SEXUAL HARASSMENT POLICY GENERAL STATEMENT

The St. Tammany Parish School Board is committed to providing a safe and stable climate free from sexual harassment by students, Board Members, Superintendent, administrators, teachers, and other employees who contract with or provide services for the Board or any other personnel associated with the Board and over whom the Board can exercise influence.

I. POLICY

A. The purpose of the St. Tammany Parish School Board is to provide public education for the school aged children of St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana. Sexual harassment is a violation of the law and School Board policy and will not be tolerated, condoned, or overlooked. The Board requests and encourages persons associated with the School System who believe that they have been sexually harassed as a result of their association with the School System to report such harassment to the specified person from a list that will be maintained on a bulletin board or other visible place at every building under the control of the School System. This list will be monitored and updated as necessary.

B. The Board through its designee(s) shall promptly; thoroughly, and fairly investigate reports of sexual harassment and take appropriate action that is consistent with the results of the investigation and the legal requirements afforded by law, e.g. tenure law and collective bargaining agreement.

C. The School System and Board will not tolerate retaliation by anyone associated with the School System against one who files a complaint of sexual harassment. This intolerance of retaliation extends to the alleged harasser and/or third parties who, directly or indirectly, retaliate against a claimant because they disbelieve the claim or support the alleged harasser.

D. Sexual harassment can occur in a number of ways, e.g. Board Member and any employee or student; Superintendent and any Board Member, employee or student; student to student; employee to employee; employee to student; etc. Any combination, whether or not set out above, that involves any Board Member, Superintendent, employee or student sexually harassing another as a result of the alleged harasser's association with the School System or Board shall be considered a violation of this policy. The violation shall be dealt with swiftly, thoroughly, and consistent with law.

E. Every Board Member, Superintendent, administrator, principal, teacher, and employee, has the responsibility to report any witnessed or experienced sexual harassment to his or her immediate supervisor or those designated on the bulletin board. School and department heads who receive complaints involving employees shall immediately report such incidents to the Title VII and IX Coordinator or others listed on the bulletin board. If the alleged harasser is the individual's immediate supervisor, the report should be made directly to a contact person listed on the bulletin board. If the alleged harasser is the Superintendent, the report should be made to any Board Member. The Board Member shall report the harassment to the Board President and Titles VII and IX Coordinator. If the alleged harasser is a Board Member, the report should be made to the Superintendent and the Title VII and IX Coordinator. If the claimant and alleged harasser are students, the report should be made to the school principal.

F. Only those acting on behalf of the Board to investigate claims of sexual harassment shall directly contact the alleged harasser concerning the claim or complaint. If anyone other than those assigned to investigate sexual harassment complaints receives a claim or complaint, that individual will not report the receipt of the complaint to the alleged harasser, but to his or her superior and/or a person so designated on the specified bulletin board.

G. All persons associated with the School System shall uphold the law and promote and encourage an environment devoid of sexual harassment. If an individual observes conduct that might be viewed as sexual harassment, even if no complaint or claim has been filed, the questionable conduct may be reported to the individual whose conduct is in question or to those who may receive complaints of sexual harassment.

H. Some acts of sexual misconduct are considered criminal and are subject to prosecution. This Board and School System will fully cooperate with law enforcement agencies and the District Attorney in investigating and prosecuting such criminal offenses. A child under the age of seventeen, by law, cannot legally consent to a sexual relationship with a person two or more years older.

I. While it may be possible that a sexual relationship between a student and an employee of the Board may not be a violation of criminal law, nonetheless, such a relationship is in violation of Board policy and may subject an employee to appropriate disciplinary action.

II. DEFINITION OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT

Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and/or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature in any of the combinations set forth in Section I - D above, where:

    1. acceptance or rejection of a sexual invitation is used as the basis for employment, grading, disciplinary, honorary, participatory or similar decisions; and/or

    2. sexual advances or requests for sexual favors have the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work or school performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or school environment.

III. PROCEDURES

A. If the introduction of sexual innuendo, sexual jokes, or other activity of a sexual nature into a relationship with a person associated with the Board or School System is not welcomed; the matter may be handled initially by the claimant telling the offender that the conduct is unwelcome. If the claimant does not desire to approach the offender directly, then the claimant should report the matter following the outlined complaint process.

B. If the person introducing sexual innuendo, sexual jokes, or other activity of a sexual nature does not reasonably accept the notice that the conduct is unwelcome, the claimant immediately should report both the incident and the lack of response to the claimant's notice that the incident is unwelcome.

C. If an employee is involved either as a claimant or alleged harasser, it is preferred that the report be made to one of the individuals listed on the bulletin board. School site and department superiors receiving complaints of sexual harassment involving an employee shall immediately report the complaint to one of the individuals identified to receive the complaints for further action. If the incident involves student-to-student harassment, it is preferred that the report be made to the school principal or designee. The school principal shall notify the Titles VII and IX Coordinator that a complaint involving students has been made. The claimant should make a written note and keep it for safekeeping as to whom and when the complaint was made.

D. The person receiving the complaint shall take all of the information pertaining to the complaint and contact the claimant within five (5) working days. If the person receiving the complaint attempts to change the claimant's mind about following through with the complaint, these facts should be reported to the Titles VII and IX Coordinator. The name of the coordinator can be obtained by calling 892-2276 or 646-4900.

E. If the report of sexual harassment is not acted upon within a reasonable period of time by the person to whom the incident was initially reported; the claimant shall again contact the individual to determine what has transpired since the report. If the claimant is not satisfied with the response, he/she shall report the complaint and the actions of the actions of the initial receiver to the Titles VII and IX Coordinator or the Superintendent.

F. If the alleged harasser accosts or confronts the claimant concerning the fact that a complaint was made, the claimant should report this fact to the person to whom the initial complaint was made. Such action on the part of the alleged harasser shall be considered a violation of this policy.

G. Persons designated by the Superintendent to investigate complaints of sexual harassment shall do so expeditiously, thoroughly, and professionally. School site administrators shall take action in cases of student-to-student harassment based on the findings and consistent with the student discipline code. A copy of the report of findings shall be forwarded to the Titles VII and IX Coordinator. Persons designated to handle complaints involving employees shall forward results of the investigations to the Titles VII and IX Coordinator and the Superintendent. The Superintendent shall review the findings of the investigation and render a decision, consistent with legal requirements, within thirty (30) days of the receipt of the results of the investigation.

H. Confidentiality as to the claimant and the nature of the complaint shall be maintained, consistent with the needs of the investigation into the complaint. Information concerning the complaint, the claimant, and the results or progress of the investigation will be on a need-to-know basis, only by those assigned duties to receive complaints, those who investigate them, and those interviewed.

I. The procedure provided for in the Board's grievance procedure, the collective bargaining agreement, and other procedures provided for by law shall be compiled with according to the status of the claimant and alleged harasser in each individual situation. Information concerning the procedures may be obtained from the Titles VII and IX Coordinator.

IV. SANCTIONS

A. A substantiated charge against an employee in the School System shall subject that employee to disciplinary action up to and including discharge.

B. A substantiated charge against a student in the School System shall subject that student to disciplinary action, which may include suspension or expulsion, consistent with the student discipline code.

V. NOTIFICATION

Notice of this policy will be circulated to all schools and departments of the St. Tammany Parish Public School System and referenced in teacher and student handbooks. Training sessions on this policy and the prevention of sexual harassment shall be held in all schools on an annual basis. Training sessions for new non-teaching employees shall be conducted annually.

Ref: Board Minutes; Revised August 1998