Board Policy on Discrimination - Board Policy 5145.3

Board Policy 5145.3

San Francisco Unified School District and County Office of Education

Board Policy 5145.3


This Board Policy applies to all acts related to school activity or school attendance occurring with a school under the jurisdiction of the San Francisco Unified School District, and all acts of the governing board or body of the San Francisco Unified School District, the superintendent of the school district and the county superintendent of schools in enacting policies and procedures that govern the local educational agency.


The Board of Education desires to provide a welcoming safe. and supportive school environment that allows all students equal access and opportunities in the district's academic, extracurricular  and other educational support programs, services, and activities. San Francisco Unified School District prohibits discrimination, harassment, intimidation, sexual harassment and bullying based on actual or perceived race, color,  ancestry, nationality, national origin, immigration status, ethnic group identification, ethnicity, age, religion, marital status, pregnancy, parental status, reproductive health decision making, physical or mental disability, medical condition, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, military or veteran status, or genetic information, or association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics.

This policy shall apply to all acts related to school activity or to school attendance occurring within a district school, and to acts which occur off campus or outside of school-related or school-sponsored activities but which may have an impact or create a hostile environment at school. (Education Code 234.1)

Prohibited Discrimination

Unlawful discrimination, including discriminatory harassment, intimidation, or bullying, may result from  physical, verbal, nonverbal, or written conduct based on any of the categories listed above. Unlawful discrimination also occurs when the prohibited conduct is so severe, persistent, or pervasive that it affects a student's ability to participate in or benefit from an educational program or activity; creates an intimidating, threatening, hostile, or offensive educational environment; has the effect of substantially or unreasonably interfering with a student's academic performance; or otherwise adversely affects a student's educational opportunities. 

Unlawful discrimination also includes disparate treatment of students based on one of the categories above with respect to the provision of opportunities to participate in school programs or activities or the provision or receipt of educational benefits or services.

Because unlawful discrimination may occur when disciplining students, including suspension and expulsion, the Superintendent or designee shall ensure that staff enforce discipline rules fairly, consistently and in a non-discriminatory manner, as specified in Board Policy and Administrative Regulation 5144 - Discipline, Board Policy and Administrative Regulation 5144.1 - Suspension and Expulsion/Due Process, and Administrative Regulation 5144.2 - Suspension and Expulsion/Due Process (Students With Disabilities).

Prohibited Retaliation

Retaliation is an act of discrimination, coercion, intimidation or threat against a person for the purpose of interfering with the exercise of a protected right, such as making a complaint, testifying, assisting, or participating in an investigation in any matter. The District also prohibits any form of retaliation against any individual who reports or participates in the reporting of unlawful discrimination, files or participates in the filing of a complaint, or investigates or participates in the investigation of a complaint or report alleging unlawful discrimination. Retaliation complaints shall be investigated and resolved in the same manner as a discrimination complaint.

Complaint Procedures

The Superintendent or designee shall facilitate students' access to the educational program by publicizing the district's nondiscrimination policy and related complaint procedures to students, parents/guardians, and employees. . In addition, they shall post the District's policies prohibiting discrimination, harassment, intimidation, and bullying and other required information on the District's website in a manner that is easily accessible to parents/guardians and students, in accordance with law.

They shall provide training and/or information on the scope and use of the policy and complaint procedures and take other measures designed to increase the school community's understanding of the requirements of law related to discrimination. The Superintendent or designee shall regularly review the implementation of the district's nondiscrimination policies and practices and, as necessary, shall take action to remove any identified barrier to student access to or participation in the educational program. They shall report their  findings and recommendations to the Board after each review.

All allegations of unlawful discrimination in district programs and activities shall be brought, investigated, and resolved in accordance with Board Policy 1312.3 - Uniform Complaint Procedures.

Regardless of whether a complainant complies with the writing, timeline, and/or other formal filing requirements, all complaints alleging unlawful discrimination, including discriminatory harassment, intimidation, or bullying, shall be investigated and prompt action taken to stop the discrimination, prevent recurrence, and address any continuing effect on students.

Students who engage in unlawful discrimination, including discriminatory harassment, intimidation, retaliation, or bullying, in violation of law, Board policy, or administrative regulation shall be subject to appropriate intervention, consequence or discipline, which may include suspension or expulsion for behavior that is severe or pervasive as defined in Education Code 48900.4

Any employee who permits or engages in prohibited discrimination, including discriminatory harassment, intimidation, retaliation, or bullying, shall be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal.


The Superintendent or designee shall maintain a record of all reported cases of unlawful discrimination, including discriminatory harassment, intimidation, or bullying, to enable the district to monitor, address, and prevent repetitive prohibited behavior in district schools.

Please refer to AR 5145.4 for Nondiscrimination/Harassment of Intersex, Nonbinary, Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students.

This page was last updated on March 20, 2024