Adopted December 16, 2020, and revised June 9, 2022.
I. PURPOSE AND DECLARATION OF POLICY
The Charter School is committed to maintaining an education and workplace environment for all school community members that is free from all forms of discrimination, including harassment and retaliation. The members of the Charter School community include the Charter School’s Board of Trustees, employees, administration, faculty, staff, school volunteers, parties under contract to perform work for or with the Charter School, and family members participating in school meetings or school-sponsored activities.
The Charter School does not exclude from participation, deny the benefits of the Charter School from or otherwise discriminate against individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender (including gender identity or expression), age, creed, religion, ancestry, national origin, ethnic background, marital status, pregnancy, disability, veteran/military status, or any other category protected by state or federal law in the administration of its educational and employment policies or in its programs and activities.
The Board also declares it to be the policy of this Charter School to comply with federal law and regulations under Title IX prohibiting sexual harassment, which is a form of unlawful discrimination on the basis of sex. Inquiries regarding the application of Title IX to the Charter School may be directed to the Title IX Coordinator or to the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights of the United States Department of Education.
Discrimination in any of its forms is inconsistent with the rights of students and the mission and educational goals of the Charter School and is prohibited at or during school-sponsored programs or activities, including transportation to or from school or school-sponsored activities. Violations of this policy, including acts of retaliation as described in this policy, or knowingly providing false information, may result in disciplinary consequences under other Board policies or the Charter School’s student or employee codes of conduct.
This declaration of policy shall be included in each student and staff handbook and shall be posted to the Charter School’s website.
The Charter School prohibits all forms of discrimination and harassment, including Bullying (Policy # 204), Hazing (Policy # 214), discriminatory harassment (Policy #121), and Title IX sexual harassment (this policy).
The Charter School shall promptly review and investigate all allegations of conduct which may be a violation of the above-mentioned policies. This policy and the grievance procedures herein apply only to conduct falling within the scope of Title IX. Conduct that does not implicate this policy will be handled under the appropriate policy, such as those named above, or the Charter School’s Code of Conduct.
This policy and the grievance procedures herein apply to all individuals participating in and attempting to participate in the Charter School’s educational program or activity. This policy is limited to conduct occurring in the United States.
The Charter School shall have the authority, in any investigation conducted pursuant to this policy, to assign one or more functions to an independent third party, such as an attorney.
Complainant shall mean an individual who is alleged to be the victim.
Respondent shall mean an individual who has been reported to be the perpetrator of the alleged conduct.
Education program or activity – means the locations, events, or circumstances over which the Charter School exercises substantial control over both the respondent and the context in which the sexual harassment occurs. Programs or activities may be on-campus or off-campus.
Formal complaint – means a document filed by a complainant or signed by the Title IX Coordinator alleging Title IX sexual harassment and requesting that the Charter School investigate the allegation under the grievance process for formal complaints. “Document filed by a complainant” means a document or electronic communication that contains the complainant’s physical or digital signature, or which otherwise indicates that the complainant is the person filing the formal complaint.
Supportive measures – means non-disciplinary, non-punitive 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. Such measures shall be designed to restore or preserve equal access to the Charter School’s educational program or activity without unreasonably burdening the other party, and includes measures designed to protect the parties’ safety or the safety of the educational environment, or to deter sexual harassment. These measures may include (but are not limited to): counseling, academic support services, assistance in requesting long-term academic accommodations if the individual qualifies as an individual with a disability, extensions of deadlines or other course-related adjustments, modifications class schedules, campus or building escort services, mutual “no contact” orders, leaves of absence, increased security, monitoring of certain areas of the campus and/or building, and/or assistance from community health resources such as domestic violence or rape crisis programs.
For students who are eligible or thought to be eligible for specialized services pursuant to an Individualized Education Program (“IEP”) or Section 504 Service Agreement, supportive measures may also include the provision of assessments, evaluations, or other procedural steps (e.g., IEP team meeting, manifestation determination review, functional behavioral assessment).
Title IX sexual harassment – (Note: the following definition applies only to allegations that will be subject to the procedures set forth in this policy. Claims of sexual harassment not falling within the scope of Title IX may be addressed by Policy #121 (relating to discriminatory harassment) or another policy.)
Title IX sexual harassment means conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following:
1. A Charter School employee conditioning the provision of an aid, benefit, or service on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct, commonly referred to as quid pro quo sexual harassment.
2. 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 Charter School education program or activity.
3. Sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking.
a. Sexual assault means an offense classified as a forcible or nonforcible sex offense under the uniform crime reporting system of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
b. Dating violence means violence committed by a person:
- i. Who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim; and
- ii. Where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors: length of relationship, type of relationship, and frequency of interaction between the persons involved.
c. Domestic violence includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is co-habitating with or has co-habitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction receiving grant monies, or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction.
d. Stalking means engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to:
- Fear for their safety or the safety of others; or
- Suffer substantial emotional distress.
Consent exists when all parties exchange mutually understandable affirmative words or actions indicating their agreement to participate voluntarily in sexual activity. Consent must be informed, voluntary, and actively given. Resistance by the complainant is not required. Consent does not exist if the sexual act was by forcible compulsion which is the use of physical, intellectual, moral, emotional or psychological force. Consent does not exist if a person is threatened, unconscious, incapacitated due to the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, or suffers from a mental disability that makes them incapable of giving consent. Consent may be withdrawn by either party at any time. Once withdrawal of consent has been expressed through words or actions, sexual activity must cease. Pennsylvania defines the age of consent as age sixteen (16) or above. Children under age thirteen (13) cannot consent to sexual activity. Children between the ages of 13-15 cannot consent to sexual intercourse with a person four (4) or more years older than them.
Deliberately indifferent – means not clearly unreasonable in light of the known circumstances.
Investigator(s) – means the individual(s) assigned by the Title IX Coordinator to conduct a prompt, fair, and impartial investigation into a formal complaint. An investigator must be unbiased and trained in Title IX policy and grievance procedures.
Actual knowledge – means notice of sexual harassment or allegations of sexual harassment to the Head of School, Title IX Coordinator, or to any Charter School employee other than the respondent.
Decision-maker – means the person(s) assigned by the Title IX Coordinator to conduct a fair and impartial review of all the facts and evidence in order to make a determination regarding whether a respondent is responsible for conduct alleged in a formal complaint. A decision-maker(s) must be unbiased and trained in Title IX policy and grievance procedures.
Exculpatory evidence – means evidence tending to exonerate the accused or helps to establish their innocence.
Inculpatory evidence – means evidence tending to incriminate the accused or indicate their guilt.
Informal Resolution Facilitator – means the person assigned by the Title IX Coordinator to manage the Informal Resolution process. The informal resolution facilitator must be fair, impartial and trained in Title IX policy and procedures, specifically those dealing with mediation and restorative justice best practices.
Retaliation – means actions prohibited in the section labeled “Retaliation” in this policy, except when: 1. An individual’s actions constitute protected speech under the First Amendment.
2. The assignment of consequences under the Charter School’s Code of Conduct when an individual knowingly makes a materially false statement in bad faith during an investigation. The fact that 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.
Confidentiality of all parties, witnesses, the allegations, the filing of a formal complaint, and the investigation related to any form of discrimination or retaliation, including Title IX sexual harassment, shall be handled in accordance with applicable law, regulations, this policy, and the Charter School’s legal and investigative obligations.
If a request for confidentiality is received, the Charter School will evaluate any such request in the context of its responsibility to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for all students. A request for confidentiality may limit the Charter School’s ability to respond.
All incidents that are required by law to be reported to law enforcement, ChildLine, or to the Pennsylvania Department of Education (such as mandatory reporting under the Educator Discipline Act) shall be made accordingly.
The Board prohibits retaliation by the Charter School or any other person against another person for:
1. Reporting or making a formal complaint of any form or discrimination or retaliation, including Title IX sexual harassment.
2. Testifying, assisting, participating, or refusing to participate in a related investigation, process, or other proceeding, or hearing.
3. Acting in opposition to practices that the person reasonably believes to be discriminatory.
The Charter School, its employees, and others are prohibited from intimidating, threatening, coercing, or discriminating against anyone for actions described above. Individuals are encouraged to contact the Title IX Coordinator immediately if they believe retaliation has occurred. Substantiated allegations of retaliation may result in the same disciplinary action applicable to one who engages in violations of this policy.
II. RECEIVING AND ADDRESSING COMPLAINTS OF TITLE IX SEXUAL HARASSMENT
The Board encourages students and third parties who believe that they or others have been subject to Title IX sexual harassment or any other form of discrimination to promptly report such incidents to a teacher, counselor, nurse, administrator, or other trusted adult Charter School employee, even if some elements of the related incident took place or originated away from school grounds, school activities, or school transportation. Reports may be made at any time, including during non-school hours.
A person who is not an intended victim or target of discrimination but is adversely affected by the conduct may file a complaint of discrimination. Reports may be made using a designated report form or by making a general report verbally or in writing to a Charter School employee, Head of School, or the Title IX Coordinator, or by any method that results in the appropriate individual receiving the report (e.g., mail, telephone, email).
Parents/Guardians have the right to act on behalf of their student(s) at any time, including making a report under this policy and/or filing a written complaint.
A Charter School employee, volunteer, or independent contractor (“reporting adult”) who suspects or is notified that a student has been subject to conduct that may constitute a violation of this policy shall immediately report the incident to the individual’s immediate supervisor, the Head of School, or the Title IX Coordinator and shall make any mandatory police or child protective services reports as may be required by law. Failure of a Charter School employee to report instances of discrimination, including Title IX sexual harassment, may subject the employee to discipline.
If the Head of School or Title IX Coordinator is the subject of a complaint, the student, third party, or reporting adult shall report the incident directly to an individual that is not the subject of the complaint.
The Head of School shall promptly notify the Title IX Coordinator of all complaints of discrimination, Title IX sexual harassment, and retaliation.
REPORT OF AND RESPONSE TO PROHIBITED CONDUCT
INITIAL DUTIES UPON RECEIPT OF REPORT
When the Charter School has actual knowledge of Title IX sexual harassment, the Charter School must respond promptly and in a manner that is not deliberately indifferent. All reports and complaints received by a Charter School employee or the Head of School shall be directed to the Title IX Coordinator.
1. When a complaint or report of sexual harassment is made to the Title IX Coordinator, the Title IX Coordinator shall:
a. Gather additional information from the reporter and other parties identified in the report and document receipt thereof. The Title IX Coordinator may use a form developed by the Head of School in fulfillment of this responsibility.
b. Confidentially contact the complainant to:
i.Gather additional information and to discuss the availability of supportive measures.
ii.Explain the process for how to file a formal complaint and inform the complainant that any report made in good faith will not result in discipline.
c. The Title IX Coordinator shall consider the complainant’s wishes with respect to supportive measures and with respect to whether to investigate, unless the Title IX Coordinator determines it is necessary to pursue the complaint in light of a health or safety concern for the Charter School community.
2. The Title IX Coordinator shall evaluate the complaint or report and any additional information gathered to determine whether the allegations:
- Occurred on or after August 14, 2020.
- a. Occurred while the complainant was in the United States.
- b. Occurred in a Charter School program or activity under the control of the Charter School. c. Meet the definition of Title IX sexual harassment.
- d. Involves or implicates other Board policies or the Code of Conduct.
- e. Raised an immediate threat to the physical health or safety of an individual, based on an individualized safety and risk analysis.
- f. Involves a student identified as a student with a disability under the IDEA or Section 504.
If none of the allegations fall within the scope of Title IX sexual harassment, the Title IX Coordinator must dismiss the complaint. The Title IX Coordinator will refer any dismissed complaints to the Head of School to address the allegations under the appropriate Board policy.
3. If the Title IX Coordinator determines through an initial assessment that the allegations may constitute Title IX sexual harassment, the Title IX Coordinator shall:
a. Promptly explain to the complainant the process for filing a formal complaint and inform the complainant of the continued availability of supportive measures with or without the filing of a formal complaint.
b. Contact the parents/guardians of the complainant and provide them with information regarding the report and Title IX sexual harassment grievance procedures.
- i.The Title IX Coordinator may determine to withhold or to delay notification of the report to parents/guardians, if the Title IX Coordinator is presented with information that indicates that notifying the parents/guardians could cause serious harm to the health or well-being of the complainant or other individual(s). The Title IX Coordinator shall make this determination in consultation with individuals who have professional knowledge of the complainant’s well-being and/or upon advice from legal counsel.
c. Ensure that complainants and respondents are treated equitably by:
- .Offering supportive measures to the complainant and considering supportive measures that may be offered to the respondent and/or any witnesses identified in the complaint.
- i. Following the grievance process for formal complaints prior to any imposition of disciplinary sanctions or other actions on the respondent that are not supportive measures.
- ii. Presuming that the respondent is not responsible for the alleged conduct until
- completion of the grievance process for formal complaints.
- d. Ensure that the reported conduct is appropriately addressed under other applicable Board policies or laws, such as mandatory reporting, incident/data reporting, and threat assessment.
4. Requirements related to supportive measures.
a. All supportive measures provided by the Charter School shall remain confidential to the extent that maintaining confidentiality would not impair the ability of the Charter School to provide them.
b. When any party is an identified student with a disability, or thought to be a student with a disability, the Title IX Coordinator shall notify the Director of Special Education to determine whether additional steps must be taken as supportive measures for the party while Title IX procedures are implemented.
5. Requirements related to emergency removals.
a. When a respondent who is a student poses an immediate threat to the physical health or safety of any student or other individual due to the allegations of Title IX sexual harassment, the respondent may be removed from the Charter School’s education program or activity or moved to an alternative setting. Determinations regarding emergency removals shall be made by the Head of School or designee.
b. Prior to consideration of an emergency removal, the feasibility of remote instruction or instruction in an alternate setting shall be assessed by the Head of School, in consultation with the Director of Special Education (for students with disabilities).
c. Emergency removals shall be governed by the Charter School’s normal procedures for suspension and expulsion, including additional procedural safeguards relating to students with disabilities. In the event that expulsion from the Charter School is necessary because continuation of educational services is not feasible under the circumstances, the Board’s written adjudication of expulsion shall address the pending Title IX process and the impact of the outcome of the Title IX grievance procedures on a student’s emergency removal status.
d. Nothing in this policy shall be construed to alter any rights of the Charter School to make employment decisions when a Charter School employee is a respondent.
FORMAL GRIEVANCE PROCEDURES
Formal grievance procedures apply upon the receipt of a formal complaint from the complainant or upon the signing of a complaint by the Title IX Coordinator.
The Charter School acknowledges that choosing to make a report, file a formal complaint, and/or meet with the Title IX Coordinator after a report or formal complaint has been made, and deciding how to proceed, can be a process that unfolds over time. The complainant will not be pressured to decide whether to pursue a formal complaint or to name the other party/parties at the time of the report.
The Charter School will endeavor to honor the stated wishes of the complainant concerning whether to move forward with an investigation. If the complainant or the complainant’s parents/guardians requests that no investigation occur or refuses to participate in the grievance procedures, the Title IX Coordinator will determine whether the allegations, nonetheless, require an investigation under this policy to mitigate a potential health, safety, or other substantial risk to the Charter School community.
In the event that the Title IX Coordinator initiates formal grievance procedures by signing a formal complaint, the Coordinator shall do so by utilizing a form developed for that purpose by the Head of School. When the Title IX Coordinator signs a formal complaint, the Coordinator is not considered the “complainant” for purposes of this policy.
Note: The Charter School may consolidate formal complaints as to allegations of Title IX sexual harassment against more than one respondent, or by more than one complainant against one or more respondents, or by one party against the other party, where the allegations of sexual harassment arise out of the same facts or circumstances.
Upon the filing of a formal complaint, the Title IX Coordinator shall provide written notice to all known parties, and the parents/guardians of known parties (where applicable). The written notice shall contain:
1. A copy of this policy including the formal grievance procedures, and any informal resolution process that may be available.
2. Notice of the allegations which potentially constitute 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:
a. The identity of the parties involved, if known.
b. The conduct allegedly constituting sexual harassment.
c. Date(s) and location(s) of the alleged incident(s), if known.
d. A statement that the Respondent is presumed not responsible for the alleged conduct and that a determination regarding responsibility is made at the conclusion of the grievance process.
e. Notice that the parties may have an advisor of their choice, who may be, but is not required to be, an attorney, and may inspect and review evidence.
f. Notice that The School’s code of conduct prohibits knowingly making false statements or knowingly submitting false information in connection with reports of misconduct or discrimination.
g. At the outset and during the course of the investigation, notice of any additional allegations that will be subject to investigation.
INFORMAL RESOLUTION PROCESS
Upon the filing of a formal complaint, a complainant who does not wish to pursue formal resolution/investigation may request a less formal proceeding, known as the “Informal Resolution”. During the complainant’s initial meeting with the Title IX Coordinator, the Title IX Coordinator will assess the severity of the alleged harassment and the potential risk of others in the school community to determine if an informal resolution may be appropriate.
The Charter School may not require the parties to participate in an informal resolution process under this section and may not offer an informal resolution process unless a formal complaint is filed. The School may not require as a condition of enrollment or continuing enrollment, or employment or continuing employment, or enjoyment of any other right, waiver of the right to an investigation and adjudication of formal complaints of sexual harassment consistent with this section. However, at any time prior to reaching a determination regarding responsibility, The School may facilitate an informal resolution process, such as mediation, that does not involve a full investigation and adjudication.
Note: Informal resolution cannot be used to resolve allegations involving an employee sexually harassing a student.
The Informal Resolution requires the Title IX Coordinator to:
1. obtain the parties’ voluntary and written consent to the informal resolution process; and
2. provide the parties with written notice disclosing the allegations, the requirements of the informal resolution process including the circumstances under which it precludes the parties from resuming a formal complaint arising from the same allegations, provided, however, that at any time prior to agreeing to a resolution, any party has the right to withdraw from the informal resolution process and resume the formal grievance process with respect to the formal complaint; and
3. any consequences resulting from participating in the informal resolution process, including the records that will be maintained or could be shared.
The informal resolution process shall be conducted within ten (10) school days of the parties’ signed agreement to the informal resolution process.
DISMISSAL OF FORMAL COMPLAINTS
If the conduct alleged in the formal complaint would not constitute Title IX sexual harassment, even if proved, did not occur in the Charter School’s education program or activity, or did not occur against a person in the United States, the Title IX Coordinator must dismiss the formal complaint. “Dismissal” of a complaint only ends the formal grievance procedures in this policy; it does not preclude the Charter School from taking other action against a party in accordance with the Charter School Code of Conduct or other Board policy.
The Title IX Coordinator may, but is not required to, dismiss the formal complaint or any allegations therein, if at any time during the investigation or hearing:
1. a complainant notifies the Title IX Coordinator in writing that the complainant would like to withdraw the formal complaint or any allegations therein;
2. the respondent is no longer enrolled at or employed by the Charter School; or
3. specific circumstances prevent the Charter School from gathering evidence sufficient to reach a determination as to the formal complaint or allegations therein.
Proceeding with the grievance process may allow the Charter School to determine the scope of the harassment, whether Charter School employees knew about it but failed to respond, whether there is a pattern of harassment in particular programs or activities, whether multiple complainants experienced harassment by the same respondent, and what appropriate remedial actions are necessary.
Upon a dismissal required or permitted pursuant to these provisions, The School will promptly send written notice of the dismissal and reason(s) therefore simultaneously to the parties. Parties may appeal a dismissal of the complaint pursuant to appeal procedures set forth below.
The Title IX Coordinator will oversee the investigation and designate an investigator to conduct a fair, thorough, and impartial investigation. The Title IX Coordinator shall assess whether the investigation should be conducted by another Charter School employee, an attorney, or another third party, and shall assign the investigation to that individual.
The burden of gathering evidence sufficient to reach a determination regarding whether violation(s) of this policy occurred rests with the investigator. Absent extensions for good cause, the investigator should typically complete its investigation within 30 school days from the date of the notice of charges. During the process of gathering evidence, unless the Charter School or investigator obtains the written consent of the party, or the party’s parent/guardian when legally required, the Charter School or investigator cannot access, consider, disclose or otherwise use a party’s records which are protected by legal privilege, such as those records made or maintained by a physician, psychologist, or other recognized professional acting in the professional’s capacity, and which are made or maintained in connection with providing treatment to the party.
The investigator shall work with the Title IX Coordinator to assess the anticipated scope of the investigation, who needs to be interviewed, and what records may be relevant to the investigation.
Parties whose participation is requested or expected during the investigation process shall be provided with the date, time, location, participants, and purpose of all investigative interviews or other meetings, in sufficient time for the party to prepare.
The complainant and respondent will be provided an equal opportunity to meet with the investigator, submit evidence, identify witnesses who may have relevant information, and propose questions for the investigator to ask the other party and witnesses. The parties shall not be restricted in discussing the allegations under investigation or from gathering or presenting relevant evidence. However, the Charter School may request a nondisclosure agreement be signed by the parties and their advisor(s), if any, stating that they will not disclose evidence and documents exchanged in the investigation.
The investigator has discretion to determine which witnesses to interview based on the relevance of the evidence they allegedly would offer, and to determine what questions to ask, and will decline to ask questions that are not relevant, are unduly repetitive, or which would not serve the goals of this policy. When a complaint involves allegations relating to conduct which took place away from school property, school-sponsored activities, or school transportation, the investigation may include inquiries related to these allegations to determine whether they resulted in continuing effects such as harassment in school settings.
The person making the report, parties, parents/guardians, and witnesses shall be informed of the prohibition against retaliation for anyone’s participation in the process and that conduct believed to be retaliatory should be reported. To the extent permitted by law, all individuals providing statements or other information or participating in the investigation shall be instructed to keep the matter confidential and to report any concerns about confidentiality to the investigator.
The investigator shall objectively evaluate all evidence, including inculpatory and exculpatory evidence. The investigator may determine the relevance and weigh the value of any witness testimony or other evidence to the findings and may exclude evidence that is irrelevant or immaterial.
Neither the complainant nor the respondent is required to participate in the resolution process outlined in these procedures. The Charter School will not draw any adverse inferences from a complainant or respondent’s decision not to participate or to remain silent during the process. An investigator or decision-maker will reach findings and conclusions based on the information available.
When a party selectively participates in the process—such as choosing to answer some but not all questions posed, or choosing to provide a statement only after reviewing the other evidence gathered in the investigation—an investigator or decision-maker may consider the selective participation in evaluating the party’s credibility.
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.
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. The investigator should coordinate with any other ongoing investigations of the allegations, including agreeing to requests for a short delay in fulfilling the Charter School’s investigative responsibilities during the fact-finding portion of a criminal or child protective services investigation. Deferments shall not extend beyond the time necessary to prevent interference with or disruption of the criminal or child protective services investigation.
Prior to completion of the investigative report, the investigator shall:
1. send to each party and the party’s advisor, if any, the evidence subject to inspection and review in an electronic format or a hard copy;
2. provide the parties at least ten (10) school days following receipt of the evidence to submit a written response; and
3. consider any written response received prior to completion of the investigative report.
The investigator shall prepare and submit a written report to the Title IX Coordinator that fairly summarizes relevant evidence and shall provide the investigative report to all parties and to the designated decision maker.
The report shall include a summary of the investigation, a determination of whether the complaint has been substantiated, the information and evaluation that formed the basis for this determination, credibility determinations when appropriate, an analysis of whether the conduct violated this policy and/or any other law or Board policy which may warrant further Charter School action, and may include a recommended disposition of the complaint.
WRITTEN DETERMINATION AND ACTION BY THE CHARTER SCHOOL
The Title IX Coordinator shall, as soon as practicable, send the completed investigative report to the designated decision-maker. The decision-maker cannot be the same person as the Title IX Coordinator or the investigator. The Title IX Coordinator shall designate the decision-maker as soon as practical upon the commencement of formal grievance procedures.
Note: The Charter School is not required under Title IX regulations to offer a live hearing in the formal grievance process.
After the Title IX Coordinator has sent the investigative report to the parties and before reaching a determination regarding responsibility, the decision-maker must afford each party the opportunity to submit written, relevant questions that a party wants asked of any party or witness, provide each party with the answers, and allow for additional, limited follow-up questions from each party.
Questions and evidence about the complainant’s sexual predisposition or prior sexual behavior are not relevant, unless such questions and evidence about the complainant’s prior sexual behavior are offered to prove someone other than the respondent committed the conduct alleged by the complainant, or if the questions and evidence concern specific incidents of the complainant’s prior sexual behavior with respect to the respondent and are offered to prove consent. The decision-maker must explain to the party proposing the questions any decision to exclude a question as not relevant.
The decision-maker must issue a written determination regarding responsibility based on the preponderance of the evidence/clear and convincing evidence standard, or whether it is more likely than not/highly probable that the Respondent violated the School’s Title IX Policy. The written determination must include:
1. identification of the allegations potentially constituting sexual harassment;
2. description of the procedural steps taken from the formal complaint through the determination, including any notifications to the parties, interviews with parties and witnesses, site visits, methods used to gather other evidence, and hearings held;
3. findings of fact supporting the determination;
4. conclusions regarding the application of the Charter School’s code of conduct to the facts; and
5. a statement of, and rationale for, the result as to each allegation, including a determination regarding responsibility, any disciplinary sanctions the Charter School imposes on the respondent, and whether remedies designed to restore or preserve equal access to the Charter School’s education program or activity will be provided by the Charter School to the complainant; and
6. procedures and permissible bases for the complainant and respondent to appeal.
The School must provide the written determination to the parties simultaneously; the determination regarding responsibility becomes final either on the date The School provides the parties with the written determination of the result of an appeal, if an appeal is filed, or if an appeal is not filed, the date on which an appeal would no longer be considered timely.
The Title IX Coordinator is responsible for effective implementation of any remedies. If the investigation results in a finding that the complaint is factual and constitutes a violation of this policy, the Charter School shall take prompt, corrective action to ensure that such conduct ceases and that no retaliation occurs. The Charter School shall promptly take appropriate steps to prevent the recurrence of the prohibited conduct and to address the discriminatory effect the prohibited conduct had on the complainant and the school or school program environment. Charter School staff shall document the corrective action taken and, where not prohibited by law, inform the complainant. The Title IX Coordinator shall follow up by assessing the effectiveness of the corrective action at reasonable intervals.
If an investigation results in a finding that a different policy was violated separately from or in addition to violations of this policy, or that there are circumstances warranting further action, such matters shall be addressed at the conclusion of this investigation or through disciplinary or other appropriate referrals where further evaluation or investigation is necessary.
Disciplinary actions shall be consistent with the Student Code of Conduct, Board policies and Charter School procedures, and state and federal laws.
Each party may appeal (1) the dismissal of a formal complaint or any included allegations and/or (2) a determination regarding responsibility.
Appeals will be decided by an individual, who will be free of conflict of interest and bias, and will not serve as investigator, Title IX Coordinator, or decision-maker in the same matter (the “appeal officer”).
To appeal, a party must submit their written appeal within five (5) business days of being notified of the decision, including the grounds for the appeal. If no appeal officer has been designated, the written appeal shall be filed with the Title IX Coordinator.
The grounds for appeal are as follows:
1. Procedural irregularity that affected the outcome of the matter (i.e., a failure to follow the institution’s own procedures);
2. New evidence that was not reasonably available at the time the determination regarding responsibility or dismissal was made, that could affect the outcome of the matter;
3. The Title IX Coordinator, investigator(s), or decision-maker(s) had a conflict of interest or bias for or against an individual party, or for or against complainants or respondents in general, that affected the outcome of the matter.
The submission of an appeal stays any sanctions for the pendency of an appeal. Supportive measures (including remote learning, if applicable) remain available during the pendency of the appeal.
The appeal officer shall review the investigation and the investigative report and may also conduct or designate another person to conduct a reasonable supplemental investigation to assess the sufficiency and propriety of the prior investigation.
The appeal officer shall prepare a written response to the appeal within twenty (20) school days. Copies of the response shall be provided to the complainant, the accused and the investigator who conducted the initial investigation.
DELEGATION OF RESPONSIBILITY
The Board shall designate a Title IX Coordinator.
The Title IX Coordinator shall publish and disseminate this policy and complaint procedure at least annually to students, parents/guardians, employees and the public. Nondiscrimination statements published on the Charter School’s website and in student and employee handbooks shall include the position, office address and telephone number of the Title IX Coordinator.
The Title IX Coordinator is responsible to ensure adequate nondiscrimination procedures are in place, to recommend new procedures or modifications to procedures and to monitor their implementation.
The Board directs the Head of School to develop a complaint form which shall be applicable to all allegations of discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment, Title IX sexual harassment, bullying, hazing, dating violence, and retaliation.
The Board directs the Title IX Coordinator, in consultation with the Head of School and any other Board designee, to provide for training as set forth in the regulations governing Title IX legal requirements The Charter School shall ensure that:
1. Title IX Coordinators, investigators, decision-makers, and any individuals who facilitate an informal resolution process pursuant to this policy have appropriate training.
2. All materials used to train Title IX Coordinators shall be made publicly available on the Charter School’s website.
3. All materials used to train Charter School employees who are also investigator(s), decision-maker(s), or individual(s) who facilitate informal resolution processes be made publicly available on the Charter School’s website.
4. Information regarding community resources is maintained and provided to staff, so that staff may in turn make the resources available to complainants, respondents, or others who have been impacted by harassment or allegations thereof.
The Charter School shall maintain for a period of seven (7) years records of:
A. Each sexual harassment investigation including any determination regarding responsibility, any disciplinary sanctions imposed on the respondent, and any remedies provided to the complainant designed to restore or preserve equal access to the Charter School’s education program or activity;
B. Any appeal and the results therefrom;
C. Any informal resolution and the results therefrom; and
D. All materials used to train Title IX Coordinators, investigators, decision makers, and any person who facilitates an informal resolution process. The Charter School must make these training materials available on its website.
The Charter School must create and maintain for a period of seven (7) years for each formal complaint: records of any actions, including any supportive measures, in response to a complaint of sexual harassment. In each instance, the Charter School must document the basis for its conclusion that its response was not deliberately indifferent, and document that it has taken measures designed to restore or preserve equal access to the Charter School’s education program or activity.