Oswego City School District
120 East First Street
Oswego, New York 13126
Phone: 315-341-2000


Adoption Date: 12/20/2011

6121 Sexual Harassment of District Personnel


         The Board of Education affirms its commitment to non-discrimination and recognizes its responsibility to provide for all District employees an environment that is free of sexual harassment, including sexual violence. Sexual harassment including sexual violence is a violation of law and stands in direct opposition to District policy. Therefore, the Board prohibits and condemns all forms of sexual harassment by employees, school volunteers, students, and non-employees such as contractors and vendors which occur on school grounds and at all school-sponsored events, programs and activities including those that take place at locations off school premises and in another state. Since sexual violence is a form of sexual harassment, the term "sexual harassment" as used in this policy will implicitly include sexual violence even if it not explicitly stated.


         Generally, sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:


a)      Submission of such conduct is made, either explicitly or implicitly, a term or condition of an individual's employment;


b)      Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for employment decisions affecting such individuals; and


c)      Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.


         Sexual violence is defined as physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person's will or where a person is incapable of giving consent. Sexual violence as defined by New York Penal Law includes but is not limited to acts such as:


a)      Rape;


b)      Sexual assault;


c)      Sexual battery;


d)      Sexual coercion.


         The Board acknowledges that in determining whether sexual harassment has occurred the totality of the circumstances should be evaluated. The Board recognizes that sexual harassment can originate from a person of either sex against a person of the opposite or same sex, and from co-workers as well as supervisors, and from a third party such as a school visitor, volunteer, or vendor, or any other individual associated with the School District. The District will designate, at a minimum, two (2) Compliance Officers, one (1) of each gender.



         In order for the Board to enforce this policy, and to take corrective measures as may be necessary, it is essential that any employee who believes he/she has been a victim of sexual harassment in the work environment, as well as any other person who is aware of and/or who has knowledge of or witnesses any possible occurrence of sexual harassment, immediately report such alleged harassment to the District's designated Compliance Officers through informal and/or formal complaint procedures as developed by the District. Such complaints are recommended to be in writing, although verbal complaints of alleged sexual harassment will also be promptly, thoroughly and equitably investigated in accordance with the terms of this policy. In the event that the Compliance Officer is the alleged offender, the employee should report his/her complaint to the next level of supervisory authority.


         Upon receipt of an informal/formal complaint (even an anonymous complaint), the District will conduct a thorough, prompt and equitable investigation of the charges. However, even in the absence of a complaint, if the District has knowledge of or reasonably should know of or suspect any occurrence of sexual harassment, the District will investigate such conduct promptly, equitably, and thoroughly. All procedures developed by the District will provide for the prompt and equitable resolution of the sexual harassment.


         To the extent possible, within legal constraints, all complaints will be treated as confidentially and privately as possible. However, disclosure may be necessary to complete a thorough investigation of the charges, and any disclosure will be provided on a "need to know" basis. The Superintendent will inform the Board of Education of investigations involving findings of harassment.


         Based upon the results of the investigation, if the District determines that an employee has violated the terms of this policy and/or accompanying regulations, immediate corrective action will be taken, as warranted, up to and including termination of the offender's employment in accordance with legal guidelines, District policy and regulation, the District's Code of Conduct, and the applicable collective bargaining agreement(s). Third parties (such as school volunteers, vendors, etc.) who are found to have violated this policy and/or accompanying regulations will be subject to appropriate sanctions as warranted and in compliance with law.


Prohibition of Retaliatory Behavior (Commonly Known as "Whistle-Blower" Protection)


         The Board prohibits any retaliatory behavior directed against complainants, victims, witnesses, and/or any other individuals who participated in the investigation of a complaint of sexual harassment. Follow-up inquiries shall be made to ensure that sexual harassment has not resumed and that all those involved in the investigation of the sexual harassment complaint have not suffered retaliation.


Finding That Harassment Did Not Occur


         At any level/stage of investigation of alleged harassment, if a determination is made that harassment did not occur, the Compliance Officer will so notify  the complainant, the alleged  offender

and the Superintendent of this determination. Such a finding does not preclude the complainant from filing an appeal pursuant to District policy or regulation and/or pursuing other legal avenues of recourse.


         However, even if a determination is made that harassment did not occur, the Superintendent/designee reserves the right to initiate staff awareness and training, as applicable, to help ensure that the school community is not conducive to fostering harassment in the workplace.


         In all cases, the Superintendent will inform the Board of Education of the results of each investigation involving a finding that sexual harassment did not occur.


Knowingly Makes False Accusations


         Employees and/or students who knowingly make false accusations against another individual as to allegations of harassment may also face appropriate disciplinary action.


Privacy Rights


         As part of the investigation, the District has the right to search all school property and equipment including District computers. Although rooms, desks, cabinets, lockers, computers, etc. are provided by the District for the use of students and staff, the users do not have exclusive use of these locations or equipment and should not expect that materials stored therein will be private.


Development and Dissemination of Administrative Regulations


         Regulations will be developed for reporting, investigating and remedying allegations of sexual harassment. An appeal procedure will also be provided to address any unresolved complaints and/or unsatisfactory prior determinations by the applicable Compliance Officer(s).


         Such regulations will be developed in accordance with federal and state law as well as any applicable collective bargaining agreement(s).


         The Superintendent/designee(s) will affirmatively discuss the topic of sexual harassment with all employees, express the District's condemnation of such conduct, and explain the sanctions for harassment. Training programs will be established for employees to help ensure awareness of the issues pertaining to sexual harassment in the workplace, and to disseminate preventative measures to help reduce such incidents of prohibited conduct. Furthermore, special training will be provided for designated supervisors and managerial employees, as may be necessary, for training in the investigation of sexual harassment complaints.


         A copy of this policy and its accompanying regulations will be available upon request and may be posted at various locations in each school building. The District's policy and regulations on sexual harassment will be published in appropriate school publications such as teacher/employee handbooks and/or school calendars.





Policy References:
Civil Rights Act of 1991, 42 United States Code (USC) Section 1981(a)
29 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Section 1604.11(a)
Civil Service Law Section 75-B
Education Law Section 2801(1)
Executive Law Sections 296 and 297
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 United States Code (USC) Section 2000e et seq.
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 United States Code (USC) Section 1681 et seq.
34 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Section 100 et seq.