BROCKTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS’ CIVIL RIGHTS DISCRIMINATION
The Brockton Public Schools is committed to maintaining and promoting an educational and working environment free from all forms of discrimination, including harassment. The civil rights of all school community members are guaranteed by law, and the protection of those rights is of utmost importance and priority to the District. Discrimination, including harassment, on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, genetic information or testing, sex, sexual orientation, age or disability (hereinafter “membership in a protected class”) will not be tolerated. Retaliation against any student or other individual who has complained of discrimination, including harassment, or individuals who have cooperated with an investigation of such a complaint, is also unlawful and will not be tolerated. The District will promptly investigate, remedy any harm, seek to prevent recurrence of such conduct, and will also develop procedures to accomplish this end. This policy applies to conduct directed toward persons associated with the educational community by all other persons associated with the educational community including, but not limited to, students, District employees, the School Committee, school volunteers, and independent contractors. The Brockton Public Schools’ Bullying and Harassment Intervention protocols may also be utilized in investigation of allegations of discrimination or harassment by students based upon membership in a protected class.
I. What Is Discrimination, including Harassment?
A. Discrimination: Treating persons differently, or interfering with or preventing them from enjoying the advantages or privileges afforded to others because of their membership in a protected class.
B. Harassment: oral, written, graphic, electronic, or physical conduct relating to a person’s actual or perceived membership in a protected class that is sufficiently severe, pervasive or persistent so as to interfere with or limit that person’s ability to participate in the District’s programs or activities by creating a hostile, humiliating, intimidating, or offensive educational environment.
Harassing conduct based on a person’s protected status may include, but is not limited to:
o Degrading, demeaning, insulting, or abusive verbal or written statements;
o Taking personal belongings, taunting, teasing, name-calling, or spreading rumors;
o Drawing or writing graffiti, slogans, visual displays, or symbols on school or
o Telling degrading or offensive jokes;
o Unwanted physical contact of any kind;
o Physical violence, threats of bodily harm, physical intimidation, or stalking;
o Threatening letter, emails, instant messages, or websites that come within the scope of
the District’s disciplinary authority;
o Defacing, damaging, or destroying school or another’s property.
1. An individual who believes that a student, employee, parent or others with rights to admission or access to school programs, activities or premises has been subjected to discrimination should immediately report the incident to any teacher, counselor or school district administrator as soon as possible.
2. The teacher, counselor or administrator will report the complaint in writing to the principal, building administrator or other administrator with authority to address the complaint, who will initiate the following steps to investigate the complaint in an expeditious manner. The district will complete the investigation within thirty days of receipt of the complaint, unless the complexity of the issues, or availability of witnesses and/or documentary or other evidence requires additional time to complete the investigation. Parties will be kept informed in a reasonable matter of the progress of the investigation.
The following process provides an outline of steps to be taken but does not necessarily indicate the order in which actions will be taken. As appropriate, the principal or school district administrator may employ informal efforts to resolve the complaint, but in all events, written record of any complaint shall be maintained.
a. The principal or school district administrator will confer with the complainant and obtain that individual's statement of facts of the complaint. After meeting with the complainant, the complainant shall put the complaint of harassment in writing or the principal or school administrator will prepare a written complaint based upon the statements of the complainant.
b. If the complainant is a student and his/her parent(s)/guardian(s) are not aware of the complaint, the parent(s)/guardian(s) of the students alleging discrimination must be immediately contacted. Once the parent(s)/guardian(s) have been contacted (utilizing home, work or emergency telephone numbers, as needed), they are to be fully informed of the allegations and of any actions taken to that point. They should be invited to come to school and should be further assured that a full investigation will be conducted. Questioning of the students involved should be postponed if parents request to be present while their children are questioned.
c. If the allegations have been made against another student, the parent(s)/guardian(s) of the student accused of discrimination must also be immediately contacted. The parent(s)/guardian(s) of the accused student will be asked to come to school to participate in an investigatory meeting. Questioning of the students accused may be postponed, for a period of time if the parents request to be present while their children are questioned. If the parents fail or refuse to attend, the investigation will proceed. The principal or school district administrator will then meet with the accused student(s) in order to obtain his or her response to the complaint.
d. If the allegations are filed by or against an adult member of the school community: an employee, volunteer or independent contractor, the investigation will be conducted so as to afford the complainant and accused any applicable contractual rights. Procedures will provide notice of any charges and an opportunity for the accused to provide a response.
e. The principal or school district administrator may hold as many meetings with the parties as is necessary to gather facts.
f. The principal or school district administrator will interview other individuals who may have pertinent information.
g. The principal or school district administrator will gather and review any pertinent documents needed to complete the investigation.
3. If the accused is a student, the principal or school district administrator shall immediately report the incident in writing to the Chief Officer of Student Support Services and the Deputy Superintendent of Schools. The principal or building administrator may first contact the Chief Officer of Student Support Services who also serves as the Equity/Civil Rights Compliance Officer by telephone for technical assistance in investigating the allegation.
4. If the accused is a staff member, a volunteer or an independent contractor, the principal or school district administrator shall immediately report the incident in writing to the Executive Director of Human Resources and the Deputy Superintendent of Schools. The Executive Director of Human Resources is the Equity/Civil Rights Compliance Officer for these complaints and he/she will conduct, coordinate or provide technical assistance for investigating the allegation, as necessary.
5. Upon completion of the investigation, the principal or school district administrator shall prepare a confidential report outlining the findings. The complainant will be notified, in writing, whether the charges were supported or not supported. The complainant is not entitled to any information regarding any disciplinary action taken, except as required to implement the discipline or other remedies.
6. In the event that the accused is a student and if discrimination is found to have occurred, a disciplinary hearing will be held and appropriate action will be taken against the student according to the guidelines contained in the appropriate disciplinary manual or handbook.
7. In the event that the accused is an employee, volunteer or independent contractor, the principal or building administrator shall immediately report the incident in writing to the Executive Director of Human Resources, and appropriate action will be taken as required by law, applicable collective bargaining agreement or contract. Where required, a 51A will be filed with the Department of Children and Families.
8. If dissatisfied with the result of the investigation, either the complainant or the accused may appeal the initial decision to the Deputy Superintendent of Schools. The Deputy Superintendent will review the investigatory record and findings, and gather any further evidence as he/she deems necessary. A decision on appeal will be provided to the parties in the same manner as specified in paragraph 5, above.
9. Notwithstanding the provisions of this grievance procedure, at any time a complainant may file
a complaint with the United States Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights at the
Office of Civil Rights of the Department of Education
5 Post Office Square
Boston, MA 02110-1491
Phone (617) 289-0111
Fax (617) 289-0150
10. The Brockton Public Schools announces that any retaliatory action of any kind taken by any individual subject to the jurisdiction of the district against any other person as a result of that person's seeking redress under these procedures, cooperating in an investigation, or otherwise participating in any proceeding under these procedures is prohibited and illegal, and shall be regarded as a separate and distinct grieveable matter under this procedure.