Adopted 12/17/20 and revised 9/22/22.
I. PURPOSE AND DECLARATION OF POLICY
The Freire Charter School Wilmington (Charter School) is committed to maintaining an education and workplace environment for all school community members that is free from all forms of discrimination, including harassment and retaliation. The members of the Charter School community include the Charter School’s students, Board of Trustees, employees, administration, faculty, staff, school volunteers, parties under contract to perform work for or with the Charter School, and family members participating in school meetings or school-sponsored activities.
The Charter School does not exclude from participation, deny the benefits of the Charter School from or otherwise discriminate against individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender (including gender identity or expression), age, creed, religion, ancestry, national origin, ethnic background, marital status, pregnancy, disability, veteran/military status, or any other category protected by state or federal law in the administration of its educational and employment policies or in its programs and activities.
The Board also declares it to be the policy of this Charter School to comply with federal law and regulations under Title IX prohibiting sexual harassment, which is a form of unlawful discrimination on the basis of sex. Inquiries regarding the application of Title IX to the Charter School may be directed to the Title IX Coordinator or to the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights of the United States Department of Education.
Discrimination in any of its forms is inconsistent with the rights of students and the mission and educational goals of the Charter School and is prohibited at or during school-sponsored programs or activities, including transportation to or from school or school-sponsored activities. Violations of this policy, including acts of retaliation as described in this policy, or knowingly providing false information, may result in disciplinary consequences under other Board policies or the Charter School’s student or employee codes of conduct.
This declaration of policy shall be included in each student and staff handbook and shall be posted to the Charter School’s website, along with any Administrative Procedures developed hereunder.
This policy applies when a student is alleged to be a victim of Title IX sexual harassment (defined below).
The Charter School prohibits all forms of discrimination and harassment, including Bullying (Policy # 204), Hazing (Policy # 214), discriminatory harassment (Policy #121), and Title IX sexual harassment (this policy).
The Charter School shall promptly review and investigate all allegations of conduct which may be a violation of the above-mentioned policies.
When the Charter School has actual knowledge of Title IX sexual harassment, the Charter School shall respond promptly and in a manner that is not deliberately indifferent. Student respondents are presumed to not be responsible for alleged conduct until the conclusion of grievance procedures pursuant to this policy.
Where conduct is found to constitute Title IX sexual harassment, the Charter School shall take corrective action in the form of sanctions.
Conduct that does not fall within the scope of Title IX or implicate this policy will be handled under the appropriate policy, such as those named above, or the Charter School’s Code of Conduct.
This policy applies to all individuals participating in and attempting to participate in the Charter School’s educational program or activity. This policy is limited to conduct occurring in the United States.
DELEGATION OF RESPONSIBILITY
The Board shall adopt Administrative Procedures which provide for the resolution of complaints of Title IX sexual harassment. The Board directs the Head of School to monitor, develop, and amend the Administrative Procedures from time to time as may be necessary to promote the efficient resolution of complaints of harassment, to the extent such change(s) are consistent with Title IX law and regulations. The Administrative Procedures shall constitute the Charter School’s process for compliance with the requirements for “Formal Grievance Procedures” as set forth in Title IX law and regulations.
Administrative Procedures shall expressly provide that the Charter School shall have the authority, in any investigation conducted pursuant to this policy, to assign one or more functions to an independent third party, such as an attorney.
Title IX Coordinator
The Board directs the Head of School to designate a Title IX Coordinator (or multiple coordinators) who shall be named in the Administrative Procedures, and who shall fulfill designated responsibilities under this policy and the accompanying Administrative Procedures.
The Title IX Coordinator shall publish and disseminate this policy and complaint procedure at least annually to students, parents/guardians, employees and the public. Nondiscrimination statements published on the Charter School’s website and in student and employee handbooks shall include the position, office address and telephone number of the Title IX Coordinator.
The Title IX Coordinator is responsible to ensure adequate nondiscrimination procedures are in place, to recommend new procedures or modifications to procedures and to monitor their implementation.
The Board directs the Title IX Coordinator, in consultation with the Head of School and any other Board designee, to provide for training as set forth in the Title IX law and regulations and as set forth in the section “Training-related requirements” in this policy.
The Board directs the Head of School to develop a complaint form which shall be applicable to all allegations of discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment, Title IX sexual harassment, bullying, hazing, dating violence, and retaliation.
Title IX law and regulations – means Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, 20 U.S.C. §§1681-1688, and its interpreting regulations, codified at 34 C.F.R. § 106.1et seq.
Complainant shall mean an individual who is alleged to be the victim.
Respondent shall mean an individual who has been reported to be the perpetrator of the alleged conduct.
Education program or activity – means the locations, events, or circumstances over which the Charter School exercises substantial control over both the respondent and the context in which the sexual harassment occurs. Programs or activities may be on-campus or off-campus.
Formal complaint – means a document filed by a complainant or signed by the Title IX Coordinator alleging Title IX sexual harassment and requesting that the Charter School investigate the allegation under the grievance process for formal complaints. “Document filed by a complainant” means a document or electronic communication that contains the complainant’s physical or digital signature, or which otherwise indicates that the complainant is the person filing the formal complaint. Parents/guardians may file a formal complaint on behalf of a student.
Supportive measures – means non-disciplinary, non-punitive individualized services offered as appropriate, as reasonably available, and without fee or charter to the complainant or the respondent before or after the filing of a formal complaint or where no formal complaint has been filed. Such measures shall be designed to restore or preserve equal access to the Charter School’s educational program or activity without unreasonably burdening the other party, and includes measures designed to protect the parties’ safety or the safety of the educational environment, or to deter sexual harassment. These measures may include (but are not limited to): counseling, academic support services, assistance in requesting long-term academic accommodations if the individual qualifies as an individual with a disability, extensions of deadlines or other course-related adjustments, modifications class schedules, campus or building escort services, mutual “no contact” orders, leaves of absence, increased security, monitoring of certain areas of the campus and/or building, and/or assistance from community health resources such as domestic violence or rape crisis programs. Parents/guardians may request supportive measures on behalf of a student who is a complainant or respondent.
For students who are eligible or thought to be eligible for specialized services pursuant to an Individualized Education Program (“IEP”) or Section 504 Service Agreement, supportive measures may also include the provision of assessments, evaluations, or other procedural steps (e.g., IEP team meeting, manifestation determination review, functional behavioral assessment).
Title IX sexual harassment – (Note: the following definition applies only to allegations that will be subject to the procedures set forth in this policy and accompanying procedures. Claims of sexual harassment not falling within the scope of Title IX may be addressed by Policy #121 (relating to discriminatory harassment) or another policy.)
Title IX sexual harassment means conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following:
- A Charter School employee conditioning the provision of an aid, benefit, or service on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct, commonly referred to as quid pro quo sexual harassment.
- Unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to a Charter School education program or activity.
- Sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking.
- Sexual assault means an offense classified as a forcible or nonforcible sex offense under the uniform crime reporting system of the Federal Bureau of Investigation:
This includes any sexual act directed against another person, without the consent of the complainant, including instances where the complainant is incapable of giving Consent. Sexual assault may be one of the following categories:
Sexual penetration without consent – Any penetration of the mouth, sex organs, or anus of another person, however slight by an object or any part of the body, when consent is not present. This includes performing oral sex on another person when consent is not present.
Sexual contact without consent – Knowingly touching or fondling a person’s genitals, breasts, buttocks, or anus, or knowingly touching a person with one’s own genitals or breasts, when consent is not present. This includes contact done directly or indirectly through clothing, bodily fluids, or with an object. It also includes causing or inducing a person, when consent is not present, to similarly touch or fondle oneself or someone else.
Sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of Consent. The age of Consent for sexual activity in Delaware is sixteen (16). Minors under the age of twelve (12) cannot Consent to sexual activity. Minors aged twelve (12)-fifteen (15) years old cannot Consent to sexual activity with anyone who is four (4) or more years older than they are at the time of the activity. Minors aged sixteen (16) years of age or older can legally Consent to sexual activity, as long as the other person does not have authority over them as defined in 11 Del. C. § 778.
- Sexual assault means an offense classified as a forcible or nonforcible sex offense under the uniform crime reporting system of the Federal Bureau of Investigation:
- Dating violence means violence committed by a person:
- Who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim; and
- Where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors: length of relationship, type of relationship, and frequency of interaction between the persons involved.
- Domestic violence includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is co-habitating with or has co-habitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction receiving grant monies, or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction.
- Stalking means engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to:
- Fear for their safety or the safety of others; or
- Suffer substantial emotional distress.
Stalking includes the concept of cyberstalking, in which electronic media such as the Internet, social networks, blogs, cell phones, texts, email or other similar devices or forms of contact are used to pursue, harass, or to make unwelcome contact with another person in an unsolicited fashion.
Consent exists when all parties exchange mutually understandable affirmative words or actions indicating their agreement to participate voluntarily in sexual activity. Consent must be informed, voluntary, and actively given. Resistance by the complainant is not required. Consent does not exist if the sexual act was by forcible compulsion which is the use of physical, intellectual, moral, emotional or psychological force. Consent does not exist if a person is threatened, unconscious, incapacitated due to the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, or suffers from a mental disability that makes them incapable of giving consent. Consent may be withdrawn by either party at any time. Once withdrawal of consent has been expressed through words or actions, sexual activity must cease. Delaware defines the age of Consent as age sixteen (16) or above. Children under age twelve (12) cannot Consent to sexual activity. Children between the ages of twelve (12)-fifteen (15) cannot Consent to sexual activity with a person four (4) or more years older than them.
Deliberately indifferent – means not clearly unreasonable in light of the known circumstances.
Investigator(s) – means the individual(s) assigned by the Title IX Coordinator to conduct a prompt, fair, and impartial investigation into a formal complaint. An investigator must be unbiased and trained in Title IX policy and grievance procedures.
Actual knowledge – means notice of sexual harassment or allegations of sexual harassment to the Head of School, Title IX Coordinator, or to any Charter School employee other than the respondent.
Decision-maker – means the person(s) assigned by the Title IX Coordinator to conduct a fair and impartial review of all the facts and evidence in order to make a determination regarding whether a respondent is responsible for conduct alleged in a formal complaint. A decision-maker(s) must be unbiased and trained in Title IX policy and grievance procedures.
Exculpatory evidence – means evidence tending to exonerate the accused or helps to establish their innocence.
Inculpatory evidence – means evidence tending to incriminate the accused or indicate their guilt.
Informal Resolution Facilitator – means the person assigned by the Title IX Coordinator to manage the Informal Resolution process. The informal resolution facilitator must be fair, impartial and trained in Title IX policy and procedures, specifically those dealing with mediation and restorative justice best practices.
Retaliation – means actions prohibited in the section labeled “Retaliation” in this policy, except when:
- An individual’s actions constitute protected speech under the First Amendment.
- The assignment of consequences under the Charter School’s Code of Conduct when an individual knowingly makes a materially false statement in bad faith during an investigation. The fact that charges of discrimination were unfounded or unsubstantiated shall not be the sole reason to conclude that any party made a materially false statement in bad faith.
Sanctions – means disciplinary actions or consequences for a respondent.
When a respondent is a student, sanctions include the entirety of disciplinary consequences listed in the Student Code of Conduct and can range from a conference with the respondent and a Charter School employee, up to through permanent expulsion from the Charter School.
When a respondent is an employee, sanctions include employee discipline consistent with Board policy, up to and including termination from employment.
Confidentiality of all parties, witnesses, the allegations, the filing of a formal complaint, and the investigation related to any form of discrimination or retaliation, including Title IX sexual harassment, shall be handled in accordance with applicable law, regulations, this policy, and the Charter School’s legal and investigative obligations.
All incidents that are required by law to be reported to law enforcement or the Delaware Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families, Division of Family Services will be reported in accordance with the Charter School’s legal obligations.
The Board prohibits retaliation by the Charter School or any other person against another person for:
- Reporting or making a formal complaint of any form or discrimination or retaliation, including Title IX sexual harassment.
- Testifying, assisting, participating, or refusing to participate in a related investigation, process, or other proceeding, or hearing.
- Acting in opposition to practices that the person reasonably believes to be discriminatory.
The Charter School, its employees, and others are prohibited from intimidating, threatening, coercing, or discriminating against anyone for actions described above. Individuals are encouraged to contact the Title IX Coordinator immediately if they believe retaliation has occurred. Substantiated allegations of retaliation may result in the same disciplinary action applicable to one who engages in violations of this policy.
The Charter School shall ensure that:
- Title IX Coordinators, investigators, decision-makers, and any individuals who facilitate an informal resolution process pursuant to this policy have appropriate training.
- All materials used to train Title IX Coordinators shall be made publicly available on the Charter School’s website.
- All materials used to train Charter School employees who are also investigator(s), decision-maker(s), or individual(s) who facilitate informal resolution processes shall be made publicly available on the Charter School’s website.
- Information regarding community resources is maintained and provided to staff, so that staff may in turn make the resources available to complainants, respondents, or others who have been impacted by harassment or allegations thereof.
The Charter School shall maintain for a period of seven (7) years records of:
- Each sexual harassment investigation including any determination regarding responsibility, any disciplinary sanctions imposed on the respondent, and any remedies provided to the complainant designed to restore or preserve equal access to the Charter School’s education program or activity;
- Any appeal and the results therefrom;
- Any informal resolution and the results therefrom; and
- All materials used to train Title IX Coordinators, investigators, decision-makers, and any person who facilitates an informal resolution process. The Charter School must make these training materials available on its website.
The Charter School must create and maintain for a period of seven (7) years for each formal complaint: records of any actions, including any supportive measures, in response to a complaint of sexual harassment. In each instance, the Charter School must document the basis for its conclusion that its response was not deliberately indifferent, and document that it has taken measures designed to restore or preserve equal access to the Charter School’s education program or activity.
Please contact Katie Pollard at: email@example.com 302-407-4800 for more information on our Title IX Policy.