ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATIONS REGARDING DISCRIMINATION COMPLAINTS (PERSONNEL)
The Hamden Board of Education (the “Board”) will not make employment decisions (including decisions related to hiring, assignment, compensation, promotion, demotion, disciplinary action and termination) on the basis of race, color, religion, age, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, national origin, alienage, ancestry, disability, pregnancy, genetic information, veteran status, gender identity or expression, status as a victim of domestic violence, or any other basis prohibited by state or federal law (“Protected Class”), except in the case of a bona fide occupational qualification.
It is the policy of the Board that any form of discrimination or harassment on the basis of an individual’s actual or perceived membership in a Protected Class, whether by students, Board employees, Board members or third parties subject to the control of the Board, is prohibited in the Hamden Public Schools (the “District”). Students, Board employees, Board members and third parties are expected to adhere to a standard of conduct that is respectful of the rights of all members of the school community.
It is also the policy of the Board to provide for the prompt and equitable resolution of complaints alleging Protected Class discrimination or harassment. The District will investigate both formal and informal complaints of discrimination, harassment or retaliation.
Although not an exhaustive list, the following are examples of the types of conduct that may be considered Protected Class harassment and can lead to a hostile environment, and are therefore prohibited:
· objectively offensive racial, ethnic, or religious epithets (or epithets commonly associated with any Protected Class membership);
· other words or phrases commonly considered demeaning or degrading on the basis of Protected Class membership;
· display of images or symbols commonly associated with discrimination against individuals on the basis of their membership in a Protected Class;
· graphic, written or electronic communications that are harmful or humiliating based on Protected Class membership;
· bigoted conduct or communications; OR
· physical, written, electronic or verbal threats based on Protected Class membership.
Harassment does not have to include intent to harm, be directed at a specific target, or involve repeated incidents.
Any employee who believes an employee has experienced Protected Class discrimination or harassment or an act of retaliation or reprisal in violation of Board policy should report such concern in writing to Gary Highsmith, Superintendent of Schools in accordance with the Board’s complaint procedures included in these Administrative Regulations Regarding Non-Discrimination/Personnel.
If a complaint involves allegations of discrimination or harassment based on sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy, or gender identity or expression, such complaints will be handled in accordance with the procedures set forth in Board Policy #4000.1, Policy Regarding Prohibition of Sex Discrimination and Sexual Harassment in the Workplace (Personnel).
If a complaint involves allegations of discrimination or harassment based on disability, such complaints will be addressed in accordance with the procedures set forth in Board Policy #4118.14, Section 504/ADA (Personnel).
In the event conduct reported as Protected Class discrimination and/or harassment allegedly violates more than one policy, the Board will coordinate any investigation in compliance with the applicable policies.
Preferably, complaints should be filed within thirty (30) calendar days of the alleged occurrence. Timely reporting of complaints facilitates the investigation and resolution of such complaints. The District will investigate such complaints promptly and equitably, and will take corrective action when allegations are verified.
The District will not tolerate any reprisals or retaliation that occur as a result of the good faith reporting of charges of Protected Class discrimination or harassment. The Board further prohibits reprisal or retaliation against any individual who participates in the investigation of reports of alleged Protected Class harassment/discrimination. Any such reprisals or retaliation will result in disciplinary action against the retaliator, and other corrective actions as appropriate.
The District will periodically provide staff development for District administrators and periodically distribute the Non-Discrimination policy and the implementing administrative regulations to staff and students in an effort to maintain an environment free of discrimination and harassment.
As soon as an individual feels that they, or another employee has been subjected to Protected Class discrimination or harassment, the individual should make a written complaint to the Superintendent or designee.
Complaints pertaining to the Superintendent should be filed with the Board Chair. Complaints pertaining to any Board members other than the Board Chair should be filed with the Board Chair. Complaints pertaining to the Board Chair should be filed with the Board Vice-Chair. In all cases, the individual receiving the complaint shall take appropriate steps to cause the matter to be investigated in a manner consistent with the Board’s non-discrimination policy and regulation. If any party to the complaint is not satisfied with the findings and conclusions of an investigation in which the Superintendent or a member of the Board is the respondent, within (30) calendar days of receiving the findings such party may present the complaint and written outcome to the Board Chair (or, if initially presented by the Board Chair, the Board Vice Chair), who will take appropriate steps to cause the matter to be reviewed in a manner consistent with the Board’s non-discrimination policy and regulation. Such steps may include retention of an independent investigator different from the investigator who investigated the complaint,
The individual who is alleged to have experienced Protected Class discrimination/harassment (the “complainant”) and any individual accused of Protected Class discrimination/harassment (the “respondent”) (if applicable) will be provided a copy of the Board’s policy and regulation and made aware of the individual’s rights under this policy and regulation. In the event the Superintendent or designee receives a complaint alleging discrimination or harassment based on sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy, or gender identity or expression, the Superintendent or designee shall follow the procedures identified in Board Policy #4000.1, Policy Regarding Prohibition of Sex Discrimination and Sexual Harassment in the Workplace (Personnel). In the event the Superintendent or designee receives a complaint alleging discrimination or harassment based on disability, the Superintendent or designee shall follow the procedures identified in Board Policy #4118.14, Section 504/ADA (Personnel).
The complaint should state the:
- Name of the complainant,
- Date of the complaint,
- Date(s) of the alleged harassment/discrimination
- Name(s) of the harasser(s) or discriminator(s),
- Location where such harassment/discrimination occurred,
- Names of any witness(es) to the harassment/discrimination,
- Detailed statement of the circumstances constituting the alleged harassment/discrimination; and
- Proposed remedy.
Any individual who makes an oral complaint of discrimination or harassment will be provided a copy of this regulation and will be requested to make a written complaint pursuant to the above procedure. If an individual is unable to make a written complaint, the employee receiving the oral complaint will either reduce the complaint to writing or assist the individual with completing the written complaint form.
All complaints received by employees are to be forwarded immediately to the Superintendent or designee. Upon receipt of a complaint alleging discrimination or harassment under this complaint procedure, the Superintendent or designee shall promptly investigate the complaint. During the course of the investigation, the investigator shall interview or consult with all individuals reasonably believed to have relevant information, including the complainant, the reporter (if different from the complainant), the respondent, and any witnesses to the conduct. Complaints will be investigated promptly within the timeframes identified below. Timeframes may be extended as needed given the complexity of the investigation, availability of individuals with relevant information and/or other extenuating circumstances. Confidentiality will be maintained by all persons involved in the investigation to the extent possible, to the extent consistent with due process, as determined by the investigator.
Upon receipt of a written complaint of discrimination or harassment, the investigator should:
1. Offer to meet with the complainant and respondent (if applicable) within ten (10) business days (provided that such timeframe may be reasonably extended based on the availability of necessary witnesses and/or participants, the complexity of the investigation, and/or other extenuating circumstances) to discuss the nature of the complaint, discuss the availability of interim measures, identify individuals the complainant or respondent believes has relevant information, and obtain any relevant documents the complainant or respondent may have;
2. Provide the complainant and respondent (if applicable) with a copy of the Board’s non-discrimination policy and accompanying regulations;
3. Conduct an investigation that is adequate, reliable, and impartial. Investigate the factual basis of the complaint, including, as applicable, conducting interviews with the parties to the complaint and any relevant witnesses or other individuals deemed relevant to the complaint;
4. Review any records, notes, statements, or other documents relevant to the complaint;
5. Maintain confidentiality to the extent practicable throughout the investigative process, in accordance with state and federal law;
6. Complete a final investigation report that includes: (i) a findings of fact based on the evidence gathered; (ii) for each allegation, the conclusion(s) and reasoning(s) as to whether the discrimination or harassment occurred; and (iii) for any individual(s) found to have engaged in discrimination or harassment, a broad statement of consequences imposed (to the extent permitted by state and federal confidentiality requirements) (i.e. “Consequences were imposed.”).
7. Communicate the outcome of the investigation in writing to the complainant and respondent (if any) (to the extent permitted by state and federal confidentiality requirements), within thirty (30) business days (provided that such timeframe may be reasonably extended based on the availability of necessary witnesses and/or participants, the complexity of the investigation, and/or other extenuating circumstances) from the date the complaint was received by the Superintendent’s office. The complainant and respondent (if any) shall be notified of such extension. The written notice shall include a finding whether the complaint was substantiated and if so, shall identify, to the extent possible, how the District will remedy the discrimination or harassment, adhering to the requirements of state and federal law;
8. If a complaint is made during summer recess, the complaint will be reviewed and addressed as quickly as possible given the availability of employees and/or other individuals who may have information relevant to the complaint. If fixed timeframes cannot be met, the complainant and respondent (if any) will receive notice and interim measures may be implemented as necessary (see sub-paragraph 6);
9. Whenever allegations are verified, ensure that appropriate corrective action is taken (including, but not limited to, disciplinary action) aimed at preventing the recurrence of the discrimination or harassment. Corrective action should include steps to avoid continuing discrimination or harassment;
10. If a complainant or a respondent is not satisfied with the findings and conclusions of the investigation, such party may present the complaint and written outcome to the Superintendent within thirty (30) calendar days of receiving the findings. Upon review of a written request from the party requesting an appeal, the Superintendent shall review the investigative results of the investigator and determine if further action and/or investigation is warranted. Such action may include consultation with a designated investigator (if applicable), complainant, and respondent (if any) and meeting with appropriate individuals to attempt to resolve the complaint, or a decision affirming or overruling a designated investigator’s conclusions or findings (if applicable). The Superintendent shall provide written notice to the complainant and respondent (if any) of the proposed actions within thirty (30) business days (provided that such timeframe may be reasonably extended based on the availability of necessary witnesses and/or participants, the complexity of the investigation, and/or other extenuating circumstances) following the receipt of the written request for review.
If the District makes a finding of discrimination, harassment or retaliation, the District will take appropriate remedial action designed to 1) eliminate the discriminatory/harassing conduct, 2) prevent its recurrence, and 3) address its effects on the complainant and any other affected individuals. Examples of appropriate action may include:
(a) Interventions for the individual who engaged in the discrimination/harassment, such as supervisor notification, discipline, or training.
(b) Follow-up inquiries with the complainant and witnesses to ensure that the discriminatory/harassing conduct has stopped and that they have not experienced any retaliation.
(c) Training or other interventions for the larger school community to ensure that students, staff, and parents understand the types of behavior that constitute discrimination/harassment, that the District does not tolerate it, and how to report it.
In addition to reporting to the Board, any employee also may file a complaint with the following:
Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education (“OCR”):
Office for Civil Rights, Boston Office
U.S. Department of Education
5 Post Office Square
Boston, MA 02109- 3921
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission:
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Boston Area Office
John F. Kennedy Federal Building
475 Government Center
Boston, MA 02203
Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities:
Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities
450 Columbus Blvd.
Hartford, CT 06103-1835
(860-541-3400 or Connecticut Toll Free Number 1-800-477-5737)
Anyone who has questions or concerns about these regulations, and/or who may wish to request or discuss accommodations based on religion, may contact:
Gary Highsmith, Superintendent of Schools, email@example.com, (203) 407-2000
Anyone who has questions or concerns about the Board’s policies regarding discrimination or harassment on the basis of gender/sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation may contact the Board’s Title IX Coordinator:
Gary Highsmith, Superintendent of Schools, firstname.lastname@example.org, (203) 407-2000
Anyone who has questions or concerns about the Board’s policies regarding discrimination or harassment on the basis of disability, and/or who may wish to request or discuss accommodations for a disability, may contact the Board’s Section 504/ADA Coordinator:
Director of Pupil Personnel Services, (203) 407-2000
DISCRIMINATION/HARASSMENT COMPLAINT FORM
(For complaints based on race, color, religion, age, marital status, national origin, alienage, ancestry, genetic information, veteran status, or status as a victim of domestic violence)
Name of the complainant ________________________________________________________
Date of the complaint ________________________________________________________
Date of the alleged discrimination/harassment ______________________________________
Name or names of the alleged discriminator(s) or harasser(s) ____________________________
Location where such discrimination/harassment occurred __________________________
Name(s) of any witness(es) to the discrimination/harassment ______________
Detailed statement of the circumstances constituting the alleged discrimination or harassment
Proposed remedy ________________________________________________________________