1422 - NONDISCRIMINATION AND EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY
The Board of Education does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex (including sexual orientation and transgender identity), disability, age, religion, military status, ancestry, genetic information (collectively, "Protected Classes"), or any other legally protected category, in its programs and activities, including employment opportunities.District Compliance Officers
The Board designates the following individuals to serve as the District’s "Compliance Officers" (also known as "Civil Rights Coordinators") (hereinafter referred to as the "COs").
420 Presidential Dr.
Marion, OH 43302
The names, titles, and contact information of these individuals will be published annually on the School District's website.
The COs are responsible for coordinating the District's efforts to comply with applicable Federal and State laws and regulations, including the District's duty to address in a prompt and equitable manner any inquiries or complaints regarding discrimination/retaliation or denial of equal access. The COs shall also verify that proper notice of nondiscrimination for Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (as amended), Title VI and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendment Act of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (as amended), and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1975 is provided to staff members and the general public. Any sections of the District's collectively-bargained, negotiated agreements dealing with hiring, promotion, and tenure need to contain a statement of nondiscrimination similar to that in the Board's statement above. In addition, any gender-specific terms should be eliminated from such contracts. A copy of each of the Acts and regulations on which this notice is based may be found in the CO’s office.
Reports and Complaints of Unlawful Discrimination and Retaliation
Employees are encouraged to promptly report incidents of unlawful discrimination and/or retaliation to an administrator, supervisor, or other District-level official so that the Board may address the conduct. Any administrator, supervisor, or other District-level employee or official who receives such a complaint shall file it with the CO at his/her first convenience.
Employees who believe they have been unlawfully discriminated/retaliated against are entitled to utilize the complaint process set forth below. Initiating a complaint, whether formally or informally, will not adversely affect the complaining individual's employment. While there are no time limits for initiating complaints under this policy, individuals should make every effort to file a complaint as soon as possible after the conduct occurs while the facts are known and potential witnesses are available.
The COs will be available during regular school/work hours to discuss concerns related to unlawful discrimination/retaliation. COs shall accept complaints of unlawful discrimination/retaliation directly from any member of the School District community or a visitor to the District, or receive complaints that are initially filed with a school building administrator. Upon receipt of a complaint, either directly or through a school building administrator, a CO will begin either an informal or formal process (depending on the request of the person alleging the discrimination/retaliation or the nature of the alleged discrimination/retaliation), or the CO will designate a specific individual to conduct such a process. The CO will provide a copy of this policy to any person who files a complaint. In the case of a formal complaint, the CO will prepare recommendations for the Superintendent or oversee the preparation of such recommendations by a designee. All members of the School District community must report incidents of discrimination/retaliation that are reported to them to the CO within two (2) business days of learning of the incident/conduct.
Any Board employee who directly observes unlawful discrimination/retaliation is obligated, in accordance with this policy, to report such observations to one of the COs within two (2) business days. Additionally, any Board employee who observes an act of unlawful discrimination/retaliation is expected to intervene to stop the misconduct, unless circumstances make such an intervention dangerous, in which case the staff member should immediately notify other Board employees and/or local law enforcement officials, as necessary, to stop the misconduct. Thereafter, the CO or designee must contact the employee within two (2) business days to advise him/her of the Board's intent to investigate the wrongdoing.
Investigation and Complaint Procedure (See Form 1422 F2)
Any employee who believes that s/he has been subjected to unlawful discrimination or retaliation may seek resolution of his/her complaint through the procedures described below. The formal complaint procedures involve an investigation of the individual’s claims and a process for rendering a decision regarding whether the charges are substantiated.
Due to the sensitivity surrounding complaints of unlawful discrimination or retaliation, timelines are flexible for initiating the complaint process; however, individuals should make every effort to file a complaint within thirty (30) calendar days after the conduct occurs. Once the formal complaint process is begun, the investigation will be completed in a timely manner (ordinarily, within fifteen (15) business days of the complaint being received).
The procedures set forth below are not intended to interfere with the rights of any individual to pursue a complaint of unlawful discrimination or retaliation with the United States Department of Education Office for Civil Rights, the Ohio Civil Rights Commission ("OCRC") or Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC").
Informal Complaint Procedure
The goal of the informal complaint procedure is to stop quickly inappropriate behavior and facilitate resolution through an informal means, if possible. The informal complaint procedure is provided as a less formal option for an employee who believes s/he has been unlawfully discriminated or retaliated against. This informal procedure is not required as a precursor to the filing of a formal complaint. The informal process is only available in those circumstances where the parties (the alleged target of the discrimination/retaliation and individual(s) alleged to have engaged in the discrimination) agree to participate in it.
Employees who believe that they have been unlawfully discriminated/retaliated against may proceed immediately to the formal complaint process and individuals who seek resolution through the informal procedure may request that the informal process be terminated at any time to move to the formal complaint process.
All complaints involving a District employee or any other adult member of the School District community against a student will be formally investigated.
As an initial course of action, if an individual feels that s/he is being unlawfully discriminated/retaliated against and s/he is able and feels safe doing so, the individual should tell or otherwise inform the person who engaged in the allegedly discriminatory/retaliatory conduct that it is inappropriate and must stop. The complaining individual should address the alleged misconduct as soon after it occurs as possible. The COs are available to support and counsel individuals when taking this initial step or to intervene on behalf of the individual if requested to do so. An individual who is uncomfortable or unwilling to inform the person who allegedly engaged in the unlawful conduct of his/her concerns is not prohibited from otherwise filing an informal or a formal complaint. In addition, with regard to certain types of unlawful discrimination, such as sexual discrimination, the CO may advise against the use of the informal complaint process.
An individual who believes s/he has been unlawfully discriminated/retaliated against may make an informal complaint, either orally or in writing: (1) to a building administrator; (2) directly to one of the COs; and/or (3) to the Superintendent or other District-level employee.
All informal complaints must be reported to one of the COs who will either facilitate an informal resolution as described below or appoint another individual to facilitate an informal resolution.
The School District's informal complaint procedure is designed to provide employees who believe they are being unlawfully discriminated/retaliated against with a range of options aimed at bringing about a prompt resolution of their concerns. Depending upon the nature of the complaint and the wishes of the individual claiming unlawful discrimination/retaliation, informal resolution may involve, but not be limited to, one or more of the following:
Advising the individual about how to communicate his/her concerns to the person who allegedly engaged in the discriminatory/retaliatory behavior.
Distributing a copy of Policy 1422 – Non-Discrimination as a reminder to the individuals in the school building or office where the individual whose behavior is being questioned works.
If both parties agree, the CO may arrange and facilitate a meeting between the individual claiming discrimination/retaliation and the individual accused of engaging in the misconduct to work out a mutual resolution.
While there are no set time limits within which an informal complaint must be resolved, the CO or designee will exercise his/her authority to attempt to resolve all informal complaints within fifteen (15) business days of receiving the informal complaint. Parties who are dissatisfied with the results of the informal complaint process may proceed to file a formal complaint. And, as stated above, parties may request that the informal process be terminated at any time to move to the formal complaint process.
Formal Complaint Procedure
If a complaint is not resolved through the informal complaint process, if one of the parties requested that the informal complaint process be terminated to move to the formal complaint process, or if the individual elects to file a formal complaint initially, the formal complaint process shall be implemented.
An individual who believes s/he has been subjected to unlawful discrimination/retaliation (hereinafter referred to as the "Complainant"), may file a formal complaint, either orally or in writing, with a principal, the CO, Superintendent, or other District-level employee. Due to the sensitivity surrounding complaints of unlawful discrimination and retaliation, timelines are flexible for initiating the complaint process; however, individuals should make every effort to file a complaint within thirty (30) calendar days after the conduct occurs. If a Complainant informs a principal, Superintendent, or other District-level employee, either orally or in writing, about any complaint of discrimination/retaliation, that employee must report such information to the CO within two (2) business days.
Throughout the course of the process, the CO should keep the parties informed of the status of the investigation and the decision- making process.
All formal complaints must include the following information to the extent it is available: the identity of the individual believed to have engaged in, or be engaging in, the discriminatory/retaliatory conduct; a detailed description of the facts upon which the complaint is based; a list of potential witnesses; and the resolution sought by the Complainant.
If the Complainant is unwilling or unable to provide a written statement including the information set forth above, the CO shall ask for such details in an oral interview. Thereafter, the CO will prepare a written summary of the oral interview, and the Complainant will be asked to verify the accuracy of the reported charge by signing the document.
Upon receiving a formal complaint, the CO will consider whether any action should be taken in the investigatory phase to protect the Complainant from further discrimination or retaliation, including, but not limited to, a change of work assignment or schedule for the Complainant and/or the person who allegedly engaged in the misconduct. In making such a determination, the CO should consult the Complainant to assess his/her agreement to the proposed action. If the Complainant is unwilling to consent to the proposed change, the CO may still take whatever actions s/he deems appropriate in consultation with the Superintendent.
Within two (2) business days of receiving the complaint, the CO or designee will initiate a formal investigation to determine whether the Complainant has been subjected to unlawful discrimination/retaliation.
Simultaneously, the CO will inform the individual alleged to have engaged in the discriminatory or retaliatory conduct (hereinafter referred to as the "Respondent"), that a complaint has been received. The Respondent will be informed about the nature of the allegations and provided with a copy of any relevant policies and/or administrative guidelines, including Policy 1422 - Non- Discrimination. The Respondent must also be informed of the opportunity to submit a written response to the complaint within five (5) business days.
Although certain cases may require additional time, the CO or a designee will attempt to complete an investigation into the allegations of discrimination/retaliation within fifteen (15) business days of receiving the formal complaint. The investigation will include:
- interviews with the Complainant;
- interviews with the Respondent;
- interviews with any other witnesses who may reasonably be expected to have any information relevant to the allegations;
- consideration of any documentation or other information presented by the Complainant, Respondent, or any other witness that is reasonably believed to be relevant to the allegations.
At the conclusion of the investigation, the CO or the designee shall prepare and deliver a written report to the Superintendent that summarizes the evidence gathered during the investigation and provides recommendations based on the evidence and the definition of unlawful discrimination/retaliation as provided in Board policy and State and Federal law as to whether the Complainant has been subjected to unlawful discrimination/retaliation. The CO's recommendations must be based upon the totality of the circumstances. In determining if discrimination or retaliation occurred, a preponderance of evidence standard will be used. The CO may consult with the Board’s legal counsel before finalizing the report to the Superintendent.
Absent extenuating circumstances, within five (5) business days of receiving the report of the CO or the designee, the Superintendent must either issue a final decision regarding whether the charges have been substantiated or request further investigation. A copy of the Superintendent's final decision will be delivered to both the Complainant and the Respondent.
If the Superintendent requests additional investigation, the Superintendent must specify the additional information that is to be gathered, and such additional investigation must be completed within five (5) business days. At the conclusion of the additional investigation, the Superintendent must issue a final written decision as described above.
If the Superintendent determines the Complainant was subjected to unlawful discrimination/retaliation, she/he must identify what corrective action will be taken to stop, remedy, and prevent the recurrence of the discrimination/retaliation. The corrective action should be reasonable, timely, age-appropriate and effective, and tailored to the specific situation.
A Complainant or Respondent who is dissatisfied with the final decision of the Superintendent may appeal through a signed written statement to the Board within five (5) business days of his/her receipt of the Superintendent's final decision.
In an attempt to resolve the complaint, the Board shall meet with the concerned parties and their representatives within twenty (20) business days of the receipt of such an appeal. A copy of the Board's disposition of the appeal shall be sent to each concerned party within ten (10) business days of this meeting. The decision of the Board will be final.
The Board reserves the right to investigate and resolve a complaint or report of unlawful discrimination/retaliation regardless of whether the employee alleging the unlawful discrimination/retaliation pursues the complaint. The Board also reserves the right to have the formal complaint investigation conducted by an external person in accordance with this policy or in such other manner as deemed appropriate by the Board or its designee.
The Complainant may be represented, at his/her own cost, at any of the above-described meetings/hearings.
The right of a person to a prompt and equitable resolution of the complaint shall not be impaired by the person’s pursuit of other remedies such as the filing of a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights or the filing of a court case. Use of this internal complaint procedure is not a prerequisite to the pursuit of other remedies.
The School District will employ all reasonable efforts to protect the rights of the Complainant, the Respondent(s), and the witnesses as much as possible, consistent with the Board’s legal obligations to investigate, to take appropriate action, and to conform with any discovery or disclosure obligations. All records generated under the terms of this policy shall be maintained as confidential to the extent permitted by law. Confidentiality, however, cannot be guaranteed. All Complainants proceeding through the formal investigation process will be advised that their identities may be disclosed to the Respondent(s).
During the course of a formal investigation, the CO or designee will instruct each person who is interviewed about the importance of maintaining confidentiality. Any individual who is interviewed as part of an investigation is expected not to disclose to third parties any information that s/he learns and/or provides during the course of the investigation.
Sanctions and Monitoring
The Board shall vigorously enforce its prohibitions against unlawful discrimination by taking appropriate action reasonably calculated to stop and prevent further misconduct. While observing the principles of due process, a violation of this policy may result in disciplinary action up to and including the discharge of an employee. All disciplinary action will be taken in accordance with applicable State law and the terms of the relevant collective bargaining agreement(s). When imposing discipline, the Superintendent shall consider the totality of the circumstances involved in the matter. In those cases where unlawful discrimination/retaliation is not substantiated, the Board may consider whether the alleged conduct nevertheless warrants discipline in accordance with other Board policies, consistent with the terms of the relevant collective bargaining agreement(s).
Where the Board becomes aware that a prior remedial action has been taken against an employee, all subsequent sanctions imposed by the Board and/or Superintendent shall be reasonably calculated to end such conduct, prevent its recurrence, and remedy its effect.
Retaliation against a person who makes a report or files a complaint alleging unlawful discrimination/retaliation, or participates as a witness in an investigation is prohibited. Specifically, the Board will not retaliate against, coerce, intimidate, threaten or interfere with any individual because the person opposed any act or practice made unlawful by any Federal or State civil rights law, or because that individual made a charge, testified, assisted or participated in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing under those laws, or because that individual exercised, enjoyed, aided or encouraged any other person in the exercise or enjoyment of any right granted or protected by those laws.
Education and Training
In support of this policy, the Board promotes preventative educational measures to create greater awareness of unlawful discriminatory practices. The Superintendent or designee shall provide appropriate information to all members of the School District community related to the implementation of this policy and shall provide training for District students and staff where appropriate. All training, as well as all information provided regarding the Board's policy and discrimination in general, will be age and content appropriate.
Retention of Investigatory Records and Materials
All individuals charged with conducting investigations under this policy shall retain all documents, electronically stored information ("ESI"), and electronic media (as defined in Policy 8315) created and/or received as part of an investigation, which may include but not be limited to:
- all written reports/allegations/complaints/grievances/statements/responses pertaining to an alleged violation of this policy;
- any narratives that memorialize oral reports/allegations/ complaints/grievances/statements/responses pertaining to an alleged violation of this policy;
- any documentation that memorializes the actions taken by District personnel related to the investigation and/or the District’s response to the alleged violation of this policy;
- written witness statements;
- narratives, notes from, or audio, video, or digital recordings of witness interviews/statements;
- e-mails, texts, or social media posts that directly relate to or constitute evidence pertaining to an alleged violation of this policy (i.e., not after-the-fact commentary about or media coverage of the incident);
- notes or summaries prepared contemporaneously by the investigator in whatever form made (e.g., handwritten, keyed into a computer or tablet, etc.), but not including transitory notes whose content is otherwise memorialized in other documents;
- written disciplinary sanctions issued to students or employees and other documentation that memorializes oral disciplinary sanctions issued to students or employees for violations of this policy;
- dated written determinations/reports (including summaries of relevant exculpatory and inculpatory evidence) and other documentation that memorializes oral notifications to the parties concerning the outcome of the investigation, including any consequences imposed as a result of a violation of this policy;
- documentation of any interim measures offered and/or provided to complainants and/or the alleged perpetrators, including no contact orders issued to both parties, the dates the no-contact orders were issued, and the dates the parties acknowledged receipt of the no-contact orders;
- documentation of all actions taken, both individual and systemic, to stop the discrimination or harassment, prevent its recurrence, eliminate any hostile environment, and remedy its discriminatory effects;
- copies of the Board policy and/or procedures/guidelines used by the District to conduct the investigation, and any documents used by the District at the time of the alleged violation to communicate the Board’s expectations to students and staff with respect to the subject of this policy (e.g., Student and/or Employee Handbooks or Codes of Conduct);
- copies of any documentation that memorializes any formal or informal resolutions to the alleged discrimination or harassment;
The documents, ESI, and electronic media (as defined in Policy 8315) retained may include public records and records exempt from disclosure under Federal (e.g., FERPA, ADA) and/or State law (e.g., R.C. 3319.321) – e.g., student records and confidential medical records.
The documents, ESI, and electronic media (as defined in Policy 8315) created or received as part of an investigation shall be retained in accordance with Policy 8310, Policy 8315, Policy 8320, and Policy 8330 for not less than three (3) years, but longer if required by the District’s records retention schedule.
© Neola 2018
R.C. 4112.01, 4112.02
Fourteenth Amendment, U.S. Constitution
20 U.S.C. Section 1681, Title IX of Education Amendment Act
20 U.S.C. Section 1701 et seq., Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974
20 U.S.C. Section 7905, Boy Scouts of America Equal Access Act
42 U.S.C. 6101 et seq., Age Discrimination Act of 1975
42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq., The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended
34 C.F.R. Part 110 (7/27/93)
42 U.S.C. 2000ff et seq., The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act
42 U.S.C., 2000e, et seq., Civil Rights Act of 1964
29 U.S.C. 701 et seq., Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended
29 C.F.R. Part 1635