Philosophy, Goals and Objectives
- 0000 Educational Philosophy
- 0100 Non-Discrimination and Equal Opportunity
- 0110 Non-Discrimination on the Basis of Sex and Handicap in Education Program and Activities | AR0110 Sexual Harassment | E0110.1 Service Animals at School Activities, Events & Programs Open to the Community
- 0115 Dignity for All / Anti-Bullying / AR0115 Dignity for All / Anti-Bullying
- 0150 HIV AIDS
- 0200 School District Goals and Objectives
- 0220 District Goals for School Operations
- 0310 Evaluation of School Board Operational Procedures
- 0320 Evaluation of Superintendent
The Board of Education is dedicated to establishing a system of education that will provide for the development of each student’s knowledge, power of understanding and judgment, according to her/his abilities and needs, as preparation for the learning and life situations that confront her/him as a student and as a member of society.
Since the learning environment has a strong impact on a student’s personal and social growth and on her/his ability to benefit from the school program, the Board of Education will strive to support a school atmosphere which nourishes intellectual development, self-realization, and social concern.
The Board encourages parents and teachers to offer their expertise in developing a school environment that is academically challenging, psychologically satisfying and socially fulfilling for students at all levels. The objectives of an educational program are best realized when mutual understanding, cooperation, and effective communications exist among the home, community and school.
The District’s philosophy of education and goals statement are set forth in Board of Education Policy 0200 (Educational Philosophy) and P0210 (Philosophy and Goals Statement). The Mission Statement that follows was adopted by the Board of Education February 1997.
Mission Statement: The Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Central School District creates an educational environment that ensures opportunities for learning, personal growth, and social responsibility.
PHILOSOPHY AND GOALS STATEMENT
Preface: The philosophy and goals structure of a school system identifies the scope and purpose of the system. The primary purpose of this school system is to provide for the development of each student’s knowledge, powers of understanding and judgment, according to her/his abilities and needs, as preparation for the learning and life situations that confront her/him as a student and as a member of society.
We realize that the learning environment has a strong impact on the student’s personal and social growth and her/his ability to benefit from the school program. Therefore, an atmosphere which nourishes the student’s growth in intellectual development, self realization, and social concern should permeate all of the school’s activities.
We recognize that the school is only one of the agencies responsible for the educational growth and development of students. We also recognize that a statement of philosophy must have sufficient flexibility to be viewed as a living document subject to growth and modification.
The philosophy which follows results from a belief in the individuality of students and staff, the importance of their interpersonal relationships, and our understanding of the ways in which people learn.
Philosophy: The school recognizes the value and dignity of the individual, helping her/him to develop her/his unique abilities and build a positive self-concept. The school will take responsibility for the student’s acquisition, according to her/his ability, of basic communication and quantitative skills, of fundamental skills for learning how to learn, of a positive attitude toward the learning process, and of the knowledge needed to meet her/his goals. The school will also help to prepare the student for the responsibilities related to earning a living, consumer competency, and adapting to change.
Each student will be provided with learning experiences that help her/him develop a sense of responsibility for her/his actions. The school will provide each student with opportunities to be increasingly involved in determining the direction of her/his life and in selecting appropriate educational experiences.
We believe the individual should understand her/his responsibility to society and her/his role as a contributing member. The school will assist each student in developing the interpersonal skills necessary for social competency and in developing her/his capacity for humaneness. The school will provide opportunities for the development of cultural and leisure time pursuits and make provisions for fostering optimum physical and mental health.
We recognize that this statement of philosophy to be implemented effectively must be amplified with goals, program objectives, learning activities, and evaluation procedures.
This statement of philosophy for the district was adopted by the Board of Education as a result of the June 1972 recommendations of the Philosophy and Goals Committee, a 23-member Board-established committee with student, staff, and community representation. The Superintendent of Schools will be responsible for the implementation of this Philosophy Statement through a hierarchy of expanded goals, broad-based program objectives, departmentalized program objectives, and course- level objectives.
Revised February 2000
Renumbered from P0200 – September 2015
Reviewed March 2012
Renumbered from P6010 – September 2015
Reviewed February 2000
Renumbered from P0210 – September 2015
The Board of Education, its officers and employees, shall not discriminate in its programs and activities on the basis of legally protected classes, such as, but not limited to: race, color, national origin, creed, religion, marital status, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical condition), age, sexual orientation, disability (physical or mental), predisposing genetic characteristic, military work or status, domestic violence victim status, or use of a guide dog, hearing dog, or service dog, as applicable. The district will provide notice of this policy in accordance with federal and state law and regulation.
This policy of nondiscrimination includes access by students to educational programs, counseling services for students, course offerings, and student activities, as well as recruitment and appointment of employees and employment pay, benefits, advancement and/or terminations.
Additionally, to promote the district website’s accessibility to staff, students, and members of the community with disabilities, the district will maintain a website that is accessible (or contains accessible alternatives) on perceivability, operability and understandability principles. The district’s Communication’s Specialist is responsible for considering the following when developing or updating the district website:
- Adding the text equivalent to every image;
- Posting documents in a text-based format such as HTML or RTF in addition to PDFs;
- Avoiding dictating colors and font settings;
- Including audio descriptions and captions to videos;
- Identifying other barriers to access; and
- Making other considerations when developing the district’s website.
The Board of Education, its officers and employees shall not discriminate against students on the basis of actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sex; sexual orientation, or gender (including gender identity and expression).
A finding that an individual has engaged in conduct in violation of this policy may result in disciplinary action and/or filing of a report with third parties in the manner prescribed by the district code of conduct, the law or applicable contract.
Nothing in this policy shall be construed to prohibit a denial of admission into, or exclusion from, a course of instruction or activity based on a person’s gender that would be permissible under the law, or to prohibit, as discrimination based on disability, actions that would be permissible under the law.
At the beginning of each school year, the district shall publish a notice of the established grievance procedures for resolving complaints of discrimination to parents/guardians, employees, students and the community. The public notice shall:
- inform parents, employees, students and the community that education programs, including but not limited to vocational programs, are offered without regard to actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sex; sexual orientation, or gender (including gender identity and expression;
- provide the name, address and telephone number of the person designated to coordinate activities concerning discrimination; and
- be included in announcements, bulletins, catalogues, and applications made available by the district.
The Director of Human Resources has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the district’s nondiscrimination policies. Contact information for the Director of Human Resources is available on the district’s website. Complaints of sexual harassment or discrimination are covered by policy 0110.
All complainants and those who participate in the investigation of a complaint in conformity with state law and district policies, who have acted reasonably and in good faith, have the right to be free from retaliation of any kind.
The Board authorizes the Superintendent of Schools to establish such rules, regulations and procedures necessary to implement and maintain this policy.
0110, Sexual Harassment | 5030, Student Complaints and Grievances | 5300, Code of Conduct | 9140.1, Staff Complaints and Grievances
Ref: Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 29 U.S.C. §§621 et seq. Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §§12101 et seq. | Title VI, Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§2000d et seq. (nondiscrimination based on race, color, and national origin in federally assisted programs) | Title VII, Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§2000e et seq. (nondiscrimination based on race, color, and national origin in employment) | Title IX, Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. §§1681 et seq. (nondiscrimination based on sex) | §504, Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. §794 | Individuals with Disabilities Education Law, 20 U.S.C. §§1400 et seq. | Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 P.L. 110-233 34 C.F.R. §§ 100.6; 104.8; 106.9; 110.25 | Executive Law §§290 et seq. (New York State Human Rights Law) | Education Law §§10-18 (The Dignity for All Students Act) Education Law §§313(3); 3201; 3201-a ADA Best Practices Tool Kit for State and Local Governments, Website Accessibility Under Title II of the ADA (see Chapter 5 and Chapter 5 Addendum checklist), www.ada.gov/pcatoolkit/toolkitmain.htm
Adopted October 2018
Title IX of the federal Education Amendments of 1972 and section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 stipulate that:
No person in the United States shall on the basis of sex or handicap be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.
This district receives Federal financial assistance. The Board of Education believes that discrimination on the basis of sex or handicap in any education program or activity of this district is not to be permitted except where necessary to accomplish a specific purpose that does not impinge upon essential equality or fundamental fairness in the treatment of students or employees of this district. Accordingly, employees of this district are required by this policy to comply with the provisions of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as such regulations are applicable to this district.
B. APPLICATION TO SPECIFIC EDUCATION AND ACTIVITIES
This policy’s prohibition against discrimination by employees or other persons acting in the name and on the behalf of this district because of the sex or handicap of a student or employee, applies to all education programs and activities conducted by this district including, but not limited to, the following:
- Educational Programs
a) Course Offerings: Applies to all course offerings and extra-class activities. This policy does not prohibit:
(1) grouping of students in physical education classes and activities by ability as assessed by objective standards of individual performance developed and applied without regard to sex or handicap;
(2) separation of students by sex within physical education classes or activities during participation in wrestling, boxing, rugby, ice hockey, football, basketball, and other bodily contact sports;
(3) separation of students by sex in classes dealing exclusively with human sexuality; and
(4) separation of persons based on vocal range or quality even though such separation may result in chorus or choruses of one, or predominately one, sex.
b) Athletics: Applies to all athletic programs or activities except where exceptions are identified in Commissioner’s Regulation 135.4c(7)ii(C1-4).
c) Counseling: Applies to all counseling and guidance activities at the elementary and secondary school levels.
d) Textbooks: Nothing in this policy shall be interpreted as requiring or prohibiting or abridging in any way the use of particular textbooks or curricular materials.
2. Other Activities or Facilities
a) Financial Assistance: Applies to awarding college scholarship funds, student loans, or other aid to students of this district.
b) Employment Assistance: Applies to all efforts to place students in employment. The district shall, as part of its work-study program or other efforts to secure employment for students, ensure that all employment opportunities are made available without discrimination on the basis of sex and refuse participation in its student employment program to employers who would practice such discrimination.
c) Toilet, Locker, and Shower Facilities: Separate toilet, locker, and shower facilities may be provided on the basis of sex. Such facilities shall be comparable to similar facilities provided for students of the other sex.
d) No rule on marital, family or parental status that treats one sex different from the other sex shall be applied or enforced.
3. District Employment Activities
Applies to all aspects of the district’s employment programs, including but not limited to, recruitment, advertising, process of application for employment, promotion, granting of tenure, termination, layoffs, wages, job assignments, leaves of absence of all types, fringe benefits, training programs, employer-sponsored programs, including social or recreational programs and any other term, condition or privilege of employment. Specifically, the following personnel employment practices are prohibited:
a) Tests. Administration of any test or other criterion which has a disproportionately adverse effect on persons on the basis of sex or handicap;
b) Recruitment. Recruitment of employees from entities which furnish as applicants only or predominately members of one sex, if such action has the effect of discriminating on the basis of sex or handicap;
c) Compensation. Establishment of rates of pay on the basis of sex or handicap;
d) Job Classification. Classification of jobs as being for males or females;
e) Fringe Benefits. Provision of fringe benefits on basis of sex or handicap;
f) Marital and Parental Status. Any action based on marital or parental status; pregnancies are considered temporary disabilities for all job- related purposes and shall be accorded the same treatment by the district as are all other temporary disabilities. No inquiry shall be made by the district in job applications as to the marriage status of an applicant, including whether such applicant is “Miss or Mrs.” But, inquiry may be made as to the sex of a job applicant for employment if made of all applicants and is not a basis for discrimination.
g) Employment Advertising. Prohibits any expression of preference, limitation, or specification based on sex or handicap unless either is a bona fide occupational qualification for the particular job in question.
C. Policy Enforcement
1. designate a member of the administrative staff:
a) to coordinate efforts of the district to comply with this policy;
b) to develop, and ensure the maintenance of a filing system to keep all records required under this policy;
c) to investigate any complaints of violations of this policy;
d) to administer the grievance procedure established in this policy;
e) to develop affirmative action programs, as appropriate; and
2. provide for the publication of this policy on an ongoing basis to students, parents, employees, prospective employees, and district employee unions or organizations, such publication to include the name, office address and telephone number of the compliance administrator designated pursuant to this policy in paragraph C. 1., above.
D. Grievance Procedure
Any student or employee of this district who believes he or she has been discriminated against, denied a benefit, or excluded from participation, in any district education program or activity, on the basis of sex or handicap in violation of this policy may file a written complaint following the procedures specified in the administrative regulation accompanying this policy.
Grievance procedures for both students and employees provide for informal proceedings involving the building principal or other immediate supervisor in the case of employees not working in a school building. If an informal proceeding does not resolve the grievance, the grievant may submit a written complaint to his/her principal or supervisor and receive a written response within ten school days. If this response is unsatisfactory to the grievant, a written appeal may be submitted to the compliance administrator designated in C. 1. above. The Grievance Officer shall answer the appeal in writing within ten school days. A copy of the written complaint and the compliance administrator’s response shall be provided each member of the Board of Education. If the complainant is not satisfied with such response, he or she may submit a written appeal to the Board of Education indicating with particularity the nature of disagreement with the response and his or her reasons underlying such disagreement.
The Board of Education shall consider the appeal at its next regularly scheduled Board meeting following receipt of the appeal.
The Board of Education recognizes that harassment of students, staff and certain “non-employees” (which includes contractors, subcontractors, vendors, consultant and other persons providing services pursuant to a contract, or their employees) on the basis of sex, gender and/or sexual orientation is abusive and illegal behavior that harms targets and negatively impacts the school culture by creating an environment of fear, distrust, intimidation and intolerance. The Board further recognizes that preventing and remedying such harassment in schools is essential to ensure a healthy, nondiscriminatory environment in which students can learn and employees and “non-employees” can work productively.
Sex-based harassment can be comprised of two types of behavior: sexual harassment and/or gender-based harassment. Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, which can include unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature (see regulation 0110-R for examples). Gender-based harassment includes verbal, nonverbal or physical aggression, intimidation or hostility that is based on actual or perceived gender and sexual stereotypes (see regulation 0110-R for examples). Sexual or gender-based harassment of a student can deny or limit the student’s ability to participate in or to receive benefits, services, or opportunities from the school’s program.
The Board is committed to providing an educational and working environment that promotes respect, dignity and equality and that is free from all forms of sexual harassment. To this end, the Board condemns and strictly prohibits all forms of sexual harassment on school grounds, school buses and at all school-sponsored activities, programs and events including those that take place at locations outside the district, or outside the school setting if the harassment impacts the individual’s education or employment in a way that violates their legal rights.
Under various state and federal laws, students, employees and “non-employees” have legal protections against sexual harassment in the school environment as described above. The district’s Code of Conduct also addresses appropriate behavior in the school environment. Sexual harassment can occur between persons of all ages and genders.
In order for the Board to effectively enforce this policy and to take prompt corrective measures, it is essential that all targets of sexual harassment and persons with knowledge of sexual harassment report the harassment immediately. The district will promptly investigate all complaints of sexual harassment, either formal or informal, verbal or written. To the extent possible, all complaints will be treated in a confidential manner. Limited disclosure may be necessary to complete a thorough investigation. If the complainant reports that they feel unsafe at school due to the nature of the complaint, the district will determine if accommodations need to be made until the issue is resolved.
If, after appropriate investigation, the district finds that a student, an employee, “non-employee” or a third party has violated this policy, prompt corrective action will be taken in accordance with the applicable collective bargaining agreement, contract, district policy and state law. Individual nondisclosure agreements may only be used as permitted by law, described in the accompanying regulation. Mandatory arbitration clauses are prohibited in all district contracts and agreements.
All complainants and those who participate in the investigation of a complaint of sexual harassment have the right to be free from retaliation of any kind.
The Superintendent of Schools is directed to develop and implement regulations for reporting, investigating and remedying allegations of sexual harassment. These regulations are to be attached to this policy. In addition, training programs shall be established for students and employees to raise awareness of the issues surrounding sexual harassment and to implement preventative measures to help reduce incidents of sexual harassment. Age-appropriate instructional materials will be incorporated into the curriculum to educate students so that they can recognize and reduce the incidence of sexual harassment.
This policy shall be posted in a prominent place in each district facility, on the district’s website, and shall also be published in student registration materials, student, parent and employee handbooks, and other appropriate school publications.
This policy shall be reviewed based on NYSSBA recommendations or as needed.
Renumbered from P4020 – September 2015 | Renumbered from P4040 – September 2015 | Renumbered from P4440 – September 2015 | Renumbered from P5020 – September 2015
Revised October 2018
Exhibit 1: Service Animals at School Activities, Events & Programs Open to the Community E0110.1
Renumber from P4020 – September 2015 | Renumbered from P4040 – September 2015 | Renumbered from P4440 – September 2015 | Renumber from P5020 – September 2015 | Revised October 2018
The Board of Education acknowledges its responsibility to permit an individual with a disability to be accompanied on school grounds by a service animal, if the service animal is trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. There is no Federal or New York state licensure required fro a service animal. There is no NY state required training course to become a service animal either. NYS law specifically identifies a service animal as a dog. Other animals (wild or domestic), trained or untrained, are not service animals for the purposes of this definition. A therapy dog or an emotional support animal are not the same as a service dog, adn are no afforded the same protections under law.
How do I know it is a Service Animal?
Most service dogs will be appropriately identified with “service dog” emblazoned on their harness, leash or vest. If it is not readily apparent that the animal is a service animal, you may ask limited questions to verify the role of the animal and ensure that it is a service animal. You may ask:
- Is that a service animal?
- Is that service animal required due to a disability?
- What work or tasks has the service animal been trained to perform?
You may NOT ask for medical documentation or a doctor’s note related to the individual’s disability, licensure or certification that the animal is a service animal, or inquire into the nature of the person’s disability.
How do I interact with the Service Animal or Handler?
Each handler is different, so it is important not to make any assumptions. Typically, a service animal is seen as a working dog when they are on duty. Refrain from interacting with the dog, talking to the dog or petting the dog, unless you ask first and the handler says it is okay. Otherwise, communicate with the handler and essentially ignore the service animal.
What happens if the Service Animal is Allowed in and Becomes Out of Control?
Service animals must be under control of the handler at all times, and should be leashed or tethered (unless such devices interfere with the service animal’s work or the individual’s disability prevents him or her form using these devices.) Individuals who cannot use such methods of securement must maintain control of hte service animal through voice, signal or other effective commands. Service animals must be housebroken. The cost, care and supervision of the service animal are the responsibility of the handler. If the service animal is out of control and the handler does not take immediate effective action to control the animal, a building principal or other administrator or their designee may request the individual with a disability remove the service animal from the school building/property. If the service animal is excluded due to poor behavior or being out of control, the individual with a disability remains eligible to participate in the service, program or activity, and the district provide reasonable accommodations to enable them to do so, upon request.
Adopted March 2020
This regulation is intended to create and preserve an educational and working environment free from unlawful sexual harassment on the basis of sex, gender, and/or sexual orientation in furtherance of the district’s commitment to provide a healthy and productive environment for all students, employees (including all staff, applicants for employment, both paid and unpaid interns. exempt and non-exempt status, part-time, seasonal, and temporary workers, regardless of immigration status) and “non-employees” (i.e., contractors, subcontractors, vendors, consultant and other persons providing services pursuant to a contract, or their employees) that promotes respect, dignity and equality.
Sexual Harassment Defined
Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination and is unlawful under federal, state, and (where applicable) local law. Sexual harassment includes harassment on the basis of actual or perceived or self-identified sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and transgender status.
Sexual harassment includes unwelcome conduct which is either of a sexual nature, or which is directed at an individual because of that individual’s sex, gender, or sexual orientation, when:
- submission to that conduct or communication is made a term or condition, either explicitly or implicitly, of an employee’s or “non-employee’s” employment or a student’s education (including any aspect of the student’s participation in school-sponsored activities, or any other aspect of the student’s education); or
- submission to or rejection of that conduct or communication by an individual is used as the basis for decisions affecting an employee’s or “non-employee’s” employment or a student’s education; or
- the conduct or communication has the purpose or effect of substantially or unreasonably interfering with an employee’s or “non-employee’s” work performance or a student’s academic performance or participation in school-sponsored activities, or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working or educational environment, even if the complaining individual is not the intended target of the sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment can include unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature, or verbal, nonverbal or physical aggression, intimidation or hostility that is based on actual or perceived gender and sexual stereotypes.
School-related conduct that the district considers unacceptable and which may constitute sexual harassment includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- rape, attempted rape, sexual assault, attempted sexual assault, forcible sexual abuse, hazing, and other sexual and gender-based activity of a criminal nature as defined under the State Penal Law;
- unwelcome sexual advances or invitations or requests for sexual activity, including but not limited to those in exchange for grades, promotions, preferences, favors, selection for extracurricular activities or job assignments, homework, etc., or when accompanied by implied or overt threats concerning the target’s work or school evaluations, other benefits or detriments;
- unwelcome or offensive public sexual display of affection, including kissing, hugging, making out, groping, fondling, petting, inappropriate touching of one’s self or others (e.g., pinching, patting, grabbing, poking), sexually suggestive dancing, and massages;
- any unwelcome communication that is sexually suggestive, sexually degrading or derogatory or implies sexual motives or intentions, such as sexual remarks or innuendoes about an individual’s clothing, appearance or activities; sexual jokes; sexual gestures; public conversations about sexual activities or exploits; sexual rumors and “ratings lists;” howling, catcalls, and whistles; sexually graphic computer files, messages or games, etc;
- unwelcome and offensive name calling or profanity that is sexually suggestive or explicit, sexually degrading or derogatory, implies sexual intentions, or that is based on sexual stereotypes or sexual orientation, gender identity or expression;
- unwelcome physical contact or closeness that is sexually suggestive, sexually degrading or derogatory, or sexually intimidating such as the unwelcome touching of another’s body parts, cornering or blocking an individual, standing too close, spanking, pinching, following, stalking, frontal body hugs, etc.;
- unwelcome and sexually offensive physical pranks or touching of an individual’s clothing, such as hazing and initiation, “streaking,” “mooning,” “snuggies” or “wedgies” (pulling underwear up at the waist so it goes in between the buttocks), bra-snapping, skirt “flip-ups,” “spiking” (pulling down someone’s pants or swimming suit); pinching; placing hands inside an individual’s pants, shirt, blouse, or dress, etc.;
- unwelcome leers, stares, gestures, or slang that are sexually suggestive; sexually degrading or derogatory or imply sexual motives or intentions;
- clothing with sexually obscene or sexually explicit slogans or messages;
- unwelcome and offensive skits, assemblies, and productions that are sexually suggestive, sexually degrading or derogatory, or that imply sexual motives or intentions, or that are based on sexual stereotypes;
- unwelcome written or pictorial display or distribution (including via electronic devices) of pornographic or other sexually explicit materials such as signs, graffiti, calendars, objects, magazines, videos, films, Internet material, etc.;
- other hostile actions taken against an individual because of that person’s sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or transgender status, such as interfering with, destroying or damaging a person’s work or school area or equipment; sabotaging that person’s work or school activities; bullying, yelling, or name calling; or otherwise interfering with that person’s ability to work or participate in school functions and activities; and
- any unwelcome behavior based on sexual stereotypes and attitudes that is offensive, degrading, derogatory, intimidating, or demeaning, including, but not limited to:
- disparaging remarks, slurs, jokes about or aggression toward an individual because the person displays mannerisms or a style of dress inconsistent with stereotypical characteristics of the person’s sex;
- ostracizing or refusing to participate in group activities with an individual during class projects, physical education classes or field trips because of the individual’s sex, gender expression or gender identity;
- taunting or teasing an individual because they are participating in an activity not typically associated with the individual’s sex or gender.
For purposes of this regulation, action or conduct shall be considered “unwelcome” if the student, employee or non-employee did not request or invite it and regarded the conduct as undesirable or offensive.
Sexual harassment could occur on school grounds, school buses and at all school-sponsored activities, programs and events, including those that take place at locations outside the district, or outside the school setting if the harassment impacts the individual’s education or employment in a way that violates their legal rights, including when employees or “non-employees” travel on district business, or when the harassment is done by electronic means (including on social media).
Determining if Prohibited Conduct is Sexual Harassment
Complaints of sexual harassment will be thoroughly investigated to determine whether the totality of the behavior and circumstances meet any of the elements of the above definition of sexual harassment and should therefore be treated as sexual harassment. Not all unacceptable conduct with sexual connotations may constitute sexual harassment. In many cases (other than quid pro quo situations where the alleged harasser offers academic or employment rewards or threatens punishment as an inducement for sexual favors), unacceptable behavior must be sufficiently severe, pervasive and objectively offensive to be considered sexual harassment. If the behavior doesn’t rise to the level of sexual harassment, but is found to be objectionable behavior, the individual will be educated and counseled in order to prevent the behavior from continuing.
In evaluating the totality of the circumstances and making a determination of whether conduct constitutes sexual harassment, the individual investigating the complaint should consider:
- the degree to which the conduct affected the ability of the student to participate in or benefit from his or her education or altered the conditions of the student’s learning environment or altered the conditions of the employee’s or “non-employee’s” working environment;
- the type, frequency and duration of the conduct;
- the identity of and relationship between the alleged harasser and the subject of the harassment (e.g., sexually based conduct by an authority figure is more likely to create a hostile environment than similar conduct by another student or a co-worker);
- the number of individuals involved;
- the age and sex of the alleged harasser and the subject of the harassment;
- the location of the incidents and context in which they occurred;
- other incidents at the school; and
- incidents of gender-based, but non-sexual harassment.
Any person who believes he or she has been the target of sexual harassment by a student, district employee or “non-employee” or third party related to the school is encouraged to report complaints as soon as possible after the incident in order to enable the district to promptly and effectively investigate and resolve the complaint. Any person who witnesses or is aware of sexual harassment of a student, employee, or “non-employee” is also encouraged to report the incident or behavior to the district. Targets are encouraged to submit the complaint in writing; however, complaints may be filed verbally.
Complaints should be filed with the Principal or the Title IX coordinator.
Any school employee who receives a complaint of sexual harassment from a student shall inform the student of the employee’s obligation to report the complaint to the school administration, and then shall immediately notify the Principal and/or the Title IX coordinator. School employees receiving complaints of sexual harassment from employees and “non-employees” shall either direct the complainant to the Building Principal, or may report the incident themselves. Supervisory and managerial personnel are required to report complaints of sexual harassment received by staff, and will be subject to discipline for failing to report suspected or reported sexual harassment, knowingly allowing sexual harassment to continue, or engaging in any retaliation.
In order to assist investigators, targets should document the harassment as soon as it occurs and with as much detail as possible including: the nature of the harassment; dates, times, places it has occurred; name of harasser(s); witnesses to the harassment; and the target’s response to the harassment.
It is district policy to respect the privacy of all parties and witnesses to complaints of sexual harassment. To the extent possible, the district will not release the details of a complaint or the identity of the complainant or the individual(s) against whom the complaint is filed to any third parties who do not need to know such information. However, because an individual’s need for confidentiality must be balanced with the district’s legal obligation to provide due process to the accused, to conduct a thorough investigation, or to take necessary action to resolve the complaint, the district retains the right to disclose the identity of parties and witnesses to complaints in appropriate circumstances to individuals with a need to know. The staff member responsible for investigating complaints will discuss confidentiality standards and concerns with all complainants.
If a complainant requests that his/her name not be revealed to the individual(s) against whom a complaint is filed, the staff member responsible for conducting the investigation shall inform the complainant that:
- the request may limit the district’s ability to respond to his/her complaint;
- district policy and federal law prohibit retaliation against complainants and witnesses;
- the district will attempt to prevent any retaliation; and
- the district will take strong responsive action if retaliation occurs.
If the complainant still requests confidentiality after being given the notice above, the investigator will take all reasonable steps to investigate and respond to the complaint consistent with the request as long as doing so does not preclude the district from responding effectively to the harassment and preventing the harassment of other students or employees.
Investigation and Resolution Procedure
A. Initial (Building-level) Procedure
The Principal or the Title IX coordinator shall conduct a preliminary review when they receive a verbal or written complaint of sexual harassment, or if they observe sexual harassment. Except in the case of severe or criminal conduct, the Principal or the Title IX coordinator should make all reasonable efforts to resolve complaints informally at the school level. The goal of informal investigation and resolution procedures is to end the harassment and obtain a prompt and equitable resolution to a complaint. All persons involved in an investigation (complainants, witnesses and alleged harassers) will be accorded due process to protect their rights to a fair and impartial investigation. This investigation shall be prompt and thorough, and shall be completed as soon as possible.
Immediately, but no later than two working days following receipt of a complaint, the Principal or Title IX coordinator shall begin an investigation of the complaint according to the following steps:
- Interview the target and document the conversation. Instruct the target to have no contact or communication regarding the complaint with the alleged harasser. Ask the target specifically what action he/she wants taken in order to resolve the complaint. Refer the target, as appropriate, to school social workers, school psychologists, crisis team managers, other school staff, or appropriate outside agencies for counseling services.
- Review any written documentation of the harassment prepared by the target. If the target has not prepared written documentation, ask the target to do so, providing alternative formats for individuals with disabilities and young children, who have difficulty writing and need accommodation. If the complainant refuses to complete a complaint form or written documentation, the Principal or Title IX coordinator shall complete a complaint form (see exhibit 0110-E) based on the verbal report.
- Request, review, obtain and preserve relevant evidence of harassment (e.g., documents, emails, phone records, etc.), if any exist.
- Interview the alleged harasser regarding the complaint and inform the alleged harasser that if the objectionable conduct has occurred, it must cease immediately. Document the conversation. Provide the alleged harasser an opportunity to respond to the charges in writing.
- Instruct the alleged harasser to have no contact or communication regarding the complaint with the target and to not retaliate against the target. Warn the alleged harasser that if he/she makes contact with or retaliates against the target, he/she will be subject to immediate disciplinary action.
- Interview any witnesses to the complaint. Where appropriate, obtain a written statement from each witness. Caution each witness to keep the complaint and his/her statement confidential. Employees may be required to cooperate as needed in investigations of suspected sexual harassment.
- Review all documentation and information relevant to the complaint
- Where appropriate, suggest mediation as a potential means of resolving the complaint. In addition to mediation, use appropriate informal methods to resolve the complaint, including but not limited to:
- discussion with the accused, informing him or her of the district’s policies and indicating that the behavior must stop;
- suggesting counseling and/or sensitivity training;
- conducting training for the department or school in which the behavior occurred, calling attention to the consequences of engaging in such behavior;
- requesting a letter of apology to the complainant;
- writing letters of caution or reprimand; and/or
- separating the parties.
- Parent/Student/Employee/“Non-Employee” Involvement and Notification
- Parents of student targets and accused students shall be notified within one school day of allegations that are serious or involve repeated conduct.
- The parents of students who file complaints are welcome to participate at each stage of both informal and formal investigation and resolution procedures.
- If either the target or the accused is a disabled student receiving special education services under an IEP or section 504/Americans with Disabilities Act accommodations, the committee on special education will be consulted to determine the degree to which the student’s disability either caused or is affected by the discrimination or policy violation. In addition, due process procedures required for persons with disabilities under state and federal law shall be followed.
- The Principal or Title IX Coordinator (i.e., the investigator) shall submit a copy of all investigation and interview documentation to the Superintendent.
- The investigator shall report back to both the target and the accused, notifying them in writing, and also in person as appropriate regarding the outcome of the investigation and the action taken to resolve the complaint. The investigator shall instruct the target to report immediately if the objectionable behavior occurs again or if the alleged harasser retaliates against him/her.
- The investigator shall notify the target that if he/she desires further investigation and action, he/she may request a district level investigation by contacting the Superintendent of Schools. The investigator shall also notify the target of his/her right to contact the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights and/or a private attorney. Employees may also contact the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the New York State Division of Human Rights.
- Create a written documentation of the investigation, kept in a secure and confidential location, containing:
- A list of all documentation and other evidence reviewed, along with a detailed summary;
- A list of names of those interviewed along with a detailed summary of their statements;
- A timeline of events;
- A summary of prior relevant incidents, reported or unreported; and
- The final resolution of the complaint, together with any corrective action(s).
If the initial investigation results in a determination that sexual harassment did occur, the investigator will promptly notify the Superintendent, who shall then take prompt disciplinary action in accordance with district policy, the applicable collective bargaining agreement or state law.
If a complaint received by the Principal or the Title IX Coordinator contains evidence or allegations of serious or extreme harassment, such as employee to student harassment, criminal touching, quid pro quo (e.g., offering an academic or employment reward or punishment as an inducement for sexual favors), or acts which shock the conscience of a reasonable person, the complaint shall be referred promptly to the Superintendent. In addition, where the Principal or the Title IX coordinator has a reasonable suspicion that the alleged harassment involves criminal activity, he/she should immediately notify the Superintendent, who shall then contact appropriate child protection and law enforcement authorities. Where criminal activity is alleged or suspected by a district employee, the accused employee shall be suspended pending the outcome of the investigation, consistent with all contractual or statutory requirements.
Any party who is not satisfied with the outcome of the initial investigation by the Principal or the Title IX coordinator may request a district-level investigation by submitting a written complaint to the Superintendent within 30 days.
B. District-level Procedure
The Superintendent shall promptly investigate and resolve all sexual harassment complaints that are referred to him/her by a Principal or Title IX coordinator, as well as those appealed to the Superintendent following an initial investigation by a Principal or Title IX coordinator. In the event the complaint of sexual harassment involves the Superintendent, the complaint shall be filed with or referred to the Board President, who shall refer the complaint to a trained investigator not employed by the district for investigation.
The district level investigation should begin as soon as possible but not later than three working days following receipt of the complaint by the Superintendent or Board President.
In conducting the formal district level investigation, the district will use investigators who have received formal training in sexual harassment investigation or that have previous experience investigating sexual harassment complaints.
If a district investigation results in a determination that sexual harassment did occur, prompt corrective action will be taken to end the harassment. Where appropriate, district investigators may suggest mediation as a means of exploring options of corrective action and informally resolving the complaint.
No later than 30 days following receipt of the complaint, the Superintendent (or in cases involving the Superintendent, the Board-appointed investigator) will notify the target and alleged harasser, in writing, of the outcome of the investigation. If additional time is needed to complete the investigation or take appropriate action, the Superintendent or Board-appointed investigator will provide all parties with a written status report within 30 days following receipt of the complaint.
The target and the alleged harasser have the right to be represented by a person of their choice, at their own expense, during sexual harassment investigations and hearings
In addition, targets have the right to register sexual harassment complaints with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR). The OCR can be contacted at (800) 421-3481, 400 Maryland Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20202-1100, or at https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr./docs/howto.html.
Employee targets also have the right to register complaints with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the New York State Division of Human Rights (DHR). The EEOC can be contacted at (800) 669-4000, https://www.eeoc.gov/employees/howtofile.cfm, firstname.lastname@example.org, or at 33 Whitehall Street, 5th Floor, New York, NY 10004 or 300 Pearl Street, Suite 450, Buffalo, NY 14202. The DHR can be contacted at (888) 392-3644, www.dhr.ny.gov/complaint, or at 1 Fordham Plaza, Fourth Floor, Bronx, NY 10458.
Nothing in these regulations shall be construed to limit the right of the complainant to file a lawsuit in either state or federal court, or to contact law enforcement officials if the sexual harassment involves unwanted physical touching, coerced physical confinement or coerced sex acts, which may constitute a crime. No district contract or collective bargaining agreement entered into after July 11, 2018 may include a binding arbitration clause for sexual harassment requiring arbitration before bringing the matter to a court.
The district may include nondisclosure agreements (to not disclose the underlying facts and circumstances of a sexual harassment complaint) in any sexual harassment settlement agreement or resolution only if it is the complainant’s preference. Any such nondisclosure agreement shall be provided to all parties. Complainants shall have twenty-one days to consider any such nondisclosure provision before it is signed by all parties, and shall have seven days to revoke the agreement after signing. Nondisclosure agreements shall only become effective after this seven-day period has passed.
Any act of retaliation against any person who opposes sexually harassing behavior, or who has filed a complaint in good faith, is prohibited and illegal, and therefore subject to disciplinary action. Likewise, retaliation against any person who has, in good faith, testified, assisted, or participated in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing of a sexual harassment complaint is prohibited. For purposes of this policy, retaliation includes but is not limited to: verbal or physical threats, intimidation, ridicule, bribes, destruction of property, spreading rumors, stalking, harassing phone calls, discipline,
discrimination, demotion, denial of privileges, any action that would keep a person from coming forward to make or support a sexual harassment claim, and any other form of harassment. Such actions need not be job- or education-related, or occur in the workplace or educational environment, to constitute unlawful retaliation. Any person who retaliates is subject to immediate disciplinary action, up to and including suspension or termination.
Any individual who violates the sexual harassment policy by engaging in prohibited sexual harassment will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action. Disciplinary measures available to school authorities include, but are not limited to the following:
- Students: Discipline may range from a reprimand up to and including suspension from school, to be imposed consistent with the student conduct and discipline policy and applicable law.
- Employees: Discipline may range from a warning up to and including termination, to be imposed consistent with all applicable contractual and statutory rights.
- Volunteers: Penalties may range from a warning up to and including loss of volunteer assignment.
- “Non-employees” (i.e., contractors, subcontractors, vendors, consultant and other persons providing services pursuant to a contract, or their employees): Penalties may range from a warning up to and including loss of district business.
- Other individuals: Penalties may range from a warning up to and including denial of future access to school property.
False or malicious complaints of sexual harassment may result in corrective or disciplinary action taken against the complainant.
All students and employees shall be informed of this policy in student and employee handbooks, on the district website and student registration materials. A poster summarizing the policy shall also be posted in a prominent location at each school. All secondary school student body officers shall receive district training about the policy at the beginning of each school year. The district shall provide all existing employees with either a paper or electronic copy of the district’s sexual harassment policy and regulation, and shall provide the same to new employees before the employee starts his/her job.
In addition, age-appropriate curricular materials will be made available so that it can be incorporated in instruction K-12 to ensure that all students are educated to recognize and report sexual harassment.
All new employees shall receive training on this policy and regulation at new employee orientation or as soon as possible after starting their job, unless he/she can demonstrate that they have received equivalent training within the past year from a previous employer. All other employees shall be provided training at least once a year regarding this policy and the district’s commitment to a harassment-free learning and working environment. Principals, Title IX coordinators, and other administrative employees who have specific responsibilities for investigating and resolving complaints of sexual harassment shall receive yearly training on this policy, regulation and related legal developments.
Annual employee training programs shall be interactive and include:
- an explanation of sexual harassment consistent with guidance issued by the NYS Department of Labor and the NYS Division of Human Rights;
- examples of conduct that is unlawful sexual harassment;
- information on federal and state laws about sexual harassment and remedies available to victims of sexual harassment;
- information concerning employees’ right to make complaints and all available forums for investigating complaints; and
- address the conduct and responsibilities of supervisors.
Principals in each school and program directors shall be responsible for informing students and staff on a yearly basis of the terms of this policy, including the procedures established for investigation and resolution of complaints, general issues surrounding sexual harassment, the rights and responsibilities of students and employees, and the impact of sexual harassment on the target.
Adopted November 2018
The Board of Education is committed to providing an educational and working environment that promotes respect, dignity and equality for all students, staff and parents. The Board recognizes that discrimination, such as harassment, hazing and bullying, are detrimental to student learning and achievement. These behaviors interfere with the mission of the district to educate its students and disrupt the operation of the schools. Such behavior affects not only the students who are its targets but also those individuals who participate and witness such acts.
To this end, the Board condemns and prohibits all forms of discrimination, such as harassment, hazing and bullying on school grounds, on school buses, at school bus pick-up sites, at all school-sponsored activities, programs and events. Discrimination, harassment, hazing or bullying that takes place at locations outside of school grounds which can be reasonably expected to materially and substantially interfere with the requirements of appropriate discipline in the operation of the school are prohibited, and may be subject to disciplinary procedures and consequences.
Bullying is a conscious, willful, deliberate activity intended to harm in which the bully uses actions or intimidation to cause pain/and or misery. It can be verbal, physical, electronic and/or relational; may include as its focus but is not limited to a person’s actual or perceived:
- physical attributes
- mental ability/disability
- religious practice
- sexual orientation
- social-economic status
- other differences (perceived or real)
It includes all forms of hazing and cyberbullying that may have an effect on our school environment. It can be and often is continuous and repeated over time, but does not have to be. Once is enough to constitute bullying.
Discrimination is the act of denying rights, benefits, justice, equitable treatment or access to facilities available to all others, to an individual or group of people because of the group, class or category to which that person belongs (as enumerated in the Definitions section, under Harassment, below).
Hazing is an induction, initiation or membership process involving harassment which produces public humiliation, physical or emotional discomfort, bodily injury or public ridicule or creates a situation where public humiliation, physical or emotional discomfort, bodily injury or public ridicule is likely to occur.
Harassment has been defined in various ways in federal and state law and regulation. The Board recognizes that these definitions are important standards, but the Board’s goal is to prevent misbehavior from escalating in order to promote a positive school environment and to limit liability. The Dignity for All Students Act (§§10-18 of Education Law) defines harassment as the creation of a hostile environment by conduct or by verbal threats, intimidation or abuse that has or would have the effect of unreasonably and substantially interfering with a student’s educational performance, opportunities or benefits, or mental, emotional or physical well-being; or conduct, verbal threats, intimidation or abuse that reasonably causes or would reasonably be expected to cause a student to fear for his or her physical safety. The harassing behavior may be based on any characteristic, including but not limited to a person’s actual or perceived:
- national origin,
- ethnic group,
- religious practice,
- sexual orientation, or
- gender (including gender identity and expression)
Cyberbullying includes, but is not limited to, the following misuses of technology; harassing, teasing, intimidating, threatening, or terrorizing another student or staff member by way of any technological tool, such as sending or posting inappropriate or derogatory email messages, instant messages, text messages, digital pictures or images, or website postings (including blogs).
Cyberbullying has the effect of:
a) Physically, emotionally or mentally harming student;
b) Placing a student in reasonable fear of physical, emotional or mental harm;
c) Placing a student in reasonable fear of damage to or loss of personal property; and
d) Creating an intimidating or hostile environment that substantially interferes with a student’s educational opportunities.
Also, cyberbullying that occurs off-campus, that causes or threatens to cause a material or substantial disruption in the school, could allow school officials to apply the “Tinker standard” where a student’s off-campus “speech” may be subject to formal discipline by school officials when it is determined that the off-campus speech did cause a substantial disruption or threat thereof within the school setting [Tinker v. Des Moines Independent School District 393 U.S. 503 (1969)]. Such conduct could also be subject to appropriate disciplinary action in accordance with the District Code of Conduct and possible referral to local law enforcement authorities.
The school setting provides an opportunity to teach children, and emphasize among staff, that cooperation with and respect for others is a key district value. A program geared to prevention is designed to not only decrease incidents of bullying but to help students build more supportive relationships with one another by integrating the bullying prevention program into classroom instruction. Staff members and students will be sensitized, through district-wide professional development and instruction, to the warning signs of bullying, as well as to their responsibility to become actively involved in the prevention of bullying before overt acts occur.
In order to implement this program the Board will designate at its annual organizational meeting a Bullying Prevention Coordinator (BPC). The role of the BPC is to coordinate this policy. In addition, the Superintendent will establish a district-wide Anti-bullying Task Force, as well as Bullying Prevention Coordinating Committees in each school that will be overseen by a building administrator who will enforce this policy, contact parents, and keep an ongoing record of reported incidents. Committees will include representation from staff and administration with outreach when necessary to parents. The district-wide task force and the school-level committee will assist the administration in developing and implementing specific prevention initiatives, including early identification of bullying and other strategies. In addition, the program will include reporting, investigating, remedying and tracking allegations of bullying. The accompanying regulation provides more detail on the specific programs and strategies implemented by the district.
Intervention by adults and bystanders is an important step in preventing escalation and resolving issues at the earliest stages. Intervention will emphasize education and skill-building.
Successful intervention may involve remediation. Remedial responses to bullying and harassment include measures designed to correct the problem behavior, prevent another occurrence of the behavior and protest the target. Remediation may be targeted to the individual(s) involved in the bullying behavior or environmental approaches which are targeted to the school or district as a whole.
In addition, intervention will focus upon the safety of the target. Staff are required, when aware of bullying, to either refer the student to designated resources for assistance, or to intervene in accordance with this policy and regulation.
Provisions for students who do not feel safe at school
The Board acknowledges that, notwithstanding actions taken by district staff, intervention may require a specific coordinated approach if the child does not feel safe at school. Students who do not feel safe at school are limited in their capacity to learn and reach their academic potential. Staff, when aware of bullying, should determine if accommodations are needed in order to help ensure the safety of the student and bring this to the attention of the building principal. The building principal, other appropriate staff, the student and the student’s parent/guardian should work together to define and implement any needed accommodations.
The district recognizes that there is a need to balance accommodations which enhance student safety against the potential to further stigmatize the targeted student. Therefore, each case will be handled individually, and the student, parent/guardian, and school administration will collaborate to establish safety provisions that best meet the needs of the targeted student. Follow-up discussion and/or meetings will be scheduled, as needed, to ensure that safety concerns have been adequately addressed and to determine when and if accommodations need to be changed or discontinued.
The Board recognized that in order to implement an effective bullying prevention and intervention program, professional development is needed. The Superintendent, the BPC and the District Professional Development Team will incorporate training to support this program in new teacher orientation and the annual professional development plan, as needed. Training opportunities will be provided for all staff, including but not limited to bus drivers, cafeteria and hall monitors and all staff who have contact with students. The BPC will be trained in accordance with state requirements and will continue their professional development so as to successfully support this policy and program.
Reporting and Investigation
The district cannot effectively address bullying if incidents are not reported. Students who have been bullied, parents/guardians whose children have been bullied or other students or staff who observe bullying behavior are encouraged and expected to make a verbal and/or written complaint to any school personnel in accordance with the training and guidelines provided. At all times, complaints will be documented, tracked and handled in accordance with the regulations and procedures accompanying this policy and the district’s Code of Conduct. If a staff person is unsure of the reporting procedure, he/she is expected to inquire about how to proceed by speaking with their supervisor. Incidents will be included in the Violent and Disruptive Incident Reporting (VADIR) system when applicable.
There shall be a duty for all school personnel to report to their building principal or other administrator who supervises their employment any incidents of student-to-student and staff-to-student bullying that they observe. In addition, there shall be a further duty for all school personnel to report any incidents of student-to-student and staff-to-student bullying of which they are made aware by students to their building principals or other administrator who supervised their employment. Supervisors will refer the information to appropriate district staff for investigation as designated in administrative regulation. A district employee may be deemed to have permitted unlawful discrimination or harassment if he/she fails to report an observed incident, whether or not the target complains.
The results of the investigation shall be reported back to both the target and the accused in accordance with the accompanying administrative regulation. If either of the parties disagrees with the results of the investigation, they can appeal the findings in accordance with the regulations that accompany this policy.
While the focus of this policy is on prevention, bullying acts may still occur. In these cases, offenders will be given the clear message that their actions are wrong and the behavior must improve. Student offenders will receive in-school guidance in making positive choices in their relationships with others. If appropriate, disciplinary action will be taken by the administration in accordance with the district’s Code of Conduct, as applicable. If the behavior rises to the level of criminal activity, law enforcement will be contacted.
Consequences for a student who commits an act of bullying shall be unique to the individual incident and will vary in method and severity according to the nature of the behavior, the developmental age of the student, and the student’s history of problem behaviors, and must be consistent with the district’s Code of Conduct.
All complainants and those who participate in the investigation of a complaint in conformity with state law and strict policies, who have acted in good faith, have the right to be free from retaliation of any kind.
Dissemination, Monitoring, Review, and Reporting
This policy, or a plain language summary, shall be published in student, parent and employee handbooks, and posted on the district’s website. The Superintendent will receive the annual VADIR report, for each building and for the district as a whole, with particular attention to the trends in the incidence of bullying. Based on the review of the data, the Superintendent may consider further action, including but not limited to modification of this policy and additional training.
The District will ensure that any required reporting of information to the public will be in a manner that complies with student privacy rights under the Family Educational rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
The District will comply with New York State Education Law Sections 10 through 18 and Section 801(a), as such now exists or are amended from time to time.
Approved June 2012
Renumbered from P5030 – September 2015
The Board of Education recognizes the public concern over the health issues surrounding Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). The Board recognizes, based upon the current state of medical knowledge, that the virus associated with AIDS is not easily transmitted and there is no evidence that AIDS or the HIV virus can be transmitted by casual social contact in the open school setting.
The Board further recognizes the privacy rights of students diagnosed with HIV infection or AIDS and their right to a free appropriate public education; the rights of HIV infected employees to privacy and reasonable accommodations; the rights of all non-infected individuals to a safe environment free of any significant risks to their health; and the rights of all students to instruction regarding the nature, transmission, prevention, and treatment of HIV infection, pursuant to the Commissioner’s Regulation,Part 135.3.
No individual shall be denied access to any program or activity sponsored by or conducted on the grounds of the district, solely on the basis of his/her status as an HIV-infected individual.
It is the policy of the Board that:
- A student’s education shall not be interrupted or curtailed solely on the basis of his/her HIV status. HIV-infected students shall be afforded the same rights, privileges, and services available to every other student.
- Superintendent will, upon securement of written authorization by family/student, refer the case evaluation for appropriate placement to a committee comprised of the District School Physician, the parent(s) or guardian(s) of the infected student, and the student’s physician.
- No student shall be referred to the Committee on Special Education solely on the basis of his/her HIV status. A student who is infected with HIV shall be referred to the Committee on Special Education (CSE) only when the student’s disability interferes with his/her ability to benefit from instruction. Such referral shall be made in accordance with Part 200 of Commissioner’s Regulations.
- If a student who is HIV-infected requires special accommodations to enable him/her to continue to attend school, the student shall be referred to the appropriate multi- disciplinary team as required by §504 of the Rehabilitation Act.
- No disclosure of HIV-related information involving a student shall be made without first obtaining the informed consent of the parent, guardian or student on the Department of Health (DOH) approved form.
It is the policy of the Board that:
- No employees shall be prevented from continuing in his/her employment solely on the basis of his/her HIV status; such employees are entitled to all rights, privileges, and services accorded to other employees and shall be entitled to reasonable accommodations to the extent that such accommodations enable such individuals to perform their duties.
- No disciplinary action or other adverse action shall be taken against any employee solely on the basis of his/her status as an HIV infected or a person with AIDS. Such action will only be taken where, even with the provision of reasonable accommodations, the individual is unable to perform his/her duties.
- All employees shall have access to the district’s exposure control plan as required by the federal Office of Safety and Health Association (OSHA).
- In accordance with OSHA regulations, training in universal precautions and infection control shall be offered to all employees and shall be provided to every employee with potential occupational exposure.
Any information obtained regarding the HIV status of an individual connected to the school shall not be released to third parties, except to those persons who are:
- named on an Authorization for Release of Confidential HIV Related Information form;
- named in a special HIV court order; or
- as indicated in Public Health Law §2782, when necessary to provide health care to the individual (i.e., to the school physician and the school nurse).
Any employee who breaches the confidentiality of a person who is HIV infected shall be subject to disciplinary action in accordance with applicable law and/or collective bargaining agreement.
To protect the confidentiality of an HIV infected individual, any documents identifying the HIV status of such individuals shall be maintained by the school nurse (or another authorized individual) in a secure file, separate from the individual’s regular file. Access to such file shall be granted only to those persons named on the Department of Health approved Authorization for Release of Confidential HIV Related Information form, or through a special HIV court order. When information is disclosed, a statement prohibiting further redisclosure, except when in compliance with the law, must accompany the disclosure.
No school official shall require a student or employee to undergo an HIV antibody test or other HIV-related test. In accordance with OSHA regulations in the event of an incident involving the exposure one individual to potentially infectious body fluids of another individual, particularly blood or any other fluid which contains visible blood, an HIV test may be requested but NOT required. The request and refusal must be documented.
However, school officials shall not be precluded from requiring a student or employee to undergo a physical examination pursuant to Education Law §§903 and 913, when other illness administered without the individual’s informed consent as required by Public Health Law §27-F.
To implement this policy, the Superintendent of Schools is directed to establish an advisory council to make recommendations on the development, implementation, and evaluation of HIV/AIDS instruction as a part of comprehensive health education.
Revised May 2012
Renumbered from P5420 – September 2015
In furtherance of its educational philosophy, the Board of Education hereby establishes the following objectives:
- to employ the best possible school staff, including both professional and support personnel;
- to encourage the development of meaningful, interpersonal relationships among the students, the staff and community;
- to insure that staff, students, and parents are afforded opportunities for meaningful participation in the development and evaluation of programs and policies;
- to strive for maximum efficiency in the use of district resources to meet the goals and objectives of the various programs and services;
- to encourage all students to develop intellectual curiosity, eagerness for lifelong learning, and a pride in their achievements and progress.
Reviewed February 2000
Renumbered from P0300 – September 2015
Long term goals for school operations are essential to ensure that the Board of Education meet its responsibilities for maintenance and operation of the District’s schools. A long range plan for maintenance and operations that is continuously evaluated and updated will be developed by the Assistant Superintendent for Support Services, reviewed by the Superintendent of Schools, and reported to the Board of Education when a change in policy or other action is deemed necessary for the improved operation of the school system.
Board of Education policy-making with regard to school operations and maintenance should be guided by the development of long range plans and goal-setting. School operations goals should be consistent with instructional goals and objectives.
Reviewed February 2000
Renumbered from P0330 – September 2015
The Board of Education shall review the effectiveness of its internal operations at least once annually. The Superintendent of Schools and others who work regularly with the Board shall be asked to participate in this review and to suggest ways by which the Board can improve its functioning as a deliberative and legislative body.
An effective program of evaluation contains many features. The following conditions are crucial to evaluation that has as its primary purpose the improvement of school board leadership:
- Board members should be involved in development of the standards by which they will evaluate themselves;
- The evaluation should be a composite of the individual Board members’ opinions, but the Board as a whole should meet to discuss the results;
- The evaluation should include a discussion of strengths as well as weaknesses;
- The Board should not limit itself to those items that appear on the evaluation form. No form or set of guidelines could encompass the totality of a school board’s responsibilities; and
- Each judgment should be supported by as much rational and objective evidence as possible.
When the Board has received the composite profiles from the evaluation, the Board members will discuss the results in detail and formulate a series of objectives for the ensuing year. These objectives will be stated in the form of behavioral change or productivity gains. Implied in this approach is an assumption that a board of education is capable of improvement. The chances that the Board will improve are enhanced if evaluation is carried out systematically in accordance with good planning, conscientious follow-through, and careful assessment of results.
Board operational procedures are presented in Series 9000 “School Board Governance and Operations”.
The board believes that periodic, formal and informal evaluations of its operational procedures will improve the board’s performance, exemplify the kind of constructive evaluations the board encourages for all school personnel and programs, and promote a spirit of teamwork throughout the district. Formal evaluations also provide the board with suggestions useful to the board in establishing objectives it will strive to accomplish.
At least once each year, board members will evaluate their own performance, and that of the board as a whole, according to standards presented in the board’s self-evaluation instrument. All of this information should be used by the board each year when it establishes priorities or goals it will strive to accomplish during the coming year. How well the board accomplishes its priorities or goals will be a measure of its performance in any year.
PROCEDURES FOR BOARD OF EDUCATION SELF-EVALUATION
As a regular and scheduled activity, the Board of Education will evaluate its performance.
In the discharge of this responsibility, the Board shall be guided by the following principles:
1. The instrument to be used shall be developed by the Board and include the following areas of responsibility:
a. Educational Leadership
b. Board Operations
c. Relationship with Superintendent
d. Staff: Personnel Relationship
e. Student Relationship
f. Community Relationships
g. instructional Program
h. Business & Finance
i. Non-Instructional Program
j. Board Qualities
k. Performance on Board Goals
l. Overall Effectiveness
2. Each Board member should individually complete the evaluation instrument. The evaluation of record should be a composite of the separate inputs, prepared by the Board President or a designee.
3. The Board may request the Superintendent or other staff personnel to participate in the evaluation process.
4. All Board members as a group should meet to discuss the evaluation. This discussion should cover the strengths as well as shortcomings. This discussion may be conducted during an open Board meeting.
5. The evaluation should be conducted at least annually. A follow-up discussion may be conducted during the year to discuss progress of work on areas identified for improvement.
6. All Board members should prepare for the evaluation by performing a rigorous self- evaluation of his/her involvement and activities as a member of the Board.
7. Each judgment should be supported by as much rationale and objective evidence as possible. The opinion of one Board member should not be the sole basis for judgment on an appraisal item.
8. The evaluation process should be completed no later than the end of each school year (June 30).
9. The evaluation process should be considered as one input to the process of formulating plans and Board priorities for the following year or years.
10. The President of the Board, or his/her designee, will prepare annually a written summary report of the evaluation process and present it to the Board for their information.
The evaluation instrument agreed upon shall become a part of this document, and shall be available for review by any individual not later than August 1 of the year for which it has been adopted.
Approved February 2000
Renumbered from P0510 – September 2015
Reviewed March 2008
Renumbered from P9700 – September 2015
Reviewed March 2008
Renumbered from P9710 – September 2015
The Board of Education recognizes that student growth, district progress, and community satisfaction are all affected by the performance of the Superintendent of Schools. The Superintendent cannot function effectively without periodic feedback about his/her performance. Therefore, the Board recognizes its responsibilities to evaluate the Superintendent.
During each year of the Superintendent’s appointment, the Board and the Superintendent will meet to discuss a plan of performance review and accountability for that school year. The final plan adopted shall be at the sole discretion of the Board. Such evaluation shall occur at least annually, pursuant to the regulations of the Commissioner of Education, and will be discussed only during an executive session. The evaluation process is intended to provide the highest quality leadership for the school system.
Board procedures for Evaluation of the Superintendent are presented in Policy Series 9000 “School Board Governance and Operations”.
PROCEDURES FOR EVALUATION OF THE SUPERINTENDENT
As a regular and scheduled activity, the Board of Education will evaluate the performance of the Superintendent of Schools.
In the discharge of this responsibility, the Board shall be guided by the following principles:
- The instrument to be used should be developed jointly and mutually agreed upon so that the Superintendent will know the basis upon which he/she will be evaluated.
- Evaluation should be conducted at a scheduled time and place, with no other items on the agenda, in an executive session with all Board members present.
- Each Board member should individually complete the Superintendent Evaluation instrument. The evaluation of record should be a composite of the separate inputs, prepared by the Board President or his/her designee.
- All Board members as a group should meet to discuss the evaluation with the Superintendent; there should be a discussion of strengths as well as shortcomings. The initial discussion should take place without the Superintendent present.
- The evaluation should be conducted at least annually. This ensures that, should there be a decision not to renew the Superintendent’s contract, there will exist a record of previously identified deficiencies.
- Both parties should prepare for the evaluation: the Superintendent by conducting a rigorous self-evaluation; the Board by examining various sources of evidence relating to the Superintendent’s performance of duties.
- Each judgment should be supported by as much rationale and objective evidence as possible. The opinion of one Board member should not be the sole basis for judgment on an appraisal item.
- The evaluation process should be completed no later than the end of each school year (June 30).
- The evaluation process should be considered by both Superintendent and Board as one input to the process of formulating plans and the Superintendent’s Goals for the following year or years.
- There should be a discernible relationship between the performance of the Superintendent as evaluated by the Board and the compensation set in the Superintendent’s contract.
- The President of the Board will prepare annually a written summary evaluation of the Superintendent’s performance during the school year.
The evaluation instrument mutually agreed upon shall become a part of this document, and shall be available for review by any individual not later than August 1 of the year for which it has been adopted.
Approved February 2000
Renumbered from P0520 – September 2015
Reviewed March 2008
Renumbered from P9720 – September 2015