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Sexual Harassment

Sexual Harassment Training

Sexual harassment is prohibited both by law and by District policy. It need not be tolerated and can be stopped through systematic and appropriate action.

The definition of sexual harassment is:

“Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when:

  • Submission to or rejection of such conduct is made, either explicitly or implicitly, a term or condition of instruction, employment, or participation in other district activity;
  • Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for evaluation in making academic or personnel decisions affecting an individual; or
  • Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.

In determining whether the alleged conduct constitutes sexual harassment, consideration should be given to the record as a whole and to the totality of the circumstances, including the nature of the sexual advances and the context in which the alleged incidents occurred.”

When determining whether a situation is a form of sexual harassment, the following should be considered: IF…
  • Sexual remarks and/or innuendoes that make a staff member or student uncomfortable are being made in the vicinity of the working space during working hours
  • Unnecessary and unwelcome physical contacts are being made by the other staff members or students
  • Staff or students are being pressured by another staff member or student to participate in unwanted social and/or sexual activities.

THEN

the staff member or student could be a victim of sexual harassment.

In trying to decide if a situation is sexual harassment, note that at least two common elements must be present:

First, the conduct must be sexual in nature (unnecessary touching, lewd or suggestive remarks about the body or gender, display of pornographic photographs in the workplace) but need not involve sexual relations or a demand for sexual relations.

Second, the conduct must be unwelcome.

If a staff member or student is the victim of sexual harassment:
  • The report will be handled as a matter of utmost confidentiality.
  • At the first sign of trouble, if the staff member or student believes the harassment is occurring unintentionally, unconsciously or through a lack of awareness, they are encouraged to tell the harasser in person, or write the harasser a letter, indicating that the behavior is offensive to them. However, there is no legal requirement that they do this and, in fact, should not do it if one fears retribution.
  • Mark the time, date, place, witnesses, and a description of the incident. This documentation would be helpful if the staff member or student decides to pursue a formal complaint.
  • If the harassment continues or escalates, the staff member or student is encouraged to make an informal complaint to the principal/supervisor or designee.
  • If the staff member or student wants more information about sexual harassment, or decides to initiate the District's formal complaint process, contact should be made to the Assistant Superintendent; Personnel and Alternative Education.
  • Filing a complaint should be taken seriously and involves following the complaint process established by the District.

Scenario

A person in authority has a meeting with an individual to discuss an incident. During the conversation, the individual becomes extremely uneasy because comments are made which could be considered sexual advancements. That individual informs the person in authority that he/she is uncomfortable with the situation. The person in authority continues with the advances. At that point the individual leaves and reports the situation to the person in authority's supervisor or to the District's Personnel Office. This begins the process of investigation with possible disciplinary action depending upon the findings of the investigation.