Harassment and/or bullying of students and employees is against federal, state, and local policy and are not tolerated by the board. The board is committed to providing all students and employees with a safe and civil school environment in which all members of the school community are treated with dignity and respect. To that end, the board has in place policies, procedures, and practices that are designed to reduce and eliminate bullying and harassment as well as processes and procedures to deal with incidents of bullying and harassment. Bullying and harassment of students by students, school employees, and volunteers will not be tolerated in the schools or school district.
The board prohibits harassment, bullying, hazing, or any other victimization of students based on any of the following actual or perceived traits or characteristics including but not limited to: age, color, creed, national origin, race, religion, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical attributes, physical or mental ability or disability, ancestry, political party preference, political belief, socio-economic status, or familial status. Harassment against employees based upon race, color, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, religion, age, or disability is also prohibited.
This policy is in effect while students or employees are on property within the jurisdiction of the board; while on school-owned or school-operated vehicles; while attending or engaged in school-sponsored activities; and while away from school grounds if the misconduct directly affects the good order, efficient management, and welfare of the school or school district.
If after an investigation a student is found to be in violation of this policy, the student shall be disciplined by appropriate measures up to and including suspension and expulsion. If after an investigation a school employee is found to be in violation of this policy, the employee shall be disciplined by appropriate measures up to and including termination. If after an investigation a school volunteer is found to be in violation of this policy, the volunteer shall be subject to appropriate measures up to and including exclusion from school grounds. Volunteer means an individual who has regular, significant contact with students.
When looking at the totality of the circumstances harassment and bullying mean any electronic, written, verbal, or physical act or conduct toward a student or employee which is based on any actual or perceived trait or characteristic of the student or employee, and which creates an objectively hostile school/work environment that meets one or more of the following conditions:
- Places the student or employee in reasonable fear of harm to the student’s or employee’s person or property.
- Has a substantially detrimental effect on the student’s or employee’s physical or mental health.
- Has the effect of substantially interfering with the student’s academic performance or the employee’s work performance.
- Has the effect of substantially interfering with the student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or privileges provided by a school.
Electronic means any communication involving the transmission of information by wire, radio, optical cable, electromagnetic, or other similar means. Electronic includes but is not limited to communication via electronic mail, internet-based communications, pager service, cell phones, electronic text messaging, or similar technologies.
Harassment and bullying may include but are not limited to the following behaviors and circumstances:
- Verbal, nonverbal, physical, or written harassment, bullying, hazing, shunning, or other victimization that have the purpose or effect of causing injury, discomfort, fear, or suffering to the victim.
- Repeated remarks of a demeaning nature that have the purpose or effect of causing injury, discomfort, fear, or suffering to the victim.
- Implied or explicit threats concerning one’s grades, achievements, property, etc., that have the purpose or effect of causing injury, discomfort, fear, or suffering to the victim.
- Demeaning jokes, stories, pictures, graphics, or activities directed at the victim that have the purpose or effect of causing injury, discomfort, fear, or suffering to the victim.
- Unreasonable interference with a victim’s performance or creation of an intimidating, offensive, or hostile learning/work environment.
Sexual harassment means unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:
- Submission to the conduct is made either implicitly or explicitly a term or condition of the student’s education or benefits or the employee’s employment or benefits.
- Submission to or rejection of the conduct is used as the basis for academic decisions affecting the student or affecting employment status of the employee.
- The conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with the student’s academic performance or the employee’s work performance by creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment.
In situations between students and school officials, faculty, staff, or volunteers who have direct contact with students bullying and harassment may also include the following behaviors:
- Requiring that a student submit to bullying or harassment by another student, either explicitly or implicitly, as a term or condition of the targeted student’s education or participation in school programs or activities.
- Requiring submission to or rejection of such conduct as a basis for decisions affecting the student.
Any person who promptly, reasonably, and in good faith reports an incident of bullying or harassment under this policy to a school official shall be immune from civil or criminal liability relating to such report and to the person’s participation in any administrative, judicial, or other proceeding relating to the report. Individuals who knowingly file a false complaint may be subject to appropriate disciplinary action.
Retaliation against any person because the person has filed a bullying or harassment complaint or assisted or participated in a harassment investigation or proceeding is also prohibited. Individuals who knowingly file false harassment complaints and any person who gives false statements in an investigation shall be subject to discipline by appropriate measures, as shall any person who is found to have retaliated against another in violation of this policy. Any student found to have retaliated in violation of this policy shall be subject to measures up to and including suspension and expulsion. Any school employee found to have retaliated in violation of this policy shall be subject to measures up to and including termination of employment. Any school volunteer found to have retaliated in violation of this policy shall be subject to measures up to and including exclusion from school grounds.
The school or school district will promptly and reasonably investigate allegations of bullying or harassment. The equity investigator at the building level (principal or designee) will be responsible for handling all complaints by students alleging bullying or harassment. The district equity investigator (associate superintendent, chief officer of human resources, or designee) will be responsible for handling all complaints by employees alleging bullying or harassment.
It also is the responsibility of the superintendent in conjunction with the equity investigator and principals to develop procedures regarding this policy. The superintendent will also develop a process for evaluating the effectiveness of the policy in reducing bullying and harassment. The superintendent shall report on the progress of reducing bullying and harassment to the board.
The board will publish this policy on an annual basis. The policy may be publicized by the following means:
- Inclusion in the student handbook
- Inclusion in the employee handbook
- Inclusion in the registration materials
- Inclusion on the school or district website
- Inclusion on student and employee display boards
A copy shall be made available to any person at the Learning Resource Center (2999 N 10th Street, Marion, Iowa 52302).
Complaint Procedures: Persons who feel they are victims of acts of intolerance or harassment, or persons who feel they are aware of acts of intolerance or harassment should take action by reporting said acts or filing a complaint.
Inquiries regarding the district’s complaint procedures may be directed to the Associate Superintendent (2999 N 10th Street, Marion, Iowa 52302).
Inquiries may also be directed in writing to the Iowa Civil Rights Commission in Des Moines, Iowa, the Office of the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (500 W Madison Street, Suite 2800, Chicago, IL 60661), or the Director of the Midwestern Division Office for Civil Rights (United States Department of Education, Region VII, 8930 Ward Parkway, Suite 2037, Kansas City MO 64114 / 816-268-0550).
It shall also be the responsibility of the superintendent in conjunction with the equity investigator and principals to develop administrative rules regarding this policy. The superintendent, or designee, shall also be responsible for organizing training programs for students and employees. The trainings shall include how to recognize harassment and what to do in case a student is harassed.
Reviewed: 9/10; 4/13; 9/16
Revised: 10/11; 7/13; 5/14
Related Policy (Code #): 104.1-R; 104.1-E1-E3; 401.1; 403.13; 500.1; 502.14
Legal Reference (Code of Iowa): 20 USC §§ 1221-1234i; 29 USC § 794; 42 USC §§ 2000d-d-7;
42 USC §§ 12101 et seq; §§ 216.9; 280.28; 280.3; 281 IAC 12.3(6);
Morse v Frederick 551 US 393 (2007)