It is the policy of Smithfield Public Schools, as well as state, federal and local law, (including, but not limited to, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 As Amended, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Rhode Island General Law 28-5.1, Fair Employment Practices Act, Rhode Island Public Law Title 16-38-1.1, and the Carl Perkins Act) that sexual harassment of a student, present or prospective employee, or visitor shall not be tolerated.
SEXUAL HARASSMENT shall consist of unwelcome or unsolicited sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other inappropriate verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:
- Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or education, or when;
- Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for academic or employment decisions affecting that individual, or when;
- Such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s academic or professional performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive employment or education environment.
AT SCHOOL means:
- on school premises,
- at any school sponsored activity or event whether or not it is held on school premises,
- on a school transportation vehicle,
- at an official school bus stop,
- using property or equipment provided by the school, or
- acts which create a material and substantial disruption of the education process or the orderly operation of the school.
Annually, the school district will provide training on the Smithfield Sexual Harassment Policy to all staff members. Additionally, the health curricula at all grades will include age-appropriate content related to this topic.
Employees are expected to report alleged sexual harassment to an administrator; in turn the Title IX compliance officer shall be informed. The victim, anyone who witnesses an incidence, and anyone who has credible information that an act of dating violence or sexual assault has taken place may file a report. (See attached Incident Form)
- Title IX Compliance Officer: Sara Monaco, Assistant Superintendent, 231-6606
- State Affirmative Action Officer: Raymond Lambert, 222-3090
- Federal Affirmative Action Officer: Regional Director, 617-223-9667
The superintendent or his/her designee will thoroughly investigate the report of alleged sexual harassment as promptly as possible. The superintendent or his/her designee will take appropriate action to temporarily remedy any situation that may include suspension until a hearing may take place before the superintendent. The complaining employee, student, or the parents of such student shall be notified of the action taken. After the investigation, the superintendent or his/her designee will meet with the complaining employee(s) or student individually to explain the results of the investigation.
- Any allegation of sexual harassment brought to the attention of an appropriate school administrator will be promptly investigated in a confidential manner so as to protect the privacy of all persons involved including but not limited to the victim, the accused and the reporting person(s). Confidentiality will be maintained throughout the investigatory process to the extent practical and appropriate under the circumstances.
- In pursuing the investigation, the school administrator shall consider the desires of the complainant but shall thoroughly and impartially investigate the complaint as he/she determines to be expeditious and effective.
- Steps to be taken in the investigation will include:
- Confirm the name and position of complainant
- Identify the alleged harasser
- Ascertain all facts that explain what happened; including, but not limited to, when, where and what acts are alleged to have occurred
- Question in a non-judgmental manner
- Determine the frequency, type, scope and severity of the alleged act and the ages of the accused and the victim
- Determine if there were any witnesses who observed the alleged harassment
- Determine whether the victim consulted with anyone else about the alleged acts and identify the person who received the complaint and their response to the disclosure.
- Consider and investigate whether the effects of harassment may have occurred outside the school.
- Consider providing interim measures to an alleged victim during the investigation when deemed appropriate.
The Smithfield School Department shall maintain a complete record for each complaint. Written records shall be maintained in a confidential manner and will be maintained for three years from the date of the resolution of an investigation unless new circumstances dictate that the file should be kept for a longer period of time. Such written records are in addition to disciplinary letters placed in personnel files and student disciplinary records maintained in a student information system.
RESOLVING THE COMPLAINT
The Smithfield School Department will take reasonably calculated steps to end any discrimination or harassment that has been found and prevent the recurrence of such discrimination or harassment and correct its discriminatory effects on the complainant and others, if appropriate. If the appropriate administrator along with any appropriate reviewing authority, finds that a violation of this policy occurred, the accused will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action.
Penalties in Cases of Sexual Harassment Remedial actions will depend on the severity of the incident(s). Because of the private nature of certain incidents, particularly those involving sexual harassment, and the emotional and moral complexities surrounding such issues, every effort will be made to resolve problems on an informal basis, if possible. When a grievance is resolved informally, only a short summary of the incident will be maintained on file. An admission of guilt, an acknowledgement of the verbal warning, a promise not to commit such abuse again, and action taken to provide appropriate relief for the grievant may be sufficient resolution. At this informal stage, it is hoped to sensitize the person at fault to the effects of such behavior, to be constructive and not unduly punitive in the disciplinary action. For employees, if informal resolutions are not adhered to or if the allegations involve conduct for which informal resolutions are not appropriate, the superintendent may deem it necessary to take appropriate action that can include formal letters of reprimand, suspension, discharge or other disciplinary action. For students, if informal resolutions are not adhered to or if the allegations involve conduct for which informal resolutions are not appropriate, the superintendent or principal may deem it necessary to take appropriate action that can include suspension or other disciplinary action.