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Los Angeles COE |  BP  5145.7  Students

Sexual Harassment   

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Under Title IX, sexual harassment is defined as conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following: (1) An employee of LACOE conditioning the provision of a LACOE aid, benefit, or service on an individual's participation in unwelcome sexual conduct; (2) 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 recipient's education program or activity; or (3) "Sexual assault" as defined in 20 U.S.C. 1092(f)(6)(A)(v), "dating violence" as defined in 34 U.S.C. 12291(a)(10), "domestic violence" as defined in 34 U.S.C. 12291(a)(8), or "stalking" as defined in 34 U.S.C. 12291(a)(30).

Outside of the Title IX context, sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome attention of a sexual nature that interferes with the educational performance, learning environment and/or full participation in a LACOE program or activity by any individual. Sexual harassment may, for example, be physical (including but not limited to pinching, touching, patting, or blocking movements), visual (including but not limited to posters, cartoons, sketches, gestures or other visual displays of a clearly sexual nature), or verbal (including but not limited to spoken or written comments of a clearly sexual nature) and may be used to intimidate or to coerce.

Student Sexual Harassment

LACOE is committed to maintaining a safe school environment that is free from harassment and discrimination. LACOE prohibits, at school or at school-sponsored or school-related activities, sexual harassment targeted at any student by anyone. This includes student-to-student or peer sexual harassment as well as harassment between a student and any LACOE participant. Law enforcement will be contacted in actions involving suspected abuse. LACOE shall take all complaints of sexual harassment seriously, investigate and address identified sexual harassment, and if the investigation results in the determination that sexual harassment has occurred, take reasonable, immediate corrective action to stop the harassment, eliminate a hostile environment, and prevent future sexual harassment. LACOE also prohibits retaliatory behavior or action against any person who reports, files a complaint or testifies about, or otherwise supports a complainant in alleging sexual harassment. To the extent possible, complaints shall be kept confidential. For situations of harassment or suspected harassment involving LACOE staff, Superintendent Policy on Personnel is applicable.

(cf. 5141.4 - Child Abuse Prevention And Reporting)

(cf. 0410 - Nondiscrimination in LACOE Programs and Activities)

(cf. 5131 - Conduct)

(cf. 5131.2 - Bullying)

(cf. 5145.3 - Nondiscrimination/Harassment)

Sexual harassment can occur on school grounds, at a school-sponsored or school-related activity, or off-campus. Sexual harassment falls under Title IX if it occurs in a LACOE education program or activity, which includes locations, events, or circumstances over which LACOE exercises substantial control over both the respondent and the context in which the sexual harassment occurs. "Respondent" is defined by 34 CFR 106.30 to mean an individual who has been reported to be the perpetrator of conduct that could constitute sexual harassment.

Once notified of an off-campus instance of sexual harassment against a student, LACOE must assess whether there are any continuing effects on campus or in an off-campus education program or activity that are creating or contributing to a hostile environment; and, if so, address that hostile environment in the same manner in which it would address a hostile environment created by on-campus misconduct.

Examples of continuing effects of off-campus sexual harassment may include a perpetrator discussing off-campus harassing conduct with other students; anxiety caused by group assignments that subject a victim to additional contact with a perpetrator; or inappropriate social media posts that cross over into on-campus conversations. The more severe the conduct, the less need there is to show a repetitive series of incidents to prove a hostile environment. A single incident of off-campus sexual violence may create an on-campus hostile environment, where the perpetrator's mere presence on campus has the continuing effect of subjecting the victim to continued anxiety or trauma.

The foregoing procedure relating to continuing effects on campus would not apply to sexual harassment falling under Title IX.

LACOE strongly encourages students who feel that they are being or have been sexually harassed on school grounds or at a school-sponsored or school-related activity by another student or an adult, or who have experienced off-campus sexual harassment that has a continuing effect on campus, to immediately contact their teacher, the principal, LACOE's Title IX Coordinator, or any other available school employee. Contacting law enforcement may also be appropriate depending on the circumstances. Any employee who receives a report or observes an incident of sexual harassment shall notify the Title IX Coordinator.

Once notified, the Title IX Coordinator shall ensure the complaint is addressed through Title IX complaint procedures or uniform complaint procedures, as applicable, and shall offer supportive measures to the complainant. "Complainant" is defined by 34 CFR 106.30 to mean an individual who is alleged to be the victim of conduct that could constitute sexual harassment.

Legal Reference: Title VI, Title VII, Title IX, Education Code 40, 41, 221.5 et seq., 33032.5, 35294 et seq., 48900 et seq.

(cf. 5141.4 - Child Abuse Prevention And Reporting)

(cf. 1312.3 - Uniform Complaint Procedures)

(cf. 5145.71 - Title IX Sexual Harassment Complaint Procedures)

Complaints regarding sexual harassment shall be investigated and resolved in accordance with law and LACOE procedures specified in AR 1312.3 - Uniform Complaint Procedures or AR 5145.71 - Title IX Sexual Harassment Complaint Procedures, as appropriate. Each LACOE site is responsible for notifying students and parents/guardians that complaints of sexual harassment can be filed under AR 1312.3 or AR 5145.71 - Title IX Sexual Harassment Complaint Procedures, as appropriate, and where to obtain a copy of the procedures.

(cf. 1312.3 - Uniform Complaint Procedures)

(cf. 5145.71 - Title IX Sexual Harassment Complaint Procedures)

LACOE shall inform students and parents/guardians of LACOE's sexual harassment policy by disseminating it through parent/guardian notifications, publishing it on LACOE's website, and including it in student and staff handbooks. All LACOE staff shall be trained regarding the policy.

In taking action to reinforce LACOE's sexual harassment policy, staff will take the following actions:

1. Removing vulgar or offending graffiti

2. Providing training to students, staff, and parents/guardians about how to recognize harassment and how to respond

(cf. 4131/4231/4331 - Staff Development)

3. Consistent with the laws regarding the confidentiality of student and personnel records, communicating the school's response to parents/guardians and the community

(cf. 4119.23/4219.23/4319.23 - Unauthorized Release of Confidential/Privileged Information)

(cf. 5125 - Student Records)

4. Taking appropriate disciplinary action

In addition, disciplinary measures may be taken against any person who is found to have made a complaint of sexual harassment which he/she knew was not true.

(cf. 4118 - Suspension/Disciplinary Action)

(cf. 4218 - Dismissal/Suspension/Disciplinary Action)

(cf. 5144.1 - Suspension and Expulsion/Due Process)

(cf. 5144.2 - Suspension and Expulsion/Due Process (Students with Disabilities)

Instruction/Information

LACOE will ensure that all LACOE students receive age-appropriate instruction and information on sexual harassment. Such instruction and information shall include:

1. What acts and behavior constitute sexual harassment, including the fact that sexual harassment could occur between people of the same sex and could involve sexual violence

2. A clear message that students do not have to endure sexual harassment under any circumstance

3. Encouragement to report observed instances of sexual harassment, even when the victim of the harassment has not complained

4. A clear message that student safety is LACOE's primary concern, and that any separate rule violation involving an alleged victim or any other person reporting a sexual harassment incident will be addressed separately and will not affect the manner in which the sexual harassment complaint will be received, investigation, or resolved

5. A clear message that, regardless of a complainant's noncompliance with the writing, timeline, or other formal filing requirements, every sexual harassment allegation that involves a student, whether as the complainant, respondent, or victim of the harassment, shall be investigated and prompt action shall be taken to stop and/or respond to any harassment, prevent recurrence, and address any continuing effect on students

6. Information about LACOE's procedures for investigating complaints and the person(s) to whom a report of sexual harassment should be made

7. Information about the rights of students and parents/guardians to file a civil or criminal complaint, as applicable, including the right to file a civil or criminal complaint while LACOE's investigation of a sexual harassment complaint continues

8. A clear message that, when needed, LACOE will implement supportive measures to ensure a safe school environment for a student who is the complainant or victim of sexual harassment and/or other students during an investigation

(cf. 5137 - Positive School Climate)

(cf. 5145.3 - Nondiscrimination/Harassment)

(cf. 6142.1 - Sexual Health and HIV/AIDS Prevention Instruction)

Notice of LACOE Policy

A copy of the LACOE's sexual harassment policy and regulation shall:

1. Be included in the notifications that are sent to parents/guardians at the beginning of each school year (Education Code 48980; 5 CCR 4917)

2. Be displayed in a prominent location in the main administrative building or other area where notices of LACOE rules, regulations, procedures, and standards of conduct are posted (Education Code 231.5)

3. Be posted on the LACOE and school web sites and, when available, on LACOE-supported social media

4. Be provided as part of any orientation program conducted for student enrollment (Education Code 231.5)

5. Appear in any publication that sets forth the program/school's or LACOE's comprehensive rules, regulations, procedures, and standards of conduct (Education Code 231.5)

6. Be included in the specialized high school LACHSA and IPoly's student handbook

7. Be made available to the County Superintendent for distribution to employees and employee organizations

8. This Notice will include a statement of policy, definitions, how to file a complaint, confidentiality of any investigations into complaints, LACOE's policy against retaliation for complaints, and the disciplinary consequences of substantiated claims of harassment and false claims

Legal Reference: Title VI, Title IX, OCR Guidelines, Education Code 212.5, 221.5, 220, 230, 35294 et seq. [Stats. 1997, c. 736 (SB 187)], 48980.

Upon completion of an investigation of a sexual harassment complaint, any student found to have engaged in sexual harassment or sexual violence in violation of this policy shall be subject to disciplinary action. For students in grades 4-12, disciplinary action may include suspension and/or expulsion, provided that, in imposing such discipline, the entire circumstances of the incident(s) shall be taken into account.

(cf. 5144 - Discipline)

(cf. 5144.1 - Suspension and Expulsion/Due Process)

Upon investigation of a sexual harassment complaint, an employee found to have engaged in sexual harassment or sexual violence toward any student shall be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal, in accordance with law and the applicable collective bargaining agreement.

(cf. 5131 - Conduct)

(cf. 4117.7 - Employment Status Reports)

(cf. 4118 - Dismissal/Suspension/Disciplinary Action)

(cf. 4119.11/4219.11/4319.11 - Sexual Harassment)

(cf. 4218 - Dismissal/Suspension/Disciplinary Action)

To file a Title IX Complaint or for questions on this policy or related matters contact:

Jason Hasty, Title IX Coordinator

9300 Imperial Highway, EC-223

Downey, CA 90242

(562) 803-8450

hasty_jason@lacoe.edu

(cf. 5131 - Conduct)

(cf. 5144.1 - Suspension and Expulsion/Due Process)

(cf. 5144.2 - Suspension and Expulsion/Due Process (Students with Disabilities))

Confidentiality and Record-Keeping

All complaints and allegations of sexual harassment shall be kept confidential except as necessary to carry out the investigation or take other subsequent necessary action. (5 CCR 4964)

(cf. 4119.23/4219.23/4319.23 - Unauthorized Release of Confidential/Privileged Information)

(cf. 5125 - Student Records)

LACOE will maintain a record of all reported cases of sexual harassment to enable LACOE to monitor, address, and prevent repetitive harassing behavior in the schools.

(cf. 3580 - LACOE Records)

Legal Reference:

EDUCATION CODE

200-262.4 Prohibition of discrimination on the basis of sex

48900 Grounds for suspension or expulsion

48900.2 Additional grounds for suspension or expulsion; sexual harassment

48904 Liability of parent/guardian for willful student misconduct

48980 Notice at beginning of term

48985 Notices, report, statements and records in primary language

CIVIL CODE

51.9 Liability for sexual harassment; business, service and professional relationships

1714.1 Liability of parents/guardians for willful misconduct of minor

GOVERNMENT CODE

12950.1 Sexual harassment training

CODE OF REGULATIONS, TITLE 5

4600-4687 Uniform complaint procedures

4900-4965 Nondiscrimination in elementary and secondary education programs

UNITED STATES CODE, TITLE 20

1092 Definition of sexual assault

1221 Application of laws

1232g Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

1681-1688 Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972

UNITED STATES CODE, TITLE 34

12291 Definition of dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking

UNITED STATES CODE, TITLE 42

1983 Civil action for deprivation of rights

2000d-2000d-7 Title VI, Civil Rights Act of 1964

2000e-2000e-17 Title VII, Civil Rights Act of 1964 as amended

CODE OF FEDERAL REGULATIONS, TITLE 34

99.1-99.67 Family Educational Rights and Privacy

106.1-106.82 Nondiscrimination on the basis of sex in education programs

COURT DECISIONS

Donovan v. Poway Unified School District, (2008) 167 Cal.App.4th 567

Flores v. Morgan Hill Unified School District, (2003, 9th Cir.) 324 F.3d 1130

Reese v. Jefferson School District, (2000, 9th Cir.) 208 F.3d 736

Davis v. Monroe County Board of Education, (1999) 526 U.S. 629

Gebser v. Lago Vista Independent School District, (1998) 524 U.S. 274

Oona by Kate S. v. McCaffrey, (1998, 9th Cir.) 143 F.3d 473

Doe v. Petaluma City School District, (1995, 9th Cir.) 54 F.3d 1447

Management Resources:

CSBA PUBLICATIONS

Providing a Safe, Nondiscriminatory School Environment for Transgender and Gender-Nonconforming Students, Policy Brief, February 2014

Safe Schools: Strategies for Governing Boards to Ensure Student Success, 2011

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, OFFICE FOR CIVIL RIGHTS PUBLICATIONS

Questions and Answers on Title IX and Sexual Violence, April 2014

Dear Colleague Letter: Sexual Violence, April 4, 2011

Sexual Harassment: It's Not Academic, September 2008

Revised Sexual Harassment Guidance: Harassment of Students by School Employees, Other Students, or Third Parties, January 2001

WEB SITES

CSBA: http://www.csba.org

California Department of Education: http://www.cde.ca.gov

U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights: http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr

Policy LOS ANGELES COUNTY OFFICE OF EDUCATION

adopted: August 18, 2020 Downey, California