CLEVELAND PUBLIC SCHOOLS
BOARD OF EDUCATION POLICY
Discrimination
Adopted: May 4, 2015
Revised: August 3, 2015; August 7, 2017;
August 6, 2018

DISCRIMINATION, HARASSMENT, AND RETALIATION

The school district is committed to providing all students and employees with a safe and respectful school environment. Both state and federal law specifically prohibit harassment of or by employees and students in connection with the district.

The district prohibits discrimination, harassment or retaliation based on real or perceived race, color, sex, pregnancy, gender, gender identity or expression, national origin, religion, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, age, or genetic information. This prohibition applies to students, employees and board members in any aspect of the district’s programs, including during school hours, extracurricular activities, school sponsored events, or outside of school hours if the conduct affects the education or working environment.

Definitions

“Employee” for purposes of this policy, includes all district employees, board members and volunteers.

“Student” refers to any person who is enrolled in any district school or program.

“Discrimination” means unfair treatment which is based on a person’s real or perceived race, color, sex, pregnancy, gender, gender identity or expression, national origin, religion, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, age, or genetic information.

Examples of discrimination include, but are not limited to: Refusing to consider a person for a position or declining to enroll a student in a program based on legally discriminatory factors. Harassment can be a specific form of legally prohibited discrimination.

“Harassment” means repetitive, unwelcome conduct which is based on a person’s real or perceived race, color, sex, pregnancy, gender, gender identity or expression, national origin, religion, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, age, or genetic information.

Examples of harassment include, but are not limited to: slurs, epithets, insults, jokes or derogatory comments; verbal or physical abuse; intimidation (physical, verbal or psychological); impeding or blocking a person’s movement; unwelcome touching, crude jokes or pictures, discussions of sexual experiences, teasing related to sexual characteristics, pressure for sexual activity whether written, verbal or through physical gestures, display or sending of pornographic pictures or objects, obscene graffiti, and spreading rumors related to a person’s alleged sexual activities. Demeaning comments about a student’s ability to excel in a class historically considered a “boy’s” or a “girl’s” subject may also constitute harassment.

“Sexual harassment” is a type of harassment which includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature which:

  • is made an explicit or implicit term or condition of an employee’s employment or a student’s ability to obtain an education; or
  • is used as a basis for decisions impacting either an employee’s employment or a student’s education; or
  • has the purpose or effect of unreasonably or substantially interfering with an employee’s work performance or a student’s educational performance, or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment.
    In order to constitute sexual harassment, the conduct at issue must be unwelcome. Sexual conduct between minor students and employees will always be considered unwelcome. Sexual harassment also includes conduct such as rape, sexual assault, stalking, and any other form of sexual violence.
    Sexual harassment may occur between persons of the same gender or sex.
    Nothing in this policy precludes legitimate, nonsexual physical contact to avoid physical harm to persons or property.
    “Retaliation” is any negative conduct which is a taken in response to an individual’s complaint of harassment or discrimination, or participation in any investigation of a harassment or discrimination complaint.
    Reporting
    Students who have been harassed or discriminated against, or who witness such conduct, are encouraged to report the offensive conduct to any teacher, counselor, administrator, or board member.
    Employees who witness, suspect or receive a report of harassment or discrimination must immediately report the incident to the superintendent or a board member – even if that report must be made after hours to the superintendent or board members home or cell phone.
    Any employee who receives a harassment, discrimination or retaliation report will immediately refer the matter to the superintendent or the Title IX coordinator, unless the superintendent or Title IX coordinator is the alleged malfeasant. In such circumstances, the complaint will be referred to the board president or the district’s legal counsel. To ensure impartiality, no person who is the subject of a complaint shall conduct any investigation into the improper conduct.
    If possible, reports should be made in person and/or in writing, and be signed by the reporting party. However, in order to encourage full, complete and immediate reporting, any person may report such incidents anonymously in writing by mailing the report to the personal attention of either the superintendent or a board member. All reports should state:
    • the name of the alleged harasser;
    • the person(s) being harassed;
    • the nature, context and extent of the prohibited activity;
    • the dates of the prohibited activity, and;
    • any other information necessary to a full report and investigation of the matter.
      Any employee who is subjected to job related sexual harassment is entitled to protection under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Oklahoma Anti-Discrimination Act. Individuals may simultaneously report an allegation of this type of misconduct to school officials and to the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Oklahoma Human Rights Commission, or local law enforcement.
      Administrative Response
      The district will promptly, thoroughly and impartially investigate all reports of harassment and discrimination. This process will include:
    • A statement from the individual who was allegedly harassed;
    • Appropriate and reasonable steps to separate and protect both the alleged victim and alleged harasser pending conclusion of the investigation and necessary remedial action;
    • Reasonable updates to the alleged victim of the investigation’s progress, subject to federal and state laws and regulations;
    • Interviews with the alleged harasser, alleged victim and witnesses; and
    • Review of relevant documents, including district files and records.

The district will review all relevant facts and take into account the totality of the circumstances – including the nature, extent, context and gravity of the activities. At the conclusion of this process, the superintendent, in conjunction with the Title IX coordinator, will issue findings based on the preponderance of the evidence and take appropriate measures, including but not limited to: education, information on available outside resources, training and counseling, transfer, suspension, and any other appropriate remedy under the circumstances. Employees may also be terminated for engaging in harassment, discrimination or retaliation.

Confidentiality shall be maintained during and after the investigation to the extent reasonably possible. However, public disclosure of personal or confidential employee information may be made during the course of any suspension, dismissal, non-renewal hearing or resulting litigation.

Penalties

Penalties shall be imposed based on the facts taken as a whole and the totality of the circumstances such as the nature, extent, context and gravity of such activities or incidents. Any disciplinary decision will be made as a proportional response to the violation.

Any employee or student engaging in harassment, discrimination or retaliation will be subject to any and all disciplinary action allowed by school policy and Oklahoma law.