Discrimination-Title IX, Chapter 622 Regulations
In accordance with Title IX regulations of the Education Amendments of 1972, and Chapter 622 of the General Laws of Massachusetts, Acts of 1971, Haverhill Public Schools re-states its adherence to the following policies:
Title IX states “No person in the United States shall on the basis of sex be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal funds.”
Chapter 622 of the General Laws States: “No person shall be excluded from or discriminated against in admission to a public school of any town, or in obtaining the advantages, privileges and courses of study of such public school on account of race, color, sex, religion or national origin.”
Notice of Nondiscrimination
Haverhill Public Schools does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, national origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, homelessness, or disability in admission to, access to, employment in, or treatment in its programs and activities.
Title IX Notice and Procedures
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 states:
No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance. 20 USC §1681.
Sexual harassment, including sexual violence, is unlawful sex discrimination. As required by Title IX and in compliance with Title IX, the Haverhill Public Schools (HPS) does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its education programs or activities including in its admission or employment practices. Inquiries regarding the application of Title IX to the HPS’s education program and activities are directed to the Title IX Coordinator.
The following conduct constitutes sexual harassment:
- A school employee conditioning an educational benefit or service upon a person’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct (often called “quid pro quo” harassment);
- Unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the school’s education program or activity; or
- Sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking (as those offenses are defined in the Clery Act, 20 U.S.C. § 1092(f), and the Violence Against Women Act, 34 U.S.C. § 12291(a)).
How to Report Sex Discrimination, including Sexual Harassment
Any person may report sex discrimination, including sexual harassment in person, by mail, by telephone, or by electronic mail, to the Title IX Coordinator, or by any other means that results in the Title IX Coordinator receiving the person’s verbal or written report. Reports may be made at any time by using the telephone number or electronic mail address, or by mail to the office address, listed for the Title IX Coordinators.
Safe and Supportive Schools Liaison
Title IX Coordinator
Haverhill Public Schools
4 Summer Street, Room 104
Haverhill, MA 01830 978-228-0432
How to File a Formal Complaint of Sexual Harassment
A complainant may file a formal complaint with the Title IX Coordinator by mail, email, telephone or in person. The Title IX Coordinator may also initiate a formal complaint.
Complainant means an individual who is alleged to be the victim of conduct that could constitute sexual harassment.
Respondent means an individual who has been reported to be the perpetrator of conduct that could constitute sexual harassment.
Formal complaint means a document filed by a complainant or signed by the Title IX Coordinator alleging sexual harassment against a respondent and requesting that Haverhill Public Schools investigate the allegation.
How HPS will respond:
The Title IX Coordinator will promptly contact the complainant to discuss the availability of supportive measures.
Supportive measures means non-disciplinary, non-punitive individualized services offered as appropriate, as reasonably available, and without fee or charge to the complainant or the respondent. Supportive measures are offered whether or not the complainant files a formal complaint and are designed to restore or preserve equal access to the education program or activity without unreasonably burdening the other party, including measures designed to protect the safety of all parties or the educational environment, or deter sexual harassment. The Title IX Coordinator is responsible for coordinating the effective implementation of supportive measures.
The Title IX Coordinator will consider the complainant’s wishes with respect to supportive measures, inform the complainant of the availability of supportive measures with or without the filing of a formal complaint, and explain to the complainant the process for filing a formal complaint. The Title IX Coordinator must treat complainants and respondents equitably and offer supportive measures to the complainant and respondent.
The HPS may remove a respondent from school or an activity on an emergency basis, provided that the an individualized safety and risk analysis determines that there is an immediate threat to the physical health or safety of any student or other individual. Respondents removed on an emergency basis will receive notice and an opportunity to challenge the decision immediately following the removal. This provision may not modify any rights for students with disabilities.
In response to a formal complaint, HPS will adhere to the following grievance process.
Upon receipt of a formal complaint, the Title IX Coordinator will provide written notice to the parties who are known. The written notice shall include:
- Notice of the grievance process, including notice of informal resolution process;
- Notice of the allegations that includes sufficient details known at the time and with sufficient time to prepare a response before any initial interview;
- Notice that the respondent is presumed not responsible for the alleged conduct and that a determination regarding responsibility is made at the conclusion of the grievance process.
- Notice that the parties may have an advisor of their choice and may inspect and review evidence; and
- Notice that the HPS code of conduct prohibits knowingly making false statements or knowingly submitting false information during the grievance process.
If any new allegations arise during the grievance process, the Title IX Coordinator will provide written notice of the additional allegations to the parties whose identities are known.
The HPS will investigate the allegations in the formal complaint. HPS will use trained personnel to objectively evaluate all relevant evidence without prejudgment of the facts at issue and free from conflicts of interest or bias for or against either party.
The HPS may dismiss the formal complaint if:
- The conduct alleged would not constitute sexual harassment even if proved, did not occur in a HPS education program or activity, or did not occur in the United States.
- The complainant notifies the Title IX Coordinator in writing that the complainant would like to withdraw the formal complaint of any of the allegations in the formal complaint, or if the respondent is no longer enrolled or employed by the HPS; or specific circumstances prevent the recipient from gathering evidence sufficient to reach a determination as to the formal complaint.
Upon a dismissal, the Title IX Coordinator will promptly send written notice for the dismissal and reason(s) therefore simultaneously to the parties.
When investigating a formal complaint and throughout the grievance process, the HPS will:
- Apply a presumption of innocence, and ensure that the burden of proof and the burden of gathering evidence rests on the HPS and not on the parties;
- Provide an equal opportunity for the parties to present witnesses, including fact and expert witnesses, and other inculpatory and exculpatory evidence;
- Not restrict the ability of either party to discuss the allegations under investigation or to gather and present relevant evidence;
- Protect parties’ privacy by requiring a party’s written consent before using the party’s medical, psychological or similar treatment records during the grievance process;
- Provide the parties with the same opportunities to have others present during any grievance proceeding, including the opportunity to be accompanied to any related meeting or proceeding by the advisor of their choice, who may be, but is not required to be, an attorney;
- Provide, to a party whose participation is invited or expected, written notice of the date, time, location, participants, and purpose of all hearings, investigative interviews, or other meetings, with sufficient time for the party to prepare to participate;
- Provide both parties an equal opportunity to inspect and review any evidence obtained as part of the investigation that is directly related to the allegations raised in a formal complaint;
- Prior to the completion of an investigative report, send to each party and the party’s advisor, the evidence subject to inspection and review and provide the parties at least 10 days to submit a written response, which the investigator will consider prior to completion of the investigative report.
- Create an investigative report that fairly summarizes relevant evidence for their review and written response.
The investigator shall strive to complete investigations within thirty (30) school days of the filing of the formal complaint. Although the District’s goal is to complete investigations generally within thirty (30) school days, the time may be extended for good cause upon written notice to the complainant and respondent. Additionally, the timeline for investigation may be suspended during any informal resolution procedure or meeting.
Determination regarding responsibility:
- The decision-maker, who shall not be the investigator or the Title IX Coordinator, will provide each party the opportunity to submit written, relevant questions that a party wants asked of any party or witness, provide each party with the answers, and allow for additional, limited follow-up questions from each party. Complainants may not be asked inappropriate questions about prior sexual history. The decision-maker(s) must explain to the party proposing the questions any decision to exclude a question as not relevant.
- The decision-maker must issue a written determination regarding responsibility. To reach this determination, the decision maker shall apply a preponderance of the evidence standard. Preponderance of the evidence means that it is more likely than not that the alleged conduct occurred.
- The decision maker shall review all of the evidence and issue a written determination within fifteen (15) school days of receipt of the matter from the investigator, absent extenuating circumstances.
- The Title IX Coordinator is responsible for effective implementation of any remedies.
Either party may appeal the determination regarding responsibility (or from a dismissal) on the following grounds:
- Procedural irregularity that affected the outcome of the matter;
- New evidence that was not reasonably available at the time the determination regarding responsibility or dismissal was made, that could affect the outcome of the matter; and
- The Title IX Coordinator, investigator(s), or decision-maker(s) had a conflict of interest or bias for or against the complainant or respondents generally or the individually that affected the outcome of the matter.
Appeals must be submitted to the Title IX Coordinator within five (5) school days of receipt of the written determination and contain a written statement in support or challenge of the outcome. In the event of an appeal, the Title IX Coordinator will notify the other party in writing when an appeal is filed and implement appeal procedures equally for both parties.
An informal resolution process is available when a formal complaint is filed. Informal resolution process is available without a full investigation and nothing in the informal process shall preclude the parties from resuming a formal complaint process. Participation is voluntary and written consent is required. An informal resolution process is not permitted to resolve allegations that an employee sexually harassed a student.
The HPS will maintain records regarding sexual harassment reports and complaints for a period of seven years.
Retaliation is prohibited against any individual, including complainants, respondents, and witnesses for reporting sexual harassment, participating (or refusing to participate) in any investigation/grievance process. Individuals may report retaliation to the Title IX Coordinator who will investigate and take measures to protect individuals from retaliation.
Complaints of Discrimination and/or Harassment on the basis of sex may also be reported to:
The Office for Civil Rights, US Department of Education
5 Post Office Square, 8th Floor
Boston, MA 02109-3921
Telephone: 617-289-0111, FAX: 617-289-0150
Electronic Mail: OCR.Boston@ed.gov
Discrimination/Harrassment Complaint Procedures
I. WHERE TO FILE A COMPLAINT
Any Haverhill Public School student, employee, or third party who believes that a Haverhill Public School student, employee, or third party has discriminated against or harassed them because of their race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age in admission to, access to, treatment in, or employment in its services, programs, or activities may file a complaint with:
Chief of Teaching, Learning, and Leading
Haverhill Public Schools
4 Summer Street, Room 104
Haverhill, MA 01830 978-374-3400
504 Coordinator (for complaints regarding disability based discrimination)
Deborah Ibanez, M.Ed, CAGS
Executive Director of Student Support Services
Haverhill Public Schools (978) 374-3400 x1947
Title IX Coordinator (for complaints regarding sex based discrimination)
Safe and Supportive Schools Liaison
Title IX Coordinator
Haverhill Public Schools
4 Summer Street, Room 104
Haverhill, MA 01830 978-228-0432
II. CONTENTS OF COMPLAINTS AND TIMELINES FOR FILING
Complaints under this procedure must be filed within twenty (20) days of the alleged discrimination or harassment. Complaints filed after this 20 day period will be accepted, however, the investigation may be impacted due to the passage of time. Complaints may be submitted orally or in writing. The complainant may select another person to help with the filing of the complaint. Any responsible employee who receives an oral complaint will memorialize the allegations in writing and forward the written allegations to the Office of the Superintendent or the Superintendent’s designee by the following school day. The written complaint should include the following information:
- The name and grade level (or address and telephone number if not a student or employee) of the complainant;
- The name (and address and telephone number if not a student or employee) of the complainant’s representative, if any;
- The name(s) of the person(s) alleged to have committed or caused the discriminatory or harassing action, or event (respondent);
- A description, in as much detail as possible, of the alleged discrimination or harassment;
- The date(s), time(s), and location(s) of the alleged discrimination or harassment;
- The names of all persons who have knowledge about the alleged discrimination or harassment (witnesses) as can be reasonably determined; and
- A description, in as much detail as possible, of how the complainant wishes to see the matter resolved.
III. INVESTIGATIONS AND RESOLUTION OF THE COMPLAINT
Complaints will be investigated promptly and resolved as quickly as possible.
Due process procedures apply to issues of identification, evaluation, and placement under Section 504. Any person who alleges discrimination on the basis of a disability relative to the identification, evaluation, or educational placement of a person, who because of a disability is believed to need regular or special instruction and related aids or services, pursuant to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Massachusetts General Law chapter 71B, and/or the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, may use the procedure outlined in the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary
Education’s Parents’ Rights Brochure, rather than this procedure. Information on this alternative process may be obtained from the Director of Student Services for the Haverhill Public Schools.
The Discrimination/Harassment Complaint Procedure applies to issues of disability discrimination and harassment, as well as other forms of discrimination/harassment including race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age. Respondents will be informed of the charges as soon as the grievance officer deems appropriate based upon the nature of the allegations, the investigation required, and the action contemplated, and in no case later than fifteen (15) school days following receipt of the complaint. The grievance officer will interview witnesses who are deemed to be necessary and appropriate to determine the facts relevant to the complaint, and will gather other pertinent information. Interviews of students will be conducted in such a way as to reflect the age and emotional condition of the student. The complainant(s) and respondent(s) shall have an equal opportunity to present witnesses and other evidence. Such interviews and gathering of information will be completed within fifteen (15) school days of the receipt of the complaint.
Within twenty (20) school days of receiving the complaint, the grievance officer will meet with the complainant and/or his/her representative and the respondent and/or his/her representative to review information gathered and, if appropriate, to propose a resolution designed to stop the discrimination or harassment, prevent its recurrence and to correct its effect.
Within ten (10) school days of meeting with the complainant and/or his/her representative and the respondent and/or his/her representative, the grievance officer will provide written disposition of the complaint to the complainant and/or his/her representative and to the respondent(s) and/or his/her representative, including a statement regarding whether the complaint was found to be credible and whether discrimination was found to have occurred. Where the grievance officer finds that discrimination has occurred, Haverhill Public Schools will take steps that are reasonably calculated to end discrimination that has been found; prevent recurrence of any discrimination, and correct its discriminatory effects on the complainant and others, if appropriate. The grievance officer will contact the complainant within 10 school days following conclusion of the investigation to assess whether there has been on-going discrimination or retaliation, and to determine whether additional supportive measures are needed. If the grievance officer determines that additional supportive measures are needed, he or she shall offer such measures to the complainant within fifteen school days following conclusion of the investigation.
Notwithstanding the above, it is understood that in the event a resolution contemplated by the grievance officer involves disciplinary action against an individual, the complainant will not be informed of such disciplinary action, unless it directly involves the complainant (e.g., a directive to “stay away” from the complainant, as might occur as a result of a complaint of harassment). Any disciplinary action imposed upon an individual will be subject to applicable procedural requirements. All the timelines indicated above will be implemented as specified, unless the nature of the investigation or exigent circumstances prevent such implementation in which case the matter will be completed as quickly as practicable. If the timelines specified above are not met, the reason(s) for not meeting them must be clearly documented.
Confidentiality of complainants/respondents and witnesses will be maintained, to the extent consistent with the obligations of the Haverhill Public Schools relating to the investigation of complaints and the due process rights of individuals affected.
IV. RETALIATION PROHIBITED
Retaliation against someone because he/she has filed a complaint under this procedure is strictly forbidden. Retaliation against someone who has participated in an investigation is strictly prohibited. Haverhill Public Schools will take appropriate steps as necessary to prevent retaliation. Acts of retaliation may result in disciplinary action, up to and including suspension or expulsion/discharge.
Upon request, the grievance officer will provide the complainant with the names and addresses of those state and federal agencies which handle discrimination and harassment matters.