Superior School District
Bylaws & Policies
 

3362 - EMPLOYEE ANTI-HARASSMENT

Prohibited Harassment

The Board of Education is committed to a work environment that is free of harassment of any form. The Board will not tolerate any form of harassment and will take all necessary and appropriate action to eliminate it. Any member of the School District community who violates this policy will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment. Additionally, appropriate action will be taken to stop and otherwise deal with any third party who engages in harassment against our employees.

The Board will vigorously enforce its prohibition against discriminatory harassment based on sex, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, marital status, disability, or genetic information that are protected by Federal and State civil rights laws (hereinafter referred to as unlawful harassment), and encourages those within the School District community as well as third parties, who feel aggrieved to seek assistance to rectify such problems. Additionally, the Board prohibits harassment that affects tangible job benefits, interferes unreasonably with an individualís work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment. Harassment may occur employee-to-employee, student-to-employee, male-to-female, female-to-male, male-to-male, or female-to-female.

The Board will investigate all allegations of unlawful harassment and in those cases where unlawful harassment is substantiated, the School Board will take immediate steps calculated to end the harassment, prevent its reoccurrence, and, if applicable, remedy its effects. Individuals who are found to have engaged in unlawful harassment will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action.

For purposes of this policy, "School District community" means individuals subject to the control and supervision of the Board including, but not limited to, students, teachers, staff, volunteers, and Board members, agents, contractors, or other persons.

For purposes of this policy, "third parties" include, but are not limited to, guests and/or visitors on School District property (e.g., visiting speakers, participants on opposing athletic teams, parents), vendors doing business with, or seeking to do business with the District, and other individuals who come in contact with members of the School District community at school-related events/activities (whether on or off School District property).

Definitions

"Harassment" means any threatening, insulting, or dehumanizing gesture, use of data or computer software, or written, verbal or physical conduct directed against a school employee that:

 

A.

places a school employee in reasonable fear of harm to his/her person or damage to his/her property;

 
 

B.

is sufficiently severe, pervasive, and persistent so as to create a hostile working environment which materially alters the employeeís working conditions from the perspective of a reasonable person similarly situated.

 
 

C.

has the effect of substantially disrupting the orderly operation of a school

Sexual Harassment

Pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, "sexual harassment" is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other physical, verbal, or visual conduct based on sex constitutes sexual harassment when:

 

A.

a supervisory employee engages in harassing behavior towards a subordinate employee, regardless of whether such conduct creates a hostile work environment;

 
 

B.

acquiescence in or submission to such conduct is an explicit or implicit term or condition of employment;

 
 

C.

an individual's acquiescence in, submission to, or rejection of such conduct becomes the basis for employment decisions affecting that individual;

 
 

D.

such conduct is sufficiently severe, pervasive, and persistent such that it has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment;

 

E.

consensual sexual relationships where such relationship leads to favoritism of a subordinate employee with whom the superior is sexually involved and where such favoritism results in an adverse employment action for another employee or otherwise creates a hostile work environment;

 
 

F.

inappropriate boundary invasions by a District employee or other adult member of the District into a student's personal space and personal life.

Sexual harassment may involve the behavior of a person of either gender against a person of the same or opposite gender.

Prohibited acts that constitute sexual harassment may take a variety of forms. Examples of the kinds of conduct that may constitute sexual harassment include, but are not limited to:

 

A.

unwelcome sexual propositions, invitations, solicitations, and flirtations;

 
 

B.

physical and/or sexual assault;

 
 

C.

threats or insinuations that a person's employment, wages, academic grade, promotion, classroom work or assignments, academic status, participation in athletics or extra-curricular programs or events, or other conditions of employment or education may be adversely affected by not submitting to sexual advances;

 
 

D.

unwelcome verbal expressions of a sexual nature, including graphic sexual commentaries about a person's body, dress, appearance, or sexual activities; the unwelcome use of sexually degrading language, jokes or innuendoes; unwelcome suggestive or insulting sounds or whistles; obscene telephone calls;

 
 

E.

sexually suggestive objects, pictures, videotapes, audio recordings, or literature, placed in the work or educational environment, which may embarrass or offend individuals;

 
 

F.

unwelcome and inappropriate touching, patting, or pinching; obscene gestures;

 
 

G.

a pattern of conduct, which can be subtle in nature, that has sexual overtones and is intended to create or has the effect of creating discomfort and/or humiliation to another;

 

H.

remarks speculating about a person's sexual activities or sexual history, or remarks about one's own sexual activities or sexual history;

 
 

I.

consensual sexual relationships where such relationship leads to favoritism of a subordinate employee with whom the superior is sexually involved and where such favoritism adversely affects other employees or otherwise creates a hostile work environment; and

 
 

J.

verbal, nonverbal or physical aggression, intimidation, or hostility based on sex or sex-stereotyping that does not involve conduct of a sexual nature.

Sexual relationships between staff members, where one staff member has supervisory responsibilities over the other, are discouraged as a matter of Board policy. Such relationships have an inherent possibility of being construed as sexual harassment because the consensual aspect of the relationship may be the result of implicit or explicit duress caused by uncertainty regarding the consequences of non-compliance.

Romantic or sexual relationships between District staff (teachers, aides, administrators, coaches or other school authorities) is expressly prohibited. Any school staff member who engages in sexual conduct with a student may also be guilty of a crime and any information regarding such instances will be reported to law enforcement authorities.

Boundary Invasions

Boundary invasions may be appropriate or inappropriate. Appropriate boundary invasions make medical or educational sense. For example, a teacher or aide assisting a kindergartner after a toileting accident or a coach touching a student during wrestling or football can be appropriate. However other behaviors might be going too far, are inappropriate and may be signs of sexual grooming. Inappropriate boundary invasions may include, but are not limited to the following:

 

A.

hugging, kissing, or other physical contact with a student

 
 

B.

telling sexual jokes to students

 
 

C.

engaging in talk containing sexual innuendo or banter with students

 
 

D.

talking about sexual topics that are not related to curriculum

 

E.

showing pornography to a student

 
 

F.

taking an undue interest in a student (i.e. having a "special friend" or a "special relationship")

 
 

G.

initiating or extending contact with students beyond the school day for personal purposes

 
 

H.

using e-mail, text-messaging or websites to discuss personal topics or interests with students

 
 

I.

giving students rides in the staff member's personal vehicle or taking students on personal outings without administrative approval

 
 

J.

invading a student's privacy (e.g. walking in on the student in the bathroom, locker-room, asking about bra sizes or previous sexual experiences)

 
 

K.

going to a student's home for non-educational purposes

 
 

L.

inviting students to the staff member's home without proper chaperones (i.e. another staff member or parent of student)

 
 

M.

giving gifts or money to a student for no legitimate educational purpose

 
 

N.

accepting gifts or money from a student for no legitimate educational purpose

 
 

O.

being overly "touchy" with students

 
 

P.

favoring certain students by inviting them to come to the classroom at non-class times

 
 

Q.

getting a student out of class to visit with the staff member

 
 

R.

providing advice to or counseling a student regarding a personal problem (i.e. problems related to sexual behavior, substance abuse, mental or physical health, and/or family relationships, etc.), unless properly licensed and authorized to do so

 

S.

talking to a student about problems that would normally be discussed with adults (i.e. marital issues)

 
 

T.

being alone with a student behind closed doors without a legitimate educational purpose

 
 

U.

telling a student "secrets" and having "secrets" with a student

Inappropriate boundary invasions are prohibited and must be reported promptly to the Complaint Coordinator, the building principal or the District Administrator.

Religious (Creed) Harassment

Prohibited religious harassment occurs when unwelcome physical, verbal, or nonverbal conduct is based upon an individual's religion or creed and when the conduct has the purpose or effect of interfering with the individual's work performance; or of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment. Such harassment may occur where conduct is directed at the characteristics of a person's religious tradition, clothing, or surnames, and/or involves religious slurs.

National Origin Harassment

Prohibited national origin harassment occurs when unwelcome physical, verbal, or nonverbal conduct is based upon an individual's national origin and when the conduct has the purpose or effect of interfering with the individual's work performance; or of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment. Such harassment may occur where conduct is directed at the characteristics of a person's national origin, such as negative comments regarding customs, manner of speaking, language, surnames, or ethnic slurs.

Age Harassment

Prohibited age based harassment occurs when unwelcome physical, verbal, or nonverbal conduct is based upon an individual's age, being over age forty (40), and when the conduct has the purpose or effect of interfering with the individual's work performance; or of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.

Racial/Color Harassment

Prohibited race/color based harassment occurs when unwelcome physical, verbal, or nonverbal conduct is based upon an individual's race and/or color and when the conduct has the purpose or effect of interfering with the individual's work performance; or of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.

Disability Harassment

Prohibited disability harassment occurs when unwelcome physical, verbal, or nonverbal conduct is based upon an individualís disability, perceived disability, or record of disability, and when the conduct has the purpose or effect of interfering with the individualís work performance; or of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment. Such harassment may occur where conduct is directed at the characteristics of a personís current or past disabling condition or a perceived condition, such as negative comments about speech patterns, movement, physical impairments or defects/appearances, or the like. Such harassment may further occur where conduct is directed at or pertains to a person's genetic information.

Reports and Complaints of Harassing Conduct

Members of the School District community and third parties, which includes all staff, are encouraged to promptly report incidents of unlawful harassing conduct to an administrator, supervisor or other School District official so that the Board may address the conduct before it becomes severe, pervasive, or persistent. Any administrator, supervisor, or other District official who receives such a complaint shall file it with the Districtís Anti-Harassment Compliance Officer at his/her first opportunity.

Members of the School District community or third parties who believe they have been unlawfully harassed by another member of the School District community or a third party are entitled to utilize the Board's complaint process that is set forth below. Initiating a complaint, whether formally or informally, will not adversely affect the complaining individual's employment or participation in educational or extra-curricular programs unless the complaining individual makes the complaint maliciously or with knowledge that it is false.

Reporting procedures are as follows:

 

A.

Any employee who believes s/he has been the victim of harassment prohibited under this policy is encouraged to report the alleged harassment to appropriate school officials.

 
 

B.

Teachers, administrators, and other school officials who have or receive notice that an employee has or may have been the victim of harassment prohibited under this policy shall immediately report the alleged harassment to an appropriate school official.

 
 

C.

Any other person with knowledge or belief that an employee has or may have been the victim of harassment prohibited by this policy shall be encouraged to immediately report the alleged acts to an appropriate school official.

 
 

D.

The reporting party or complainant shall be encouraged to use a report form available from the principal of each building or available from the District office, but oral reports shall be considered complaints as well. Use of formal reporting forms shall not be mandated. However, all oral complaints shall be reduced to writing. Further, nothing in the administrative guidelines shall prevent any person from reporting harassment directly to the District Administrator.

 
 

E.

To provide individuals with options for reporting harassment to an individual of the gender with which they feel most comfortable, each school's building principal shall be advised to designate both a male and a female Complaint Coordinator for receiving reports of harassment prohibited by this policy. At least one (1) Complaint Coordinator or other individual shall be available outside regular school hours to address complaints of harassment that may require immediate attention.

Anti-Harassment Compliance Officers

The following individuals serve as "Anti-Harassment Compliance Officers" for the District. They are hereinafter referred to as the "Compliance Officers".

District Anti-Harassment Officer

Attorney for Anti-Harassment

Monica Tikkanen

Stephen J. Olson

3025 Tower Avenue

1109 Tower Avenue

Superior, WI 54880

Superior, WI 54880

monica.tikkanen@superior.k12.wi.us

solson@superiorwilawyers.com

(715) 394-8700

(715) 394-4471

The names, titles, and contact information of these individuals will be published annually in the parent and staff handbooks and/or on the School District's web site.

A Compliance Officer will be available during regular school/work hours to discuss concerns related to unlawful harassment, to assist students, other members of the School District community, and third parties who seek support or advice when informing another individual about "unwelcome" conduct.

The Compliance Officers are assigned to accept complaints of unlawful harassment directly from any member of the School District community or a visitor to the District, or to receive complaints that are initially filed with a school building administrator. Upon receipt of a complaint either directly or through a school building administrator, a Compliance Officer will begin either an investigation or the Compliance Officer will designate a specific individual to conduct such a process. The Compliance Officer will prepare recommendations or will oversee the preparation of such recommendations by a designee for the District Administrator or, in the event the alleged harasser is the District Administrator, for the School Board Attorney. All members of the School District community must report incidents of harassment that are reported to them to the Compliance Officer within two (2) calendar days of learning of the incident.

Investigation and Complaint Procedure

Any employee or other member of the School District community or visitor to the District who believes that s/he has been subjected to unlawful harassment or has witnessed unlawful harassment of another may seek resolution of his/her complaint through either the procedures as described below. Further, a process for investigating claims of harassment and a process for rendering a decision regarding whether the claim of legally prohibited harassment was substantiated are set forth below.

Due to the sensitivity surrounding complaints of unlawful harassment, time lines are flexible for initiating the complaint process; however, individuals should make every effort to file a complaint as soon as possible after the conduct occurs while the facts are known and potential witnesses are available. Once the complaint process is begun, the investigation will be completed in a timely manner.

Complaint Procedure

An individual who believes she/he has been subjected to harassment hereinafter referred to as the "complainant", may file a complaint, either orally or in writing with a teacher, principal, Compliance Officer, District Administrator, or other District employee. Any employee that receives notice of a complaint, whether in writing or orally shall report such information to the Compliance Officer or designee as soon as possible, but in any case within two (2) business days.

Throughout the course of the process as described herein, the Compliance Officer should keep the parties informed of the status of the investigation and the decision making process.

All written complaints must include the following information to the extent it is available: the identity of the individual believed to have engaged in, or be actively engaging in, harassment; a detailed description of the facts upon which the complaint is based; and a list of potential witnesses.

If the complainant is unwilling or unable to provide a written statement including the information set forth above, the Compliance Officer shall ask for such details in an oral interview. Thereafter the Compliance Officer will prepare a written summary of the oral interview, and the complainant will be asked to verify the accuracy of the reported charge by signing the document.

Upon receiving a complaint, the Compliance Officer will consider whether any action should be taken in the investigatory phase to protect the complainant from further harassment or retaliation including but not limited to a change of work assignment or schedule for the complainant and/or the alleged harasser. In making such a determination, the Compliance Officer should consult the District Administrator and/or School Board Attorney. No temporary arrangements shall be disciplinary to either the complainant or respondent.

Within two (2) business days of receiving a formal complaint, the Compliance Officer will inform the individual alleged to have engaged in the harassing conduct, hereinafter referred to as the "respondent", that a complaint has been received. The respondent will be informed about the nature of the allegations and a copy of this policy shall be provided to the respondent at that time. The respondent must also be informed of the opportunity to submit a written response to the complaint within five (5) business days.

Within five (5) business days of receiving the complaint, the Compliance Officer or a designee will initiate a formal investigation to determine whether the complainant has been subject to offensive conduct/harassment.

Although certain cases may require additional time, the Compliance Officer or a designee will attempt to complete an investigation into the allegations of harassment within fifteen (15) calendar days of receiving the formal complaint. The investigation will include:

 

A.

interviews with the complainant;

 
 

B.

interviews with the respondent;

 
 

C.

interviews with any other witnesses who may reasonably be expected to have any information relevant to the allegations;

 
 

D.

consideration of any documentation or other evidence presented by the complainant, respondent, or any other witness which is reasonably believed to be relevant to the allegations.

At the conclusion of the investigation, the Compliance Officer or the designee shall prepare and deliver a written report to the District Administrator or School Board Attorney which summarizes the evidence gathered during the investigation and provides recommendations based on the evidence and the definition of unlawful harassment as provided in this policy and State and Federal law as to whether the complainant has been subject to unlawful harassment. In determining if discrimination occurred, a preponderance of evidence standard will be used (meaning that the greater weight of the evidence supports one conclusion). The Compliance Officer's recommendations must be based upon the totality of the circumstances, including the ages and maturity levels of those involved. The Compliance Officer may consult with the School Board Attorney before finalizing the report to the District Administrator.

Absent extenuating circumstances, within ten (10) business days of receiving the report of the Compliance Officer or the designee, the District Administrator must either issue a final decision regarding whether or not the complaint of harassment has been substantiated or request further investigation. A copy of the District Administrator's final decision will be delivered to both the complainant and the respondent.

If the District Administrator requests additional investigation, the District Administrator must specify the additional information that is to be gathered, and such additional investigation must be completed within ten (10) business days. At the conclusion of the additional investigation, the District Administrator must issue a final written decision as described above.

The decision of the District Administrator shall be final. If the investigation results in disciplinary action, the employee subject to discipline is entitled to file a grievance pursuant to Board Policy 4340. Nothing in this policy shall be construed to prevent an employee from bringing a complaint before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the Wisconsin Equal Rights Division.

The Board reserves the right to investigate and resolve a complaint or report of unlawful harassment regardless of whether the member of the School District community or third party alleging the unlawful harassment pursues the complaint. The Board also reserves the right to have the formal complaint investigation conducted by an external person in accordance with this policy or in such other manner as deemed appropriate by the Board or its designee.

Confidentiality

The School District will make reasonable efforts to maintain the confidentiality of the parties involved in an investigation of unlawful harassment. The School District will respect the privacy of the complainant, the respondent, and all witnesses in a manner consistent with the School District's legal obligations under State and Federal law. Confidentiality, however, cannot be guaranteed. All complainants proceeding through the formal investigation process should be advised that their identities may be disclosed to the respondent.

During the course of an investigation, the Compliance Officer or his/her designee will determine whether confidentiality during the investigation process is necessary to protect the interests and reputations of those involved and/or to protect the integrity of the investigation and if so shall instruct all members of the School District community and third parties who are interviewed about the importance of maintaining confidentiality. Any individual who is interviewed as part of a harassment investigation is expected not to disclose any information that s/he learns or that s/he provides during the course of the investigation.

All public records created as a part of an investigation of a complaint of harassment will be maintained by the Compliance Officer in accordance with the Board's records retention policy. Any records which are considered student records in accordance with the State or Federal law will be maintained in a manner consistent with the law.

Sanctions and Monitoring

The Board shall vigorously enforce its prohibitions against unlawful harassment by taking appropriate action reasonably calculated to stop the harassment and prevent further such harassment. While observing the principles of due process, a violation of this policy may result in disciplinary action up to and including the discharge of an employee. All disciplinary action will be taken in accordance with applicable law. When imposing discipline, the District Administrator shall consider the totality of the circumstances. In those cases where unlawful harassment is not substantiated, the Board may consider whether the alleged conduct nevertheless warrants discipline in accordance with other Board policies.

All sanctions imposed by the Board and/or District Administrator shall be reasonably calculated to end such conduct, prevent its reoccurrence, and remedy its effects.

Retaliation

Any act of retaliation against a person who has made a report or filed a complaint alleging unlawful harassment, or who has participated as a witness in a harassment investigation is prohibited.

Allegations Constituting Criminal Conduct

If the Compliance Officer or a designee has reason to believe that the complainant has been the victim of criminal conduct, such knowledge should be reported to local law enforcement, with prior consultation with the District Administrator or School Board Attorney.

Any reports made to local law enforcement shall not terminate the Compliance Officer's or a designee's obligation and responsibility to continue to investigate a complaint of harassment. While the Compliance Officers or a designee may work cooperatively with outside agencies to conduct concurrent investigations, the harassment investigation shall not be stopped due to the involvement of outside agencies without good cause after consultation with the District Administrator.

Reprisal

Submission of a good faith complaint or report of harassment will not affect the complainant's or reporter's work status or work environment. However, the Board also recognizes that false or fraudulent claims of harassment or false or fraudulent information about such claims may be filed. The Board reserves the right to discipline any person filing a false or fraudulent claim of harassment or false or fraudulent information about such a claim.

The District will discipline or take appropriate action against any member of the School District community who retaliates against any person who reports an incident of harassment prohibited by this policy or participates in a proceeding, investigation, or hearing relating to such harassment. Retaliation includes, but is not limited to, any form of intimidation, reprisal, or harassment.

Miscellaneous

The District shall conspicuously post a notice including this policy against harassment in each school in a place accessible to the School District community and members of the public. This notice shall also include the name, mailing address, and telephone number of the Complaint Coordinators, the name, mailing address, and telephone number of the State agency responsible for investigating allegations of discrimination in educational opportunities, and the mailing address and telephone number of the United States Equal Opportunity Employment Commission.

A link of this policy and any related administrative guidelines shall appear in the employee handbook and a copy shall be made available upon request of employees and other interested parties.

Education and Training

In support of this policy, the Board promotes preventative educational measures to create greater awareness of unlawful discriminatory practices. The District Administrator shall provide appropriate information to all members of the School District community related to the implementation of this policy and shall provide training for District students and staff on an annual basis, and at such other times as the Board in consultation with the District Administrator determines is necessary or appropriate.

This policy shall be reviewed at least annually for compliance with local, State, and Federal law.

The Board will respect the privacy of the complainant, the individuals against whom the complaint is filed, and the witnesses as much as practicable, consistent with the Board's legal obligations to investigate, to take appropriate action, and to conform with any discovery, disclosure, or other legal obligations.

Wis. Stats. 111.31, 118.195, 118.20
20 U.S.C. 1400 et seq., The Individuals with Disabilities Improvement Act of
2004, as amended (commonly known as The Individuals with Disabilities Act)
20 U.S.C. 1681 et seq.
20 U.S.C. 1681 et seq., Title IX
29 U.S.C. 621 et seq., Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967
29 U.S.C. 794, Rehabilitation Act of 1973
29 C.F.R. Part 1635
29 U.S.C. 6101, The Age Discrimination Act of 1975
42 U.S.C. 2000d et seq.
42 U.S.C. 2000e et seq.
42 U.S.C. 1983
42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq., Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended
42 U.S.C. 2000ff et seq., The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act

Revised 6/10/02
Revised 5/11/10
Revised 10/15/13

© Neola 2013