Harassment and bullying of students and employees are against federal, state and local policy, and are not tolerated by the board. The board is committed to providing all students with a safe and civil school environment in which all members of the school community are treated with dignity and respect. To that end, the board has in place policies, procedures, and practices that are designed to reduce and eliminate bullying and harassment as well as processes and procedures to deal with incidents of bullying and harassment. Bullying and harassment of students by other students, by school employees, and by volunteers who have direct contact with students will not be tolerated in the school or school district.
The board prohibits harassment, bullying, hazing, or any other victimization, of students, based on any of the following actual or perceived traits or characteristics, including but not limited to, age, color, creed, national origin, race, religion, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical attributes, physical or mental ability or disability, ancestry, political party preference, political belief, socioeconomic status, or familial status. Harassment against employees based upon the employee’s race, color, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, religion, age or disability is also prohibited.
This policy is in effect while students or employees are on property within the jurisdiction of the board; while on school-owned or school-operated vehicles; while attending or engaged in school-sponsored activities; and while away from school grounds if the misconduct directly affects the good order, efficient management and welfare of the school or school district.
If, after an investigation, a student is found to be in violation of this policy, the student shall be disciplined by appropriate measures which may include suspension or expulsion. If after an investigation a school employee is found to be in violation of this policy, the employee shall be disciplined by appropriate measures which may include, termination. If after an investigation a school volunteer is found to be in violation of this policy, the volunteer shall be subject to appropriate measures which may include, exclusion from school grounds. “Volunteer” means an individual who has regular, significant contact with students.
When looking at the totality of the circumstances, harassment and bullying mean any electronic, written, verbal, or physical act or conduct toward a student which is based on any actual or perceived trait or characteristic of the student and which creates an objectively hostile school environment that meets one or more of the following conditions:
- • Places the student in reasonable fear of harm to the student’s person or property;
- • Has a substantially detrimental effect on the student’s physical or mental health;
- • Has the effect of substantially interfering with the student’s academic performance; or
- • Has the effect of substantially interfering with the student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or privileges provided by a school.
“Electronic” means any communication involving the transmission of information by wire, radio, optical cable, electromagnetic, or other similar means. “Electronic” includes but is not limited to communication via electronic mail, internet-based communications, pager service, cell phones, electronic text messaging or similar technologies.
Harassment and bullying may include, but are not limited to, the following behaviors and circumstances:
- • Repeated remarks of a demeaning nature;
- • Implied or explicit threats concerning one's grades, achievements, property, etc.;
- • Demeaning jokes, stories, or activities directed at the student; and/or,
- • Unreasonable interference with a student's performance.
Sexual harassment of a student by an employee means unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:
- • Submission to the conduct is made either implicitly or explicitly a term or condition of the student’s education or benefits;
- • Submission to or rejection of the conduct is used as the basis for academic decisions affecting that student; or,
- • The conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with the student’s academic performance by creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive education environment.
In situations between students and school officials, faculty, staff, or volunteers who have direct contact with students, bullying and harassment may also include the following behaviors:
- • Requiring that a student submit to bullying or harassment by another student, either explicitly or implicitly, as a term or condition of the targeted student’s education or participation in school programs or activities; and/or,
- • Requiring submission to or rejection of such conduct as a basis for decisions affecting the student.
Any person who promptly, reasonably, and in good faith reports an incident of bullying or harassment under this policy to a school official, shall be immune from civil or criminal liability relating to such report and to the person’s participation in any administrative, judicial, or other proceeding relating to the report. Individuals who knowingly file a false complaint may be subject to appropriate disciplinary action.
Retaliation against any person, because the person has filed a bullying or harassment complaint or assisted or participated in a harassment investigation or proceeding, is also prohibited. Individuals who knowingly file false harassment complaints and any person who gives false statements in an investigation shall be subject to discipline by appropriate measures, as shall any person who is found to have retaliated against another in violation of this policy. Any student found to have retaliated in violation of this policy shall be subject to measures up to, and including, suspension and expulsion. Any school employee found to have retaliated in violation of this policy shall be subject to measures up to, and including, termination of employment. Any school volunteer found to have retaliated in violation of this policy shall be subject to measures up to, and including, exclusion from school grounds.
The school or school district will promptly and reasonably investigate allegations of bullying or harassment. The principal or designee will be responsible for handling all complaints by students alleging bullying or harassment. The superintendent or designee will be responsible for handling all complaints by employees alleging harassment.
It also is the responsibility of the superintendent, in conjunction with the investigator and principals, to develop procedures regarding this policy. The superintendent also is responsible for organizing training programs for students, school officials, faculty, staff, and volunteers who have direct contact with students. The training will include how to recognize harassment and what to do in case a student is harassed. It will also include proven effective harassment prevention strategies. The superintendent will also develop a process for evaluating the effectiveness of the policy in reducing bullying and harassment in the school district.
The board will annually publish this policy. The policy may be publicized by the following means:
- • Inclusion in the student handbook,
- • Inclusion in the employee handbook
- • Inclusion in the registration materials
- • Inclusion on the school or school district’s web site,
and a copy shall be made to any person at the central administrative office at 819 North 16th Street, Denison, Iowa.
Legal References: 20 U.S.C. §§ 1221-1234i (2012).
29 U.S.C. § 794 (2012).
42 U.S.C. §§ 2000d-2000d-7 (2012).
42 U.S.C. §§ 12101 2et. seq. (2012).
Iowa Code §§ 216.9; 280.28; 280.3 (2013).
281 I.A.C. 12.3(6).
Morse v. Frederick, 127 S.Ct. 2618 (2007)
Cross References: 502 Student Rights and Responsibilities
503 Student Discipline
506 Student Records