Williamsville Central School District

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Student Welfare

Adoption Date: 7/7/2009, Revised: 5/22/2012; 09/08/2015
7000 - Students

7551 SEXUAL HARASSMENT OF STUDENTS

SUBJECT:    SEXUAL HARASSMENT OF STUDENTS

The Board of Education affirms its commitment to provide an environment free from sex-based discrimination and sexual harassment, including sexual violence and intimidation. The Board, therefore, prohibits all forms of sexual harassment against students by other students, employees, school volunteers, and non-employees such as contractors and vendors, which occur on school grounds or at school-sponsored events, programs, or activities, including those that take place on a school bus, school-sponsored transportation or District vehicle, at locations off school premises, or those that take place in another state.  

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature. It includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature. For the purposes of this policy, sexual harassment also includes sexual violence. Sexual violence refers to physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person's will or where a person is incapable of giving consent. Sexual violence includes, but is not limited to: rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, and sexual coercion.

Sexual harassment can originate from a person of either sex against a person of the opposite or same sex, and from students, District employees, or third parties such as visitors or school volunteers.

Prohibited Conduct

Sexual harassment can be verbal, non-verbal, or physical. Examples of such conduct may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Verbal abuse or ridicule, including innuendoes, stories and jokes that are sexual in nature and/or gender-related. This might include inappropriate sex-oriented comments on appearance, including dress or physical features.
  • Direct or indirect threats or bribes for unwanted sexual activity.
  • Asking or commenting about a person's sexual activities.
  • Unwelcome and unwanted physical contact of a sexual nature including, but not limited to, physical acts such as assault, impeding or blocking movement, offensive touching, or any physical interference with normal work or movement.
  • Displaying or distributing pornographic or other sexually explicit materials such as magazines, pictures, internet material, cartoons, etc.
  • The use of profanity and/or other obscenities that are sexually suggestive or degrading in nature.
  • Unwelcome staring, leering, or gesturing which is sexually suggestive in nature.
  • Unwelcome and/or offensive public displays of sexual/physical affection.
  • Clothing that reflects sexually obscene and/or sexually explicit messages, slogans, or pictures.
  • Demanding sexual favors of a student, insinuating that refusal to acquiesce in such favors will adversely affect a student's grades, references, academic/scholastic placement, and/or participation in extracurricular activities.
  • Engaging in sexual conduct with an individual who is unable to consent due to his/her age, use of drugs or alcohol, intellectual disability, or other disability.
  • Any other unwelcome and unwanted sexually oriented and/or gender-based behavior which is sexually demeaning, belittling, intimidating, or perpetrates sexual stereotypes and attitudes.
Investigation of Complaints and Grievances

In order for the Board to enforce this policy, and to take corrective measures as may be necessary, it is essential that any student who believes he/she has been a victim of sexual harassment in the school environment, as well as any other person who is aware of and/or who has knowledge of or witnesses any possible occurrence of sexual harassment, should immediately report such alleged harassment. The District recognizes that sexual harassment is a sensitive issue and that students may choose to inform any trusted staff member of suspected discrimination or harassment. Staff members who receive such complaints will immediately inform one of the District Civil Rights Compliance Officers. Where appropriate, the Civil Rights Compliance Officer(s) may seek the assistance of the relevant Dignity Act Coordinator in investigating, responding to, and remedying student complaints of discrimination and/or harassment. In the event that one of the Civil Rights Compliance Officers is the alleged offender, the report will be directed to the other Civil Rights Compliance Officer, or to the Superintendent of Schools. Should the victim of the harassment wish to speak to a person of the same gender, the Superintendent shall designate a compliance officer accordingly.

The School District will act to promptly, thoroughly, and equitably investigate all complaints, whether verbal or written, of sexual harassment and will promptly take appropriate action to protect individuals from further sexual harassment. All such complaints will be handled in a manner consistent with the District's policies, procedures, and/or regulations regarding the investigation of discrimination and harassment complaints, including Policy #3420 -- Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment in the School District; and Administrative Regulation #3420R -- Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment in the School District.

Additional information regarding the District's discrimination and harassment complaint and grievance procedures, including but not limited to the designation of the Civil Rights Compliance Officers, knowingly making false accusations, and possible corrective actions, can be found in Policy #3420 -- Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment in the School District and Administrative Regulation #3420R -- Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment in the School District.

Prohibition of Retaliatory Behavior

The Board prohibits any retaliatory behavior directed against complainants, victims, witnesses, and/or any other individuals who participated in the investigation of a complaint of sexual harassment. Complaints of retaliation may be directed to one of the District Civil Rights Compliance Officers. In the event one of the Civil Rights Compliance Officers is the alleged offender, the report will be directed to the other Civil Rights Compliance Officer, or to the Superintendent of Schools.

Where appropriate, follow-up inquiries will be made to ensure that sexual harassment has not resumed and that all those involved in the investigation of sexual harassment have not suffered retaliation.

Civil Rights Act of 1991, 42 USC Section 1981(a)
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 USC Section 1681 et seq.
34 CFR Section 100 et seq.
Education Law Section 2801(1)
OCR Dear Colleague Letter, April 4, 2011

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