Ackerman issues school anti-harassment directive in response to GLAA
825 N. CAPITOL STREET, N.E.
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20002
ORIGINATING OFFICE: OFFICE OF THE SUPERINTENDENT
DATE: March 29, 2000
SUBJECT: Harassment and Sexual Harassment against Students
The District of Columbia Public School (DCPS) system is committed to providing all students with a safe and supportive environment. Members of the school community, including teachers, students, administrators and staff, are expected to treat each other with mutual respect at all times.
This directive is issued as guidance on conduct that may give rise to complaints of harassment generally, and sexual harassment specifically, and the steps that school officers, parents, teachers, and students should take in responding to such conduct and/or complaints.
I. Harassment of Students By Employees or Other Students Defined
Harassment is a violation of school policy, and means verbal, nonverbal, and physical conduct that substantially interferes with a student's educational performance or creates an intimidating or hostile environment. This included, but is not limited to, harassment based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, family responsibilities, matriculation, political affiliation, disability, source of income, or place of residence or business.
II. Sexual Harassment of Student by Employees or Other Students Defined
Sexual harassment of students is prohibited in the District of Columbia Public Schools. Sexual harassment of students may include, but not limited to, unwelcome sexual advances, verbal sexual behavior, or nonverbal sexual behavior, that is tied to a student's education, or which creates an intimidating or hostile environment.
III. Sanctions for Harassment and/or Sexual Harassment Of Students by Students
Harassment generally, and sexual harassment specifically, by students against students is specifically prohibited by the student discipline provisions of 5 DCMR §2503.2, Level II Infractions, and constitutes grounds for disciplinary options and/or class exclusion as set forth in those provisions. Harassment generally, and sexual harassment specifically, may also include behavior which gives rise to Level I, other Level II, and/or mandatory expulsion infractions under the rules for Student Discipline in 5 DCMR §§2500 et seq.
All such conduct by students will be subject to the disciplinary provisions of Sections 2503.1, 2503.2, and 2504, except as limited or precluded by other provisions of Title 5 of the DCMR relating to the discipline of a student with a disability, and the Individuals with Disabilities Act, 20 U.S.C. §1415.
When a student is subject to discipline pursuant to 5 DCMR §§2500 et seq., the procedures to be used are as set forth in that chapter.
IV. Sanctions for Harassment and/or Sexual Harassment of Students by Employees
Harassment generally, and sexual harassment specifically, of students by employees is specifically prohibited by this directive and DCPS policy. Such conduct by employees will be subject to adverse action provisions set forth in 5 DCMR §§1401 et seq., and may lead to adverse action up to, and including, termination of employment.
V. Grievance Procedures for Harassment and/or Sexual Harassment of Students
Complaints of harassment generally, and sexual harassment specifically, of students by students, employees or other persons may result in an allegation of denial or abridgement of student rights as set forth in 5 DCMR §§2401.1 et seq. Therefore, students and parents/guardians may avail themselves of the student grievance procedures set forth in Chapter 24 of Title 5 of the DCMR, 5 DCMR §§2405.1 et seq., when applicable.
Additionally, students and parents/guardians, who believe that a student has been subjected to unlawful harassment generally, or sexual harassment specifically, may contact the DCPS Equal Employment Opportunity Officer at (202) 442-5454. They may also contact the Office of Civil Rights of the Department of Education at (202) 208-2545, P.O. Box 14620, Washington, DC 20044-4620.
VI. Distribution of the Directive
The Office of Human Resources must ensure that newly appointed employees receive a copy of this directive.
Principals and other school officers must post a copy of this directive, and ensure that students, teachers, nurses and other staff members are aware of the provisions of this directive.
All central offices must post a copy of this directive, and ensure that staff members are aware of its provisions.
Principals and other school officers must provide copies of the directive to the Local School Restructuring Team and to the elected leader of any local school parents' group.