Harassment and bullying of students and employees are against federal, state, and local policy, and are not tolerated by the board. The board is committed to providing all students with a safe and civil school environment in which all members of the school community are treated with dignity and respect. To that end, the board has in place policies, procedures, and practices that are designed to reduce and eliminate bullying and harassment as well as processes and procedures to deal with incidents of bullying and harassment. Bullying and harassment of students by other students, by school employees, and by volunteers who have direct contact with students will not be tolerated in the school or school district.
The board prohibits harassment, bullying, hazing, or any other victimization of students, employees, and volunteers based on any of the following actual or perceived traits or characteristics, including but not limited to, age, color, creed, national origin, race, religion, marital status, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical attributes, physical or mental ability or disability, ancestry, political party preference, political belief, socioeconomic status, place of residence, genetic information, or familial status.
This policy is in effect while students or employees are on property within the jurisdiction of the board; while on school-owned or school-operated vehicles; while using school-owned electronic devices; while attending or engaged in school-sponsored activities; and while away from school grounds if the misconduct directly affects the good order, efficient management, and welfare of the school or school district.
If after an investigation a student is found to be in violation of this policy, the student shall be subject to disciplinary action up to, and including suspension and/or expulsion. If, after an investigation, a school employee is found to be in violation of this policy, the employee shall be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment. If after an investigation a school volunteer is found to be in violation of this policy, the volunteer shall be subject to appropriate measures, which may include exclusion from school grounds. “Volunteer” means an individual who has regular, significant contact with students.
Harassment and bullying includes any electronic, written, verbal, or physical act or conduct toward a student which is based on any actual or perceived trait or characteristic of the student and which creates an objectively hostile school environment that meets one or more of the following conditions:
Places the student in reasonable fear of harm to the student’s person or property;
Has a substantially detrimental effect on the student’s physical or mental health;
Has the effect of substantially interfering with the student’s academic performance; or
Has the effect of substantially interfering with the student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or privileges provided by a school.
“Electronic” means any communication involving the transmission of information by wire, radio, optical cable, electromagnetic, or other similar means. “Electronic” includes but is not limited to communication via electronic mail, internet-based communications, pager service, cell phones, electronic text messaging or similar technologies.
Harassment and bullying of students may include, but are not limited to, the following behaviors and circumstances:
Verbal, nonverbal, physical, or written harassment, bullying, hazing, or other victimization that have the purpose or effect of causing injury, discomfort, fear, or suffering to the victim;
Repeated remarks of a demeaning nature that have the purpose or effect of causing injury, discomfort, fear, or suffering to the victim;
Implied or explicit threats concerning one’s grades, achievements, property, etc. that have the purpose or effect of causing injury, discomfort, fear, or suffering to the victim;
Demeaning jokes, stories, or activities directed at the student that have the purpose or effect of causing injury, discomfort, fear, or suffering to the victim; and/or
Unreasonable interference with a student’s performance or creation of an intimidating, offensive, or hostile learning environment.
Sexual harassment means unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:
Submission to the conduct is made either implicitly or explicitly a term or condition of the student’s education or benefits;
Submission to or rejection of the conduct by a school employee is used as the basis for academic decisions affecting that student; or
The conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with the student’s academic performance by creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational environment.
In situations between students and school officials, faculty, staff, or volunteers who have direct contact with students, bullying and harassment may also include the following behaviors:
Requiring that a student submit to bullying or harassment by another student, either explicitly or implicitly, as a term or condition of the targeted student’s education or participation in school programs or activities; and/or
Requiring submission to or rejection of such conduct as a basis for decisions affecting the student.
Any person who promptly, reasonably, and in good faith reports an incident of bullying or harassment under this policy to a school official, shall be immune from civil or criminal liability relating to such report and to the person’s participation in any administrative, judicial, or other proceeding relating to the report. Individuals who knowingly file a false complaint may be subject to appropriate disciplinary action.
Retaliation against any person, because the person has filed a bullying or harassment complaint or assisted or participated in a harassment investigation or proceeding, is also prohibited. Individuals who knowingly file false harassment complaints and any person who gives false statements in an investigation shall be subject to discipline by appropriate measures, as shall any person who is found to have retaliated against another in violation of this policy. Any student found to have retaliated in violation of this policy shall be subject to measures up to, and include suspension or expulsion. Any school employee found to have retaliated in violation of this policy shall be subject to measures up to, and including, termination of employment. Any school volunteer found to have retaliated in violation of this policy shall be subject to measures up to, and including exclusion from school grounds.
The District has separate procedures for reports or complaints of sexual harassment govered by Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972. These procedures are available on the Districts website. For reports or complaints of sexual harassment outside of the District’s Title IX jurisdiction, the District may follow any other applicable policy or procedrues to respond to such a report or complaint.
The school or school district will promptly and reasonably investigate allegations of bullying or harassment. The building principal or designee will be responsible for handling all complaints by students alleging bullying or harassment. The building principal or designee will be responsible for handling all complaints by employees alleging bullying or harassment.
It also is the responsibility of the superintendent, in conjunction with the investigator and principals, to develop procedures regarding this policy. The superintendent also is responsible for organizing training programs for students, school officials, faculty, staff, and volunteers who have direct contact with students. The training will include how to recognize harassment and what to do in case a student is harassed. It will also include proven effective harassment prevention strategies. The superintendent will also develop a process for evaluating the effectiveness of the policy in reducing bullying and harassment in the school. The superintendent shall provide an annual report of alleged bullying/harassment incidents to the board.
The board will annually publish this policy. The policy will be publicized by the following means:
Inclusion in the student handbook.
Inclusion in the employee handbook
Inclusion in the registration materials
Inclusion on the school or school district’s website,
and a copy shall be made available to any person at the central administrative office at 309 W. Main, Knoxville, IA 50138.
ANTI-BULLYING/HARASSMENT INVESTIGATION PROCEDURES
COMPLAINT AND INVESTIGATION PROCEDURE
Anyone who believes he/she is a victim of bullying or harassment or has witnessed what he/she believes is bullying or harassment will notify the principal (or designee) of the building the alleged victim attends.
The building principal (or designee) will investigate the claim promptly, upon receipt of the written complaint form. The principal or designee will interview the complainant and the alleged harasser. The alleged harasser may file a written statement in response to the complaint. The principal may interview witnesses as deemed appropriate.
When a complaint has been made, and during the investigation, the principal shall inform the complainant and alleged harasser that there should be no contact between the complainant or harasser during the investigation. Threats, or retaliation, by the accused toward the complainant will subject the accuser to disciplinary action up to and including suspension and/or expulsion from school.
Upon completion of the investigation, the principal will determine if the claim is founded. The principal will inform the complainant and the alleged harasser of his/her decision. Upon completion of the investigation, the principal will make written findings and conclusions. A copy of the findings and conclusions will be forwarded to the Superintendent of Schools. The principal will comply with Iowa Department of Education rules by submitting a report to the Iowa Department of Education as required.
If the principal determines the claim is unfounded, the complainant may appeal the decision to the District’s Level One Investigator or Alternate Investigator. If the principal determined the claim is founded, the accused may appeal the decision to the District’s Level One Investigator or Alternate Investigator. The investigator (or alternate) will investigate the claim, and after conducting the investigation, will determine if the claim is founded. The findings of the investigator (or alternate) shall be communicated in writing to the complainant, the accused, the building principal, and the Superintendent of Schools.
RESOLUTION OF THE COMPLAINT
If the claim is founded, the building principal shall determine if disciplinary action will be taken. Disciplinary action may include suspension or expulsion from school.
POINTS TO REMEMBER IN THE INVESTIGATION
Evidence uncovered in the investigation is confidential.
Complaints must be taken seriously and investigated.
No retaliation will be taken against individuals involved in the investigation process.
Retaliators will be disciplined up to, and including, suspension and expulsion.
If the investigator is a witness to the incident, the alternate investigator shall investigate.
Approved: 08/27/2007 Reviewed: 1/24/2022 Revised: 11/09/2020