being utilized. Complainants should not be promised confidentiality at the onset of an investigation. It cannot be predicted what will be discovered or what kind of hearings may result. Efforts should be made to increase the confidence and trust of the person making the complaint. The district will fully implement the anti-retaliation provisions of this policy to protect complainant(s) and witness (es). Student complainants and witnesses may have a parent or trusted adult with them, if requested, during any district-initiated investigatory activities. The superintendent or designated compliance officer (hereinafter referred to as the compliance officer) may conclude that the district needs to conduct an investigation based on information in their possession regardless of the complainant's interest in filing a formal complaint. The following process shall be followed:

    1. All formal complaints shall be in writing. Formal complaints shall set forth the specific acts, conditions or circumstances alleged to have occurred that may constitute harassment, intimidation or bullying. The compliance officer may draft the complaint based on the report of the complainant, for the complainant to review and sign.
    2. Regardless of the complainant's interest in filing a formal complaint, the compliance officer may conclude that the district needs to draft a formal complaint based upon the information in the officer's possession.
    3. The compliance officer shall investigate all formal, written complaints of harassment, intimidation or bullying, and other information in the compliance officer's possession that the officer believes requires further investigation within 7 days of receiving the complaint.
    4. When the investigation is completed the compliance officer shall compile a full written report of the complaint and the results of the investigation. If the matter has not been resolved to the complainant's satisfaction, the superintendent shall take further ~i' action on the report.
    5. The superintendent or designee, who is not the compliance officer, shall respond in writing to the complainant and the accused within thirty days, stating:
    6. That the district intends to take corrective action; or
    7. That the investigation is incomplete to date and will be continuing; or
    8. That the district does not have adequate evidence to conclude that bullying, harassment or intimidation occurred.
    9. Corrective measures deemed necessary will be instituted as quickly as possible, but in no event more than thirty days after the superintendent's written response, unless the accused is appealing the imposition of discipline and the district is barred by due process considerations or a lawful order from imposing the discipline until the appeal process is concluded.
    10. If a student remains aggrieved by the superintendent's response, the student may pursue the complaint as one of discrimination pursuant to Policy 3210, Nondiscrimination or a complaint pursuant to Policy 4220, Complaints Concerning Staff or Programs.

    A fixed component of all district orientation sessions for employees, students and regular volunteers shall introduce the elements of this policy. Staff will be provided information on recognizing and preventing harassment, intimidation or bullying.

    Staff shall be fully informed of the formal and informal complaint processes and their roles and responsibilities under the policy and procedure. Certificated or professionally licensed staff shall be reminded of their legal responsibility to report suspected child abuse, and how that responsibility may be implicated by some allegations of harassment, intimidation or bullying. Classified employees and regular volunteers shall get the portions of this component of orientation relevant to their rights and responsibilities.

    Students will be provided with age-appropriate information on the recognition and prevention of harassment, intimidation and bullying, and their rights and responsibilities under this and other district policies and rules at student orientation sessions and on other appropriate occasions, which may include parents. Parents shall be provided with copies of this policy and procedure and appropriate materials on the recognition and prevention of harassment, intimidation and bullying.

    SEXUAL HARRASSMENT

    This district is committed to a positive and productive education and working environment free from discrimination, including sexual harassment.  The district prohibits sexual harassment of students, employees and others involved in school district activities.

    Sexual harassment occurs when:

    1. Submitting to the harasser's sexual demands is a stated or implied condition of obtaining an education or work opportunity or other benefit;
    2. Submission to or rejection of sexual demands is a factor in an academic, work or other school-related decision affecting an individual; or
    3. Unwelcome sexual or gender-directed conduct or communication interferes with an individual's performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment.

    Sexual harassment can occur adult to student, student to adult, student to student, adult to adult, male to female, female to male, male to male and female to female.

    The district will take prompt, equitable and remedial action within its authority on reports, complaints and grievances alleging sexual harassment that come to the attention of the district, either formally or informally.  Allegations of criminal misconduct will be reported to law enforcement and suspected child abuse will be reported to law enforcement or Child Protective Services.  Persons found to have been subjected to sexual harassment will have appropriate school district services made reasonably available to them and adverse consequences of the harassment shall be reviewed and remedied, as appropriate.

    Engaging in sexual harassment will result in appropriate discipline or other appropriate sanctions against offending students, staff and contractors.  Anyone else who engages in sexual harassment on school property or at school activities will have their access to school property and activities restricted, as appropriate.

    Retaliation against any person who makes or is a witness in a sexual harassment complaint is prohibited and will result in appropriate discipline.  The district will take appropriate actions to protect involved persons from retaliation.

    It is a violation of this policy to knowingly report false allegations of sexual harassment.  Persons found to knowingly report or corroborate false allegations will be subject to appropriate discipline.

    The superintendent shall develop and implement formal and informal procedures for receiving, investigating and resolving complaints or reports of sexual harassment.  The procedures will include reasonable and prompt time lines and delineate staff responsibilities under this policy.  All staff are responsible for receiving informal complaints and reports of sexual harassment and informing appropriate district personnel of the complaint or report for investigation and resolution.  All staff are also responsible for directing complainants to the formal complaint process.

    The superintendent shall develop procedures to provide age-appropriate information and education to district staff, students, parents and volunteers regarding this policy and the recognition and prevention of sexual harassment.  At a minimum sexual harassment recognition and prevention and the elements of this policy will be included in staff, student and regular volunteer orientation.  This policy shall be posted in each district building in a place available to staff, students, parents, volunteers and visitors.  The policy shall be reproduced in each student, staff, volunteer and parent handbook.

    The superintendent shall make an annual report to the board reviewing the use and efficacy of this policy and related procedures.  Recommendations for changes to this policy, if applicable, shall be included in the report.  The superintendent is encouraged to involve staff, students, and volunteers and parents in the review process.

    Retaliation against any person who makes or is a witness in a sexual harassment complaint is prohibited and will result in appropriate discipline.  The district will take appropriate actions to protect involved persons from retaliation.

    It is a violation of this policy to knowingly report false allegations of sexual harassment.  Persons found to knowingly report or corroborate false allegations will be subject to appropriate discipline.