The Deer Lakes School Board recognizes the importance of public records as the record of the district’s actions and the repository of information about the district.
The Board declares it to be the policy of this district to provide an equal opportunity for all students to achieve their maximum potential through the programs and activities offered in the schools without discrimination on the basis of race, color, age, creed, religion, sex, sexual orientation, ancestry, national origin, marital status, pregnancy or handicap/disability.
The Board also declares it to be the policy of this district 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. Such discrimination shall be referred to throughout this policy as Title IX sexual harassment. Inquiries regarding the application of Title IX to the district may be referred to the Title IX Coordinator, to the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education, or both.
The district is committed to the maintenance of a safe, positive learning environment for all students that is free from discrimination by providing all students course offerings, counseling, assistance, services, employment, athletics and extracurricular activities without any form of discrimination, including Title IX sexual harassment. Discrimination is inconsistent with the rights of students and the educational and programmatic goals of the district and is prohibited at or, in the course of, district-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 applicable Board policy and procedures.
The Board directs that the foregoing statement of Board policy be included in each student and staff handbook, and that this policy and related attachments be posted to the district’s website.
The Board requires a notice stating that the district does not discriminate in any manner, including Title IX sexual harassment, in any district education program or activity, to be issued to all students, parents/guardians, employment applicants, employees and all unions or professional organizations holding collective bargaining or professional agreements with the district. All discrimination notices and information shall include the title, office address, telephone number and email address of the individual(s) designated as the Compliance Officer and Title IX Coordinator.
Reports of Title IX Sexual Harassment and Other Discrimination and Retaliation
The Board encourages students and third parties who believe they or others have been subject to Title IX sexual harassment, other discrimination or retaliation to promptly report such incidents to the building principal, even if some elements of the related incident took place or originated away from school grounds, school activities or school conveyances. A person who is not an intended victim or target of discrimination but is adversely affected by the offensive conduct may file a report of discrimination.
The student’s parents/guardians or any other person with knowledge of conduct that may violate this policy is encouraged to immediately report the matter to the building principal.
A school employee who suspects or is notified that a student has been subject to conduct that constitutes a violation of this policy shall immediately report the incident to the building principal, as well as properly making any mandatory police or child protective services reports required by law.
If the building principal is the subject of a complaint, the student, third party or a reporting employee shall report the incident directly to the Title IX Coordinator.
The complainant or the individual making the report may use the Discrimination/Sexual Harassment/Bullying/Hazing/Dating Violence/Retaliation Report Form attached to this policy for purposes of reporting an incident or incidents in writing; however, verbal reports of an incident or incidents shall be accepted, documented and the procedures of this policy and the relevant attachments followed.
The building principal shall promptly notify the Title IX Coordinator of all reports of discrimination, Title IX sexual harassment or retaliation. The Title IX Coordinator shall promptly contact the complainant regarding the report to gather additional information as necessary, and to discuss the availability of supportive measures. The Title IX Coordinator shall consider the complainant’s wishes with respect to supportive measures.
The Title IX Coordinator shall conduct an assessment to determine whether the reported circumstances are most appropriately addressed through the Discrimination Complaint Procedures prescribed in Attachment 2 to this policy, or if the reported circumstances meet the definition of Title IX sexual harassment and are most appropriately addressed through the Title IX Sexual Harassment Procedures and Grievance Process for Formal Complaints in Attachment 3, or other Board policies.
Disciplinary Procedures When Reports Allege Title IX Sexual Harassment
When a report alleges Title IX sexual harassment, disciplinary sanctions may not be imposed until the completion of the grievance process for formal complaints outlined in Attachment 3. The district shall presume that the respondent is not responsible for the alleged conduct until a determination has been made at the completion of the grievance process for formal complaints.
When an emergency removal, as described in Attachment 3, is warranted to address an immediate threat to the physical health or safety of an individual, and it is not feasible to continue educational services remotely or in an alternative setting, the normal procedures for suspension and expulsion shall be conducted to accomplish the removal, including specific provisions to address a student with a disability where applicable.
When an emergency removal is not required, disciplinary sanctions shall be considered in the course of the Title IX grievance process for formal complaints. Following the issuance of the written determination and any applicable appeal, any disciplinary action specified in the written determination or appeal decision shall be implemented in accordance with the normal procedures for suspensions, expulsions or other disciplinary actions, including specific provisions to address a student with a disability where applicable.
Discipline/Placement of Student Convicted or Adjudicated of Sexual Assault
Upon notification of a conviction or adjudication of a student in this district for sexual assault against another student enrolled in this district, the district shall comply with the disciplinary or placement requirements established by state law and Board policy.
Confidentiality: Confidentiality of all parties, witnesses, the allegations, the filing of a report 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, the attachments and the district's legal and investigative obligations.
Retaliation: The Board prohibits retaliation by the district or any other person against any person for:
- Reporting or making a formal complaint of any form of 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 the person reasonably believes to be discriminatory.
The district, 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 retaliation is believed to have occurred.
Complainant shall mean an individual who is alleged to be the victim.
Respondent shall mean an individual alleged to be the perpetrator of the discriminatory conduct.
Discrimination shall mean to treat individuals differently, or to harass or victimize based on a protected classification including race, color, age, creed, religion, sex, sexual orientation, ancestry, national origin, marital status, pregnancy, or handicap/disability.
Harassment is a form of discrimination based on the protected classifications listed in this policy consisting of unwelcome conduct such as graphic, written, electronic, verbal or nonverbal acts including offensive jokes, slurs, epithets and name-calling, ridicule or mockery, insults or put-downs, offensive objects or pictures, physical assaults or threats, intimidation, or other conduct that may be harmful or humiliating or interfere with a person’s school or school-related performance when such conduct is:
- Sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive; and
- A reasonable person in the complainant’s position would find that it creates an intimidating, threatening or abusive educational environment such that it deprives or adversely interferes with or limits an individual or group of the ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities or opportunities offered by a school.
Definitions Related to Title IX Sexual Harassment
Formal complaint shall mean a document filed by a complainant or signed by the Title IX Coordinator alleging Title IX sexual harassment and requesting that the district investigate the allegation under the grievance process for formal complaints. The authority for the Title IX Coordinator to sign a formal complaint does not make the Title IX Coordinator a party in the grievance process for formal complaints. The phrase “document filed by a complainant” refers to a document or electronic submission that contains the complainant’s physical or digital signature, or otherwise indicates that the complainant is the person filing the formal complaint.
Supportive measures shall mean nondisciplinary, nonpunitive individualized services offered as appropriate, as reasonably available, and without fee or charge to the complainant or the respondent before or after the filing of a formal complaint or where no formal complaint has been filed.
Supportive measures shall be designed to restore or preserve equal access to the educational program or activity without unreasonably burdening the other party, including measures designed to protect the safety of all parties or the educational environment, or to deter sexual harassment. Supportive measures may include, but are not limited to:
- Extensions of deadlines or other course-related adjustments.
- Modifications of work or class schedules.
- Campus escort services.
- Mutual restrictions on contact between the parties.
- Changes in work or housing locations.
- Leaves of absence.
- Increased security.
- Monitoring of certain areas of the campus.
- Assistance from domestic violence or rape crisis programs.
- Assistance from community health resources including counseling resources.
Supportive measures may also include assessments or evaluations to determine eligibility for special education or related services, or the need to review an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or Section 504 Service Agreement based on a student’s behavior. This could include, but is not limited to, a manifestation determination or functional behavioral assessment (FBA), in accordance with applicable law, regulations or Board policy.
Title IX sexual harassment means conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following:
- A district employee conditioning the provision of an aid, benefit, or district 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 district education program or activity.
- Sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence or stalking.
- 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 is determined by the following factors:
- Length of relationship.
- Type of relationship.
- Frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.
- 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 cohabitating with or has cohabitated 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 federal funding, 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.
- Sexual assault means a sexual offense under state or federal law that is classified as a forcible or nonforcible sex offense under the uniform crime reporting system of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
- Stalking, under Title IX means stalking on the basis of sex, for example when the stalker desires to date a victim. Stalking means to engage in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to either:
- Fear for their safety or the safety of others.
- Suffer substantial emotional distress.
Such conduct must have taken place during a district education program or activity and against a person in the United States to qualify as sexual harassment under Title IX. An education program or activity includes the locations, events or circumstances over which the district exercises substantial control over both the respondent and the context in which the harassment occurs. Title IX applies to all of a district’s education programs or activities, whether such programs or activities occur on-campus or off-campus.
Delegation of Responsibility
In order to maintain a program of nondiscrimination practices that is in compliance with applicable laws and regulations, the Board designates the Assistant Superintendent, as the district’s Compliance Officer and Title IX Coordinator. The Compliance Officer/Title IX Coordinator can be contacted at:
Address: 19 East Union Road, Cheswick, PA 15024
Phone Number: 724-265-5300 x 1213
The Compliance Officer and Title IX Coordinator shall fulfill designated responsibilities to ensure adequate nondiscrimination procedures are in place, to recommend new procedures or modifications to procedures and to monitor the implementation of the district’s nondiscrimination procedures in the following areas, as appropriate:
- Curriculum and Materials - Review of curriculum guides, textbooks and supplemental materials for discriminatory bias.
- Training - Provide training for students and staff to prevent, identify and alleviate problems of discrimination.
- Resources - Maintain and provide information to staff on resources available to complainants in addition to the school complaint procedure or Title IX procedures, such as making reports to the police, and available supportive measures such as assistance from domestic violence or rape crisis programs and community health resources including counseling resources.
- Student Access - Review of programs, activities and practices to ensure that all students have equal access and are not segregated except when permissible by law or regulation.
- District Support - Assure that like aspects of the school programs and activities receive like support as to staffing and compensation, facilities, equipment, and related areas.
- Student Evaluation - Review of assessments, procedures, and guidance and counseling materials for stereotyping and discrimination.
- Reports/Formal Complaints - Monitor and provide technical assistance to individuals involved in managing informal reports and formal complaints.
The Board declares it to be the policy of this district to provide an equal opportunity for all students to achieve their maximum potential through the programs offered in the schools regardless of race, color, age, creed, religion, sex, sexual orientation, ancestry, national origin, marital status, pregnancy or handicap/disability.
The district shall provide to all students, without discrimination, course offerings, counseling, assistance, employment, athletics, and extracurricular activities. The equitable distribution of district resources is one means the district shall use to ensure all students receive a quality education. The district shall make reasonable accommodations for identified physical and mental impairments that constitute handicaps and disabilities, consistent with the requirements of federal and state laws and regulations.
The Board declares it to be the policy of this district to ensure that all district programs and practices are free from discrimination against all qualified students with disabilities. The Board recognizes its responsibility to provide academic and nonacademic services and programs equally to students with and without disabilities.
The district shall provide to each qualified student with a disability enrolled in the district, without cost to the student or parent/guardian, a free and appropriate public education (FAPE). This includes provision of education and related aids, services, or accommodations which are needed to afford each qualified student with a disability equal opportunity to participate in and obtain the benefits from educational programs and extracurricular activities without discrimination, to the same extent as each student without a disability, consistent with federal and state laws and regulations.
The district shall excuse any student from specific instruction, subject to the following conditions:
- To assist the school district in ensuring that the student is excused from the correct specific instruction, the request must be made in writing and must detail the specific instruction from which the student is to be excused.
- The written request to be excused shall be sent by the parent/guardian or student to the building principal. One (1) copy of the request shall be retained in the student's permanent school records, one (1) copy kept by the school principal, and one (1) copy submitted to the teacher from whose instruction the student is to be excused.
- It shall not be the responsibility of the district or any of its employees to ensure that the student exercises his/her right to be excused in accordance with a parental request. It shall be the responsibility of the student to request permission to leave class when the specific instruction objected to is presented. When the student seeks to be excused, the teacher shall excuse the student if the teacher or principal has a copy of the written request and the written request adequately describes the specific instruction.
- The written request must contain a statement that the specific instruction described conflicts with the religious beliefs of the student or of the parents/guardians.
- The parent/guardian and/or student may request suggested replacement educational activities. The only permissible educational activity for this purpose shall be in the nature of replacement instruction that is consistent with the learning objectives set for the course and does not require the provision of any extra resources by the district.
- The building principal shall determine where the student shall report during the time the student is excused.
All students excused from specific instruction shall be required to achieve the academic standards established by the district as necessary for graduation.
Students may refuse to dissect, vivisect, incubate, capture, or otherwise harm or destroy animals, or animal parts, as part of their course of instruction. A student who chooses to refrain from participation in or observation involving dissection shall be offered an alternative education project to obtain the factual knowledge, information or experience being taught. A student shall not be discriminated against based upon his/her decision not to participate.
Parents/Guardians may request information regarding the professional qualification of their child’s or children’s teacher(s) providing instructional services.