HAZING, HARASSMENT & BULLYING

Hazing, Harassment and Bullying will not be tolerated in any form. Below examples have been provided. Copies of the full policy and procedures are included in the appendix at the end of this handbook. Reports can be made to any adult, however, there are 2 designees at Hazen Union. They are: Michael Clark and Allison O’Hara. They can be reached at 472-6511 or email: mclark@ossu.org  or aohara@ossu.org.

Harassment is defined as an incident or incidents of verbal, written, visual or physical conduct, including conducted by electronic means, based on or motivated by a student’s or a student’s family member’s actual or perceived race, creed, color, national origin, marital status, disability, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity that has a purpose of effect of objectively and substantially undermining and detracting from or interfering with a student’s educational performance or access to school resources or creating an objectively intimidating, hostile or offensive environment.

Examples: Inappropriate comments and/or language about someone’s race.

Demeaning someone about their gender or sexuality, inappropriate touching of body parts, unwelcome physical contact, posting inappropriate photos online.

Bullying is any overt act or combination of acts, including an act conducted by electronic means, directed against a student by another student or group of students and which:

 Examples:

 Physical: pushing, shoving, inappropriate touching, damaging another’s possession

 Verbal: teasing, name calling, threats, intimidation, demeaning jokes, rumors, gossip and slander

 Sexual: Demeaning someone about their gender or sexuality, inappropriate touching of body parts, unwelcome physical contact, posting inappropriate photos online.

Emotional: Often done by a group. Leaving someone out on purpose, telling lies to hurt another person’s reputation and humiliating someone publicly.

Cyberbullying: using technology- sending mean text messages, posting videos, stories or photos that ridicule someone, and spreading rumors through social networking sites.

Hazing means any act committed by a person, whether individually or in concert with others, against a student in connection with pledging, being initiated into, affiliating with, holding office in, or maintaining membership in any organization which is affiliated with the District; and which is intended to have the effect of, or should reasonably be expected to have the effect of, humiliating, intimidating or demeaning the student or endangering the mental or physical health of the student. "Hazing" also includes soliciting, directing, aiding, or otherwise participating actively or passively in the above acts. Hazing may occur on or off school grounds.Examples of hazing include:

Appendix

Prevention of Bullying of Students

                                Type: Mandatory Policy

Area: EL2 Treatment of Students

Date Warned: 1/14/13

Date  Adopted:3/18/13

POLICY

The Hazen Union School District recognizes that all students should have a safe, orderly, civil and positive learning environment.[1] Bullying is a form of dangerous and disrespectful behavior that will not be permitted or tolerated. Bullying may involve a range of misconduct that, based on the severity, will warrant corrective action and/or discipline. Behaviors that do not rise to the level of bullying may still be subject to intervention and/or discipline under another section of the discipline plan or policy.

For the purposes of this policy, “bullying” is defined as any overt act or combination of acts, including an act conducted by electronic means, directed against a student by another student or group of students and which:

  1. is repeated over time;
  2. is intended to ridicule, humiliate, or intimidate the student; and
  3. either:
  1. occurs during the school day on school property, on a school bus or at a school- sponsored activity; or
  2. does not occur during the school day on school property, on a school bus, or at a school-sponsored activity and can be shown to pose a clear and substantial interference with another student’s right to access educational programs.[2]

Examples of bullying include:

In order to be bullying, incidents such as the ones described above must be repeated over time, directed at a particular student, and intended to ridicule, humiliate or intimidate.

In some cases, acts of bullying may constitute unlawful harassment, where the conduct is based on or motivated by a student’s or student’s family member’s actual or perceived:

Race

Sexual Orientation

Creed

Gender Identity

Color

Marital Status

National Origin

Disability

Sex

Any allegations of harassment will be addressed under the Orleans Southwest Supervisory Union School District’s Policy on the Prevention of Harassment of Students.

Dissemination of Information, Training, and Data Reporting

  1. Notice to parents and employees: Annually, prior to the commencement of curricular and co-curricular activities, the School District/Independent School shall provide notice to custodial parents or guardians, staff members, and contracted employees of its prohibition against bullying, the procedures concerning reporting and investigating bullying and the possible disciplinary consequences for bullying.

  1. Notice to students: The superintendent shall develop and initiate age-appropriate programs to annually inform students about the substance of the policy and procedures in order to help prevent bullying.  Notice to students shall be in age appropriate language and will include examples of bullying. Such notice shall inform students and parents that bullying that does not occur during the school day, on school property, on a school bus, or at a school-sponsored event still may be subject to disciplinary action, pursuant to 16 V.S.A.§§ 11(a) (32) and 1162(a)(3), if the misconduct can be shown to pose a clear and substantial interference with another student’s equal access to educational programs.

    Notice to parents and students shall state that any student who knowingly makes false accusations regarding bullying may be subject to disciplinary action.

  1. Training: The superintendent shall implement training for school staff within the context of an annual professional development program. Such training shall be designed to enable staff to prevent, recognize, and respond to bullying.

Date reporting:  The Orleans Southwest Supervisory Union School District delegates the responsibility of data collection to the Superintendent.  S/he shall collect data on the number of reported incidents of bullying and the number of incidents that have been verified and shall make such data available to the Vermont Department of Education.

It is the policy of OSSU that no person (student or school employee) may retaliate against a person who has filed a complaint of bullying or against a person who assists or participates in an investigation, proceeding or hearing related to the bullying complaint. A person may violate this policy regardless of whether the underlying complaint of bullying is substantiated.

 

 Retaliation” is any adverse action by any person against a person who has filed a complaint of bullying or against a person who assists or participates in an investigation, proceeding or hearing related to the bullying complaint[3]. Such adverse action may include conduct by a school employee directed at a student in the form of intimidation or reprisal such as diminishment of grades, suspension, expulsion, change in educational conditions, loss of privileges or benefits, or other unwarranted disciplinary action. Retaliation may also include conduct by a student directed at another student in the form of further harassment, intimidation, and reprisal.

Legal Reference:     16 VSA Section  570a, 570b, 570c


Prevention of Bullying of Students

PROCEDURES

Reporting Bullying Complaints

The principal or headmaster of each school in the Hazen Union School District will annually designate two employees to receive complaints of bullying and harassment.  The names and contact information for those designated employees: Michael Clark, 472-6511, Allison O’Hara, 472-6511 or email mclark@ossu.org, aohara@ossu.org.

For the purposes of this policy, “school employee” means any person employed directly by or retained through a contract with the District/Independent School, an agent of the school, a school board member/member of the board of trustees, a student teacher, an intern, or a school volunteer.  “Agent of the school” includes supervisory union staff.

  1. Student reporting: any student who believes that s/he has been bullied under this policy, or who witnesses or has knowledge of conduct that s/he reasonably believes might constitute bullying, is encouraged to report the conduct to a designated employee or to any other school employee.
  2. School employee reporting: Any school employee who witnesses conduct that s/he reasonably believes might constitute bullying shall take reasonable action to stop the conduct and to prevent its recurrence and shall immediately report it to a designated employee. Any school employee who directly receives information about conduct that might constitute bullying shall immediately report it to a designated employee.
  3. Parent reporting:  Any parent or legal guardian/custodian who witnesses conduct that s/he reasonably believes might constitute bullying or who reasonably believes his/her child or ward is being bullied should promptly report the conduct to a designated employee or any school employee.
  4. Documentation of the report: If the complaint is oral, the designated employee shall reduce the complaint to writing, including the time, place, and nature of the alleged conduct, and the identity of the complainant, alleged perpetrator(s), and any witnesses.
  5. False complaint: Any person who knowingly makes a false accusation regarding bullying may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including suspension and expulsion with regard to students, or up to and including discharge with regard to employees.  There shall be no adverse action taken against a person for reporting a complaint of bullying when the person has a good faith belief that bullying occurred or is occurring.
  6. Confidentiality and Record Keeping: The privacy of the complainant, the accused individual, and the witnesses shall be maintained consistent with the Districts’ obligations to investigate, to take appropriate action, and to comply with laws governing the disclosure of student records or other applicable discovery or disclosure obligations.

Response to a Bullying Complaint

For the purposes of this policy “school administrator” means a superintendent, principal/head of school/technical center director, or his/her designee.

  1. Notification: Upon receipt of a complaint of bullying the designated employee will immediately notify the school administrator of the complaint.  If either the complainant or the accused individual is under the age of 18, his or her parent(s) or guardian(s) shall be promptly notified that a complaint of bullying has been filed and be provided with a copy of this policy.
  2. Investigation: Unless special circumstances are present and documented, such as reports to the Department for Children and Families (“DCF”) or the police, school vacations, or other witness absence/unavailability, the school administrator shall:
  1. No later than one school day after the filing of the complaint with a designated employee initiate or cause to be initiated, an investigation of the allegations.  The school administrator shall assign a person to conduct the investigation; nothing herein shall be construed to preclude the school administrator from assigning him/herself or a designated employee as the investigator.
  2. No later than five school days from the filing of the complaint with the designated employee, the investigator shall submit a written determination to the school administrator.  The report shall include a statement of the findings of the investigator as to whether the allegations have been substantiated, and as to whether the alleged conduct constitutes bullying. 
  1. Consequences for Violations of This Policy[3]
  1. If, after investigation, the school finds that the alleged conduct occurred and that it constitutes bullying, the school may take prompt and appropriate disciplinary and shall take remedial action reasonably calculated to stop the bullying and prevent any recurrence of bullying.  Examples of remedial action include: mediation between the parties, education and counseling for the bully, and safety planning.
  2. Violators of the bullying policy shall - based on relevant surrounding facts and circumstances, including but not limited to a consideration of prior instances of similar behavior and the student’s overall disciplinary history - be subject to the following potential discipline and/or remedial action(s):
  1. Awareness/Education/Counseling;
  2. Acts of restitution;
  3. In-school suspension;
  4. Out of school suspension; or,
  5. Expulsion.
  1. Safety Planning[4]
  1. A safety plan shall be developed in all instances where a student has been the target of bullying that results in physical harm and/or the student is known to be expressing suicidal ideation as a result of bullying. A safety plan shall not be considered a substitute for in-school procedures and policies that apply to students experiencing mental health crises.
  2. A safety plan should be considered in instances where the targeted student is known to have difficulty accessing the educational programs at the school as a result of bullying.
  3. A safety plan may include such measures as checking in with the target and his/her parents on a regular basis, identifying a safe in-school person for the target to seek out when s/he feels threatened, informing teachers to pay particular attention to interactions/ dynamics between identified students and rearranging the schedule of the perpetrator, and providing additional supervision in areas ordinarily subject to lesser supervision (e.g., lunchroom, playground).
  1. Parental notification: Upon completion of the investigation, the school administrator will notify the parent(s) or guardian of the complainant and accused individual(s) of the outcome of the investigation. In cases where the school determines that bullying has occurred, a school administrator may seek a waiver of the confidentiality rights of the perpetrator(s) in order to inform the complainant of any specific disciplinary action taken.
  2. Appeal of Discipline Decisions: A person determined to be in violation of this policy and subjected to disciplinary action under it may appeal the determination and/or the disciplinary action(s) taken in the same manner as other disciplinary actions, in accordance with the District’s disciplinary policy, applicable statutes, or collective bargaining agreements.

Reporting to Other Agencies

  1. Reports to Department of Children and Families: When a complaint made pursuant to this policy includes allegations of child abuse, any person responsible for reporting suspected child abuse under 33 V.S.A. § 4911, et seq. must report the allegation to the Commissioner of DCF.  If the victim is over the age of 18 and a report of abuse is warranted, the report shall be made to Adult Protective Services in accordance with 33 V.S.A. § 6901 et seq. 
  2. Reports to law enforcement[5]: Information obtained and documented by school administration regarding the school’s response to notice of student conduct that may constitute bullying may constitute an “educational record” regarding the student or student(s) involved as defined by the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act.[6]  Accordingly, such information may not be disclosed to local law enforcement without prior parent approval except in response to a lawfully issued subpoena[7], or in connection with an emergency if disclosure is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals.[8] 
  1. Nothing in this policy shall preclude persons from reporting incidents and/or conduct witnessed first-hand that may be considered to be a criminal act to law enforcement officials.[9]  Such conduct includes but is not limited to: physical attacks resulting in bodily harm, sexual assault, and simple assault.
  1. Continuing Policy to Investigate: Reports made to either DCF or law enforcement shall not be considered to absolve the school administrators of their obligations under this policy to pursue and complete an investigation upon receipt of notice of conduct which may constitute bullying.

                   


Anti-Harassment of Students

                                Type: Mandatory Policy

Area: EL2 Treatment of Students

Date Warned: 9/17/13

Date Adopted: 10/15/13

POLICY

The Hazen Union School District/Independent School (“District/Independent School”) is committed to providing all of its students with a safe and supportive school environment in which all members of the school community are treated with respect.  This policy addresses incident(s) and/or conduct that occur on school property, on a school bus or at a school- sponsored activity, or incident(s) and/or conduct that does not occur on school property, on a school bus or at a school-sponsored activity but where direct harm to the welfare of the school can be demonstrated or the conduct can be shown to pose a clear and substantial interference with another student’s equal access to educational programs.

Harassment is a form of unlawful discrimination that will not be tolerated.  It is the policy of the District/Independent School to prohibit the unlawful harassment of students based on race, creed, color, national origin, marital status, disability, sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity, to the extent required by law.  In addition, retaliation is a form of unlawful discrimination that will not be tolerated.  Consistent with these purposes, annually,1 each school shall select two or more designated employees to receive complaints and shall publicize their availability in any publication of the District/Independent School that sets forth the comprehensive rules,

procedures, and standards of conduct for the school.2

It is the intent of the District/Independent School to apply and enforce this policy in a manner that is consistent with student rights to free expression under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The purpose of this harassment policy is to prohibit conduct or communication that is directed at a person's protected characteristics as defined below and that is likely to substantially disrupt the educational learning process and/or access to educational resources, or create a hostile learning environment.

The District/Independent School shall promptly and effectively address all complaints of harassment in accordance with the procedures established by this policy.  In cases where harassment is substantiated, the school shall take prompt and appropriate remedial action reasonably calculated to stop the harassment. Such action may include a wide range of responses from education to serious discipline.  Such serious discipline may include termination for employees and, for students, expulsion or removal from school property. Nothing herein shall be construed to prohibit punishment of a person for conduct which, although it does not rise to the level of harassment as defined herein, otherwise violates one or more of the school's other disciplinary policies or codes of conduct.

 Definitions

A.  "Harassment" means an incident or incidents of verbal, written, visual, or physical conduct,

including any incident conducted by electronic means, based on or motivated by a student's

or a student's family member's actual or perceived race, creed, color, national origin, marital status, disability, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity3 that has the purpose or effect of objectively and substantially undermining and detracting from or interfering with a student's educational performance or access to school resources or creating an objectively intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment.

Harassment includes conduct as defined above and may also constitute one or more of the following:

(1) Sexual harassment,4 which means conduct that includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal, written, visual or physical conduct of a sexual nature when one or both of the following occur:

(i) submission to that conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of a student's education, academic status or progress; or

(ii) submission to or rejection of such conduct by a student is used as a component of the basis for decisions affecting that student

(2) Racial harassment, which means conduct directed at the characteristics of a student's or a student's family member's actual or perceived race or color, and includes the use of epithets, stereotypes, racial slurs, comments, insults, derogatory remarks, gestures, threats, graffiti, display, or circulation of written or visual material, and taunts on manner of speech and negative references to cultural customs.

(3) Harassment of members of other protected categories, means conduct directed at the characteristics of a student's or a student's family member's actual or perceived creed, national origin, marital status, disability, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity and includes the use of epithets, stereotypes, slurs, comments, insults, derogatory remarks, gestures, threats, graffiti, display, or circulation of written or visual material, taunts on manner of speech, and negative references to customs related to any of these protected categories.

B.  “Complaint” means an oral or written report by a student or any person to an employee alleging that a student has been subjected to conduct that may rise to the level of harassment.

C.  “Complainant” means a student who has filed an oral or written complaint with a school employee or a student who is the target of alleged harassment in a report made by another person.

1 See 16 V.S.A. §565(c)(1).

2 See Appendix A.

3 Effective July 1, 2007, 1 V.S.A. §144 defines “gender identity” as “an individual’s actual or perceived gender identity, or gender-related characteristics intrinsically related to an individual’s gender or gender-identity, regardless of the individual’s assigned sex at birth.”

4 This statutory definition of sexual harassment describes only the “quid pro quo” form of sexual harassment that can occur between an adult and student. However, sexual harassment may also include student to student conduct as well as conduct that creates a hostile environment.

                                               

                                         

D.  “Designated employee” means an employee who has been designated by the school to receive complaints of harassment pursuant to subdivision 16 V.S.A. §565(c)(1).

E.  “Employee” includes any person employed directly by or retained through a contract with the District/Independent School, an agent of the school, a school board member/member of the board of trustees, a student teacher, an intern or a school volunteer.  For purposes of this policy, “agent of the school” includes supervisory union staff.

F.  “Notice” means a written complaint or oral information that harassment may have occurred which has been provided to a designated employee from another employee, the student allegedly subjected to the harassment, another student, a parent or guardian, or any other individual who has reasonable cause to believe the alleged conduct may have occurred.5

G.  “Retaliation” is any adverse action by any person against a person who has filed a complaint of harassment or against a person who assists or participates in an investigation, proceeding or hearing related to the harassment complaint.  Such adverse action may include conduct by a school employee directed at a student in the form of intimidation or reprisal such as diminishment of grades, suspension, expulsion, change in educational conditions, loss of privileges or benefits, or other unwarranted disciplinary action.  Retaliation may also include conduct by a student directed at another student in the form of further harassment, intimidation, and reprisal.

H.  “School administrator” means a superintendent, principal/head of school/technical center director or his/her designee.

III.  Reporting Student Harassment

A.  Student reporting:  Any student who believes that s/he has been harassed under this policy, or who witnesses or has knowledge of conduct that s/he reasonably believes might constitute harassment, should promptly report the conduct to a designated employee or any other school employee.

Name: Michael Clark, SAP Counselor- 472-6511, Email: mclark@ossu.org

Name: Allison O’Hara, Act 77 Coordinator 472-6511, Email: aohara@ossu.org

B.  School employee reporting:  Any school employee who witnesses conduct that s/he reasonably believes might constitute harassment shall take reasonable action to stop the conduct and to prevent its recurrence and immediately report it to a designated employee. Any school employee who overhears or directly receives information about conduct that might constitute harassment shall immediately report the information to a designated employee.  If one of the designated employees is the person alleged to be engaged in the conduct complained of, the complaint shall be immediately filed with the other designated employee or the school administrator.

C.  Other reporting:  Any other person who witnesses conduct that s/he reasonably believes

might constitute student harassment under this policy should promptly report the conduct to a designated employee.

5 See 16 V.S.A. §14(c)(3).

D.  Documentation of the report:  If the complaint is oral, the designated employee shall

promptly reduce the complaint to writing in a harassment complaint form, including the time, place, and nature of the alleged conduct, and the identity of the complainant, alleged perpetrator, and any witnesses.

E.  False Complaint:  Any person who knowingly makes a false accusation regarding harassment may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including suspension and expulsion with regard to students, or up to and including discharge with regard to employees.  There shall be no adverse action taken against a person for reporting a complaint of harassment when the person has a good faith belief that harassment occurred or is occurring.

F.  Retaliation: It is unlawful for any person to retaliate against a person who has filed a complaint of harassment or against a person who assists or participates in an investigation, proceeding or hearing related to the harassment complaint.  A person may violate this anti- retaliation provision regardless of whether the underlying complaint of harassment is substantiated.

  Alternative Complaint Process

In addition to, or as an alternative to filing a harassment complaint pursuant to this policy, a person may file a harassment complaint with the Vermont Human Rights Commission or the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education at the addresses noted below:

Vermont Human Rights Commission

14-16 Baldwin Street

Montpelier, VT 05633-6301

(800) 416-2010 or (802) 828-2480 (voice) (877) 294-9200 (tty)

(802) 828-2481 (fax)

Email:  human.rights@state.vt.us

12 See 16 V.S.A. §565(d).

13 See 16 V.S.A. §565(d).

Office for Civil Rights, Boston Office

U.S. Department of Education

8th Floor

5 Post Office Square

Boston, MA 02109-3921

617-289-0111 (voice)

877-521-2172 (tdd)

617-289-0150 (fax)

Email:  OCR.Boston@ed.gov

Legal References:

Title V, Section B, 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. §794 et seq.; Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §2000d;

Title IX of the Educational Amendments Act of 1972, 20 U.S.C. §§1681 et seq.; Family Education Rights Privacy Act; 20 U.S.C. 1232g;

Public Accommodations, 9 V.S.A. §§4500 et seq. ;

Education, Classifications and Definitions, 16 V.S.A. §11a (26); Education, Harassment, Notice and Response, 16 V.S.A. §14; Education, 16 V.S.A. §140(a)(1);

Education, 16 V.S.A. §166(e);

Education, Harassment and Hazing Prevention Policy, 16 V.S.A. §565; Education, Discipline, 16 V.S.A. §1161a;

Education, Suspension or Expulsion of Pupils, 16 V.S.A. §1162; Child Abuse, 33 V.S.A. §§4911 et seq.;

Adult Protective Services, 33 V.S.A. §6901 et seq., all as they may be amended from time to time.

Washington v. Pierce, 179 VT 318 (2005)

APPENDIX A

Designated Employees

The following employees of the Hazen Union School have been designated by the

District/Independent School to receive harassment complaints pursuant to this policy and 16

V.S.A. §565(c)(1):

Name: Michael Clark, SAP Counselor- 472-6511, Email: mclark@ossu.org

Name: Allison O’Hara, Act 77 Coordinator 472-6511, Email: aohara@ossu.org


Prevention of Harassment of Students

PROCEDURES

 Following a Report

A.  Notification:6   Upon receipt of a complaint of harassment the designated employee shall immediately inform the school administrator of the complaint.  In addition, the designated employee shall immediately provide a copy of this harassment policy to the complainant and accused individual.  If either the complainant or the accused individual is under the age of 18, his or her parent(s) or guardian(s) shall be: (1) promptly notified that a complaint of harassment has been filed and provided with a copy of this policy; (2) notified if an

alternative dispute resolution method will be offered and, if it occurs, of the outcome of any such attempt; and (3) notified in writing of the results of the complaint investigation.  All notification letters shall be subject to state and/or federal laws protecting the confidentiality of personally identifiable student information.  A school administrator may seek waiver of confidentiality rights of the accused in order to inform the complainant of any disciplinary action taken in cases where the school determined that harassment or other misconduct occurred.

B.  Investigation:7   Unless special circumstances are present and documented, such as reports to the Department for Children and Families (“DCF”) or the police, the school administrator shall, no later than one school day after the filing of a complaint with a designated employee, initiate or cause to be initiated, an investigation of the allegations.  The school administrator shall assign a person to conduct the investigation; nothing herein shall be construed to preclude the school administrator from assigning him/herself or a designated employee as the investigator.  No person who is the subject of a complaint shall conduct such an

investigation.

No later than five school days from the filing of the complaint with the designated employee, unless special circumstances are present and documented, the investigator shall submit a written initial determination to the school administrator. The report shall include a statement of the findings of the investigator as to whether the allegations have been substantiated, and as to whether the alleged conduct constitutes harassment.  When the initial determination concludes that an accused student has engaged in harassment, the school administrator shall use his or her discretion to decide the appropriate disciplinary and/or remedial action.  In cases where the investigation has identified other conduct that may constitute a violation of

6 See 16 V.S.A. §14(a).

7 See 16 V.S.A. §565(b)(1)(E).

other school disciplinary policies or codes of conduct, the designated employee shall report such conduct to the school administrator for action in accordance with relevant school policies.

All levels of internal review8 of the investigator’s initial determination, and the issuance of a final decision, shall, unless special circumstances are present and documented by the District/Independent School, be completed within 30 calendar days after the review is requested.

C.  Action on a substantiated complaint:  If, after investigation, the school finds that the alleged conduct occurred and that it constitutes harassment, the school shall take prompt and appropriate disciplinary and/or remedial action reasonably calculated to stop the harassment and prevent any recurrence of harassment.  Such action may include warning, reprimand, education, training and counseling, transfer, suspension, and/or expulsion of a student, and warning, reprimand, education, training and counseling, transfer, suspension and/or termination of an employee.

D.  Alternative dispute resolution:9   At all stages of the investigation and determination process, school officials are encouraged to make available to complainants alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation, for resolving complaints.  The following should be considered before pursuing alternative dispute resolution methods: (1) the nature of the accusations, (2) the age of the complainant and the accused individual, (3) the agreement of the complainant, and (4) other relevant factors such as any disability of the target or accused individual, safety issues, the relationship between the target and accused individual, or any history of repeated misconduct/harassment by the accused individual.  If an alternative dispute resolution is either not appropriate or is unsuccessful, the school administrator shall initiate or cause to be initiated an investigation of the allegations in accordance with the timelines established in this policy.

E.  Appeal:  A person determined to be in violation of this policy and subjected to disciplinary action under it may appeal the determination and/or the disciplinary action(s) taken in the same manner as other disciplinary actions, in accordance with the District’s/Independent School’s discipline policy, applicable statutes, or collective bargaining agreements.

F.  Independent Review:10

A complainant may request an independent review if s/he: (1)

believes that the school did not correctly analyze the complaint and failed to conduct an investigation of the incident because the school believed the alleged conduct did not constitute possible harassment, (2) is dissatisfied with the final determination following an investigation as to whether harassment occurred, or (3) believes that although a final determination was made that harassment occurred, the school's response was inadequate to correct the problem.  The complainant shall make such a request in writing to the superintendent of schools/head of school.  Upon such request, the superintendent/head of

8 An “internal review” is any procedure provided by the school through policy or practice and is not the same as an “independent review” as described below.

9 See 16 V.S.A. §565(b)(1)(C).

10 See 16 V.S.A. §565(f).

school shall promptly initiate an independent review by a neutral person as described under

16 V.S.A. § 565(f), and shall cooperate with the independent reviewer so that s/he may proceed expeditiously.  The review shall consist of an interview of the complainant and relevant school officials and a review of the written materials from the school’s investigation. Upon completion of the independent review, the reviewer shall advise the complainant and school officials in writing: (1) as to the sufficiency of the school’s investigation, its determination, and/or the steps taken by the school to correct any harassment found to have occurred, and (2) of recommendations of any steps the school might take to prevent further harassment from occurring.  A copy of the independent review report shall be sent to the Commissioner.  The reviewer shall advise the student of other remedies11 that may be available if the student remains dissatisfied and, if appropriate, may recommend mediation or other alternative dispute resolution.  The independent reviewer shall be considered an agent

of the school for the purpose of being able to review confidential student records.  The costs of the independent review shall be borne by the District/Independent School.  The District/Independent School may request an independent review at any stage of the process.

 Confidentiality and Record Keeping

A.  The privacy of the complainant, the accused individual, and the witnesses shall be maintained consistent with the District’s/Independent School’s obligations to investigate, to take appropriate action, and to comply with laws governing the disclosure of student records or other applicable discovery or disclosure obligations.

B.  The Superintendent or school administrator shall assure that a record of any complaint, its investigation and disposition, as well as any disciplinary or remedial action taken following the completion of the investigation, is maintained by the District/Independent School in a confidential file accessible only to authorized persons.  All investigation records, including but not limited to, the complaint form, interview notes, additional evidence, and the investigative report, shall be kept for at least six years after the investigation is completed.

 Reporting to Other Agencies

When a complaint made pursuant to this policy includes allegations of child abuse, any person responsible for reporting suspected child abuse under 33 V.S.A. §4911, et seq. must report the allegation to the Commissioner of DCF.  If the victim is over the age of 18 and a report of abuse is warranted, the report shall be made to Adult Protective Services in accordance with 33 V.S.A.§6901 et seq.

11 Such as those identified in Section VIII of this policy.

If a harassment complaint is made in a public school about conduct by a licensed educator that might be grounds under the State Board of Education Rules for licensing action, the principal shall report the alleged conduct to the Superintendent and the Superintendent shall report the alleged conduct to the Commissioner.  If a harassment complaint is made in an independent school about conduct by a licensed educator that might be grounds under the State Board of Education rules for licensing action, the head of school is encouraged to report the alleged conduct to the Commissioner.

Nothing in this policy shall preclude anyone from reporting any incidents and/or conduct that may be considered a criminal act to law enforcement officials.

  Dissemination of Information, Training, and Data Reporting

A.  Dissemination of Information.12   Annually, prior to the commencement of curricular and co- curricular activities, the District/Independent School shall provide notice of this policy and procedures to students, custodial parents or guardians of students, and employees.  Notice to students shall be in age-appropriate language and include examples of harassment.  At a minimum, this notice shall appear in any publication of the District/Independent School that sets forth the comprehensive rules, procedures and standards of conduct for the District/Independent School.

B.  Training.13   The school administrator shall use her/his discretion in developing age- appropriate methods of discussing the meaning and substance of this policy with students to help prevent harassment. The school administrator shall implement training for school staff within the context of professional development to enable staff to recognize, prevent and respond to harassment.

C.  Data Gathering. Public school districts shall provide the Vermont Department of Education with data requested by the Commissioner.

12 See 16 V.S.A. §565(d).

13 See 16 V.S.A. §565(d).


 Anti-Hazing

                                Type: Mandatory Policy

Area: EL2 Treatment of Students

Date Warned: 4/30/14

Date Adopted: 5/20/14

POLICY

It is the policy of the Hazen Union School District that all its schools provide safe, orderly, civil and positive learning environments. Hazing has no place in the District's schools and will not be tolerated. Accordingly, the District directs the Superintendent to develop and implement procedures to prohibit hazing and to ensure the enforcement thereof.

Legal References

        16 V.S.A. §11(a)(30) (Definition of hazing)

16 V.S.A. §§140a-140d (Hazing)

16 V.S.A. §165(a)(1), (8) (School Quality Standards)

16 V.S.A. §565 (Powers of school boards) 20 U.S.C. §1232g (FERPA)

34 C.F.R. Part 99 (FERPA rules)

Cross Reference:   Reporting Suspected Child Abuse or Neglect

Harassment of Students


Hazing

PROCEDURES

Definitions

  1. Hazing means any act committed by a person, whether individually or in concert with others, against a student in connection with pledging, being initiated into, affiliating with, holding office in, or maintaining membership in any organization which is affiliated with the District; and which is intended to have the effect of, or should reasonably be expected to have the effect of, humiliating, intimidating or demeaning the student or endangering the mental or physical health of the student. "Hazing" also includes soliciting, directing, aiding, or otherwise participating actively or passively in the above acts. Hazing may occur on or off school grounds.

Examples of hazing include:

Hazing shall not include any activity or conduct that furthers the legitimate curricular, extracurricular, or military training program goals provided that the goals are approved by the School Board of the District and provided that the activity or conduct furthers those goals in a manner that is appropriate, contemplated by the School Board, and normal and customary for similar public school programs. An example of this exception might be reasonable athletic training exercises.

  1. Organization means a fraternity, sorority, athletic team, association, corporation, order, society, corps, cooperative, club, or other similar group, whose members primarily are students of the District, and which is affiliated with the District.
  2. Pledging means any action or activity related to becoming a member of an organization.
  3. Principal means the Principal of a school or the director of a technical center or any person designated by them to carry out a particular function.
  4. Student means any person who: (1) is enrolled in any school or program operated by the District, (2) has been accepted for admission into any school or program

operated by the District, or (3) intends to enroll in any school or program operated by the District during any of its regular sessions after an official academic break.

Notification of Hazing Policy

Annually, student handbooks, which shall be presented to students prior to the commencement of any academic courses, shall contain: (1) a description of this hazing policy in age-appropriate language, (2) examples of hazing, and (3) a listing of those persons whom the Superintendent has designated to receive reports of hazing. The schools of the District also shall effectively inform students about the substance of this hazing policy and its procedures by October 1 annually.

Each student who participates in a co- or extra-curricular activity that begins prior to the commencement of any academic courses shall be provided by the coach or supervisor of the co- or extra-curricular activity a copy of the excerpt from the student handbook regarding the hazing policy prior to the first practice session. Each coach or supervisor of a co- or extra-curricular activity shall orally explain to participants the prohibition against hazing, the reasons for the prohibition, and the potential consequences to participants and, in the case of a club or an athletic team, to the club or team itself.

Annually, custodial parents and guardians of students shall be provided a copy of this hazing policy prior to the commencement of co- or extra-curricular activities.

Annually, staff members shall be provided with a copy of this hazing policy prior to the opening of school. Coaches or supervisors of co- or extra-curricular activities shall be provided a copy of this hazing policy upon employment by the District.

Reporting of Hazing

Students who have reason to believe that an incident of hazing might or did occur shall

report such belief to any coach of an extracurricular team, teacher, school nurse, guidance counselor, or school administrator. Staff members who have received such a report from a student or who otherwise have reason to believe that an incident of hazing might or did occur shall report such belief to the Principal of the school, or, in the event of the unavailability of the Principal, to the designated person. The report may be in writing or orally. If the report is made orally, the receiver shall make a written record of the report.


It shall be a violation of this policy for a person to retaliate against a student or other person for reporting a suspected incident of hazing or cooperating in any investigation or disciplinary proceeding regarding an incident of hazing.

It is possible that an incident of hazing might also fall within the definition of abuse, neglect, or exploitation as those terms are defined in 33 V.S.A. §4912(2) and 33 V.S.A.

§§6902(1), (7) and (9). Reporting a suspected incident of hazing to the Principal does not relieve the reporter of any obligations additionally to report such suspicions to the

Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services as set forth in 33 V.S.A. §4914 or to the Commissioner of the Department of Aging and

Disabilities as set forth in 33 V.S.A. §6904 as outlined in policy F8.

Investigation of Reports of Hazing

The Principal, or designee, upon receipt of a report of hazing, promptly shall cause an

investigation to commence. The investigation shall be timely and thorough and the findings and conclusions of the investigation shall be reduced to writing. Unless there are exceptional circumstances, the investigation shall be concluded within ten school days.

Disciplinary Action

It is not a defense in a disciplinary proceeding under this policy that the person against whom the hazing was directed consented to or acquiesced in the hazing activity.

  1. If the investigation concludes a student committed an act of hazing or otherwise violated this policy, that student shall be subject to appropriate disciplinary action, including but not limited to suspension or expulsion from co- or extra-curricular activities or from school. Any disciplinary action against a student shall be subject to the procedures set forth in policy.
  2. If the investigation concludes that a staff person committed an act of hazing or otherwise violated this policy, that person shall be subject to appropriate disciplinary action in accordance with applicable law and the provisions of any applicable collective bargaining agreement or other contract.
  3. If the investigation concludes that an athletic team or other co- or extra-curricular activity or organization knowingly permitted, authorized, or condoned hazing, disciplinary action may be imposed against the team, activity or organization, including cancellation of one or more athletic contests or the entire athletic season, or revocation or suspension of an organization’s permission to operate or exist within the District’s purview.
  4. Acts of hazing may also be illegal and may be prosecuted under 16 V.S.A.

§§140b-140d or other state law.

  1. Nothing in this policy shall limit or preclude the District from disciplining a student or other person affiliated with the District under any other District policy as well as under the terms of this policy.

Training of Staff

The Principal shall ensure that each staff member, with particular emphasis on staff

members who are coaches or supervisors of co- or extra-curricular activities, receive training in preventing, recognizing and responding to hazing.

Reporting Incidents of Hazing to Law Enforcement Officials

All staff members are subject to the confidentiality requirements of the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (20 U.S.C. §1232g and 34 C.F.R. Part 99). Accordingly, information deriving from student records (if the information is obtained through other means, the restrictions of FERPA do not apply) which is personally identifiable, may not be disclosed without parental consent unless it meets one or more of the exceptions specified in 34 C.F.R. Part 99. Certain of these exceptions, depending upon whether the circumstances meet the conditions set forth in those exceptions, may permit the reporting of hazing to law enforcement officials. Those relevant exceptions are:

  1. Where there is a health or safety emergency;
  2. Where the information has been subpoenaed; or
  3. Where the records in question are created and maintained by a law enforcement

unit established by the school.

Legal References:

        16 V.S.A. §11(a)(30) (Definition of hazing)

16 V.S.A. §§140a-140d (Hazing)

16 V.S.A. §165(a)(1), (8) (School Quality Standards)

16 V.S.A. §565 (Powers of school boards) 20 U.S.C. §1232g (FERPA)

34 C.F.R. Part 99 (FERPA rules)

Cross Reference:   Reporting Suspected Child Abuse or

Neglect

Harassment of Students

Appendix

Prevention of Bullying of Students

                                Type: Mandatory Policy

Area: EL2 Treatment of Students

Date Warned: 1/14/13

Date  Adopted:3/18/13

POLICY

The Hazen Union School District recognizes that all students should have a safe, orderly, civil and positive learning environment.[10] Bullying is a form of dangerous and disrespectful behavior that will not be permitted or tolerated. Bullying may involve a range of misconduct that, based on the severity, will warrant corrective action and/or discipline. Behaviors that do not rise to the level of bullying may still be subject to intervention and/or discipline under another section of the discipline plan or policy.

For the purposes of this policy, “bullying” is defined as any overt act or combination of acts, including an act conducted by electronic means, directed against a student by another student or group of students and which:

  1. is repeated over time;
  2. is intended to ridicule, humiliate, or intimidate the student; and
  3. either:
  1. occurs during the school day on school property, on a school bus or at a school- sponsored activity; or
  2. does not occur during the school day on school property, on a school bus, or at a school-sponsored activity and can be shown to pose a clear and substantial interference with another student’s right to access educational programs.[11]

Examples of bullying include:

In order to be bullying, incidents such as the ones described above must be repeated over time, directed at a particular student, and intended to ridicule, humiliate or intimidate.

In some cases, acts of bullying may constitute unlawful harassment, where the conduct is based on or motivated by a student’s or student’s family member’s actual or perceived:

Race

Sexual Orientation

Creed

Gender Identity

Color

Marital Status

National Origin

Disability

Sex

Any allegations of harassment will be addressed under the Orleans Southwest Supervisory Union School District’s Policy on the Prevention of Harassment of Students.

Dissemination of Information, Training, and Data Reporting

  1. Notice to parents and employees: Annually, prior to the commencement of curricular and co-curricular activities, the School District/Independent School shall provide notice to custodial parents or guardians, staff members, and contracted employees of its prohibition against bullying, the procedures concerning reporting and investigating bullying and the possible disciplinary consequences for bullying.

  1. Notice to students: The superintendent shall develop and initiate age-appropriate programs to annually inform students about the substance of the policy and procedures in order to help prevent bullying.  Notice to students shall be in age appropriate language and will include examples of bullying. Such notice shall inform students and parents that bullying that does not occur during the school day, on school property, on a school bus, or at a school-sponsored event still may be subject to disciplinary action, pursuant to 16 V.S.A.§§ 11(a) (32) and 1162(a)(3), if the misconduct can be shown to pose a clear and substantial interference with another student’s equal access to educational programs.

    Notice to parents and students shall state that any student who knowingly makes false accusations regarding bullying may be subject to disciplinary action.

  1. Training: The superintendent shall implement training for school staff within the context of an annual professional development program. Such training shall be designed to enable staff to prevent, recognize, and respond to bullying.

Date reporting:  The Orleans Southwest Supervisory Union School District delegates the responsibility of data collection to the Superintendent.  S/he shall collect data on the number of reported incidents of bullying and the number of incidents that have been verified and shall make such data available to the Vermont Department of Education.

It is the policy of OSSU that no person (student or school employee) may retaliate against a person who has filed a complaint of bullying or against a person who assists or participates in an investigation, proceeding or hearing related to the bullying complaint. A person may violate this policy regardless of whether the underlying complaint of bullying is substantiated.

 

 Retaliation” is any adverse action by any person against a person who has filed a complaint of bullying or against a person who assists or participates in an investigation, proceeding or hearing related to the bullying complaint[3]. Such adverse action may include conduct by a school employee directed at a student in the form of intimidation or reprisal such as diminishment of grades, suspension, expulsion, change in educational conditions, loss of privileges or benefits, or other unwarranted disciplinary action. Retaliation may also include conduct by a student directed at another student in the form of further harassment, intimidation, and reprisal.

Legal Reference:     16 VSA Section  570a, 570b, 570c


Prevention of Bullying of Students

PROCEDURES

Reporting Bullying Complaints

The principal or headmaster of each school in the Hazen Union School District will annually designate two employees to receive complaints of bullying and harassment.  The names and contact information for those designated employees: Michael Clark, 472-6511, Allison O’Hara, 472-6511 or email mclark@ossu.org, aohara@ossu.org.

For the purposes of this policy, “school employee” means any person employed directly by or retained through a contract with the District/Independent School, an agent of the school, a school board member/member of the board of trustees, a student teacher, an intern, or a school volunteer.  “Agent of the school” includes supervisory union staff.

  1. Student reporting: any student who believes that s/he has been bullied under this policy, or who witnesses or has knowledge of conduct that s/he reasonably believes might constitute bullying, is encouraged to report the conduct to a designated employee or to any other school employee.
  2. School employee reporting: Any school employee who witnesses conduct that s/he reasonably believes might constitute bullying shall take reasonable action to stop the conduct and to prevent its recurrence and shall immediately report it to a designated employee. Any school employee who directly receives information about conduct that might constitute bullying shall immediately report it to a designated employee.
  3. Parent reporting:  Any parent or legal guardian/custodian who witnesses conduct that s/he reasonably believes might constitute bullying or who reasonably believes his/her child or ward is being bullied should promptly report the conduct to a designated employee or any school employee.
  4. Documentation of the report: If the complaint is oral, the designated employee shall reduce the complaint to writing, including the time, place, and nature of the alleged conduct, and the identity of the complainant, alleged perpetrator(s), and any witnesses.
  5. False complaint: Any person who knowingly makes a false accusation regarding bullying may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including suspension and expulsion with regard to students, or up to and including discharge with regard to employees.  There shall be no adverse action taken against a person for reporting a complaint of bullying when the person has a good faith belief that bullying occurred or is occurring.
  6. Confidentiality and Record Keeping: The privacy of the complainant, the accused individual, and the witnesses shall be maintained consistent with the Districts’ obligations to investigate, to take appropriate action, and to comply with laws governing the disclosure of student records or other applicable discovery or disclosure obligations.

Response to a Bullying Complaint

For the purposes of this policy “school administrator” means a superintendent, principal/head of school/technical center director, or his/her designee.

  1. Notification: Upon receipt of a complaint of bullying the designated employee will immediately notify the school administrator of the complaint.  If either the complainant or the accused individual is under the age of 18, his or her parent(s) or guardian(s) shall be promptly notified that a complaint of bullying has been filed and be provided with a copy of this policy.
  2. Investigation: Unless special circumstances are present and documented, such as reports to the Department for Children and Families (“DCF”) or the police, school vacations, or other witness absence/unavailability, the school administrator shall:
  1. No later than one school day after the filing of the complaint with a designated employee initiate or cause to be initiated, an investigation of the allegations.  The school administrator shall assign a person to conduct the investigation; nothing herein shall be construed to preclude the school administrator from assigning him/herself or a designated employee as the investigator.
  2. No later than five school days from the filing of the complaint with the designated employee, the investigator shall submit a written determination to the school administrator.  The report shall include a statement of the findings of the investigator as to whether the allegations have been substantiated, and as to whether the alleged conduct constitutes bullying. 
  1. Consequences for Violations of This Policy[12]
  1. If, after investigation, the school finds that the alleged conduct occurred and that it constitutes bullying, the school may take prompt and appropriate disciplinary and shall take remedial action reasonably calculated to stop the bullying and prevent any recurrence of bullying.  Examples of remedial action include: mediation between the parties, education and counseling for the bully, and safety planning.
  2. Violators of the bullying policy shall - based on relevant surrounding facts and circumstances, including but not limited to a consideration of prior instances of similar behavior and the student’s overall disciplinary history - be subject to the following potential discipline and/or remedial action(s):
  1. Awareness/Education/Counseling;
  2. Acts of restitution;
  3. In-school suspension;
  4. Out of school suspension; or,
  5. Expulsion.
  1. Safety Planning[13]
  1. A safety plan shall be developed in all instances where a student has been the target of bullying that results in physical harm and/or the student is known to be expressing suicidal ideation as a result of bullying. A safety plan shall not be considered a substitute for in-school procedures and policies that apply to students experiencing mental health crises.
  2. A safety plan should be considered in instances where the targeted student is known to have difficulty accessing the educational programs at the school as a result of bullying.
  3. A safety plan may include such measures as checking in with the target and his/her parents on a regular basis, identifying a safe in-school person for the target to seek out when s/he feels threatened, informing teachers to pay particular attention to interactions/ dynamics between identified students and rearranging the schedule of the perpetrator, and providing additional supervision in areas ordinarily subject to lesser supervision (e.g., lunchroom, playground).
  1. Parental notification: Upon completion of the investigation, the school administrator will notify the parent(s) or guardian of the complainant and accused individual(s) of the outcome of the investigation. In cases where the school determines that bullying has occurred, a school administrator may seek a waiver of the confidentiality rights of the perpetrator(s) in order to inform the complainant of any specific disciplinary action taken.
  2. Appeal of Discipline Decisions: A person determined to be in violation of this policy and subjected to disciplinary action under it may appeal the determination and/or the disciplinary action(s) taken in the same manner as other disciplinary actions, in accordance with the District’s disciplinary policy, applicable statutes, or collective bargaining agreements.

Reporting to Other Agencies

  1. Reports to Department of Children and Families: When a complaint made pursuant to this policy includes allegations of child abuse, any person responsible for reporting suspected child abuse under 33 V.S.A. § 4911, et seq. must report the allegation to the Commissioner of DCF.  If the victim is over the age of 18 and a report of abuse is warranted, the report shall be made to Adult Protective Services in accordance with 33 V.S.A. § 6901 et seq. 
  2. Reports to law enforcement[14]: Information obtained and documented by school administration regarding the school’s response to notice of student conduct that may constitute bullying may constitute an “educational record” regarding the student or student(s) involved as defined by the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act.[15]  Accordingly, such information may not be disclosed to local law enforcement without prior parent approval except in response to a lawfully issued subpoena[16], or in connection with an emergency if disclosure is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals.[17] 
  1. Nothing in this policy shall preclude persons from reporting incidents and/or conduct witnessed first-hand that may be considered to be a criminal act to law enforcement officials.[18]  Such conduct includes but is not limited to: physical attacks resulting in bodily harm, sexual assault, and simple assault.
  1. Continuing Policy to Investigate: Reports made to either DCF or law enforcement shall not be considered to absolve the school administrators of their obligations under this policy to pursue and complete an investigation upon receipt of notice of conduct which may constitute bullying.

                   


Anti-Harassment of Students

                                Type: Mandatory Policy

Area: EL2 Treatment of Students

Date Warned: 9/17/13

Date Adopted: 10/15/13

POLICY

The Hazen Union School District/Independent School (“District/Independent School”) is committed to providing all of its students with a safe and supportive school environment in which all members of the school community are treated with respect.  This policy addresses incident(s) and/or conduct that occur on school property, on a school bus or at a school- sponsored activity, or incident(s) and/or conduct that does not occur on school property, on a school bus or at a school-sponsored activity but where direct harm to the welfare of the school can be demonstrated or the conduct can be shown to pose a clear and substantial interference with another student’s equal access to educational programs.

Harassment is a form of unlawful discrimination that will not be tolerated.  It is the policy of the District/Independent School to prohibit the unlawful harassment of students based on race, creed, color, national origin, marital status, disability, sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity, to the extent required by law.  In addition, retaliation is a form of unlawful discrimination that will not be tolerated.  Consistent with these purposes, annually,1 each school shall select two or more designated employees to receive complaints and shall publicize their availability in any publication of the District/Independent School that sets forth the comprehensive rules,

procedures, and standards of conduct for the school.2

It is the intent of the District/Independent School to apply and enforce this policy in a manner that is consistent with student rights to free expression under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The purpose of this harassment policy is to prohibit conduct or communication that is directed at a person's protected characteristics as defined below and that is likely to substantially disrupt the educational learning process and/or access to educational resources, or create a hostile learning environment.

The District/Independent School shall promptly and effectively address all complaints of harassment in accordance with the procedures established by this policy.  In cases where harassment is substantiated, the school shall take prompt and appropriate remedial action reasonably calculated to stop the harassment. Such action may include a wide range of responses from education to serious discipline.  Such serious discipline may include termination for employees and, for students, expulsion or removal from school property. Nothing herein shall be construed to prohibit punishment of a person for conduct which, although it does not rise to the level of harassment as defined herein, otherwise violates one or more of the school's other disciplinary policies or codes of conduct.

 Definitions

A.  "Harassment" means an incident or incidents of verbal, written, visual, or physical conduct,

including any incident conducted by electronic means, based on or motivated by a student's

or a student's family member's actual or perceived race, creed, color, national origin, marital status, disability, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity3 that has the purpose or effect of objectively and substantially undermining and detracting from or interfering with a student's educational performance or access to school resources or creating an objectively intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment.

Harassment includes conduct as defined above and may also constitute one or more of the following:

(1) Sexual harassment,4 which means conduct that includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal, written, visual or physical conduct of a sexual nature when one or both of the following occur:

(i) submission to that conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of a student's education, academic status or progress; or

(ii) submission to or rejection of such conduct by a student is used as a component of the basis for decisions affecting that student

(2) Racial harassment, which means conduct directed at the characteristics of a student's or a student's family member's actual or perceived race or color, and includes the use of epithets, stereotypes, racial slurs, comments, insults, derogatory remarks, gestures, threats, graffiti, display, or circulation of written or visual material, and taunts on manner of speech and negative references to cultural customs.

(3) Harassment of members of other protected categories, means conduct directed at the characteristics of a student's or a student's family member's actual or perceived creed, national origin, marital status, disability, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity and includes the use of epithets, stereotypes, slurs, comments, insults, derogatory remarks, gestures, threats, graffiti, display, or circulation of written or visual material, taunts on manner of speech, and negative references to customs related to any of these protected categories.

B.  “Complaint” means an oral or written report by a student or any person to an employee alleging that a student has been subjected to conduct that may rise to the level of harassment.

C.  “Complainant” means a student who has filed an oral or written complaint with a school employee or a student who is the target of alleged harassment in a report made by another person.

1 See 16 V.S.A. §565(c)(1).

2 See Appendix A.

3 Effective July 1, 2007, 1 V.S.A. §144 defines “gender identity” as “an individual’s actual or perceived gender identity, or gender-related characteristics intrinsically related to an individual’s gender or gender-identity, regardless of the individual’s assigned sex at birth.”

4 This statutory definition of sexual harassment describes only the “quid pro quo” form of sexual harassment that can occur between an adult and student. However, sexual harassment may also include student to student conduct as well as conduct that creates a hostile environment.

                                               

                                         

D.  “Designated employee” means an employee who has been designated by the school to receive complaints of harassment pursuant to subdivision 16 V.S.A. §565(c)(1).

E.  “Employee” includes any person employed directly by or retained through a contract with the District/Independent School, an agent of the school, a school board member/member of the board of trustees, a student teacher, an intern or a school volunteer.  For purposes of this policy, “agent of the school” includes supervisory union staff.

F.  “Notice” means a written complaint or oral information that harassment may have occurred which has been provided to a designated employee from another employee, the student allegedly subjected to the harassment, another student, a parent or guardian, or any other individual who has reasonable cause to believe the alleged conduct may have occurred.5

G.  “Retaliation” is any adverse action by any person against a person who has filed a complaint of harassment or against a person who assists or participates in an investigation, proceeding or hearing related to the harassment complaint.  Such adverse action may include conduct by a school employee directed at a student in the form of intimidation or reprisal such as diminishment of grades, suspension, expulsion, change in educational conditions, loss of privileges or benefits, or other unwarranted disciplinary action.  Retaliation may also include conduct by a student directed at another student in the form of further harassment, intimidation, and reprisal.

H.  “School administrator” means a superintendent, principal/head of school/technical center director or his/her designee.

III.  Reporting Student Harassment

A.  Student reporting:  Any student who believes that s/he has been harassed under this policy, or who witnesses or has knowledge of conduct that s/he reasonably believes might constitute harassment, should promptly report the conduct to a designated employee or any other school employee.

Name: Michael Clark, SAP Counselor- 472-6511, Email: mclark@ossu.org

Name: Allison O’Hara, Act 77 Coordinator 472-6511, Email: aohara@ossu.org

B.  School employee reporting:  Any school employee who witnesses conduct that s/he reasonably believes might constitute harassment shall take reasonable action to stop the conduct and to prevent its recurrence and immediately report it to a designated employee. Any school employee who overhears or directly receives information about conduct that might constitute harassment shall immediately report the information to a designated employee.  If one of the designated employees is the person alleged to be engaged in the conduct complained of, the complaint shall be immediately filed with the other designated employee or the school administrator.

C.  Other reporting:  Any other person who witnesses conduct that s/he reasonably believes

might constitute student harassment under this policy should promptly report the conduct to a designated employee.

5 See 16 V.S.A. §14(c)(3).

D.  Documentation of the report:  If the complaint is oral, the designated employee shall

promptly reduce the complaint to writing in a harassment complaint form, including the time, place, and nature of the alleged conduct, and the identity of the complainant, alleged perpetrator, and any witnesses.

E.  False Complaint:  Any person who knowingly makes a false accusation regarding harassment may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including suspension and expulsion with regard to students, or up to and including discharge with regard to employees.  There shall be no adverse action taken against a person for reporting a complaint of harassment when the person has a good faith belief that harassment occurred or is occurring.

F.  Retaliation: It is unlawful for any person to retaliate against a person who has filed a complaint of harassment or against a person who assists or participates in an investigation, proceeding or hearing related to the harassment complaint.  A person may violate this anti- retaliation provision regardless of whether the underlying complaint of harassment is substantiated.

  Alternative Complaint Process

In addition to, or as an alternative to filing a harassment complaint pursuant to this policy, a person may file a harassment complaint with the Vermont Human Rights Commission or the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education at the addresses noted below:

Vermont Human Rights Commission

14-16 Baldwin Street

Montpelier, VT 05633-6301

(800) 416-2010 or (802) 828-2480 (voice) (877) 294-9200 (tty)

(802) 828-2481 (fax)

Email:  human.rights@state.vt.us

12 See 16 V.S.A. §565(d).

13 See 16 V.S.A. §565(d).

Office for Civil Rights, Boston Office

U.S. Department of Education

8th Floor

5 Post Office Square

Boston, MA 02109-3921

617-289-0111 (voice)

877-521-2172 (tdd)

617-289-0150 (fax)

Email:  OCR.Boston@ed.gov

Legal References:

Title V, Section B, 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. §794 et seq.; Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §2000d;

Title IX of the Educational Amendments Act of 1972, 20 U.S.C. §§1681 et seq.; Family Education Rights Privacy Act; 20 U.S.C. 1232g;

Public Accommodations, 9 V.S.A. §§4500 et seq. ;

Education, Classifications and Definitions, 16 V.S.A. §11a (26); Education, Harassment, Notice and Response, 16 V.S.A. §14; Education, 16 V.S.A. §140(a)(1);

Education, 16 V.S.A. §166(e);

Education, Harassment and Hazing Prevention Policy, 16 V.S.A. §565; Education, Discipline, 16 V.S.A. §1161a;

Education, Suspension or Expulsion of Pupils, 16 V.S.A. §1162; Child Abuse, 33 V.S.A. §§4911 et seq.;

Adult Protective Services, 33 V.S.A. §6901 et seq., all as they may be amended from time to time.

Washington v. Pierce, 179 VT 318 (2005)

APPENDIX A

Designated Employees

The following employees of the Hazen Union School have been designated by the

District/Independent School to receive harassment complaints pursuant to this policy and 16

V.S.A. §565(c)(1):

Name: Michael Clark, SAP Counselor- 472-6511, Email: mclark@ossu.org

Name: Allison O’Hara, Act 77 Coordinator 472-6511, Email: aohara@ossu.org


Prevention of Harassment of Students

PROCEDURES

 Following a Report

A.  Notification:6   Upon receipt of a complaint of harassment the designated employee shall immediately inform the school administrator of the complaint.  In addition, the designated employee shall immediately provide a copy of this harassment policy to the complainant and accused individual.  If either the complainant or the accused individual is under the age of 18, his or her parent(s) or guardian(s) shall be: (1) promptly notified that a complaint of harassment has been filed and provided with a copy of this policy; (2) notified if an

alternative dispute resolution method will be offered and, if it occurs, of the outcome of any such attempt; and (3) notified in writing of the results of the complaint investigation.  All notification letters shall be subject to state and/or federal laws protecting the confidentiality of personally identifiable student information.  A school administrator may seek waiver of confidentiality rights of the accused in order to inform the complainant of any disciplinary action taken in cases where the school determined that harassment or other misconduct occurred.

B.  Investigation:7   Unless special circumstances are present and documented, such as reports to the Department for Children and Families (“DCF”) or the police, the school administrator shall, no later than one school day after the filing of a complaint with a designated employee, initiate or cause to be initiated, an investigation of the allegations.  The school administrator shall assign a person to conduct the investigation; nothing herein shall be construed to preclude the school administrator from assigning him/herself or a designated employee as the investigator.  No person who is the subject of a complaint shall conduct such an

investigation.

No later than five school days from the filing of the complaint with the designated employee, unless special circumstances are present and documented, the investigator shall submit a written initial determination to the school administrator. The report shall include a statement of the findings of the investigator as to whether the allegations have been substantiated, and as to whether the alleged conduct constitutes harassment.  When the initial determination concludes that an accused student has engaged in harassment, the school administrator shall use his or her discretion to decide the appropriate disciplinary and/or remedial action.  In cases where the investigation has identified other conduct that may constitute a violation of

6 See 16 V.S.A. §14(a).

7 See 16 V.S.A. §565(b)(1)(E).

other school disciplinary policies or codes of conduct, the designated employee shall report such conduct to the school administrator for action in accordance with relevant school policies.

All levels of internal review8 of the investigator’s initial determination, and the issuance of a final decision, shall, unless special circumstances are present and documented by the District/Independent School, be completed within 30 calendar days after the review is requested.

C.  Action on a substantiated complaint:  If, after investigation, the school finds that the alleged conduct occurred and that it constitutes harassment, the school shall take prompt and appropriate disciplinary and/or remedial action reasonably calculated to stop the harassment and prevent any recurrence of harassment.  Such action may include warning, reprimand, education, training and counseling, transfer, suspension, and/or expulsion of a student, and warning, reprimand, education, training and counseling, transfer, suspension and/or termination of an employee.

D.  Alternative dispute resolution:9   At all stages of the investigation and determination process, school officials are encouraged to make available to complainants alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation, for resolving complaints.  The following should be considered before pursuing alternative dispute resolution methods: (1) the nature of the accusations, (2) the age of the complainant and the accused individual, (3) the agreement of the complainant, and (4) other relevant factors such as any disability of the target or accused individual, safety issues, the relationship between the target and accused individual, or any history of repeated misconduct/harassment by the accused individual.  If an alternative dispute resolution is either not appropriate or is unsuccessful, the school administrator shall initiate or cause to be initiated an investigation of the allegations in accordance with the timelines established in this policy.

E.  Appeal:  A person determined to be in violation of this policy and subjected to disciplinary action under it may appeal the determination and/or the disciplinary action(s) taken in the same manner as other disciplinary actions, in accordance with the District’s/Independent School’s discipline policy, applicable statutes, or collective bargaining agreements.

F.  Independent Review:10

A complainant may request an independent review if s/he: (1)

believes that the school did not correctly analyze the complaint and failed to conduct an investigation of the incident because the school believed the alleged conduct did not constitute possible harassment, (2) is dissatisfied with the final determination following an investigation as to whether harassment occurred, or (3) believes that although a final determination was made that harassment occurred, the school's response was inadequate to correct the problem.  The complainant shall make such a request in writing to the superintendent of schools/head of school.  Upon such request, the superintendent/head of

8 An “internal review” is any procedure provided by the school through policy or practice and is not the same as an “independent review” as described below.

9 See 16 V.S.A. §565(b)(1)(C).

10 See 16 V.S.A. §565(f).

school shall promptly initiate an independent review by a neutral person as described under

16 V.S.A. § 565(f), and shall cooperate with the independent reviewer so that s/he may proceed expeditiously.  The review shall consist of an interview of the complainant and relevant school officials and a review of the written materials from the school’s investigation. Upon completion of the independent review, the reviewer shall advise the complainant and school officials in writing: (1) as to the sufficiency of the school’s investigation, its determination, and/or the steps taken by the school to correct any harassment found to have occurred, and (2) of recommendations of any steps the school might take to prevent further harassment from occurring.  A copy of the independent review report shall be sent to the Commissioner.  The reviewer shall advise the student of other remedies11 that may be available if the student remains dissatisfied and, if appropriate, may recommend mediation or other alternative dispute resolution.  The independent reviewer shall be considered an agent

of the school for the purpose of being able to review confidential student records.  The costs of the independent review shall be borne by the District/Independent School.  The District/Independent School may request an independent review at any stage of the process.

 Confidentiality and Record Keeping

A.  The privacy of the complainant, the accused individual, and the witnesses shall be maintained consistent with the District’s/Independent School’s obligations to investigate, to take appropriate action, and to comply with laws governing the disclosure of student records or other applicable discovery or disclosure obligations.

B.  The Superintendent or school administrator shall assure that a record of any complaint, its investigation and disposition, as well as any disciplinary or remedial action taken following the completion of the investigation, is maintained by the District/Independent School in a confidential file accessible only to authorized persons.  All investigation records, including but not limited to, the complaint form, interview notes, additional evidence, and the investigative report, shall be kept for at least six years after the investigation is completed.

 Reporting to Other Agencies

When a complaint made pursuant to this policy includes allegations of child abuse, any person responsible for reporting suspected child abuse under 33 V.S.A. §4911, et seq. must report the allegation to the Commissioner of DCF.  If the victim is over the age of 18 and a report of abuse is warranted, the report shall be made to Adult Protective Services in accordance with 33 V.S.A.§6901 et seq.

11 Such as those identified in Section VIII of this policy.

If a harassment complaint is made in a public school about conduct by a licensed educator that might be grounds under the State Board of Education Rules for licensing action, the principal shall report the alleged conduct to the Superintendent and the Superintendent shall report the alleged conduct to the Commissioner.  If a harassment complaint is made in an independent school about conduct by a licensed educator that might be grounds under the State Board of Education rules for licensing action, the head of school is encouraged to report the alleged conduct to the Commissioner.

Nothing in this policy shall preclude anyone from reporting any incidents and/or conduct that may be considered a criminal act to law enforcement officials.

  Dissemination of Information, Training, and Data Reporting

A.  Dissemination of Information.12   Annually, prior to the commencement of curricular and co- curricular activities, the District/Independent School shall provide notice of this policy and procedures to students, custodial parents or guardians of students, and employees.  Notice to students shall be in age-appropriate language and include examples of harassment.  At a minimum, this notice shall appear in any publication of the District/Independent School that sets forth the comprehensive rules, procedures and standards of conduct for the District/Independent School.

B.  Training.13   The school administrator shall use her/his discretion in developing age- appropriate methods of discussing the meaning and substance of this policy with students to help prevent harassment. The school administrator shall implement training for school staff within the context of professional development to enable staff to recognize, prevent and respond to harassment.

C.  Data Gathering. Public school districts shall provide the Vermont Department of Education with data requested by the Commissioner.

12 See 16 V.S.A. §565(d).

13 See 16 V.S.A. §565(d).


 Anti-Hazing

                                Type: Mandatory Policy

Area: EL2 Treatment of Students

Date Warned: 4/30/14

Date Adopted: 5/20/14

POLICY

It is the policy of the Hazen Union School District that all its schools provide safe, orderly, civil and positive learning environments. Hazing has no place in the District's schools and will not be tolerated. Accordingly, the District directs the Superintendent to develop and implement procedures to prohibit hazing and to ensure the enforcement thereof.

Legal References

        16 V.S.A. §11(a)(30) (Definition of hazing)

16 V.S.A. §§140a-140d (Hazing)

16 V.S.A. §165(a)(1), (8) (School Quality Standards)

16 V.S.A. §565 (Powers of school boards) 20 U.S.C. §1232g (FERPA)

34 C.F.R. Part 99 (FERPA rules)

Cross Reference:   Reporting Suspected Child Abuse or Neglect

Harassment of Students


Hazing

PROCEDURES

Definitions

  1. Hazing means any act committed by a person, whether individually or in concert with others, against a student in connection with pledging, being initiated into, affiliating with, holding office in, or maintaining membership in any organization which is affiliated with the District; and which is intended to have the effect of, or should reasonably be expected to have the effect of, humiliating, intimidating or demeaning the student or endangering the mental or physical health of the student. "Hazing" also includes soliciting, directing, aiding, or otherwise participating actively or passively in the above acts. Hazing may occur on or off school grounds.

Examples of hazing include:

Hazing shall not include any activity or conduct that furthers the legitimate curricular, extracurricular, or military training program goals provided that the goals are approved by the School Board of the District and provided that the activity or conduct furthers those goals in a manner that is appropriate, contemplated by the School Board, and normal and customary for similar public school programs. An example of this exception might be reasonable athletic training exercises.

  1. Organization means a fraternity, sorority, athletic team, association, corporation, order, society, corps, cooperative, club, or other similar group, whose members primarily are students of the District, and which is affiliated with the District.
  2. Pledging means any action or activity related to becoming a member of an organization.
  3. Principal means the Principal of a school or the director of a technical center or any person designated by them to carry out a particular function.
  4. Student means any person who: (1) is enrolled in any school or program operated by the District, (2) has been accepted for admission into any school or program

operated by the District, or (3) intends to enroll in any school or program operated by the District during any of its regular sessions after an official academic break.

Notification of Hazing Policy

Annually, student handbooks, which shall be presented to students prior to the commencement of any academic courses, shall contain: (1) a description of this hazing policy in age-appropriate language, (2) examples of hazing, and (3) a listing of those persons whom the Superintendent has designated to receive reports of hazing. The schools of the District also shall effectively inform students about the substance of this hazing policy and its procedures by October 1 annually.

Each student who participates in a co- or extra-curricular activity that begins prior to the commencement of any academic courses shall be provided by the coach or supervisor of the co- or extra-curricular activity a copy of the excerpt from the student handbook regarding the hazing policy prior to the first practice session. Each coach or supervisor of a co- or extra-curricular activity shall orally explain to participants the prohibition against hazing, the reasons for the prohibition, and the potential consequences to participants and, in the case of a club or an athletic team, to the club or team itself.

Annually, custodial parents and guardians of students shall be provided a copy of this hazing policy prior to the commencement of co- or extra-curricular activities.

Annually, staff members shall be provided with a copy of this hazing policy prior to the opening of school. Coaches or supervisors of co- or extra-curricular activities shall be provided a copy of this hazing policy upon employment by the District.

Reporting of Hazing

Students who have reason to believe that an incident of hazing might or did occur shall

report such belief to any coach of an extracurricular team, teacher, school nurse, guidance counselor, or school administrator. Staff members who have received such a report from a student or who otherwise have reason to believe that an incident of hazing might or did occur shall report such belief to the Principal of the school, or, in the event of the unavailability of the Principal, to the designated person. The report may be in writing or orally. If the report is made orally, the receiver shall make a written record of the report.


It shall be a violation of this policy for a person to retaliate against a student or other person for reporting a suspected incident of hazing or cooperating in any investigation or disciplinary proceeding regarding an incident of hazing.

It is possible that an incident of hazing might also fall within the definition of abuse, neglect, or exploitation as those terms are defined in 33 V.S.A. §4912(2) and 33 V.S.A.

§§6902(1), (7) and (9). Reporting a suspected incident of hazing to the Principal does not relieve the reporter of any obligations additionally to report such suspicions to the

Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services as set forth in 33 V.S.A. §4914 or to the Commissioner of the Department of Aging and

Disabilities as set forth in 33 V.S.A. §6904 as outlined in policy F8.

Investigation of Reports of Hazing

The Principal, or designee, upon receipt of a report of hazing, promptly shall cause an

investigation to commence. The investigation shall be timely and thorough and the findings and conclusions of the investigation shall be reduced to writing. Unless there are exceptional circumstances, the investigation shall be concluded within ten school days.

Disciplinary Action

It is not a defense in a disciplinary proceeding under this policy that the person against whom the hazing was directed consented to or acquiesced in the hazing activity.

  1. If the investigation concludes a student committed an act of hazing or otherwise violated this policy, that student shall be subject to appropriate disciplinary action, including but not limited to suspension or expulsion from co- or extra-curricular activities or from school. Any disciplinary action against a student shall be subject to the procedures set forth in policy.
  2. If the investigation concludes that a staff person committed an act of hazing or otherwise violated this policy, that person shall be subject to appropriate disciplinary action in accordance with applicable law and the provisions of any applicable collective bargaining agreement or other contract.
  3. If the investigation concludes that an athletic team or other co- or extra-curricular activity or organization knowingly permitted, authorized, or condoned hazing, disciplinary action may be imposed against the team, activity or organization, including cancellation of one or more athletic contests or the entire athletic season, or revocation or suspension of an organization’s permission to operate or exist within the District’s purview.
  4. Acts of hazing may also be illegal and may be prosecuted under 16 V.S.A.

§§140b-140d or other state law.

  1. Nothing in this policy shall limit or preclude the District from disciplining a student or other person affiliated with the District under any other District policy as well as under the terms of this policy.

Training of Staff

The Principal shall ensure that each staff member, with particular emphasis on staff

members who are coaches or supervisors of co- or extra-curricular activities, receive training in preventing, recognizing and responding to hazing.

Reporting Incidents of Hazing to Law Enforcement Officials

All staff members are subject to the confidentiality requirements of the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (20 U.S.C. §1232g and 34 C.F.R. Part 99). Accordingly, information deriving from student records (if the information is obtained through other means, the restrictions of FERPA do not apply) which is personally identifiable, may not be disclosed without parental consent unless it meets one or more of the exceptions specified in 34 C.F.R. Part 99. Certain of these exceptions, depending upon whether the circumstances meet the conditions set forth in those exceptions, may permit the reporting of hazing to law enforcement officials. Those relevant exceptions are:

  1. Where there is a health or safety emergency;
  2. Where the information has been subpoenaed; or
  3. Where the records in question are created and maintained by a law enforcement

unit established by the school.

Legal References:

        16 V.S.A. §11(a)(30) (Definition of hazing)

16 V.S.A. §§140a-140d (Hazing)

16 V.S.A. §165(a)(1), (8) (School Quality Standards)

16 V.S.A. §565 (Powers of school boards) 20 U.S.C. §1232g (FERPA)

34 C.F.R. Part 99 (FERPA rules)

Cross Reference:   Reporting Suspected Child Abuse or

Neglect

Harassment of Students


[1] 16 V.S.A. §570(a)

[2] 16 V.S.A. §11(a)(32)

[3] 16 V.S.A. § 570c(5).

[4] Not required by law, but considered best practice to prevent recurrence of harm.

[5] 16 V.S.A. § 570c(4).

[6] 20 U.S.C. § 1232g(a)(4)(A).

[7] 34 C.F.R. § 99.31(a)(9)(ii).

[8] 34 C.F.R. § 99.36(c) (requiring proof of an “articulable and significant threat to the health and safety of others). There is no affirmative obligation imposed by the health and safety exception requiring disclosure by the school district under these circumstances, only the option for disclosure. Id.

[9] Id.

[10] 16 V.S.A. §570(a)

[11] 16 V.S.A. §11(a)(32)

[12] 16 V.S.A. § 570c(5).

[13] Not required by law, but considered best practice to prevent recurrence of harm.

[14] 16 V.S.A. § 570c(4).

[15] 20 U.S.C. § 1232g(a)(4)(A).

[16] 34 C.F.R. § 99.31(a)(9)(ii).

[17] 34 C.F.R. § 99.36(c) (requiring proof of an “articulable and significant threat to the health and safety of others). There is no affirmative obligation imposed by the health and safety exception requiring disclosure by the school district under these circumstances, only the option for disclosure. Id.

[18] Id.