The Board’s policy of nondiscrimination extends to students, staff, job applicants, the general public and individuals with whom it does business and applies to race, color, national origin, ancestry, citizenship status, religion, sex, economic status, age, disability or military status.
The Board does not discriminate on the basis of legally acquired genetic information.
The Board does not permit discriminatory practices and views harassment as a form of discrimination. Harassment is defined as intimidation by threats of or actual physical violence; the creation, by whatever means including the use of electronic communications devices, of a climate of hostility or intimidation; or the use of language, conduct or symbols in such a manner as to be commonly understood to convey hatred, contempt or prejudice or to have the effect of insulting or stigmatizing an individual.
Employees or students who engage in discrimination of another employee or student shall be subject to disciplinary action.
Permission, consent, or assumption of risk by an individual subjected to discrimination does not lessen the prohibition contained in this policy.
No one shall retaliate against an employee or student because he/she files a grievance; assists or participates in an investigation, proceeding or hearing regarding the charge of discrimination of an individual; or because he/she has opposed language or conduct that violates this policy.
The Board designates the following individual to serve as the District’s compliance officer/civil rights coordinator:
Address: 134 Benedict Avenue
Phone number: 419-668-2779
Email: [email protected]
The name, title, and contact information of this individual is annually published in District handbooks and on the District website.
The compliance officer is responsible for coordinating the District’s efforts to comply with applicable Federal and State laws and regulations, including the District’s duty to address any inquiries or complaints regarding discrimination/retaliation or denial of equal access in a prompt and equitable manner.
Reports and Complaints of Unlawful Discrimination/Harassment
All persons associated with the District, including, but not limited to, the Board, administration, staff, students and third parties are encouraged to promptly report incidents of unlawful discrimination/harassment.
The Board has developed complaint procedures, which are made available to every member of the school community. The Board also has identified disciplinary penalties, which may be imposed on the offender(s).
Matters, including the identity of both the charging party and the accused, are kept confidential to the extent possible.
Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Sex/Sexual Harassment
The U.S. Department of Education has published regulations for implementing Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits sex discrimination in federally assisted education programs.
Title IX states, in part: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”
The Board ensures compliance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the regulations promulgated through the U.S. Department of Education.
All persons associated with the District, including, but not limited to, the Board, administration, staff, students, and third parties are expected to conduct themselves at all times so as to provide an atmosphere free from sex discrimination and sexual harassment. Sex discrimination and sexual harassment, whether verbal or nonverbal, occurring inside or outside of District buildings, on other District-owned property, or at school-sponsored social functions/activities, is illegal and unacceptable and will not be tolerated. The District may have an obligation to investigate and/or respond to sexual harassment occurring off school grounds when the harassment creates a hostile environment within the school setting. Sexual harassment is strictly prohibited by this policy.
The District takes measures to eliminate harassment, prevent its recurrence and remedy its effects and will implement interim measures as deemed necessary.
Definition of Sexual Harassment: Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature may constitute sexual harassment when:
- submission to such conduct is made, either explicitly or implicitly, a term or condition of a person’s employment or status in a class, educational program, or activity;
- submission to, or rejection of, such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment or education decisions affecting such individual or
- such conduct is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive and has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or educational performance by creating an intimidating, hostile or abusive environment, or by interfering with one’s ability to participate in or benefit from a class or educational program or activity.
Sexual violence is a form of sexual harassment and refers to physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will, or where a person is incapable of giving consent. Examples of sexual violence include but are not limited to, rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual abuse, and sexual coercion.
Sexual harassment includes gender-based harassment, which refers to unwelcome conduct based on an individual’s actual or perceived sex, (including harassment based on gender identity and nonconformity with sex stereotypes), and not necessarily involving the conduct of a sexual nature.
Examples of sexual harassment-type conduct may include, but are not limited to, unwanted sexual advances; demands for sexual favors in exchange for favorable treatment or continued employment; grooming; repeated sexual jokes, flirtations, advances or propositions; verbal abuse of a sexual nature; graphic verbal commentary relating to an individual’s body, sexual prowess or sexual deficiencies; coerced sexual activities; any unwanted physical contact; sexually suggestive or obscene comments or gestures; or displays in the workplace of sexually suggestive or obscene objects or pictures. Whether any act or comment constitutes sexual harassment-type conduct is often dependent on the individual recipient.
All of these types of harassment are considered forms of sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX.
The Board has developed informal and formal discrimination and harassment complaint procedures. The procedures provide for a prompt and equitable investigation and resolution of complaints of sex discrimination, including sexual misconduct. The Board also has identified disciplinary measures that may be imposed upon the offender. Nothing in this policy or procedure prevents an individual from pursuing action through State and/or Federal law, contacting law enforcement, or from filing a complaint with the United States Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights, the Ohio Civil Rights Commission, or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The Board designates the following individual to serve as the District’s Title IX Coordinator:
Address: 134 Benedict Avenue
Phone number: 419-668-2779
Email: [email protected]
The Title IX Coordinator serves as the grievance officer and coordinates the District’s efforts to comply with and carry out responsibilities under Title IX, including any complaint under Title IX. He/She is vested with the authority and responsibility for investigating all sexual harassment complaints in accordance with the procedures set forth in the accompanying regulation and staff and student handbooks. Any investigatory responsibilities of the Title IX Coordinator may be delegated to a designee trained in Title IX compliance and procedures.
Sexual harassment matters, including the identity of both the reporting party and the responding party, are kept confidential to the extent possible, consistent with the Board’s legal obligations to investigate. Although discipline may be imposed against the responding party upon a finding of guilt, the District prohibits retaliation for an individual’s participation in, and/or initiation of a sex discrimination/sexual harassment complaint investigation, including instances where the complaint is not substantiated. The District takes reasonable steps to prevent retaliation and takes strong responsive action if retaliation occurs.
Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Sex/Sexual Harassment Grievance Procedures
The Board has created informal and formal discrimination and harassment grievance procedures, providing for a prompt and equitable investigation and resolution of complaints of sex discrimination, including sexual misconduct. All students and District employees are encouraged to fully cooperate when asked to participate in an investigation.
Members of the school community and third parties are encouraged to promptly report incidents of sex discrimination or sexual harassment. Complaints may be filed with any District employee, or directly with the Title IX Coordinator. District employees are required to report these incidents to the Title IX Coordinator upon becoming aware of an incident, and failure to do so may result in disciplinary action.
Complaints of sex discrimination or sexual harassment must be filed as soon as possible after the alleged incident, as delays in filing complaints can make it difficult to investigate. Both the informal and formal grievance procedures are completed in a timely manner, unless extenuating circumstances exist. Periodic updates are provided to the parties as appropriate during the investigation.
The Title IX Coordinator determines whether or not, by “a preponderance of the evidence,” the alleged victim’s allegations are true. “A preponderance of the evidence” means that evidence must show the alleged discrimination/sexual harassment was more likely than not to have occurred.
Pending the final outcome of an informal or formal investigation, the District institutes interim measures to protect the reporting and/or responding parties and informs him/her of available support services. Interim measures may include, but are not limited to: a District-enforced no-contact order, modification of work or class schedules, academic modifications and/or counseling. These measures should ensure that both parties continue to have equal access to all district programs and activities and the safety of all parties is protected.
If the Title IX Coordinator or designee is the responding party or the reporting party, the Board designates an alternate investigator and retains final decision-making authority.
All matters involving sexual harassment complaints remain confidential to the extent possible.
Informal Procedure for Addressing Complaints
An informal grievance procedure can be used when the Title IX Coordinator deems it appropriate and/or when the parties involved (reporting party and responding party) agree that an informal process is appropriate and sufficient. The informal process is not used when the alleged discrimination or harassment may constitute sexual violence or any other criminal act.
The Title IX Coordinator gathers enough information during the informal process to understand and resolve the complaint. The Title IX Coordinator proposes an informal solution based on this fact-gathering process, which may include, but not be limited to: requiring the responding party to undergo training on harassment/discrimination, requiring all students and staff to undergo such training, and instituting protective mechanisms for the reporting party.
Formal Procedure for Addressing Complaints
While the formal grievance procedure may serve as the first step toward the resolution of a charge of sex discrimination or sexual harassment, it also is available when the informal procedure fails to resolve the complaint.
Through the formal grievance procedure, the Title IX Coordinator attempts to resolve the complaint in the following way:
- The Title IX Coordinator promptly communicates with the reporting party in order to obtain a clear understanding of that party’s statement of the alleged facts. The statement is put in writing by the Title IX Coordinator and signed by the reporting party, where possible, as a testament to the statement’s accuracy.
- The Title IX Coordinator communicates with the responding party in order to obtain his/her response to the complaint. The response is put in writing by the Title IX Coordinator and signed by the responding party, where possible, as a testament to the statement’s accuracy.
- The Title IX Coordinator communicates with the parties and witnesses (if any) as necessary to gather all of the relevant facts. The dates of any meetings and the facts gathered are all put in writing. The investigation is prompt and equitable, and allows both parties an equal opportunity to present witnesses and other evidence.
- At the conclusion of the investigation, the Title IX Coordinator prepares a written report summarizing: the evidence gathered during the investigation and whether the allegations were substantiated; whether any Board policies or student or employee codes of conduct were violated; any recommendations for corrective action. The investigation report indicates if any measures must be instituted to protect the reporting party. Such measures may include, but are not limited to extending any interim measures taken during the investigation. The report also informs the reporting party of available support services, which at a minimum includes offering school counseling services if the reporting party is a student.
Notice of Outcome
Both the reporting party and the responding party are provided written notice of the outcome of the complaint.
The outcome is final and binding.
Any disciplinary action is carried out in accordance with Board policies, student and employee codes of conduct, State and Federal law, and, when applicable, the negotiated agreement. When recommending discipline, the Title IX Coordinator considers the totality of the circumstances involved, including the ages and maturity levels of those involved. The Title IX Coordinator and the Superintendent determine if a recommendation for expulsion for a responding student or discharge for a responding employee should be made. If this recommendation is made and a hearing is required, the hearing shall be held in accordance with Board policy, State law and/or the negotiated agreement. Both parties shall have an equal right to attend the hearing, have a representative and parent (if student) present, present evidence, and question witnesses.