Kent City Community Schools
Administrative Guidelines
 

5517.02 - SEXUAL VIOLENCE

This guideline provides additional information about the Districtís procedures in addressing allegations of sexual violence. All information below supplements Board Policy 5517.02 Ė Sexual Violence.

General Information

Sexual violence, for purposes of Policy 5517.02 and this guideline, refers to physical sexual acts perpetrated against a personís will or where a person is incapable of giving consent (e.g., due to the studentís age, intellectual or other disability, or use of drugs or alcohol). Sexual violence includes rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual abuse, and sexual coercion. Sexual violence can be carried out by school employees, other students, or third parties. All such acts of sexual violence are forms of sexual harassment and, in turn, sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX.

Harassing conduct creates a hostile environment when it interferes with or limits a studentís ability to participate in or benefit from the schoolís program. The District determines whether a hostile environment exists by evaluating the conduct from the perspective of a reasonable person in the alleged victimís position, considering all the circumstances. The more severe the conduct, the less need there is to show a repetitive series of incidents to prove a hostile environment, particularly if the conduct is physical. A single or isolated incident of sexual violence, such as a rape, may create a hostile environment.

Reporting and Notice

Upon notice, the District will investigate complaints of sexual violence. The District has notice of student-on-student sexual violence if a responsible employee knew, or in the exercise of reasonable care should have known, about the sexual violence. A responsible employee includes any employee: (1) who has the authority to take action to redress sexual violence; (2) who has been given the duty of reporting incidents to the Anti-Harassment Compliance Officer ("Compliance Officer") or other appropriate school official; or (3) whom a student could reasonably believe has this authority or duty. Specific responsible employees at the District include:

 

A.

teachers;

   
 

B.

Principals;

   
 

C.

law enforcement personnel.

Responsible employees must report incidents or allegations of sexual violence to the Districtís Compliance Officer.

The District receives notice of sexual violence in many different ways, including but not limited to: (1) formal complaints; (2) informal reporting by a student, parent, friend, or other individual to a responsible employee; (3) a responsible employee witnessing the violence. The District may also receive notice about sexual violence in an indirect manner, from sources such as a member of the local community, social networking sites, or the media. The District, however, will not investigate information shared by survivors during public awareness events or campaigns.

Subject to the exceptions listed below, responsible employees will report all relevant details about the alleged sexual violence, including: (1) the names of the alleged perpetrator (if known); (2) the student who experienced the alleged sexual violence; (3) other students involved in the alleged sexual violence; and (4) any other relevant facts, such as date, time, and location. Before the reporting student discloses the above information, the responsible employee will attempt to inform the student of the responsible employeeís obligation to report the above information. The responsible employee will also endeavor to let the student know about his/her option to request confidentiality and of the studentís ability to share information confidentially with counseling, advocacy, or other health services.

The Districtís mental health counselors, guidance counselors, social workers, and psychologists (as well as their interns) are exempt from this obligation. These District employees, however, will inform students of their right to file a Title IX complaint with the school and a separate complaint with campus or local law enforcement. In addition to informing students about campus resources for counseling, medical, and academic support, these District employees will also communicate that they are available to assist students in filing such complaints, and explain that Federal law includes protections against retaliation, and that school officials will not only take steps to prevent retaliation but also take strong responsive action if it occurs.

Confidentiality

As noted in Policy 5517.02 Ė Sexual Violence, students and/or parents occasionally request complete confidentiality. The Compliance Officer or designee must then balance the request for privacy with the Districtís obligation to provide a safe and non-discriminatory environment for all students.

In weighing such requests, the District may consider various factors, including but not limited to: (1) circumstances that suggest an increased risk of repeated sexual violence, such as the alleged perpetratorís previous history or threats; (2) whether the sexual violence was perpetrated with a weapon; (3) the age of the student subjected to the sexual violence; (4) and whether the school can obtain relevant evidence through other means, such as from security cameras or witnesses. For example, if the alleged perpetrator committed prior rapes, the District may investigate the present complaint in a way that may require disclosing the studentís identity. As explained in Policy 5517.02 Ė Sexual Violence, the Compliance Officer or designee will inform the student and his/her parents prior to disclosing the studentís identity, and will take interim measures to protect the student and ensure the safety of others. The District will honor a studentís or a parentís request to inform an alleged perpetrator that the District made the decision to proceed with the investigation and discipline without the studentís or parentís consent. Compliance Officers or designees are aware that sexual violence can result in delayed decision making and that victims may initially ask for confidentiality, but later request a full investigation.

If a perpetrator requests to review and inspect information about the allegations, the District will comply with all Federal and State privacy laws. The perpetrator, for example, may review information maintained by the school as an education record, but the complainantís name will be redacted. The Compliance Officer will inform alleged victims about this possibility.

Investigation

The Districtís investigation process is detailed in Policy 5517.02 Ė Sexual Violence. The Districtís investigation will be adequate, reliable, impartial, and prompt. If a hearing occurs, both parties will be permitted to present witnesses and other evidence.

The District will coordinate its investigation efforts with any other ongoing criminal investigations of the incident and establish appropriate fact-finding roles for each investigator. The District will consider whether information can be shared among the investigators so that complainants are not unnecessarily required to give multiple statements about a traumatic event. If the investigation includes forensic evidence, the District may consult with local or campus law enforcement or a forensic expert to ensure that the evidence is correctly interpreted by school officials.

While the District will not wait for the conclusion of a criminal investigation or criminal proceeding to begin its own Title IX investigation, it may need to delay temporarily the fact-finding portion of a Title IX investigation while the police are gathering evidence. During this delay in the Title IX investigation, the District will take interim measures to protect the complainant. The District will also continue to update the parties on the status of the investigation and inform the parties when the school resumes its Title IX investigation.

If the District delays the fact-finding portion of a Title IX investigation due to an ongoing criminal investigation, it will promptly resume and complete its fact-finding for the Title IX investigation once it learns that the police department has completed its evidence gathering stage of the criminal investigation. The District will not delay its investigation until the ultimate outcome of the criminal investigation or the filing of any charges. The District will work with its campus police, local law enforcement, and local prosecutorís office to learn when the evidence gathering stage of the criminal investigation is complete.

Off Campus Violence

The District investigates sexual violence complaints, regardless of where the conduct occurred. Specifically, the District determines whether any alleged off-campus sexual violence occurred in an educational program context or school activity. If so, the Compliance Officer or designee conducts the investigation in the same manner as with an on-campus complaint. Whether the alleged misconduct occurred in this context may not always be apparent from the complaint, so the District may need to gather additional information to make such a determination. Off-campus educational programs and activities include school-sponsored field trips, athletic team travel, and school club events. Even if the misconduct did not occur in the context of an educational program or activity, the District will consider the misconductís effects when evaluating whether a hostile environment exists, because students often experience the continuing effects of off-campus sexual violence while at school or in an off-campus education program or activity.

Hearing

Both parties have an equal opportunity to present relevant witnesses and other evidence at a disciplinary hearing. The District, however, will not permit parties to personally question or cross-examine each other directly. Additionally, the District does not permit questioning about the complainantís sexual history with anyone other than the alleged perpetrator.

Interim Measures

The District takes interim measures to ensure equal access and protect complainants, even before the final outcome of an investigation. In doing so, the District first notifies the complainant that s/he may avoid contact with the alleged perpetrator. The District will allow the complainant to change academic and extracurricular activities as appropriate. The District will also inform the complainant about his/her Title IX rights and any available resources, such as victim advocacy, academic support, counseling, disability services, health and mental health services, the right to report a crime to local law enforcement, and the right to seek judicial no-contact, restraining and protective orders. As explained in Policy 5517.02 Ė Sexual Violence, the District determines appropriate interim measures on a case-by-case basis.

Remedies

If its investigation reveals that sexual violence created a hostile environment, the District will take prompt and effective steps reasonably calculated to end the sexual violence, eliminate the hostile environment, prevent its recurrence, and remedy its effects. As delineated in the Districtís Policy on Sexual Violence Policy 5517.02 remedies the District will consider include, but are not limited to:

 

A.

providing an escort for the student to move safely between classes and activities;

   
 

B.

ensuring the complainant and perpetrator do not share classes or extracurricular activities;

   
 

C.

moving the perpetrator or complainant to another school within the District;

   
 

D.

providing medical, counseling and academic support services for the complainant and/or perpetrator;

   
 

E.

arranging for the complainant to have extra time to complete or re-take classes or exams;

   
 

F.

reviewing disciplinary actions against the complainant to see if there is a causal connection between the sexual violence and the misconduct that may have resulted in the complainant being disciplined;

   
 

G.

initiating evaluations for special education or accommodations/modifications under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA) or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; and

   
 

H.

disciplinary action, up to and including expulsion, against the perpetrator.

In notifying both parties about the investigationís results, the District may notify the complainant about sanctions imposed on the perpetrator that directly relate to the complainant. Examples include:

 

A.

requiring the perpetrator to stay away from the complainant;

     
 

B.

prohibiting the perpetrator from attending school for a period of time; or

   
 

C.

transferring the perpetrator to another school building.

Training

The District shall train all employees likely to witness or receive reports of sexual violence, including teachers, school law enforcement unit employees, school administrators, school counselors, athletic coaches, and health personnel. The District also shall provide training to the Compliance Officers and others involved in implementing the complaint procedures. Finally, the District provides student training.

All Employees

All employees shall receive training in:

 

A.

practical information about preventing and identifying sexual violence, including same-sex sexual violence;

   
 

B.

the behaviors that may lead to and result in sexual violence;

   
 

C.

the attitudes of bystanders allowing the conduct to continue;

   
 

D.

the potential for re-victimization by responders and its effect on students;

   
 

E.

appropriate methods for responding to a student who may have experienced sexual violence, including the use of nonjudgmental language;

   
 

F.

the impact of trauma on victims; and

   
 

G.

the person(s) to whom such misconduct must be reported, including the contact information for the Compliance Officer.

Responsible Employees

Individuals designated as responsible employees additionally shall receive training in: (1) their reporting obligations, including what should be included in a report; (2) consequences for failing to report; (3) the procedure for responding to confidentiality requests; and (4) what information must be provided to the student and/or parent. For example, responsible employees are trained to inform students about: (1) the employeeís reporting responsibilities; (2) confidentiality options; (3) confidential advocacy, counseling, or other support services; and (4) their right to file a Title IX complaint with the school and to report a crime to campus or local law enforcement. Responsible employees are trained to report both complaints and actual sexual violence incidents, even without determining first whether a hostile environment exists or if the allegations are substantiated. Counseling staff shall also be trained about the extent to which they may keep a report confidential.

Compliance Officers

Compliance Officers and others involved in the Districtís complaint procedures shall receive training in investigating and addressing sexual violence complaints. The training includes:

 

A.

information on working with and interviewing persons subjected to sexual violence;

   
 

B.

information on particular types of conduct that would constitute sexual violence, including same-sex sexual violence;

   
 

C.

the proper standard of review for sexual violence complaints (preponderance of the evidence);

   
 

D.

information on consent and the role drugs or alcohol can play in the ability to consent;

   
 

E.

the importance of accountability for individuals found to have committed sexual violence;

   
 

F.

the need for remedial actions for the perpetrator, complainant, and school community;

     
 

G.

how to determine credibility;

     
 

H.

how to evaluate evidence and weigh it in an impartial manner;

   
 

I.

how to conduct investigations;

   
 

J.

confidentiality;

   
 

K.

the effects of trauma, including neurobiological change;

   
 

L.

and cultural awareness training about how sexual violence may impact students differently depending on their cultural backgrounds.

Students

The District shall provide age-appropriate education about sexual violence to students and their parents. In the younger grades, the District covers these topics in its anti-bullying and harassment training. In the older grades, students receive training in specific topics, including: (1) Title IX and what constitutes sexual violence, including same-sex sexual violence, under the schoolís policies; (2) the schoolís definition of consent applicable to sexual conduct, including examples; (3) how the school analyzes whether conduct was unwelcome under Title IX; (4) how the school analyzes whether unwelcome sexual conduct creates a hostile environment; (5) reporting options, including formal reporting and confidential disclosure options and any timeframes set by the school for reporting; (6) the schoolís complaint procedures used to process sexual violence complaints; (7) disciplinary code provisions relating to sexual violence and the consequences of violating those provisions; (8) effects of trauma, including neurobiological changes; (9) the role alcohol and drugs often play in sexual violence incidents, including the deliberate use of alcohol and/or other drugs to perpetrate sexual violence; (10) strategies and skills for bystanders to intervene to prevent possible sexual violence; (11) how to report sexual violence to campus or local law enforcement and the ability to pursue law enforcement proceedings simultaneously with a Title IX grievance; and (12) Title IXís protections against retaliation. The training also encourages students to report sexual violence, even if they are unsure whether the incident led to a hostile environment. The District emphasizes that its primary concern is student safety, and that use of alcohol or drugs never makes the survivor at fault for sexual violence.

Further, the District shall identify the individuals with whom students can speak confidentially, and offers information about resources such as victim advocacy, academic support, counseling, disability services, health, and mental health services. The District specifically shall identify its responsible employees and explains those individualsí reporting requirements, including the need to report the names of the alleged perpetrator and student involved in the sexual violence, as well as relevant facts including the date, time, and location. Confidentiality requests shall be discussed during the training.

The District shall provide the above training on a regular basis and periodically review its efficacy.

Approved 11/16/15

© Neola 2015