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1.4.P.1 Sexual Harassment
PROCEDURE PROCEDURE
The District is committed to maintaining an educational and working environment free from sex discrimination and harassment and encourages any student or employee who believes they have been subjected to discrimination on the basis of sex, or who knows of the occurrence of such conduct, whether by students or by District employees, to utilize the procedures outlined below:

Title IX Coordinator

The Title IX Coordinator is designated and authorized to coordinate the District’s compliance with Title IX.  The District’s designated and authorized Title IX Coordinator can be reached as follows:
 
Mr. Steve Mattingly
Director of Human Relations
Title IX Coordinator
15802 North Parkview Place
Surprise, Arizona 85374
(623) 876-7876
[email protected]
 
Notification

The contact information for the Title IX Coordinator and the District’s nondiscrimination notice (indicated above) will be prominently posted on the District’s website and in any student or employee handbooks.  Any documents used to train the Title IX Coordinator, District employees or others who may be involved in the Title IX grievance process will be posted on the District’s website.
 
In addition, the District will notify students, parents or guardians of students, employees, applicants for admission and employment, and employee professional organizations that have an agreement with the District of its Governing Board Policy and the grievance procedures included in this administrative regulation, including how to report sexual harassment and how the District will respond to such reports.  The required notification may be accomplished in any way that the District deems appropriate and effective.  

Reports of Sex Discrimination

Any person may report sex discrimination, including sexual harassment, regardless of whether the person is the alleged victim of the conduct, in person, via online submission, by mail, telephone or email to the Title IX Coordinator at any time.  Complaints of sex discrimination that is not sexual harassment will be handled pursuant to the District’s regular procedures for resolving student or employee grievances promptly and equitably.  Complaints of sexual harassment will be handled using the grievance procedures set forth below.

Formal Complaints of Sexual Harassment

Any person, including a person who is alleged to be the victim of sexual harassment (a “Complainant”) may report sexual harassment, in person, via online submission, by mail, telephone or email to the Title IX Coordinator at any time.  The report must include the nature of alleged violation; names of persons responsible for the alleged violation (when known) (a “Respondent”), and any other relevant background information.  A Complainant (or their parent/guardian) or the Title IX Coordinator, but not a third-party reporter, may sign a formal complaint.  The Complainant and the Respondent are the parties to any formal complaint, even if it is signed by the Title IX Coordinator.  At the time of filing a formal complaint, a Complainant must be participating in or attempting to participate in an educational program or activity of the District.

Actual Knowledge Reports of Sexual Harassment

The District will also respond to alleged sex discrimination whenever any District employee has actual knowledge of potential sex discrimination or allegations of sex discrimination.  Employees must report such knowledge immediately to the Title IX Coordinator. 

Initial Contact with Complainant

Upon receiving notification of alleged sexual harassment, whether through a report, a formal complaint or an actual knowledge report from a District employee, the Title IX Coordinator or designee shall promptly and confidentially contact the Complainant to discuss the availability of supportive measures, consider the Complainant’s wishes with respect to supportive measures, inform the Complainant of the availability of supportive measures with or without the filing of a formal complaint, and explain the process for filing a formal complaint, if applicable.

Supportive Measures

The Title IX Coordinator shall offer supportive measures to both the Complainant and alleged Respondent, either before or after the filing of a formal complaint or following a report where no complaint has been filed.  The supportive measures are non-disciplinary, non-punitive, individualized services and shall be designed to restore or preserve equal access to the District’s educational program and activities, without unreasonably burdening the other party, and shall be offered without charge.  Supportive measures may include counseling, class modifications or class schedule changes, and/or increased monitoring and supervision, as deemed appropriate by the Title IX Coordinator.

Emergency Removal/Administrative Leave

The District may remove a student who is a Respondent from the District’s educational program or activity on an emergency basis, provided that removal is necessary to protect the student or another individual from an immediate threat to physical health or safety.  If a student has an individualized education program (IEP) or a Section 504 Plan, the decision to remove the student on an emergency basis must be coordinated with District-level special education staff and in compliance with relevant IDEA or Section 504 requirements.  

The District may place an employee who is a Respondent on administrative leave while allegations are investigated and resolved in accordance with this administrative regulation.

General Principles Governing Grievance Process for Responding to Formal Complaints

Following the filing of a formal complaint, the Title IX Coordinator or an assigned investigator who has had training in Title IX investigations will conduct an investigation of the allegations, unless they are summarily dismissed in accordance with Section 11 below.  The investigation will include an evaluation of all available evidence, and may include witness interviews, review of relevant documents, and consultation with other staff members as necessary. The Title IX Coordinator or investigator must be free from any conflicts of interest or bias.  

The investigation will be premised on a presumption that the Respondent is not responsible for the alleged act(s) of sexual harassment, and both parties will be treated equitably during the investigation.  The burden of proof is on the District to prove a violation of this administrative regulation by a preponderance of the evidence, which means that it is more likely than not that the Respondent engaged in the prohibited behavior.  

Upon a determination that the Respondent engaged in prohibited behavior (pursuant to the procedures set forth below), the District may: 
 
  • Offer the Complainant any remedies that will restore or preserve the Complainant’s access to the District’s educational program and activities, including any supportive measures.  These remedies may be kept confidential to the extent deemed necessary by the District.  
  • Impose any disciplinary sanctions on a Respondent student, including participation in counseling services; revocation of privileges related to extra-curricular programs including sports; no-contact orders; schedule changes; short-term or long-term suspension; or expulsion.
  • Impose any disciplinary sanctions on a Respondent employee, including participation in counseling services; no-contact orders; reassignment; suspension without pay; or termination of employment.

This administrative regulation prohibits the Complainant, the Respondent and any witnesses from knowingly making a false statement or providing false evidence in connection with a Title IX investigation.  The District may take disciplinary action under the Student Code of Conduct or Employee Handbook against individuals who make such false statements.

Written Notice of Formal Complaint

The Title IX Coordinator or investigator will provide written notice to the Complainant and the Respondent of the allegations of a formal complaint and the grievance process, including any informal resolution process.  The notice of the allegations must include: 
 
  • Sufficient detail to allow the Respondent to prepare a response, including a description of the conduct alleged, the date and location of the conduct and the names of the Complainant and other involved parties, if any.  
  • A statement that the Respondent is presumed not to be responsible for the conduct and that responsibility will be determined at the conclusion of the process.
  • A notice of the Complainant’s and Respondent’s rights to have an attorney or non-attorney advisor.
  • The right of Complainant and Respondent to inspect and review any evidence.
  • The prohibition on providing false statements or evidence in connection with the investigation of the complaint. 

If additional allegations arise during an investigation and will be investigated, the Title IX Coordinator or investigator will provide written notice of those additional allegations to the Complainant and Respondent.

Summary Dismissal
 
  • The Title IX Coordinator or investigator shall summarily dismiss the formal complaint if either determines that the allegations in a formal complaint do not meet the definition of “sexual harassment” under the applicable Title IX administrative regulation, did not occur in the District’s educational program or activity, or did not occur in the United States. 
  • The Title IX Coordinator or investigator may dismiss a formal complaint if the Complainant requests withdrawal of the complaint, the Respondent withdraws from the District or terminates their employment with the District, or specific circumstances prevent the District from gathering appropriate evidence to make a determination regarding the allegations.  

Upon dismissal of a formal complaint or any allegations contained in a formal complaint, the Title IX Coordinator or investigator will promptly and simultaneously provide written notice of the dismissal and the reason(s) for the dismissal to the Complainant and Respondent.  If a complaint is summarily dismissed, the District may nevertheless take whatever additional disciplinary action it deems appropriate against the Respondent under its Student Code of Conduct or District policies and procedures related thereto.  

Submission of Evidence to Title IX Coordinator or Investigator

Both the Complainant and the Respondent will have a reasonable opportunity to present witnesses and other evidence to the Title IX Coordinator or investigator, provided, however, that such evidence must be submitted within 21 calendar days of the date on which written notice of the formal complaint is provided to the Complainant and Respondent.  The Title IX Coordinator or investigator will meet with each party and give them at least 24 hours’ advance written notice of the date, time, location, and purpose of the meeting. 
 
Before the Title IX Coordinator or investigator prepares the final investigation report, the Complainant, the Respondent and their advisors (if any) will be provided with an equal opportunity to review all evidence that is directly related to the allegations in the formal complaint.  If possible, the evidence will be provided to the parties in an electronic format and manner that does not permit copying or downloading of the evidence.  The evidence provided must include any evidence that the Title IX Coordinator or investigator does not intend to rely upon, and any exculpatory or inculpatory evidence from any source.  Within 10 calendar days of the date on which they were provided with access to the evidence, the parties may prepare and submit to the Title IX Coordinator or investigator a written response to the evidence, which the Title IX Coordinator or investigator must consider before preparing a final, written investigation report.  Following the expiration of the date on which the parties may provide responses to the evidence, the Title IX Coordinator or investigator will promptly prepare and issue a written investigation report that fairly summarizes the relevant evidence discovered during the investigation. 

The School will not restrict the ability of either party to discuss the allegations and gather evidence related to the allegations of the formal complaint. 

Determination of Responsibility

The District will not hold a live hearing in connection with determining responsibility for any violations of this administrative regulation.  The written investigation report and any responses submitted by the Complainant and/or Respondent will be provided to the Title IX Coordinator, who will assign a third party to make the determination of responsibility.  This individual (the "Decision Maker") will not have had any previous involvement with the investigation.  The Decision Maker will provide each party with an opportunity to submit written, relevant questions for any party or witness within five calendar days of the date on which the Decision Maker is provided with a copy of the final written investigation report and any responses to the report.  If written questions are submitted to the Decision Maker, the Decision Maker will promptly provide the questions to the appropriate party so that the party can provide answers to the questions.  Answers to the questions must be provided to the Decision Maker within five calendar days of the date on which they are provided to a party.  The Decision Maker will promptly provide each party with the answers to the questions and allow for additional, limited follow-up questions in writing from both the Complainant and Respondent within three calendar days.  If written follow-up questions are submitted to the Decision Maker, the Decision Maker will promptly provide the questions to the appropriate party so that the party can provide answers to the questions.  Any answers to those additional questions must be submitted to the Decision Maker within three calendar days of the date on which they are provided to a party.  The Decision Maker will promptly provide the responses to the additional questions to both parties.  Any questions regarding a Complainant’s prior sexual behavior or sexual predisposition will be deemed irrelevant unless they are offered to provide that someone other than the Respondent committed the alleged misconduct or are offered to prove consent. 

No sooner than 10 calendar days after receiving the investigation report but no later than 45 calendar days after receiving the investigation report, the Decision Maker will issue a written determination (the “Determination”) that includes:
 
  • A statement of the allegations;
  • A description of the procedures used to investigate the allegations;
  • The findings of fact;
  • A determination of responsibility for each allegation;
  • Any sanctions that will be imposed on the Respondent for violations; 
  • Whether remedies to restore or preserve the Complainant’s and/or others’ equal access to the District’s educational program or activities will be provided; and 
  • A description of the right to an appeal, how to request an appeal, and the permitted bases for an appeal.

The deadline for the Decision Maker to issue the Determination may be extended for good cause at the Decision Maker’s sole discretion.

The Determination must be based upon a preponderance of the evidence (i.e., whether it is more likely than not that the violation occurred).  The Complainant and the Respondent will be notified concurrently of the Determination.  

If the person alleged to have violated policy is a teacher or an administrator, the due process provisions of the District's Policy Section 7.46 shall apply, except that the supervising administrator may be assigned to conduct the hearing.  In cases of serious misconduct, dismissal or suspension proceedings in accordance with A.R.S. §15-539 et seq. may be initiated.

If the person alleged to have violated policy is a support staff employee, due process may be followed and discipline may be imposed under Policy Section 7.64 if the evidence so warrants.   A recommendation of suspension without pay, a recommendation of dismissal, or other appropriate discipline may be imposed.

If the person alleged to have violated policy is a student, discipline may be imposed in accordance with Policy Section(s) 10.42, 10.44 and 10.45.

If the Determination reveals no reasonable cause to believe policy has been violated, all parties will be informed in writing.

Timing of Resolution of Formal Complaints

The School will attempt to resolve all formal complaints alleging a violation of this procedure or the Governing Board Policy within 90 days, not including any time for an appeal of the Determination. However, the District may extend this presumptive deadline and any related deadlines for grievance procedures up to 30 additional days, if appropriate under the circumstances of the report and/or if appropriate to ensure equity to the parties, so long as the matter is resolved in a timely manner.  The Title IX Coordinator or investigator is not required to wait for the conclusion of any law enforcement investigation or criminal proceeding to begin the Title IX investigation, but the Title IX Coordinator or investigator may consider such investigations or proceedings in determining an appropriate timeline in which to resolve a formal complaint.  Any extensions of the deadlines will be explained in writing to both parties.

Appeals

Either the Complainant or the Respondent may appeal from: (a) the Determination regarding a formal complaint, (b) the District’s handling of a report, or (c) the dismissal of a formal complaint, by submitting a notice of appeal that includes the bases of the appeal to the Decision Maker within 10 calendar days of the date of the Determination.  The District will provide written notice of the appeal to both parties.  Either party may file a written response in support of or challenging the Determination and the basis for the appeal within five calendar days of the date on which written notice of the appeal was provided to all parties.  

An appeal may be filed on the following bases only:
 
  • A procedural irregularity affected the outcome of the matter, 
  • There is newly discovered evidence that could affect the outcome of the matter and that was not available at the time the Determination was made, and/or 
  • The Title IX Coordinator, the investigator or the Decision Maker had a conflict of interest or bias that affected the outcome of the matter.  

The appeal will be decided on written submissions to the Superintendent from the parties only.  No hearing will be held for an appeal.

The Superintendent will simultaneously provide the parties with a written decision regarding the appeal, which will describe the result of the appeal and the rationale for the decision.  

Informal Resolution

Allegations may be resolved informally only if a formal complaint is filed and only if the complaint does not allege that a District employee harassed a student.  Both parties to a formal complaint must voluntarily agree in writing to participate in a potential informal resolution.  As part of the informal resolution process, the Title IX Coordinator or investigator may engage in interviews and other fact finding.  Available methods of informal resolution include arbitration, mediation, and restorative justice procedures.  Either party may withdraw from an informal resolution at any time before agreeing to a resolution and resume the grievance process.  Once an informal resolution is agreed to by the parties, it becomes binding. The Title IX Coordinator or the investigator has the discretion to decline informal resolution for some complaints, including complaints of sexual violence, and instead require a formal investigation.

Retaliation

Title IX prohibits retaliation for reporting or participating in an investigation of a report regarding sex discrimination or harassment.  No person shall be retaliated against by the District in any way or subjected to discharge, suspension, discipline, harassment, or any form of discrimination for having participated in any proceeding under this administrative regulation.  In addition, it shall be a violation of Governing Board Policy 1.4 and this administrative regulation for any person to retaliate against another individual for the purposes of interfering with that individual’s Title IX rights or because an individual has participated or refused to participate in proceedings under this administrative regulation.  Individuals may be subject to actions under this administrative regulation and/or under the Student Code of Conduct or the employee handbook for retaliation in violation of Governing Board Policy 1.4 or this administrative regulation. 

Recordkeeping

The District will maintain all documents related to allegations of sexual harassment for at least seven years.  The records maintained by the District will document that the District’s response to allegations of sexual harassment was not deliberately indifferent and that measures were taken to restore or preserve equal access to the District’s educational program or activity.  If the District did not offer supportive measures in response to a report made under Governing Board Policy 1.4 and/or this administrative regulation, the District’s records will document why that response was not clearly unreasonable under the circumstances known at the time.

Training

The District will provide training on the definition of sexual harassment, the District’s grievance procedures, how to serve impartially in their roles, and any other required or appropriate subjects to the Title IX Coordinator, any investigators, the Decision Maker, anyone who facilitates informal resolution of formal complaints, and anyone involved in the appeal process at least as often as required by the Title IX administrative regulation.