It is the policy of the Everett Public Schools to provide a learning and working environment free from discrimination and harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, genetic information, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, veteran status, age, or homelessness. Discrimination and/or harassment of staff, students, and third-parties occurring on school grounds or in connection with school programs is unlawful and will not be tolerated by the District. Further, any retaliation against an individual who has complained about discrimination, harassment, or retaliation against individuals for cooperating with an investigation under this policy is similarly unlawful and will not be tolerated.
The Everett Public Schools strictly enforces a prohibition against harassment and discrimination, sexual or otherwise, of any of its students or employees by anyone, including any fellow student, teacher, supervisor, co-worker, vendor, or other third party, as such conduct is contrary to the mission of the Everett Public Schools and its commitment to equal opportunity in education and employment. Because the Everett Public Schools takes allegations of discrimination and harassment seriously, we will respond promptly to complaints of inappropriate conduct, and where it is determined that such conduct has occurred, we will act promptly to eliminate the conduct and impose such corrective action as is necessary, including disciplinary action where appropriate. Claims of retaliation will be investigated pursuant to this policy and procedures.
Discrimination and harassment consists of unwelcome conduct, whether verbal or physical, that is based on a characteristic protected by law, such as race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, genetic information, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, disability, age, veteran status, or homelessness. Prohibited behavior includes, without limitation, slurs or other derogatory comments, objects, pictures, cartoons, or demeaning gestures connected to one's membership in a protected group. The Everett Public Schools will not tolerate harassing or discriminatory conduct that affects employment or educational conditions, that interferes unreasonably with an individual’s school or work performance, or that creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or school environment.
Reference to “harassment” shall also include “sexual harassment”. Sexual Harassment means sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when: (a) submission to or rejection of such advances, requests, or conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of employment or as a basis for employment decisions; or, (b) such advances, requests, or conduct have the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance by creating an intimidating, hostile, humiliating, or sexually offensive work environment. Prohibited behavior includes, without limitation, and depending upon the totality of the circumstances including the severity of the conduct and its pervasiveness: unwelcome sexual advances; sexual epithets, jokes, written or oral references to sexual conduct, and/or gossip regarding one’s sex life; a comment on an individual’s body, sexual activity, deficiencies, and/or prowess; displaying sexually suggestive objects, pictures, and/or cartoons; unwelcome leering, whistling, brushing against the body, sexual gestures, and/or suggestive or insulting comments; inquiries into one's sexual experiences; and/or discussion of one’s sexual activities.
Discrimination and/or harassment of employees or students occurring in the schools or workplace is prohibited by law and will not be tolerated by the Everett Public Schools. For purposes of this policy, “workplace” or “school” includes school- sponsored social events, trips, sports events, work related travel or similar events connected with school or employment. Further, any retaliation against an individual who has complained about discrimination, harassment, or retaliation, or any retaliation against any individual who has cooperated with an investigation of a discrimination, harassment, or retaliation complaint, is similarly unlawful and will not be tolerated.
All complaints shall be processed in a fair, expeditious and confidential manner. Staff, student, or third-party complaints of discrimination or harassment based upon race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, genetic information, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, disability, age, veteran status, or homelessness should be brought to the District’s Discrimination/Harassment Complaint Coordinator: the Human Resource Director, Title IX Coordinator. Complaints may be made verbally or in writing to the Coordinator or the Coordinator’s designee, who has authority to investigate all grievances. If the complaint concerns allegations against the Coordinator, then the complaint should be brought to the Superintendent. Complaints should be made promptly, within a short time after the occurrence giving rise to the complaint, to assure a prompt investigation and fair resolution.
A student who believes that he/she is the victim of harassment may also report the matter to a teacher, counselor, or administrator who in turn will notify the Building Principal in the school. As an alternative, a student may report directly to the Building Principal or the District’s Discrimination/Harassment Complaint Coordinator.
All employees of the Everett Public Schools must respond to suspected harassment and/or complaints by students of harassment by notifying the Building Principal or his/her designee. Employees are expected to take every report of discrimination or harassment seriously and to understand the reporting procedures.
The Everett Public Schools takes allegations of discrimination and harassment seriously and will respond promptly to complaints by taking interim steps to protect the complainant and the school community from further discrimination and/or harassment and by conducting a timely, thorough and impartial investigation.
All complaints will be thoroughly investigated by the Coordinator and/or the Coordinator’s designee. Both the complainant and the subject of the complaint will be interviewed and given a full opportunity to state their case through the presentation of witnesses and other evidence. Witnesses and other persons relevant to the complaint, if any, may also be interviewed. A record will be kept of each investigation.
Complaints will be investigated within a reasonable time, usually not to exceed thirty (30) school days after the complaint has been received. When more than thirty (30) school days is required for the investigation, the Coordinator or his designee shall inform the employee or student who filed the complaint that the investigation is still ongoing. Both the complainant and the subject of the complaint will be informed of the result of the investigation, in writing in a manner consistent with federal and state law.
In the event a complainant or subject of a complaint disputes the results of the investigation or resolution, such person may submit an appeal in writing to the Superintendent within ten (10) school days of the Coordinator’s decision. After receipt of such an appeal, the Superintendent will conduct a hearing with the parties and review the records of the investigation. The Superintendent will issue a decision within ten (10) business days of the hearing. The Superintendent’s decision shall be final.
5. DISCIPLINARY ACTION
If a complaint is substantiated, the Coordinator will act promptly to eliminate the conduct and will refer the matter to the proper supervisor or administrator for appropriate responsive measures, including but not limited to disciplinary action. For students, discipline will be imposed consistent with the student code of conduct and state laws and regulations. Discipline of school staff will be consistent with collective bargaining procedures, if applicable, and may include reprimand, suspension from employment, or discharge. Responsive measures will also include any steps necessary to prevent the recurrence of any discrimination and/or harassment, and will include corrective action aimed at eliminating any discriminatory effects on the complainant and others, as appropriate.
While this policy sets forth our goals of promoting a school environment that is free from discrimination and harassment, this policy is not designed or intended to limit the District’s authority to discipline and/or take remedial action for conduct which we deem unacceptable, regardless of whether that conduct falls within the ambit of this policy.
In certain cases, harassment, especially sexual harassment, of a student may constitute child abuse under Massachusetts law. The Everett Public Schools will comply with all legal requirements governing the reporting of suspected cases of child abuse. The Everett Public Schools will also report instances of harassment that may involve a crime in a manner consistent with the MOU between the Everett Public Schools and the Everett Police Department.
Nothing in this policy or procedure shall be deemed to affect a complainant’s right to other remedies at law, including administrative appeals or lawsuits. Administrative agencies with jurisdiction in these matters include:
The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (“MCAD”)
One Ashburton Place, Room 601
Boston, MA 02108
The U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights
5 Post Office Square 8th Floor
Boston, MA 02109-3921
Massachusetts Department of Education
75 Pleasant Street
Malden, MA 02148
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”)
One Congress Street - 10th Floor
Boston, MA 02114
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; Title VII, Section 703, Civil Rights Act of 1964 as amended; Title IX of the Education Amendment Act of 1972; Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; the Americans With Disabilities Act; Federal Regulation 74676 issued by EEO Commission; Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. 1681 et seq. (Title IX); M.G.L. c. 76, § 5; M.G.L. c. 151B; 603 CMR 26.00 et seq.
Approved by the Everett School Committee June 3, 2019