Title IX Policy
Everett Public Schools is committed to maintaining a safe and healthy educational and work environment for our students and employees. EPS wants to ensure that no student or staff is excluded from participation in, or denied benefits of, or subject to discrimination in any EPS programs or activities on the basis of sex, including sexual orientation or gender identity. Sexual harassment, including sexual violence, is a form of sex discrimination in that it denies an individual equal access to EPS’s programs or activities.
Everett Public Schools is committed to taking all appropriate steps to eliminate prohibited conduct, prevent its recurrence and address its effects. Individuals found responsible under this policy may face disciplinary sanctions up to and including dismissal from EPS. EPS will not tolerate retaliation against an individual who makes a report or participates in any proceedings under this policy. EPS policy prohibits any form of retaliation and EPS students or employees engaging in retaliation will be subject to disciplinary action, whether such acts are implicit or explicit, or committed directly or indirectly.
While this policy sets forth goals for promoting a workplace and school environment that is free of sexual harassment, the policy is not designed or intended to limit authority to discipline or take remedial action for workplace or school conduct which is deemed unacceptable, regardless of whether that conduct satisfies the definition of sexual harassment.
A live hearing process is not required for the grievance process for formal complaints in the K-12 setting.
Complainant: An individual (student or employee) who is alleged to be the victim of conduct that could constitute sexual harassment.
Respondent: An individual (student or employee) who has been reported to be the perpetrator of conduct that could constitute sexual harassment.
Actual Knowledge: Notice of sexual harassment or allegations of sexual harassment to the district’s Title IX Coordinator or any district official who has the authority to institute corrective measures on behalf of the district, or to any employee of an elementary and secondary school, other than the respondent.
Formal Complaint: A document filed by a complainant or signed by the Title IX Coordinator alleging Title IX sexual harassment and requesting that the district investigate the allegation.
Retaliation: Actions including, but not limited to, intimidation, threats, coercion, or discrimination against a victim or other person because they report conduct that may constitute discrimination or harassment, including Title IX sexual harassment, in accordance with Board policy and procedures, participate in an investigation or other process addressing discrimination or Title IX sexual harassment, or act in opposition to discriminatory practices. The following actions shall not constitute retaliation:
- An individual exercising free speech under the rights protected by the First Amendment.
- The assignment of consequences consistent when an individual knowingly makes a materially false statement in bad faith in an investigation. The fact that the charges of discrimination were unfounded or unsubstantiated shall not be the sole reason to conclude that any party made a materially false statement in bad faith.
Supportive Measures: Nondisciplinary, nonpunitive individualized services offered as appropriate, as reasonably available, and without fee or charge to the complainant or the respondent before or after the filing of a formal complaint or where no formal complaint has been filed.
Supportive measures shall be 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 to deter sexual harassment.
Supportive measures may include, but are not limited to:
- Counseling or Employee Assistance Program
- Extensions of deadlines or other course-related adjustments
- Modifications of work or class schedules
- Campus escort services
- Mutual restrictions on contact between the parties
- Changes in work locations
- 'Leaves of absence
- Increased security
- Monitoring of certain areas of the campus
- Assistance from domestic violence or rape crisis programs
- Assistance from community health resources including counseling resources
All supportive measures provided by the district shall remain confidential, to the extent that maintaining such confidentiality would not impair the ability of the district to provide the supportive measures. The district will treat complainants and respondents equitably by offering complainant and respondent supportive measures.
Conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following:
- Unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to a district education program or activity;
- A district employee conditioning the provision of an aid, benefit, or district service on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct, commonly referred to as quid pro quo sexual harassment.
- Sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence and/or stalking by a Committee member, District employee, volunteer or student.
Title IX Coordinator
The Title IX Coordinator is responsible for coordinating the Districts response to complaints of sex-based discrimination. All questions regarding Title IX or this policy may be referred to the Title IX Coordinator.
Francesse J. Canty, Esq. Director of Human Resources Everett Public Schools
121 Vine Street
Everett, MA 02138
Tel. 617-394-2400, Ext. 6175
General Complaint: Any person (student or employee), whether the alleged victim or not, may report Title IX sexual harassment by making a general report verbally or in writing to the building principal or building administrator, or by using the contact information listed for the Title IX Coordinator, or by any other means that results in the Title IX Coordinator receiving the person's verbal or written report. Upon receipt of a report, school staff shall immediately notify the building principal or building administrator.
If a student is identified as a party in the report, parents/guardians have the right to act on behalf of the student at any time.
Upon having actual knowledge of sexual harassment, the Title IX Coordinator must immediately and promptly contact the complainant and gather additional information. The Title IX Coordinator must discuss and offer supportive measures. The Title IX coordinator will consider the complainant’s wishes with respect to supportive measures.
The Title IX Coordinator shall make an initial assessment of the following:
- Is the definition of Title IX sexual harassment met?
- Did the actions occur in a district program or activity under the control of the district and against a person in the United States?
If the result of this initial assessment determines that none of the allegations fall within the scope of Title IX sexual harassment, but the matter merits review and possible action under other EPS policies, then the Title IX Coordinator shall address the complaint.
If the result of the initial assessment determines that the allegation does constitute Title IX sexual harassment, the Title IX Coordinator shall promptly explain to the complainant the process for filing a formal complaint.
Administrative Leave: When an employee, based on an individualized safety and risk analysis, poses an immediate threat to the health or safety of any student or other individual, the employee may be removed on an emergency basis. An accused, district employee may be placed on administrative leave during the pendency of the grievance process for formal complaints.
Receipt of Formal Complaint: Upon receiving a formal complaint, the District must initiate an investigation into the allegation of sexual harassment.
If the complainant declines to file a formal complaint, the Title IX Coordinator must consider whether to sign the formal complaint and start an investigation despite the complainant’s preference.
- When actions limited to supportive measures are not a sufficient response to the behavior; and
- When safety or similar concerns lead the District to conclude it must investigate and potentially sanction a respondent (i.e. if respondent is a supervisor);
- And where state law requires action.
Only the Title IX Coordinator is authorized to initiate
the formal complaint process despite a complainant’s wishes.
Dismissal of Formal Complaint
The complaint may be dismissed if:
- A complainant provides written notification of withdrawal of any allegations or of the formal complaint.
- The respondent is no longer enrolled or employed by the district in a district program or
- Specific circumstances prevent the district from gathering evidence sufficient to reach a determination as to the formal complaint or allegations.
- If it is determined during the investigation or written determination that none of the allegations, if true, would meet the definition and parameters of Title IX sexual harassment within the district’s jurisdiction, the Title IX Coordinator shall dismiss the formal complaint under Title IX.
- If the matter merits review and possible action under other EPS Policies.
Timeframes: Reasonably prompt shall be the time frame that the District will follow, but it can be extended for good cause.
Good cause may include, but is not limited to:
- The absence of a party, a party’s advisor or a witness.
- Concurrent law enforcement activity.
- Need for language assistance or accommodation of disabilities.
Written notice of the delay or extension and the reason for such action shall be provided to the complainant and the respondent, and documented with the records of the complaint.
Consolidation of Title IX Formal Complaints: The district may consolidate formal complaints against more than one (1) respondent, or by more than one (1) complainant against one or more respondents, or by one (1) individual against another individual, where the allegations of sexual harassment arise out of the same facts or circumstances.
The Title IX Coordinator, investigator, decision-maker, or any individual designated to facilitate the informal resolution process, each must complete the required training for such roles. The named individuals shall not have a conflict of interest or bias for or against an individual complainant or respondent, or for or against complainants or respondents in general.
Before any investigation can begin, the District must send written notice to both parties and the parents/guardians if applicable:
- Notice of the district’s grievance process for formal complaints and any informal resolution process that may be available.
- Notice of the allegations potentially constituting Title IX sexual harassment, including sufficient details known at the time and with sufficient time to prepare a response before any initial interview.
- Sufficient details include:
- The identity of the parties involved, if known.
- The conduct allegedly constituting sexual harassment.
- The date and location of the alleged incident(s), if known.
- A statement that a written determination regarding responsibility shall be made at the conclusion of the grievance process for formal complaints and, until that time, the respondent is presumed not responsible for the alleged conduct.
- Notice that parties may have an advisor of their choice, who may be, but is not required to be, an attorney. The advisor may inspect and review evidence.
- Notice to all known parties of any additional allegations that the district decides to investigate during the course of the investigation.
Informal Resolution Process: Where appropriate in light of the nature of the allegations and facts involved, the District may offer the parties the option to pursue an informal resolution process, such as mediation, that does not involve a full investigation and adjudication. All parties must voluntarily agree to the informal resolution after receiving a full written disclosure of the allegations and their options for formal resolution.
The Investigation: The Title IX Coordinator will designate an investigator and a decision maker, who may not be the same person. The Title IX Coordinator shall work with investigators to assess the scope of the investigation, who needs to be interviewed and what records or evidence may be relevant to the investigation.
When investigating a formal complaint, the investigator shall:
- Gather evidence and conduct interviews sufficient to reach a written determination.
- Objectively evaluate all available evidence, including inculpatory and exculpatory
- 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.
However, the district may request a nondisclosure agreement be signed by the parties and their advisor(s), if any, stating that they will not disseminate or disclose evidence and documents exchanged in the investigation.
- Provide the parties with the same opportunities to have others present during any interview or other meeting, including an advisor of the party’s choice. The district may establish restrictions, applicable to both parties, regarding the extent to which the advisor may participate.
- Provide written notice to any party whose participation is invited or expected during the investigation process with the following information, in sufficient time for the party to prepare to participate:
Purpose of all investigative interviews or other meetings.
Before completing an investigative report, the investigator will offer both parties the opportunity to inspect and review any evidence obtained as part of the investigation that is directly related to the allegations raised in the formal complaint. Both parties will have ten (10) school days to submit a written response to the evidence, which the investigator will consider prior to completion of the investigative report.
If the investigation reveals that the conduct being investigated may involve a violation of criminal law, the investigator shall promptly notify the Title IX Coordinator, who shall promptly inform law enforcement authorities about the allegations and make any additional required reports, in accordance with the law.
The obligation to conduct this investigation shall not be negated by the fact that a criminal or child protective services investigation of the allegations is pending or has been concluded.
Written Findings (Decision Maker): A written determination of responsibility (written determination) must not be finalized less than ten (10) days after the investigator completes the investigative report and provides it to all parties.
Before the decision-maker reaches a determination regarding responsibility, the decision-maker shall afford each party the opportunity to submit written, relevant questions that a party wants to be asked of any party or witness, shall provide each party with the answers, and shall allow for additional, limited follow-up questions from each party.
Relevant questions for a party or witness must be submitted by each party within three (3) school days following receipt of the investigative report. Follow-up questions must be submitted by each party within three (3) school days of being provided the answers to the initial questions.
The decision-maker shall explain to the party proposing the questions about any decision to exclude a question as not relevant.
Written Determination: After the written question phase, the decision-maker will apply a preponderance of the evidence standard to determine whether the alleged misconduct has occurred. The decision-maker will issue a written decision to both parties at the same time.
If the decision-maker(s) finds that the alleged misconduct occurred, the decision-maker(s) will also determine the appropriate disciplinary consequence for the respondent. The Title IX Coordinator will be responsible for implementing the disciplinary consequence.
Both parties have the right to appeal a determination of responsibility and the right to appeal the district’s dismissal of a Title IX formal complaint or any allegation in the Title IX formal complaint.
The scope of appeals related to Title IX sexual harassment are limited to the following reasons for appeal as stated in the Title IX regulations:
- A procedural irregularity that affected the outcome of the matter.
- New evidence that that could affect the outcome was not reasonably available at the time the decision to dismiss or determination of responsibility was made.
- The Title IX Coordinator, investigator(s), or decision-maker(s) had a conflict of interest or bias for or against the individual complainant or respondent or for or against complainants or respondents generally that affected the outcome of the matter.
Written notice of a party’s appeal shall be submitted to the Title IX Coordinator within five (5) school days after the date of the written determination. Notice of appeal shall include a brief statement describing the basis for the appeal.
The designated appeal authority shall be the Superintendent or her designee. The appeal authority shall:
- Determine whether the appeal meets the grounds for permitted reasons for appeal and justifies modifying the written determination.
- Issue a written decision setting forth the respects, if any, in which the written determination is modified and the rationale for the result within five (5) school
- Provide the written decision simultaneously to both parties. A copy of the written decision shall also be provided to the Title IX Coordinator.
The appeal decision shall be final.
The EPS shall maintain the following records for a period of a minimum of seven (7) years after conclusion of procedures and implementation of disciplinary sanctions and/or remedies.
Complaints to External Agencies
Nothing in this policy is intended to discourage a complainant from reporting acts of unlawful sexual harassment or sexual violence to local law enforcement. In the event a complainant chooses to file a report with local law enforcement in addition to filing a complaint with the Department under this policy, the Department will conduct its own investigation, independent of any law enforcement investigation.
Students and Employees may contact:
- The United States Department of Education Office for Civil Rights ("OCR")
5 Post Office Square Boston, MA 02109=
- The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination One Ashburton Place
Sixth Floor, Room 601 Boston, MA 02108