DISCIPLINE TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Conduct and Expectations
- Definitions of Discipline and Corrective Actions
- Misconduct and Behavior Violation
- Grievance and Appeal Process for Student Discipline
- Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying
- Sexual Harassment of Students Prohibited
- Off-Campus Misconduct
- Possession of Weapons
- Search and Seizure
- Use of Tobacco and Nicotine Products and Delivery Devices
“Discipline” means any action taken by the school district in response to behavioral violations. Discipline is not necessarily punitive, but can take positive and supportive forms. Data shows that a supportive response to behavioral violation is more effective and increases equitable educational opportunities. The purposes of the discipline policy 3241 and accompanying procedure include:
- Engaging with families and the community and striving to understand and be responsive to cultural context
- Supporting students in meeting behavioral expectations, including providing for early involvement of parents
- Administering discipline in ways that respond to the needs and strengths of students and keep students in the classroom to the maximum extent possible
- Providing educational services that students need during suspension and expulsion
- Facilitating collaboration between school personnel, students, and parents, and thereby supporting successful reentry into the classroom following a suspension or expulsion
- Ensuring fairness, equity, and due process in the administration of discipline
- Providing every student with the opportunity to achieve personal and academic success
- Providing a safe environment for all students and for district employees
See complete Policy 3241 and Procedure 3241P at www.ycs.wednet.edu/policies
CONDUCT and EXPECTATIONS
The school board acknowledges that conduct and behavior are closely associated to learning, and rules are designed to provide students with a safe, healthy, and educationally sound environment. Students and staff are expected to work together to develop a positive climate for learning.
Students are expected to be aware of the district’s rules of student conduct, including behavior standards that respect the rights, person, and property of others. Students are expected to adhere to the following rules on school grounds, during the school day as well as during any school activity on or off campus or while riding the bus.
1. Alcoholic beverages, illegal drugs and controlled substances—Possession, use, sale, distribution or being under the influence of alcohol, drugs, controlled substances, hallucinogens or items that are purported to be unlawful drugs or controlled substances during school time or school-sponsored activities, on school premises (including parking lots) or transportation are prohibited. Compliance with this prohibition is mandatory.
Students who use, possess or are under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances or possess drug-related paraphernalia shall be subject to discipline and drug/alcohol education. The student has the right to appeal.
Students who distribute, possess with intent to deliver or sell alcoholic beverages, unlawful drugs, controlled substances or hallucinogens or items that purport to be any of the foregoing shall be disciplined, and the appropriate law enforcement/juvenile agency will be contacted (Policy 3241; Procedures 3240P, 3241P, 3243P). The student has the right to appeal.
2. Attendance—State law and district policy and procedures require daily and punctual attendance of all students, unless officially excused. Parents and students are both responsible for assuring attendance.
Parents must contact the school to excuse the absence. The school will inform the parent/guardian of a student’s unexcused absence. On the third occasion of an unexcused absence, the school will schedule a conference with the parent(s)/guardian(s). Steps will be taken to attempt to eliminate or reduce the student’s absences.
In accordance with the state’s mandatory attendance laws, if a student is absent without excuse four times or 10% of the school year, the school district will enter into an attendance contract. If a student is absent without excuse five times or 10% of the school year, the school district will file a petition with the juvenile court. (Policy 3122, 3122P, RCW 28A.225).
3. Bus rules—The school district maintains a published statement of rules for students riding buses. These rules are available in school offices and on the web site. Riding is a privilege, not a right. Students’ misconduct on a vehicle will be sufficient reason to discontinue providing bus transportation to those students involved and may result in other discipline. (Procedure 6605P)
4. Cellular phones/Telecommunication devices—A cellular phone or other telecommunication device which poses a threat to academic integrity, causes a disruption to the learning environment/educational process or violates the privacy rights of others may be confiscated and searched when school officials have a reasonable suspicion that such a search will reveal a violation of school rules. Content or images that violate criminal laws will be forwarded to law enforcement. (Policy 3245, 3245P).
5. Closed campus—Students shall remain on the school campus during the school day unless excused by the school office or by waiver approved by the superintendent.
6. Cooperation—Students will obey the lawful instructions of school district personnel and follow school and classroom rules. (RCW 28A.600.040)
7. Dress and appearance—Students should dress in a manner which reflects proper decorum. Dress and appearance, including but not limited to gang apparel, which may cause safety or health problems or which pose a threat or disruption, are not allowed. Individual schools within the district may have additional restrictions as part of their dress code. (See page 36)
8. Identification—All persons will, upon request, identify themselves to proper school authorities in the school building, on school grounds or at school-sponsored events.
9. Improper use of district equipment—District resources and equipment, including, but not limited to, computers and Internet access, are to be used for district purposes.
10. Loitering—A student shall leave the school campus at the official close of the school day unless permission to do otherwise has been granted.
11. Off-campus events—Students at school-sponsored, off-campus events shall be governed by school district rules and regulations and are subject to the authority of school district officials.
12. Tobacco and delivery devices—Possession or use of tobacco products or delivery devices is not permitted in school buildings, on school property, in district-owned or contracted vehicles or at off-campus events. (Policy 4215)
DEFINITIONS of DISCIPLINE AND CORRECTIVE ACTIONS
For purposes of all disciplinary policies and procedures, the following definitions will apply:
- “Behavioral violation” means a student’s behavior that violates the district’s discipline policies.
- “Classroom exclusion” means the exclusion of a student from a classroom or instructional or activity area for behavioral violations, subject to the requirements of WAC 392-400-330 and 392-400-335. Classroom exclusion does not include action that results in missed instruction for a brief duration when:
- a teacher or other school personnel attempts other forms of discipline to support the student in meeting behavioral expectations; and
- the student remains under the supervision of the teacher or other school personnel during such brief duration.
- “Disruption of the educational process” means the interruption of classwork, the creation of disorder, or the invasion of the rights of a student or group of students.
- “Emergency expulsion” means the removal of a student from school because the student’s statements or behavior pose an immediate and continuing danger to other students or school personnel, or an immediate and continuing threat of material and substantial disruption of the educational process, subject to the requirements in WAC 392-400-510 through 392-400-530
- “Expulsion” means a denial of admission to the student’s current school placement in response to a behavioral violation, subject to the requirements in WAC 392-400-430 through 392-400-480
- “Other forms of discipline” means actions used in response to problem behaviors and behavioral violations, other than classroom exclusion, suspension, expulsion, or emergency expulsion, which may involve the use of best practices and strategies included in the state menu for behavior developed under RCW 28A.165.035.
- “Suspension” means the denial of attendance in response to a behavioral violation from any subject or class, or from any full schedule of subjects or classes, but not including classroom exclusions, expulsions, or emergency expulsions. Suspension may also include denial of admission to or entry upon, real and personal property that is owned, leased, rented, or controlled by the district.
- In-school suspension means a suspension in which a student is excluded from the student's regular educational setting but remains in the student's current school placement for up to ten consecutive school days, subject to the requirements in WAC 392-400-430 through 392-400-475.
- Short-term suspension means a suspension in which a student is excluded from school for up to ten consecutive school days, subject to the requirements in WAC 392-400-430 through 392-400-475.
- Long-term suspension means a suspension in which a student is excluded from school for more than ten consecutive school days, subject to the requirements in WAC 392-400-430 through 392-400-475.
MISCONDUCT AND BEHAVIOR VIOLATION
District personnel must consider other forms of discipline to support the student in meeting behavioral expectations. However, in accordance with the other parameters of the discipline policy, there are circumstances when the district may determine that long-term suspension or expulsion is appropriate for student behaviors listed in RCW 28A.600.015 (6)(a) through (d), which include:
- Being intoxicated or under the influence of controlled substance, alcohol or marijuana at school or while present at school activities;
- Bomb scares or false fire alarms that cause a disruption to the school program;
- Cheating or disclosure of exams;
- Commission of any crime on school grounds or during school activities;
- Fighting: Fighting and instigating, promoting, or escalating a fight, as well as failure to disperse. Engaging in any form of fighting where physical blows are exchanged, regardless of who initiated the fight. This prohibition includes hitting, slapping, pulling hair, biting, kicking, choking, and scratching or any other acts in which a student intentionally inflicts or attempts to inflict injury on another;
- Gang-related activity;
- Intentional deprivation of student and staff use of school facilities;
- Intentional endangerment to self, other students, or staff, including endangering on a school bus;
- Intentional injury to another;
- Intentionally defacing or destroying the property of another;
- Intentionally obstructing the entrance or exit of any school building or room in order to deprive others of passing through;
- Possession, use, sale, or delivery of illegal or controlled chemical substances;
- Preventing students from attending class or school activities;
- Refusal to cease prohibited behavior;
- Refusal to leave an area when repeatedly instructed to do so by school personnel;
- Sexual misconduct that could constitute sexual assault or harassment on school grounds, at school activities, or on school provided transportation;
- Substantially and intentionally interfering with any class or activity;
- Threats of violence to other students or staff;
- Use or possession of weapons prohibited by state law and Policy 4210.
Grievance and appeal process for student discipline
Any parent/guardian or student who is aggrieved by the imposition of discipline will have the right to an informal conference with the principal for the purpose of resolving the grievance. At such conference the student and parent/guardian will be subject to questioning by the principal and will be entitled to question staff involved in the matter being grieved.
If after exhausting this remedy the grievance is not yet resolved, the parent and student will have the right, within two (2) school business days prior notice, to present a written and/or oral grievance to the Superintendent or designee. The Superintendent or designee will provide the parent and student with a written copy of its response to the grievance within ten (10) school business days. Use of the grievance process will not impede or postpone the disciplinary action, unless the principal or Superintendent elects to postpone the disciplinary action.
More information regarding the appeal process is contained in Procedure 3241P. The policy and procedure are available online at www.ycs.wednet.edu/policies or any school principal’s office.
Harassment, Intimidation AND BULLYING
The district is committed to a safe and civil educational environment that is free from harassment, intimidation or bullying for all students, employees, parents/legal guardians, volunteers and community members.
A person is being bullied when he/she is exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more persons. Negative action is when a person intentionally inflicts injury or discomfort upon another person, through physical contact, words or in other ways.
- Physically harms a student or damages the student’s property.
- Has the effect of substantially interfering with a student’s education.
- Is so severe, persistent, or pervasive that it creates an intimidating or threatening educational environment.
- 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, and weight.
“Intentional acts” refers to the individual’s choice to engage in the act rather than the ultimate impact of the action(s).
Harassment, intimidation or bullying can take many forms including, but not limited to, slurs, rumors, jokes, innuendos, demeaning comments, drawings, cartoons, pranks, gestures, physical attacks, threats, or other written, oral, physical or electronically transmitted messages or images.
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 shall be implemented in conjunction with comprehensive training of staff and volunteers.
The district will provide students with strategies aimed at preventing harassment, intimidation and bullying. In its efforts to train students, the district will seek partnerships with families, law enforcement and other community agencies.
Interventions are designed to remediate the impact on the targeted student(s) and others impacted by the violation, to change the behavior of the perpetrator, and to restore a positive school climate. The district will consider the frequency of incidents, developmental age of the student, and severity of the conduct in determining intervention strategies. Interventions will range from counseling, correcting behavior and discipline, to law enforcement referrals.
STUDENTS WITH INDIVIDUAL EDUCATION PLANS OR SECTION 504 PLANS
If allegations are proven that a student with an Individual Education Plan (IEP) or Section 504 Plan has been the target of harassment, intimidation or bullying, the school will convene the student’s IEP or Section 504 team to determine whether the incident had an impact on the student’s ability to receive a free, appropriate public education (FAPE). The meeting should occur regardless of whether the harassment, intimidation or bullying incident was based on the student’s disability. During the meeting, the team will evaluate issues such as the student’s academic performance, behavioral issues, attendance, and participation in extracurricular activities. If a determination is made that the student is not receiving a FAPE as a result of the harassment, intimidation or bullying incident, the district will provide additional services and supports as deemed necessary, such as counseling, monitoring and/or reevaluation or revision of the student’s IEP or Section 504 plan, to ensure the student receives a FAPE.
Retaliation is prohibited and will result in appropriate discipline. It is a violation of this policy to threaten or harm someone for reporting harassment, intimidation, or bullying.
It is also a violation of district policy to knowingly report false allegations of harassment, intimidation, and bullying. Students or employees will not be disciplined for making a report in good faith. However, persons found to knowingly report or corroborate false allegations will be subject to appropriate discipline.
The superintendent will appoint a compliance officer as the primary district contact to receive copies of all formal and informal complaints and ensure policy implementation. The name and contact information for the compliance officer will be communicated throughout the district. The superintendent is authorized to direct the implementation of procedures addressing the elements of this policy.
Further information and specific complaint procedures are listed in Board Policy 3207 and Procedure 3207P posted on the district web site: www.ycs.wednet.edu/policies.
SEXUAL HARASSMENT OF STUDENTS PROHIBITED
This district is committed to a positive and productive education free from discrimination, including sexual harassment. This commitment extends to all students involved in academic, educational, extracurricular, athletic, and other programs or activities of the school, whether that program or activity is in a school facility, on school transportation or at a class or school training held elsewhere. (Policy 3205)
For purposes of this policy, sexual harassment means unwelcome conduct or communication of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment can occur adult to student, student to student or can be carried out by a group of students or adults and will be investigated by the District even if the alleged harasser is not a part of the school staff or student body. The district prohibits sexual harassment of students by other students, employees or third parties involved in school district activities.
Under federal and state law, the term “sexual harassment” includes: acts of sexual violence;
- unwelcome sexual or gender-directed conduct or communication that interferes with an individual’s educational performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment;
- unwelcome sexual advances;
- unwelcome requests for sexual favors;
- sexual demands when submission is a stated or implied condition of obtaining an educational benefit;
- sexual demands where submission or rejection is a factor in an academic, or other school-related decision affecting an individual.
- A “hostile environment” has been created for a student when sexual harassment is sufficiently serious to interfere with or limit the student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the school’s program. The more severe the conduct, the less need there is to demonstrate a repetitive series of incidents. In fact, a single or isolated incident of sexual harassment may create a hostile environment if the incident is sufficiently severe, violent, or egregious.
INVESTIGATION AND RESPONSE
If the district knows, or reasonably should know, that sexual harassment has created a hostile environment, it will promptly investigate to determine what occurred and take appropriate steps to resolve the situation. If an investigation reveals that sexual harassment has created a hostile environment, the district will take prompt and effective steps reasonably calculated to end the sexual harassment, eliminate the hostile environment, prevent its recurrence and as appropriate, remedy its effects. 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. The district will take these steps every time a complaint, alleging sexual harassment comes 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. Regardless of whether the misconduct is reported to law enforcement, school staff will promptly investigate to determine what occurred and take appropriate steps to resolve the situation, to the extent that such investigation does not interfere with an ongoing criminal investigation. A criminal investigation does not relieve the district of its independent obligation to investigate and resolve sexual harassment.
Engaging in sexual harassment will result in appropriate discipline or other appropriate sanctions against offending students, staff or other third parties involved in school district activities. 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 AND FALSE ALLEGATIONS
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 will 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.
Any school employee who witnesses sexual harassment or receives a report, informal complaint, or written complaint about sexual harassment is responsible for informing the district Title IX or Civil Rights Compliance Coordinator. All staff are also responsible for directing complainants to the formal complaint process.
Reports of discrimination and discriminatory harassment will be referred to the district’s Title IX or Civil Rights Compliance Coordinator. Reports of disability discrimination or harassment will be referred to the district’s Section 504 Coordinator.
NOTICE AND TRAINING
The superintendent will 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 and the procedure, which includes the complaint process, will be posted in each district building in a place available to staff, students, parents, volunteers and visitors. Information about the policy and procedure will be clearly stated and conspicuously posted throughout each school building, provided to each employee and reproduced in each student, staff, volunteer and parent handbook. Such notices will identify the District’s Title IX coordinator and provide contact information, including the coordinator’s email address.
The superintendent will 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, will be included in the report. The superintendent is encouraged to involve staff, students, volunteers and parents in the review process.
The procedure is intended to set forth the requirements of Policy 3205, including the process for a prompt, thorough, and equitable investigation of allegations of sexual harassment and the need to take appropriate steps to resolve such situations. If sexual harassment is found to have created a hostile environment, staff must take immediate action to eliminate the harassment, prevent its reoccurrence, and address its effects.
This procedure applies to sexual harassment (including sexual violence) targeted at students carried out by other students, employees or third parties involved in school district activities. Because students can experience the continuing effects of off-campus harassment in the educational setting, the district will consider the effects of off-campus conduct when evaluating whether there is a hostile environment on campus. The district has jurisdiction over these complaints pursuant to Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Chapter 28A.640, RCW and Chapter 392-190 WAC.
- Information about the district’s sexual harassment policy will be easily understandable and conspicuously posted throughout each school building, be reproduced in each student, staff, volunteer and parent handbook.
- In addition to the posting and reproduction of this procedure and Policy 3205, the district will provide annual notice to employees that complaints pursuant to this procedure may be filed at Human Resources Office, 107 1st Street North, PO Box 476, Yelm, WA 98597.
- In the event of an alleged sexual assault, the school principal will immediately inform: 1) the Title IX and Civil Rights Compliance Coordinators so that the district can appropriately respond to the incident consistent with its own grievance procedures; and 2) law enforcement.
- The principal will notify the targeted student(s) and their parents/guardians of their right to file a criminal complaint and a sexual harassment complaint simultaneously.
- If a complainant requests that his or her name not be revealed to the alleged perpetrator or asks that the district not investigate or seek action against the alleged perpetrator, the request will be forwarded to the Director of Human Resources for evaluation.
- The Director of Human Resources should inform the complainant that honoring the request may limit its ability to respond fully to the incident, including pursuing disciplinary action against the alleged perpetrator.
- If the complainant still requests that his or her name not be disclosed to the alleged perpetrator or that the district not investigate or seek action against the alleged perpetrator, the district will need to determine whether or not it can honor such a request while still providing a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for all students, staff and other third parties engaging in district activities, including the person who reported the sexual harassment. Although a complainant’s request to have his or her name withheld may limit the district’s ability to respond fully to an individual allegation of sexual harassment, the district will use other appropriate means available to address the sexual harassment.
- Title IX prohibits retaliation against any individual who files a complaint under these laws or participates in a complaint investigation. When an informal or formal complaint of sexual harassment is made, the district will take steps to stop further harassment and prevent any retaliation against the person who made the complaint, was the subject of the harassment, or against those who provided information as a witness. The district will investigate all allegations of retaliation and take actions against those found to have retaliated.
INFORMAL COMPLAINT PROCESS
Anyone may use informal procedures to report and resolve complaints of sexual harassment. Informal reports may be made to any staff member. Staff will always notify complainants of their right to file a formal complaint and the process for same. Staff will also direct potential complainants to the Director of Human Resources. Additionally, staff will also inform an appropriate supervisor or professional staff member when they receive complaints of sexual harassment, especially when the complaint is beyond their training to resolve or alleges serious misconduct.
During the course of the informal complaint process, the district will take prompt and effective steps reasonably calculated to end any harassment and to correct any discriminatory effects on the complainant. If an investigation is needed to determine what occurred, the district will take interim measures to protect the complainant before the final outcome of the district’s investigation (e.g., allowing the complainant to change academic or extracurricular activities or break times to avoid contact with the alleged perpetrator).
Informal remedies may include:
- An opportunity for the complainant to explain to the alleged harasser that his or her conduct is unwelcome, offensive or inappropriate, either in writing or face-to-face;
- A statement from a staff member to the alleged harasser that the alleged conduct is not appropriate and could lead to discipline if proven or repeated;
- A general public statement from an administrator in a building reviewing the district sexual harassment policy without identifying the complainant;
- Developing a safety plan;
- Separating students; or
- Providing staff and/or student training
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.
The district will inform the complainant and their parent/guardian how to report any subsequent problems. Additionally, the district will conduct follow-up inquiries to see if there have been any new incidents or instances of retaliation, and to promptly respond and appropriately address continuing or new problems. Follow-up inquiries will follow a timeline agreed to by the district and complainant.
FORMAL COMPLAINT PROCESS
Level One – Complaint to District
Anyone may initiate a formal complaint of sexual harassment, even if the informal complaint process is being utilized. At any level in the formal complaint process, the district will take interim measures to protect the complainant before the final outcome of the district’s investigation.
The following process will be followed:
Filing of Complaint
- All formal complaints will be in writing and will set forth the specific acts, conditions or circumstances alleged to have occurred and to constitute sexual harassment. The Title IX Coordinator may draft the complaint based on the report of the complainant for the complainant to review and approve. The superintendent or Title IX Coordinator may also conclude that the district needs to conduct an investigation based on information in his or her possession, regardless of the complainant’s interest in filing a formal complaint.
- The time period for filing a complaint is one year from the date of the occurrence that is the subject matter of the complaint. However, a complaint filing deadline may not be imposed if the complainant was prevented from filing due to: 1) Specific misrepresentations by the district that it had resolved the problem forming the basis of the complaint; or 2) Withholding of information that the district was required to provide under WAC 392-190-065 or WAC 392-190-005.
- Complaints may be submitted by mail, fax, e-mail or hand-delivery to the district Title IX Coordinator, Assistant Superintendent of K-12 Education at 107 1st Street N, PO Box 476, Yelm, WA 98597, (360) 458-1900. Any district employee who receives a complaint that meets these criteria will promptly notify the Coordinator.
Investigation and Response
- The Title IX Coordinator will receive and investigate all formal, written complaints of sexual harassment or information in the coordinator’s possession that they believe requires further investigation. The Coordinator will delegate his or her authority to participate in this process if such action is necessary to avoid any potential conflicts of interest. Upon receipt of a complaint, the Coordinator will provide the complainant a copy of this procedure.
- Investigations will be carried out in a manner that is adequate in scope, reliable and impartial. During the investigation process, the complainant and accused party or parties, if the complainant has identified an accused harasser(s), will have an equal opportunity to present witnesses and relevant evidence. Complainants and witnesses may have a trusted adult with them during any district-initiated investigatory activities. The school district and complainant may also agree to resolve the complaint in lieu of an investigation.
- When the investigation is completed, the Coordinator will compile a full written report of the complaint and the results of the investigation.
- The superintendent will respond in writing to the complainant and the alleged perpetrator within thirty (30) calendar days of receipt of the complaint, unless otherwise agreed to by the complainant or if exceptional circumstances related to the complaint require an extension of the time limit. In the event an extension is needed, the district will notify the complainant in writing of the reason for the extension and the anticipated response date. At the time the district responds to the complainant, the district must send a copy of the response to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.
- The response of the superintendent or designee will include: 1) a summary of the results of the investigation; 2) a statement as to whether a preponderance of the evidence establishes that the complainant was sexually harassed ; 3) if sexual harassment is found to have occurred, the corrective measures the district deems necessary, including assurance that the district will take steps to prevent recurrence and remedy its effects on the complainant and others, if appropriate; 4) notice of the complainant’s right to appeal to the school board and the necessary filing information; and 5) any corrective measures the district will take, remedies for the complainant (e.g., sources of counseling, advocacy and academic support), and notice of potential sanctions for the perpetrator(s) (e.g., discipline).
- The superintendent’s or designee’s response will be provided in a language the complainant can understand and may require language assistance for complainants with limited English proficiency in accordance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. If the complaint alleges discriminatory harassment by a named party or parties, the coordinator will provide the accused party or parties with notice of the outcome of the investigation and notice of their right to appeal any discipline or corrective action imposed by the district.
- Any corrective measures deemed necessary will be instituted as quickly as possible, but in no event more than thirty (30) days after the superintendent’s mailing of a 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. Staff may also pursue complaints through the appropriate collective bargaining agreement process or anti-discrimination policy.
- The district will inform the complainant and their parent/guardian how to report any subsequent problems. Additionally, the district will conduct follow-up inquiries to see if there have been any new incidents or instances of retaliation, and to promptly respond and appropriately address continuing or new problems. Follow-up inquiries will follow a timeline agreed to by the district and complainant.
Level Two - Appeal to Board of Directors
Notice of Appeal and Hearing
- If a complainant disagrees with the superintendent’s or designee’s written decision, the complainant may appeal the decision to the district board of directors , by filing a written notice of appeal with the secretary of the board within ten (10) calendar days following the date upon which the complainant received the response.
- The board will schedule a hearing to commence by the twentieth (20th) calendar day following the filing of the written notice of appeal, unless otherwise agreed to by the complainant and the superintendent or for good cause.
- Both parties will be allowed to present such witnesses and testimony as the board deems relevant and material.
- Unless otherwise agreed to by the complainant, the board will render a written decision within thirty (30) calendar days following the filing of the notice of appeal and provide the complainant with a copy of the decision.
- The decision will be provided in a language that the complainant can understand which may require language assistance for complainants with limited English proficiency in accordance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.
- The decision will include notice of the complainant’s right to appeal to the Superintendent of Public Instruction and will identify where and to whom the appeal must be filed. The district will send a copy of the appeal decision to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.
- Level Three - Complaint to the Superintendent of Public Instruction
Filing of Complaint
- If a complainant disagrees with the decision of the board of directors, or if the district fails to comply with this procedure, the complainant may file a complaint with the Superintendent of Public Instruction.
- A complaint must be received by the Superintendent of Public Instruction on or before the twentieth (20th) calendar day following the date upon which the complainant received written notice of the board of directors’ decision, unless the Superintendent of Public Instruction grants an extension for good cause. Complaints may be submitted by mail, fax, electronic mail, or hand delivery.
- A complaint must be in writing and include: 1) A description of the specific acts, conditions or circumstances alleged to violate applicable anti-sexual harassment laws; 2) The name and contact information, including address, of the complainant; 3) The name and address of the district subject to the complaint; 4) A copy of the district’s complaint and appeal decision, if any; and 5) A proposed resolution of the complaint or relief requested. If the allegations regard a specific student, the complaint must also include the name and address of the student, or in the case of a homeless child or youth, contact information.
Investigation, Determination and Corrective Action
- Upon receipt of a complaint, the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction may initiate an investigation, which may include conducting an independent on-site review. OSPI may also investigate additional issues related to the complaint that were not included in the initial complaint or appeal to the superintendent or board.
- Following the investigation, OSPI will make an independent determination as to whether the district has failed to comply with RCW 28A.642.010 or Chapter 392-190, WAC and will issue a written decision to the complainant and the district that addresses each allegation in the complaint and any other noncompliance issues it has identified. The written decision will include corrective actions deemed necessary to correct noncompliance and documentation the district must provide to demonstrate that corrective action has been completed.
- All corrective actions must be completed within the timelines established by OSPI in the written decision unless OSPI grants an extension. If timely compliance is not achieved, OSPI may take action including but not limited to referring the district to appropriate state or federal agencies empowered to order compliance.
A complaint may be resolved at any time when, before the completion of the investigation, the district voluntarily agrees to resolve the complaint. OSPI may provide technical assistance and dispute resolution methods to resolve a complaint.
Level Four - Administrative Hearing
A complainant or school district that desires to appeal the written decision of the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction may file a written notice of appeal with OSPI within thirty (30) calendar days following the date of receipt of that office’s written decision. OSPI will conduct a formal administrative hearing in conformance with the Administrative Procedures Act, Chapter 34.05, RCW.
Other Complaint Options
Office for Civil Rights (OCR), U.S. Department of Education
OCR enforces several federal civil rights laws, which prohibit discrimination in public schools on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, and age. File complaints with OCR within 180 calendar days of the date of the alleged discrimination.
206-607-1600 ǀ TDD: 1-800-877-8339 ǀ OCR.Seattle@ed.gov ǀ www.ed.gov/ocr
Washington State Human Rights Commission (WSHRC)
WSHRC enforces the Washington Law Against Discrimination (RCW 49.60), which prohibits discrimination in employment and in places of public accommodation, including schools. File complaints with WSHRC within six months of the date of the alleged discrimination.
1-800-233-3247 ǀ TTY: 1-800-300-7525 ǀ www.hum.wa.gov
At any time during the complaint procedure set forth in WAC 392-190-065 through 392-190-075, a district may, at its own expense, offer mediation. The complainant and the district may agree to extend the complaint process deadlines in order to pursue mediation.
The purpose of mediation is to provide both the complainant and the district an opportunity to resolve disputes and reach a mutually acceptable agreement through the use of an impartial mediator. Mediation must be voluntary and requires the mutual agreement of both parties. It may be terminated by either party at any time during the mediation process. It may not be used to deny or delay a complainant’s right to utilize the complaint procedures.
Mediation must be conducted by a qualified and impartial mediator who may not:
1) Be an employee of any school district, public charter school, or other public or private agency that is providing education related services to a student who is the subject of the complaint being mediated; or 2) Have a personal or professional conflict of interest. A mediator is not considered an employee of the district or charter school or other public or private agency solely because he or she serves as a mediator.
If the parties reach agreement through mediation, they may execute a legally binding agreement that sets forth the resolution and states that all discussions that occurred during the course of mediation will remain confidential and may not be used as evidence in any subsequent complaint, due process hearing or civil proceeding. The agreement must be signed by the complainant and a district representative who has authority to bind the district.
TRAINING AND ORIENTATION
A fixed component of all district orientation sessions for staff, students and regular volunteers will introduce the elements of this policy. Staff will be provided information on recognizing and preventing sexual harassment. Staff will be fully informed of the formal and informal complaint processes and their roles and responsibilities under the policy and procedure.
Certificated staff will be reminded of their legal responsibility to report suspected child abuse, and how that responsibility may be implicated by some allegations of sexual harassment. Regular volunteers will 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 sexual harassment 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. As part of the information on the recognition and prevention of sexual harassment staff, volunteers, students and parents will be informed that sexual harassment may include, but is not limited to:
- Demands for sexual favors in exchange for preferential treatment or something of value;
- Stating or implying that a person will lose something if he or she does not submit to a sexual request;
- Penalizing a person for refusing to submit to a sexual advance, or providing a benefit to someone who does;
- Making unwelcome, offensive or inappropriate sexually suggestive remarks comments, gestures, or jokes; or remarks of a sexual nature about a person’s appearance, gender or conduct;
- Using derogatory sexual terms for a person;
- Standing too close, inappropriately touching, cornering or stalking a person; or
- Displaying offensive or inappropriate sexual illustrations on school property.
The student disciplinary code and penalties will apply to conduct off school grounds that may endanger the health or safety of students within the school district or adversely affect the education process. Examples of such conduct include, but are not limited to: illegal activity, threats of violence, alcohol use, fighting, hazing, drug possession or sales, firearm possession, violent offenses, robbery, burglary, arson, and sexual assaults. Students may be subject to discipline for off-campus misconduct as well as removal from participation in extracurricular activities and/or graduation ceremonies.
POSSESSION OF A WEAPON IS A CRIME
It is a violation of district policy and state law for any person to carry a firearm or dangerous weapon on school premises, school-provided transportation or areas of other facilities being used exclusively for school activities. Under state and federal law, a student shall be expelled for no less than one year for possession of a firearm on school premises, school-provided transportation or areas of facilities being used exclusively by public schools. In addition to being expelled or suspended from school, it is a crime under Washington state law for a person (not just students) to knowingly carry a firearm or dangerous weapon on school premises. The penalty for conviction could be up to a year imprisonment and a $5,000 fine. (RCW 9.41.280)
Policy 4210, Procedure 3240P
SEARCH AND SEIZURE
A student shall be free from searches by school officials of his/her clothing, backpacks and other personal property unless there are reasonable grounds to believe that the search is necessary in the aid of maintaining school discipline and order.
Student lockers, desks and other storage areas remain the property of the school district, and school officials retain the right to inspect lockers, desks or other storage areas assigned to students. No right or expectation of privacy exists for any student, and these areas may be inspected or searched by school authorities at any time without prior notice and without reasonable suspicion that the search will yield evidence of a student’s violation of the law or a school rule. Any container(s) found as a result of a search of a locker, desk or other storage area may be searched if there is reasonable suspicion that the container(s) holds evidence of a student’s violation of the law or school rule. The methods used are to be reasonably related to the objectives of the search and not be excessively intrusive in light of the age and sex of the student and the nature of the suspected infraction. A principal or designee may not subject a student to a strip search or body cavity search as those terms are defined in RCW 10.79.070.
Illegal items such as drugs, drug paraphernalia, firearms, weapons or other possessions determined to be a threat to the safety or security of others may be seized by school authorities. Items which are used to disrupt or interfere with the educational process may be temporarily removed from student possession (RCW 28A.600.222 & 230, RCW 9.14.250 & 270 & 280).
USE OF TOBACCO AND NICOTINE PRODUCTS AND DELIVERY DEVICES
The board of directors recognizes that to protect students from exposure to the addictive substance of nicotine, employees and officers of the school district, and all members of the community, have an obligation as role models to refrain from use of tobacco products and delivery devices on school property at all times. Tobacco products and delivery devices include, but are not limited to cigarettes, cigars, snuff, smoking tobacco, smokeless tobacco, nicotine, electronic smoking/vapor devices and vapor products, non-prescribed inhalers, nicotine delivery devices, or chemicals that are not FDA-approved to help people quit using tobacco, devices that produce the same flavor or physical effect of nicotine substances and any other smoking equipment device, material or innovation.
Any use of such products and delivery devices by staff, students, visitors or community members will be prohibited on all school district property, including all district buildings, grounds and district-owned vehicles, and within five hundred feet of schools. Possession by, or distribution of tobacco products to minors is prohibited.
The use of Federal Drug Administration (FDA) approved nicotine replacement therapy in the form of a nicotine patch, gum or lozenge is permitted. However, students and employees must follow applicable policies regarding use of medication at school.
Notices advising students, district employees, students and community members of this policy will be posted in appropriate locations in all district buildings and at other district facilities as determined by the superintendent and will be included in the employee and student handbooks. Employees and students are subject to discipline for violations of this policy, and school district employees are responsible for the enforcement of the policy. (Policy 4215)