Announcement: New Title IX/Sexual Harassment Policies (October 26, 2020)

Announcement of Title IX/Sexual Harassment Policy Changes

Updates to SFUSD's Sexual Harassment and Bullying/Harassment Policies

Dear SFUSD Student/Parent, 

The District is committed to providing all students with an environment that is free from discrimination, harassment, intimidation, retaliation, and bullying. SFUSD’s Office of Equity has district-wide responsibility for monitoring the District’s compliance with the following state and federal laws, as well as various district policies. Amongst these responsibilities, the Office of Equity is responsible for the District’s compliance with Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 (“Title IX”), which prohibits sex discrimination in education.   

On May 6, 2020, the United States Department of Education issued new regulations governing the implementation of Title IX. These new regulations made specific changes to how all education programs investigate incidents of sexual harassment on campus.  Accordingly, the District has updated its Sexual Harassment and Bullying/Harassment Policies to incorporate those changes. The purpose of this notice is provide a summary of these changes and to reiterate the District’s commitment to ensure that no student shall be discriminated against on the basis of their sex. 

 

Sexual Harassment Policy

The District’s policy on sexual harassment now adopts the Title IX regulation’s new definition of sexual harassment and provides a formal grievance procedure for the investigation into such conduct into allegations against students and staff members.  Sexual Harassment is now defined as the following conduct that occurs at school or at school-related activity that includes:

  • Unwelcome sexual conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the District’s education program or activity; 
  • A District employee conditioning the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of the District on a student or individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct; or
  • Sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking, as defined in AR 5145.7

Conduct that meets this definition of sexual harassment will be investigated under the District’s new Formal Grievance Procedure, which is initiated when a student (the victim of the alleged conduct) or their parent/guardian submits a written formal complaint to the District’s Office of Equity. Once a Complaint is filed, the Office of Equity will conduct an an initial inquiry to determine if the allegations are in the scope and/or rise to the level of the updated definition of Sexual Harassment. The Office of Equity will either commence an investigation or refer the concern back to the school site to be investigated under the Bullying and Harassment policy (see below).  For more information on the formal complaint procedure process, please refer to our Title IX Complaint Procedure Handout and Investigation Process Chart.

This policy applies to incidents involving student-on-student harassment and incidents involving students and staff sexual harassment. Please note that staff-on-staff allegations of sexual harassment remain governed by Board Policy 4034.

Bullying/Harassment Policy

In addition to Sexual Harassment, the District prohibits all other forms of harassment and bullying. School sites must still investigation and address all forms of harassment, including when the harassment may be sexual in nature but does not rise to the level of Sexual Harassment as defined above. To account for the changes made to the District’s Sexual Harassment policy, the District has updated its Bullying/Harassment Policy to include lower level forms of harassment. These types of harassment should be reported to your school site administrator, who will be responsible for investigating the alleged conduct and ensuring that the behavior does not continue. 

For more information, please refer to the Bullying and Harassment Investigation Procedure Handout

 

What to do if you have been the victim of harassment, sexual harassment, or bullying:

Although the procedure for investigating harassment, sexual harassment, and bullying might have changed, one thing has stayed the same: all forms of harassment are prohibited at SFUSD schools. If you or someone you know has been a victim of harassment, sexual harassment, or bullying while attending SFUSD, we strongly encourage you to report the incident to your school site administrator. 

Upon receiving your report, the school site administrator will assist you by taking steps to stop any ongoing harassment and to ensure that the incident is investigated in accordance with the proper District policy. 

You may also report the incidents by reaching out to the District's Title IX Coordinator directly by emailing equity@sfusd.edu

 

Resources

For more information on these policies, please see the following resources/documentation

If you have any questions regarding the policies discussed above, please teach out to your school site administrator, or email the Office of Equity at equity@sfusd.edu