Union Public Schools promotes and enforces an environment free of unlawful discrimination and harassment
Personnel-Specific Board Policies
Student-Specific Board Policies
Non-Discrimination - 5000
Discrimination/Harassment - 5046
Formal Grievance Procedure for Discrimination Complaints - 5047
Sexual Harassment - 5065
Summary of Policies of Discrimination and Harassment
The District prohibits unlawful harassment/discrimination against employees, students and others on District premises.
Discrimination/harassment based on race, age, color, religion, national origin, gender, disability or veteran status is prohibited.
Prohibited conduct includes, but is not limited to:
Derogatory remarks and acts; slurs and epithets; comments regarding particular characteristics of a particular race, religion, disability, etc.; derogatory gestures, cartoons, posters, notes, graffiti, or any other verbal, written, graphic or physical conduct of a hostile, intimidating, abusive, degrading, threatening or violent nature.
When sexual harassment is involved the conduct could be written, verbal, visual, and/or physical conduct of a sexually suggestive or sexually intimidating nature.
Prohibited conduct includes, but is not limited to:
Sexually suggestive or obscene letters, notes, invitations, graffiti; sexually derogatory comments, epithets, slurs, degrading jokes, sexual teasing, demeaning comments about a person of a particular sex, solicitation of sexual favors or attention, unwelcome touching such as pinching, hugging, patting, brushing up against the body, blocking someone’s passage; graphic materials such as sexually suggestive calendars, drawings, photographs, cartoons, and posters; and any other action which emphasizes the vulnerability of the victim because of gender.
An employee may bring a complaint of harassment/discrimination to his/her supervisor or to any District administrator or directly to the Director of Human Resources.
A student may bring a complaint of harassment/discrimination to any administrator, counselor, teacher or nurse or directly to the site principal.
Employees/students/parents may also report complaints to the Coordinators for the various areas of anti-discrimination listed in Board Policy 4000 and 5000.
Harassment or discrimination regarding:
must be reported IMMEDIATELY
when the situation comes to your attention.
If you become aware of a harassment/discrimination situation that involves an employee, report the situation immediately to any District administrator or directly to the Executive Director of Human Resources. Any District administrator who learns of a harassment/discrimination complaint must contact the Director of Human Resources.
If you become aware of a harassment/discrimination situation that involves a student, report the situation immediately to the site principal.
After reporting the situation, an investigation will be conducted by Human Resources (when an employee is involved) or by the site principal (when a student is involved) or by both Human Resources and the site principal (when a student and an employee are involved).
Employees or students who are determined through investigation to have discriminated or harassed will be subject to disciplinary action in accordance with Board policy.
Although individuals are encouraged to resolve harassment/discrimination complaints at the level of the Director of Human Resources (for employee matters) and the level of the site principal (for student matters), any employee, student, parent or patron wishing to file a formal grievance may do so by following the procedures in Board Policy 4047 (employee) and Board Policy 5047 (student).
The information below is designed to provide an overview of what constitutes harassment in schools and to help you examine what schools can do to both prevent harassment and address harassment if it occurs. Contact Human Resources to answer questions you may have.
Definition - Harassment is unwanted nonverbal, verbal, written, graphic, or physical behavior directed at an individual or group on the basis of race, color, or sex, or unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature.
Racial harassment is analyzed by the following two standards:
Different Treatment: Unwanted behavior based on a student/employee’s race or color interferes with or limits the ability of a student/employee to participate in or benefit from services, activities, or privileges (student or job-related).
Hostile Environment: Racially-based behavior that has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working or learning environment (unwelcome, repeated, causes harm). May exist even if student's grades don't drop or she or he doesn't have to withdraw from school; nor does an employee have to suffer an emotional breakdown.
Sexual harassment is analyzed by the following two standards:
Hostile Environment: Sexually-based behavior that has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working or learning environment (unwelcome, repeated, causes harm). May exist even if student's grades don't drop or she or he doesn't have to withdraw from school.
Quid Pro Quo: Submission to unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature is made a condition of employment or educational decision.
Hostile Environment Analysis - Behavior must be sufficiently severe, pervasive, or persistent. In determining whether such an environment
Exists, the Office for Civil Rights takes into consideration such factors as:
Three Bases of Illegal Behavior
To be considered illegal, harassing behavior must generally have the following characteristics:
While behavior that violates legal guidelines always meets the first characteristic, the extent to which the second and third characteristics may be present depends on the particular situation. For example, a single event which is sufficiently severe may constitute harassment even if it is not pervasive or persistent.
It is impossible to make a list of all behaviors that are in every case harassment. Unacceptable behaviors may be thought of, however, in three categories:
Eye of the Beholder
The key perspective in a dispute over unacceptable behavior is that of the recipient of the behavior. If a perpetrator claims "I was only kidding" or "just having fun," a helpful response is: "If it hurts, it isn't funny."
The following may be used as evidence of harassment:
Schools have a responsibility to provide a nondiscriminatory environment. Having a strong policy against harassment, instituting an internal grievance process known to staff, students, and parents, and identifying a responsible person to receive complaints all help support a nondiscriminatory environment.
Known or Should Have Known
If harassment occurs and the school administration has actual notice of the harassment or if it is reason to conclude that the school should have known (constructive notice), administrators are required to take appropriate responsive action. For this reason, it is important to pay heed to interactions among staff, among students, and between staff and students. It is also important to attend to rumors of harassment and ensure all staff are aware of the need to report instances of possible harassment.
Response is evaluated for reasonableness, timeliness, and effectiveness:
Response must reasonably attempt to prevent recurrence.
These criteria apply whether person(s) committing harassment is a teacher, student, grounds crew worker, cafeteria worker, neighborhood teenagers, visiting baseball team, guest speaker, parents, or others. Because most victims just want the harassment to stop, it is best to settle problems at the least complicated level possible.
Schools can receive actual notice of harassment in a variety of ways:
Victims and Perpetrators
Anyone can be a perpetrator or a victim, regardless of position, age, race, color, or sex.
Attitudes/ Excuses that Contribute to Problems
Some Barriers to Reporting
How to Respond to Reports of Harassment
If school employees receive complaints of harassment from students, they should keep in mind:
Know the District’s anti-harassment policies
As an employee of the District you have a duty to assist in providing an atmosphere free of illegal discrimination and harassment. This includes the duty to report incidents and to participate in investigations when asked to do so by Human Resources or your site administrator.
All complaints of harassment and discrimination should be taken seriously and reported as soon as you become aware of the situation, regardless of whether the complaint comes from an employee, student, parent, patron, or other individual.
If you have any questions regarding this training or the policies of the District regarding harassment or discrimination, please contact the Director of Human Resources at 357-6047.
The guidelines outlined in the chart above were compiled by the Northwest Regional Educational organization with specifics added regarding our District’s policies/procedures.
Northwest Regional Educational Equity Center:
Preventing and Countering School-Based Harrassment
500 SW Main, Suite 500, Portland, OR 97204