ACAB: SEXUAL HARASSMENT

FILE: ACAB
 
All persons associated with the Lexington Public Schools including, but not necessarily limited to, the
Committee, the administration, staff, and students, are expected to conduct themselves at all times so as
to provide an atmosphere free from sexual harassment. Any person who engages in sexual harassment
while acting, as a member of the school community, will be in violation of this policy. Further, any
retaliation against an individual who has complained about sexual harassment or retaliation against
individuals for cooperating in an investigation of a sexual harassment complaint is similarly unlawful
and will not be tolerated.
 
Because the Lexington School Committee takes allegations of sexual harassment seriously, we will
respond promptly to complaints of sexual harassment and where it is determined that such inappropriate
conduct has occurred, we will act promptly to eliminate the conduct and impose such corrective action
as is necessary, including disciplinary action where appropriate.
 
Please note that while this policy sets forth our goals of promoting a workplace and school environment
that is free of sexual harassment, the policy is not designed or intended to limit our authority to
discipline or take remedial action for workplace or school conduct which we deem unacceptable,
regardless of whether that conduct satisfies the definition of sexual harassment.
 
Definition of Sexual Harassment: Unwelcome sexual advances; requests for sexual favors; or other
verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature may constitute sexual harassment where:
 
  1. Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of a person’s employment or educational development. 
  2. Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment or education decisions affecting such individual.
  3. Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or educational performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or educational environment.
An employee who believes that he/she is the victim of harassment should contact:
 
Robert Harris
Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources
Lexington Public Schools
146 Maple Street
Lexington, MA 02420
(781)861-2580
If an employee does not wish to discuss the issue with the Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources or feels that she is not addressing the problem in an effective manner, the employee should contact the Superintendent of Schools (781) 861-2580.
 
Student Complaints
A student who believes that he/she is the victim of harassment should report the matter to a teacher, counselor, or administrator who in turn will notify a complaint manager in the school.  As an alternative, a student may report directly to a complaint manager. Notice of each school's complaint managers will be posted in a prominent location in the school.
 
All employees of the Lexington Public Schools must respond to complaints by students of harassment by notifying the building principal or an appointed complaint manager. Employees are required to take every report of harassment seriously.
 
A student may also file a complaint alleging harassment by contacting:
 
Valerie Viscosi, Director of Guidance
Lexington Public Schools
146 Maple Street
Lexington, MA 02420
(781) 861-2580
 
If a student does not wish to discuss the issue with a teacher, counselor, administrator, complaint manager, or the Director of Guidance, or if the student feels that the aforementioned people do not address the problem in an effective manner, the student should contact the Superintendent of Schools  (781) 861-2580.
 
The Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources, Director of Guidance, and Superintendent as listed above are also available to provide information about this policy and the Lexington Public Schools' complaint process.
 
Complaint Procedure:
1. Any member of the school community who believes that he/she has been subjected to sexual harassment will report the incident(s) to the grievance officer. The complaint procedure will be published in the student handbook.  All complaints shall be investigated promptly and resolved as soon as possible.
 
2. The grievance officer will attempt to resolve the problem in an informal manner through the following process:
a. The grievance officer will confer with the charging party in order to obtain a clear understanding of that party’s statement of the facts, and may interview any witnesses.
b. The grievance officer will then attempt to meet with the charged party in order to obtain his/her response to the complaint.
c. The grievance officer will hold as many meetings with the parties as is necessary to establish the facts.
d. On the basis of the grievance officer’s perception of the situation he/she may:
• Attempt to resolve the matter informally through reconciliation.
• Report the incident and transfer the record to the Superintendent or his/her designee, and so notify the parties by certified mail.
 
3. After reviewing the record made by the grievance officer, the Superintendent or designee may attempt to gather any more evidence necessary to decide the case, and thereafter impose any sanctions deemed appropriate, including a recommendation to the committee for termination or expulsion.  At this stage of the proceedings the parties may present witnesses and other evidence, and may also be represented. The parties, to the extent permissible by law, shall be informed of the disposition of the complaint. All matters involving sexual harassment complaints will remain confidential to the extent possible. If it is determined that inappropriate conduct has occurred, we will act promptly to eliminate the offending conduct.
 
4.The grievance officer, upon request, will provide the charging party with government agencies that handle sexual harassment matters. 
 
LEGAL REFS.:

Title VII, Section 703, Civil Rights Act of 1964 as amended 45

Federal Regulation 74676 issued by EEO Commission

Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. 1681 et seq. (Title IX)

Board of Education 603 CMR 26:00


Lexington Public Schools,  Lexington, MA
Adopted by Lexington School Committee:  July 2015