Knowledge #1: Sexual Harassment and Sex-Based/Gender Discrimination
Any student who feels that he/she/they has been subjected to unlawful discrimination described above or in district policy (See BP5145.7 ) is strongly encouraged to immediately contact their School Compliance Officer, a trusted staff member or by using the direct line District Safety Hotline 562-888-0472. In addition, any student who observes any such incident is strongly encouraged to report the incident. Whether or not the alleged victim seeks to file a formal complaint. WE ARE YOUR ADVOCATES.
HOW DO I IDENTIFY SEXUAL HARASSMENT ?
Upon notification of an incident, the School Compliance Officer will take immediate steps to ensure both parties (if applicable) are safe and protected from further harm. This may include a request that the parties cease communication and/or the implementation of immediate interim safety measures in your school building. Depending on the severity and type of discrimination alleged, a school-based investigation begins. If the report contains information that may include a crime, the School Compliance Officer may consult with law enforcement to determine whether a police response is needed. If this is necessary, outreach to law enforcement is coordinated in collaboration with the student and their parent(s)/guardian(s). If child abuse or neglect is suspected, a report is made through the county child abuse reporting hotline.
Furthermore, your School Compliance Officer will work closely with the District Title IX Coordinator to coordinate a grievance procedure for Title IX formal complaints. The School Compliance Officer and the District Title IX Coordinator work together to ensure consistent enforcement of the Title IX policy. Our goal is for students to have freedom to learn and throve in a safe and trusted environment.
DOES THE SCHOOL HAVE TO CONDUCT AN INVESTIGATION?
Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, which can include sexual harassment or sexual violence. Title IX outlines specific responsibilities that school districts have to address sexual harassment and sexual violence including:
- The responsibility to respond promptly and effectively. Schools must take immediate action to eliminate sexual harassment or sexual violence, prevent its recurrence and address its effects.
- Even if a student or his/her parent does not want to file a complaint or does not request that the school take any action on a student's behalf, if a school knows or reasonably should know about possible sexual harassment or sexual violence, it must promptly investigate to determine what occurred and then take appropriate steps to resolve the situation.
- A criminal investigation into allegations of sexual harassment or sexual violence does not relieve the school of its duty under Title IX to resolve complaints promptly and equitably
WHAT IF I HAVE BEEN ACCUSED? INFORMATION FOR RESPONDENTS
HOW DOES SCHOOL DISCIPLINE WORK IN TITLE IX?
A school-based investigation is not the same as the criminal process; the most significant consequence that a school can apply is suspension or expulsion for a period of time. Expulsion is reserved for the most serious and dangerous behaviors.
Not all Title IX reports end in school discipline or consequences. In some cases, an informal resolution (such as restorative justice or supportive measures are provided) may be appropriate (if agreed to by both parties and only if doing so would not create additional harm). In other cases, there may not be enough information to reach a conclusion based on the “preponderance of the evidence standard” means that it is more likely than not (greater than 50%) that the alleged events constituting the Title IX violation occurred). Each case is unique; regardless, the safety and well-being of every member of our school community is our top priority - that includes both complainant and respondent.
WHAT IF I FEAR RETALIATION & INTIMIDATION?
Once a report is formally made using one of the options above, it is strictly prohibited to retaliate, intimidate, harass or threaten the individual who reported the matter. The following are strictly prohibited:
- Threatening to harm, spread rumors, or other misinformation about the named student
- Intimidating or harassing behavior towards the named student
- Threats, coercion, or intimidation on your behalf by a third party (such as another ABCUSD student) towards the named student
Any actions perceived as retaliatory should be immediately reported to the School Compliance Officer and may be subject to disciplinary consequences.