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Amie Petri
10/22/2013 09:25 AM



Subject:
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Policy 7553: Dignity for All Students

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7000
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SUBJECT: DIGNITY FOR ALL STUDENTS

The Pioneer Central School District seeks to create an environment free of harassment, bullying, and discrimination, to foster civility in its schools, and to prevent conduct which is inconsistent with its educational mission. The District, therefore, prohibits all forms of harassment and bullying of students by employees or other students on school property and at school functions. The District further prohibits discrimination against students, including but not limited to those acts based on a person's actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender, or sex by school employees or other students on school property and at school sponsored activities and events that take place at locations off school property. In addition, other acts of harassment, bullying, and/or discrimination which can reasonably be expected to materially and substantially disrupt the education process may be subject to discipline or other corrective action.

Dignity Act Coordinator

In each of its schools, the District will designate at least one (1) employee holding such licenses and/or certifications as required by the Commissioner to serve as the Dignity Act Coordinator(s). Each Dignity Act Coordinator (DAC) will be thoroughly trained to handle human relations in the areas of race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender (including gender identity or expression), and sex. Training will also be provided for DACs which addresses: the social patterns of harassment, bullying, and discrimination, including but not limited to those acts based on a person's actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender, and sex; the identification and mitigation of harassment, bullying, and discrimination; strategies for effectively addressing problems of exclusion, bias, and aggression in educational settings. All DAC appointments will be approved by the Board of Education.

The District will share the name, designated school, and contact information of each Dignity Act Coordinator with all school personnel, students, and parents/persons in parental relation. Such information will be provided by:

SUBJECT: DIGNITY FOR ALL STUDENTS (Cont'd.)

If a Dignity Act Coordinator vacates his/her position, another school employee will immediately be designated for an interim appointment as DAC, pending approval from the Board of Education, within thirty (30) days of the date the position was vacated. In the event a DAC is unable to perform the duties of the position for an extended period of time, another school employee shall immediately be designated for an interim appointment as DAC, pending return of the previous individual to the position.

Training and Awareness

Each year, employees will be provided with training to promote a supportive school environment that is free from harassment, bullying, and/or discrimination, and to discourage and respond to incidents of harassment, bullying, or discrimination. Such training may be provided in conjunction with existing professional development, and will be conducted consistent with guidelines approved by the Board of Education, and will:

SUBJECT: DIGNITY FOR ALL STUDENTS (Cont'd.)

Rules against bullying, discrimination, and/or harassment will be included in the Code of Conduct, publicized District-wide, and disseminated to all staff and parents. Any amendments to the Code will be disseminated as soon as practicable following their adoption. New teachers will be provided a complete copy of the current Code upon their employment, and an age-appropriate summary will be distributed to all students at a school assembly at the beginning of each school year.

Reports and Investigations of Harassment, Bullying, and/or Discrimination

Students who have been subjected to harassment, bullying, and/or discrimination, persons in parental relation whose children have been subjected to such behavior, or other students who observe or are told of such behavior, are encouraged and expected to make verbal and/or written reports to the principal, superintendent, Dignity Act Coordinator, and/or other school personnel. All District staff who are aware of harassment, bullying, and/or discrimination, are required to orally report the incident(s) within one (1) school day to the Principal, Superintendent, or his/her designee and report it in writing within two (2) school days after making an oral report.

The Principal, Superintendent, or the Principal's or Superintendent's designee will lead and/or supervise the thorough investigation of all reports of harassment, bullying, and discrimination, and ensure that such investigations are completed promptly after receipt of any such reports. All investigations will be conducted in accordance with law, the District's Code of Conduct, and applicable District policy and procedure. In the event allegations involve harassment, bullying, and/or discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, or disability, the District may utilize the procedures set forth in Policy #3420 -- Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment in the School District, and its implementing regulations. Where appropriate, the Dignity Act Coordinator or such other individual conducting the investigation, may seek the assistance of the District's Civil Rights Compliance Officer in investigating, responding to, and remedying complaints of harassment, bullying, and/or discrimination.

In the event any such investigation reveals harassment, bullying, and/or discrimination, the District will take prompt action reasonably calculated to end the harassment, bullying, and/or discrimination, eliminate any hostile environment, create a more positive school culture and climate, prevent recurrence of the behavior, and ensure the safety of the student or students against whom such harassment, bullying, and/or discrimination was directed. Such actions will be taken consistent with applicable laws and regulations, District policies and administrative regulations, and collective bargaining agreements, as well as the District's Code of Conduct and any and all applicable guidelines approved by the Board.

The Superintendent, Principal, or his/her designee shall notify the appropriate local law enforcement agency when it is believed that any incident of harassment, bullying, and/or discrimination constitutes criminal conduct.


SUBJECT: DIGNITY FOR ALL STUDENTS (Cont'd.)

The Principal of each primary and secondary school shall provide a regular report (at least once during each school year) on data and trends related to harassment, bullying and/or discrimination to the Superintendent. Such report shall be submitted in a manner prescribed by the District.

The District will annually report material incidents of harassment, bullying, and/or discrimination which occurred during the school year to the State Education Department. Such report will be submitted in a manner prescribed by the Commissioner, on or before the basic educational data system (BEDS) reporting deadline or such other date as determined by the Commissioner.

Prohibition of Retaliatory Behavior

Pursuant to Section 16 of the Education Law, any person who has reasonable cause to suspect that a student has been subjected to harassment, bullying, or discrimination by an employee or student on school grounds or at a school function, who acts reasonably and in good faith and reports such information to school officials, the Commissioner of Education, or law enforcement authorities, or otherwise initiates, testifies, participates, or assists in any formal or informal proceedings, will have immunity from any civil liability that may arise from making such report, or from initiating, testifying, participating, or assisting in such proceedings. Furthermore, the Board prohibits any retaliatory action against any person who, acting reasonably and in good faith, makes a report of harassment, bullying, or discrimination, or who otherwise initiates, testifies, participates, or assists in the investigation of a complaint of harassment, bullying, or discrimination.

Publication of District Policy

At least once during each school year, all school employees, students, and parents will be provided with a written or electronic copy of this policy, or a plain-language summary thereof, including notification of the process by which students, parents, and school employees may report harassment, bullying, and discrimination. Additionally, the District will strive to maintain a current version of this policy on its website at all times.

Application

Nothing in this policy or its implementing regulations should be interpreted to preclude or limit any right or cause of action provided under any local, state, or federal ordinance, law or regulation including but not limited to any remedies or rights available under the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Law of 1964, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, or the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.



Education Law Sections 10-18, 801-a, 2801 and 3214
8 NYCRR Section 100.2

SUBJECT: DIGNITY FOR ALL STUDENTS

NOTE: Refer also to Policies #1330 -- Appointments and Designations by the Board of Education
#3410 -- Code of Conduct on School Property

Adoption Date: 05/17/2016




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