General Statement of Non-discrimination

Lidgerwood Public School is an Equal Opportunity Employer who fully and actively supports equal access for all people regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, veteran status, disability, genetic information, marital status, public assistance status, sexual orientation, gender expression/identity, or participation in lawful activity off the employer’s premises during non-working hours which is not in direct conflict with the essential business-related interests of the employer in its education/activities and employment practices.  Lidgerwood Public School seeks to provide access to all its programs for those interested persons who might have differing levels of ability.   Furthermore, Lidgerwood School District policy assures that the district and its employees will not retaliate against any persons who file a complaint, orally or in writing, to the employer or the government, or against any individuals who assist or participate in the investigation of any complaint or otherwise oppose discrimination regarding these or any other OCR enforced statutes. Additionally, the School District will discipline any individual who retaliates or takes adverse action against any person who reports alleged discrimination and/or harassment or who testifies, assists, or participates in any investigation relating to a discrimination and/or harassment complaint.  If you have concerns or need information regarding the existence and location of services, activities, and facilities that are accessible, please contact the 504 Coordinator, Mark Weston, Superintendent at (701) 538-7341. Also, for more information regarding Title IX compliance, contact Superintendent Mark Weston.  Lidgerwood Public School also acknowledges your right to file a discrimination complaint at any time with: US Department of Education, Chicago Office for Civil Rights, Citigroup Center, 500 W. Madison Street, Suite 1475, Chicago, IL 60661

Telephone: 312-730-1560  Fax:  312-730-1576  TDD:  800-877-8339

           email:  OCR.Chicago@ed.gov

The following pages contain  Lidgerwood School Board Policy, Regulations and Exhibits regarding non-discrimination and anti-harassment

REQUIRED                                                                                       Descriptor Code: AAC

NONDISCRIMINATION & ANTI-HARASSMENT POLICY

General Prohibitions

The Lidgerwood School District is committed to maintaining a learning and working environment free from discrimination and harassment in all employment and educational programs, activities, and facilities.  The District prohibits discrimination and harassment based on a student and/or employee’s race, color, religion, sex, gender identity, national origin, ancestry, disability, age, or other status protected by law.

It shall be a violation of this policy for any district student or employee to harass or discriminate against another district student or employee based on any status protected by law.  The District will not tolerate harassment or discrimination of a district student or employee by a third party. The District also prohibits aiding, abetting, inciting, compelling, or coercing discrimination or harassment; discriminating against or harassing any person affiliated with a person protected by this policy and/or law; knowingly making a false discrimination and/or harassment report; and retaliation against individuals who report and/or participate in a discrimination and/or harassment investigation, including instances when a complaint is not substantiated.

The District shall promptly investigate any harassment or discrimination complaint and act on findings as appropriate, which may include disciplinary measures such as, but not limited to, termination of employment or expulsion in accordance with board policy, law, and, when applicable, the negotiated agreement. Students and employees are expected to fully cooperate in the investigation process.

Definitions

·      Complainant is the individual filing the complaint.  When the complainant is not the victim of the alleged harassment/discrimination, the victim will be afforded the same rights as the complainant under this policy and regulation AAC-BR.

·       Disability is defined in accordance with NDCC 14-02.4-02 (5).

·       Discrimination means failure to treat a person equally due to a protected status. Protected status is defined in applicable state (NDCC 14-02.4-02 (6)) and federal laws.

·        Employee is defined in accordance with NDCC 14-02.4-02 (7).

·        Harassment is a specific type of discrimination based on a protected status.  It occurs under the following conditions:

a.    For employees when enduring the offensive conduct becomes a condition of continued employment or the conduct is severe or pervasive enough to create a work environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive;

b.    For students when the conduct is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive to limit a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the education program or to create a hostile or abusive education environment.

·         Sexual harassment is a form of harassment based on sex or gender identity.  It is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and/or other verbal, written, or physical conduct or communication of a sexual nature when:

a.    It is quid pro quo, meaning submission to such conduct or communication is made a term or condition, either explicitly or implicitly, of the basis for employment decisions or educational decisions or benefits for students (e.g., receiving a grade).

b.    It creates a hostile environment meaning unwelcome sexual conduct or communication that is sufficiently serious to deny or limit a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the school’s program(s).  For employees a hostile environment is created when submission to unwelcome sexual conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment.

·          Sexual harassment examples may include, but are not limited to:

a.      Sexual or "dirty" jokes

b.      Sexual advances

c.      Pressure for sexual favors

d.      Unwelcome touching, such as patting, pinching, or constant brushing against another's body

e.      Displaying or distributing of sexually explicit drawings, pictures, and written materials

f.      Graffiti of a sexual nature

g.      Sexual gestures

h.      Touching oneself sexually or talking about one's sexual activity in front of others

i.       Spreading rumors about or rating other’s sexual activity or performance

j.       Remarks about a person’s sexual orientation

k.       Sexual violence including, but not limited to, rape, sexual battery, sexual abuse, and sexual coercion

Complaint Filing Procedure

The Board shall create an informal and formal harassment and discrimination complaint filing procedure in board regulations.  Nothing in this policy or in the harassment/discrimination grievance procedure shall prevent an individual from pursuing redress through state and/or federal law.

Confidentiality

An individual wishing to file an anonymous harassment and/or discrimination complaint shall be advised that confidentiality will limit the district’s ability to fully respond to the complaint and that retaliation is prohibited.  The Superintendent shall perform a confidentiality analysis to determine when a request for confidentiality cannot be honored due to safety reasons or the district’s obligation to maintain a nondiscriminatory educational environment.  A harassment or discrimination investigation report is subject to the open records law after 60 days or when the investigation is complete (whichever comes first), with limited exceptions such as when the record is protected by FERPA.

Responsible Employees

The Superintendent shall identify school employees responsible for receiving and reporting discrimination and harassment incidents and complaints.  These individuals shall be listed in student handbooks and shall receive appropriate training on their reporting duties.

Policy Training and Dissemination

The Board authorizes the Superintendent to develop harassment and discrimination awareness training for students and employees.  In addition, the Superintendent shall display this policy and complementary grievance procedure in a prominent place in each district building and publish it in student and employee handbooks.

Nondiscrimination Coordinator

The Board designates the Superintendent as the Title IX and Nondiscrimination Coordinator.  S/he can be contacted at: PO Box 468, Lidgerwood, ND 58053-0468, 701-538-7341.  The Title IX/Nondiscrimination Coordinator and any other school official responsible for investigation of discrimination complaints shall receive appropriate training.


Complementary Documents

·                    AAC-BR, Discrimination & Harassment Grievance Procedure

·                    AAC-E, Filing a State or Federal Discrimination & Harassment Complaint

·                    FGDB, Student Handbooks

End of Lidgerwood School District #28 Policy AAC    

REQUIRED                                                                                Descriptor Code: AAC-BR

DISCRIMINATION & HARASSMENT GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE

The following procedure is designed to resolve harassment and discrimination complaints as defined in board policy in a prompt and equitable manner.  Board policy requires all students and staff to fully cooperate when asked to participate in a harassment investigation.

The procedure contained in these regulations supersedes the district’s complaints about personnel and bullying policies.

Retaliation Prohibited

The District prohibits retaliation for an individual’s participation in and/or initiation of a harassment/discrimination complaint investigation, including instances when a complaint is not substantiated. The consequences for violating this prohibition are delineated in policy.

Complaint Filing Format and Deadlines

Complaints can be filed verbally or in writing and should be filed as soon as a victim or witness of alleged harassment and/or discrimination becomes aware that alleged harassment or discrimination occurred.  Complaints must be filed within statutory deadlines contained in law.

To Whom Complaints May be Filed

Complaints may be filed with any responsible employee.  Each district school shall print a list of responsible employees in its student handbook.  Responsible employees are required to report any discrimination/harassment to the Superintendent when they knew (e.g., received a complaint, directly observed it) or should have known it was occurring (e.g., overheard students talking about an incident, saw discriminatory or harassing graffiti or vandalism on school property).  Failure by a responsible employee to report under this regulation may result in disciplinary action.

Initiating Complaint Resolution Procedure

After receiving a discrimination/harassment complaint or gaining knowledge of potentially discriminatory/harassing conduct, the Superintendent shall contact the complainant/victim, determine if an informal or formal investigation is appropriate, and determine if the complainant/victim requests confidentiality.  Requests for confidentiality shall be handled in accordance with policy AAC.

Prohibition on Meeting with the Accused

At no time during the informal or formal resolution process shall the complainant be required to meet with the accused.  If any school official listed in this regulation as responsible for conducting or overseeing the investigation is the accused, the Superintendent or Board President (if the Superintendent is the accused) shall designate a different individual (which may be a third party) to carry out the accused’s responsibilities associated with the investigation.

Third-Party Assistance

School officials responsible for conducting/overseeing discrimination/harassment investigations are authorized to receive assistance from the district’s legal counsel throughout the process.

Investigation Timeframes

The informal resolution procedure shall be completed within 30 days of a responsible employee reporting the complaint or incident to the Superintendent unless the investigator documents reasons for delays and communicates these reasons with the complainant and accused.  The formal resolution procedure shall be completed within 60 days of a responsible employee reporting the complaint or incident to the Superintendent or a complainant or accused terminating the informal complaint procedure unless the investigator documents reasons for delays and communicates these reasons with the complainant and accused.

Interim Measures

Pending the final outcome of an informal or formal investigation, the District shall institute interim measures to protect the complainant and inform him/her of support services available.  These interim measures should have minimum impact on the complainant.

Informal Resolution Procedure

This procedure shall not be used when the alleged discrimination or harassment may have constituted a crime.  This procedure shall only be used when mutually agreed to by complainant and the Superintendent.

During this process, the Superintendent shall only gather enough information to understand and resolve the complaint.  Based on this fact-gathering process, the Superintendent shall propose an informal solution, which may include, but not be limited to, requiring the accused to undergo training on harassment/ discrimination, requiring all students and staff to undergo such training, instituting protection mechanisms for the complainant, and/or holding a formal meeting with the accused to review the harassment/discrimination policy and discuss the implications of violating it.  Both the complainant and the accused must agree to the informal resolution before it can be instituted.

The Superintendent shall monitor the implementation and effectiveness of recommendations and initiate the formal resolution procedure below if harassment/discrimination persists.

Both the complainant and the accused have the right to terminate the informal procedure at any time to pursue a remedy under the formal grievance procedure.

Formal Resolution Procedure

Whenever alleged discrimination or harassment may have constituted a crime, the Superintendent should contact law enforcement and enter into a memorandum of understanding concerning sharing of evidence and coordination of the investigation.

The fact-gathering portion of the investigation shall be carried out by the Superintendent and shall consist of interviews with the complainant, the accused, and any others who may have witnessed or otherwise have knowledge of the circumstances giving rise to the alleged complaint and may involve gathering and review of information relevant to the complaint.  Both the complainant and accused will have equal opportunity to present evidence and name witnesses. Witnesses shall be instructed not to discuss this matter with others.

The fact-gathering portion of the investigation shall be completed within 15-20 calendar days or as soon as practical.  After gathering this information, the investigator shall determine if a recommendation for expulsion for an accused student or discharge for an accused teacher should be made.  If this recommendation is made, the hearing shall be held in accordance with district policy and law, except that both the complainant and accused shall have an equal right to attend the hearing, have parents/spouse (for employees) and a representative present, present evidence, and question witnesses.  The complainant may choose to watch the hearing remotely and appoint a representative to participate in the hearing in his/her stead.

Investigation Report:

After the fact-gathering process and, if applicable, hearing is complete, the Superintendent or hearing officer (if a hearing was held) shall complete a written report containing a determination of whether allegations were substantiated, whether the discrimination/harassment policy was violated, and recommendations for corrective action, if any.  These determinations shall be made on a case-by-case basis.  The Superintendent/hearing officer shall assess if discrimination/harassment more than likely occurred or did not occur based on, but not limited to, the following criteria:

1.            Whether evidence suggests a pattern of conduct supporting or disproving the allegations or harassment or discrimination.

2.            Whether behavior meets the definition of harassment, sexual harassment, and/or discrimination as defined in board policy.

3.            Ages of the parties involved.

4.            Relationship between the parties involved.

5.            Severity of the conduct.

6.            How often the conduct occurred, if applicable.

7.            How the District resolved similar complaints, if any, in the past.

Any disciplinary action shall be carried out in accordance with board policy, law, and, when applicable, the negotiated agreement.

The investigation letter shall indicate if any measures shall be instituted to protect the complainant.  Such measures may include, but not be limited to, extending any interim protection measures taken during the investigation.  The letter shall also inform the complainant of support services available.

The investigation letter shall contain a monitoring plan to evaluate the effectiveness of the resolution and help prevent recurrence.

The resolution listed in the investigation report shall be final and binding; however, nothing shall prevent the parties from seeking judicial redress through a court of compensate jurisdiction or through any applicable state or federal complaint procedures.

End of Lidgerwood School District #28 Board Reg. AAC-BR

EXHIBIT                                                                         Descriptor Code: AAC-E

FILING A STATE OR FEDERAL DISCRIMINATION & HARASSMENT COMPLAINT

Most employment-related discrimination or harassment complaints:

·           Statute of limitations is 300 days (NDCC 14-02.4-19)

·           Complaints should be filed with:

                North Dakota Department of Labor

                Human Rights Division

                600 East Boulevard Ave, Dept. 406

                Bismarck, ND 58505-0340

                Phone: (701) 328-2660 or 1-800-582-8032

Employee, student, or other person claiming to be aggrieved by a discriminatory practice with regard to public services or public accommodations:

·           Statute of limitations is 180 days (NDCC 14-02.4-19)

·           Complaints should be filed with:

                North Dakota Department of Labor

                Human Rights Division

                600 East Boulevard Ave, Dept. 406

                Bismarck, ND 58505-0340

                Phone: (701) 328-2660 or 1-800-582-8032

Student harassment or discrimination complaints related to programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance:

·           Statute of limitations is 180 days for most claims (28 CFR 35.170 and 34 CFR 100.7).  There  may be an exception for Section 504 claims.

·           Complaints should be filed with:

                Chicago Office for Civil Rights

                U.S. Department of Education

                Citigroup Center

                500 W. Madison Street, Suite 1475

                Chicago, IL 60661

            Telephone: 312-730-1560  Fax:  312-730-1576  TDD:  800-877-8339  

            email:  OCR.Chicago@ed.gov

End of Lidgerwood School District #28 Exhibit AAC-E