Sexual Harassment

(SFUSD Board Policy 5145.7)

The Governing Board is committed to maintaining an educational environment that is free from harassment and discrimination. The Board prohibits sexual harassment of students by other students, employees or other persons, at school or at school-sponsored or school-related activities. The Board also prohibits retaliatory behavior or action against persons who complain, testify, assist or otherwise participate in the complaint process established pursuant to this policy and the administrative regulation. This policy extends to San Francisco County Office of Education, including community school programs and activities.

i. Complaint procedure  

The sexual harassment complaint may be filed with the Principal or their designee or a teacher at the school site.  If the individual feels uncomfortable, the complaint may be filed with the Title IX Coordinator.  The complaint may be in writing or verbally.   The Title IX Coordinator is located in the Office of Equity at 555 Franklin Street, Third Floor, San Francisco, CA 94102.  The phone number is (415) 355-7334.  

Additional information can be found below and at:

ii. Prohibited sexual harassment

  • 1. Prohibited sexual harassment includes, but is not limited to, unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, visual or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:  (CA Education Code 212.5)
    • a. Submission to the conduct is explicitly or implicitly made a term or condition of an individual’s academic status or progress.
    • b. Submission to or rejection of the conduct by an individual is used as the basis for academic decisions affecting the individual.
    • c. The conduct has the purpose or effect of having a negative impact on the individual’s academic performance, or of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive educational environment.
    • d. Submission to or rejection of the conduct by the individual is used as the basis for any decision affecting the individual regarding benefits and services, honors, programs, or activities available at or through the school.
  • 2. Types of conduct which are prohibited in the District and which may constitute sexual harassment include, but are not limited to:
    • a. Unwelcome leering, sexual flirtations or propositions
    • b. Sexual slurs, epithets, threats, verbal abuse, derogatory comments or sexually degrading descriptions
    • c. Graphic verbal comments about an individual’s body, or overly personal conversation
    • d. Sexual jokes, notes, stories, drawings, pictures or gestures
    • e. Spreading sexual rumors
    • f. Teasing or sexual remarks about students enrolled in a predominantly single-sex class
    • g. Touching an individual’s body or clothes in a sexual way
    • h. Purposefully cornering or blocking normal movements
    • i. Online communication containing comments, words, or images described in this list 
    • j. Limiting a student’s access to educational tools
    • k. Displaying sexually suggestive objects
    • l. Intimate partner/dating violence
    • m. Sexual assault, sexual battery, or sexual coercion

iii. Notifications

A copy of the District’s Sexual Harassment Policy shall:

  1. The Sexual Harassment Policy will be distributed to school sites (High School, Middle School, and Elementary School and the Child Development Centers) with instructions that it must be posted in all main office spaces, including staff lounges and student government rooms; main administration building, including Counseling/Dean offices; Wellness Center facilities; and/or other prominent locations where notices are regularly posted regarding rules, regulations, procedures, or standards of conduct..
  2. A Sexual Harassment Policy Poster will be posted in each restroom and locker room for Middle and High School Sites.
  3. Each year the Sexual Harassment Policy will be printed in the Handbook which is distributed to all parents.
  4. The Sexual Harassment Policy will be posted on the SFUSD Website under the Office of Equity.
  5. The Sexual Harassment Policy shall be included in any other notifications that are sent to parents/guardians at the beginning of each school year. (CA Education Code 48980)
  6. The Sexual Harassment Policy shall be displayed in a prominent location near the school principal’s office. (CA Education Code 212.6)
  7. The Sexual Harassment Policy shall be provided as part of any orientation program conducted for new students at the beginning of each quarter, semester, or summer session. (CA Education Code 212.6)
  8. The Sexual Harassment Policy shall appear in any school or district publication that sets forth the schools’ or District’s comprehensive rules, regulations, procedures, and standards of conduct. (CA Education Code 212.6)
  9. The Sexual Harassment Policy shall be provided to employees and employee organizations.

iv. Enforcement

The Superintendent or designee shall take appropriate actions to reinforce the District’s sexual harassment policy. As needed, these actions may include any of the following:

  1. Removing vulgar or offending graffiti
  2. Providing staff in-service and student instruction or counseling
  3. Notifying parents/guardians
  4. Notifying Child Protective Services
  5. Taking appropriate disciplinary action. In addition, the principal or designee may take disciplinary measures against any person who is found to have made a complaint of sexual harassment that they knew was not true.

v. Instruction/information 

The Superintendent or designee shall ensure that all district students receive age-appropriate instruction and information on sexual harassment. Such instruction and information shall include: 

  1. What acts and behavior constitute sexual harassment, including the fact that sexual harassment could occur between people of the same gender 
  2. A clear message that students do not have to endure sexual harassment from any individual
  3. Encouragement to report observed instances of sexual harassment, even where the victim of the harassment has not complained 
  4. Information about the person(s) to whom a report of sexual harassment should be made 

vi. Complaint process

  1. Any student who feels that they have been the object of sexual harassment may verbally file a complaint with their principal, designee, teacher or the Title IX Compliance Coordinator.
  2. Any school employee to whom a complaint is made shall, within 24 hours of receiving the complaint, report it to the student’s principal or designee.  This report shall be made regardless of whether the victim files a complaint.
  3. In any case of sexual harassment involving the principal or any other district employee to whom the complaint would ordinarily be made, the employee who receives the student’s report or who observes the incident shall report to the nondiscrimination coordinator or the Superintendent or designee. This report shall be made regardless of whether the victim files a complaint.
  4. The principal or designee to whom a complaint of sexual harassment is reported shall immediately investigate the complaint. Where the principal or designee finds that sexual harassment occurred, they shall take prompt, appropriate action to end the harassment and address its effects on the victim. The principal or designee shall also advise the victim of any other remedies that may be available. The principal or designee shall file a report with the Superintendent or designee and refer the matter to law enforcement authorities, where required. 

vii. Confidentiality

All district employees are expected to immediately report actual or suspected discrimination or harassment to the principal or district’s compliance officer. All complaints and allegations of sexual harassment shall be kept confidential except as necessary to carry out the investigation or take other subsequent necessary action.

viii. Interim measures and accommodations

While an investigation is taking place, the principal or designee shall take immediate measures necessary to stop the harassment and protect students and/or ensure their access to the educational program. Such measures may include placing the individuals involved in separate classes or transferring a student to a class taught by a different teacher, in accordance with law and Board policy.  

ix. Disciplinary measures 

  1. Any student who engages in sexual harassment of anyone at school or at a school-sponsored or school-related activity is in violation of this policy and shall be subject to disciplinary action. For students in grades 4 through 12, disciplinary action may include suspension and/or expulsion, provided that in imposing such discipline the entire circumstances of the incident(s) shall be taken into account. 
  2. The District will also take any appropriate action against any employee who engages in sexual harassment/discrimination.

x. Record-keeping 

The Superintendent or designee shall maintain a record of all reported cases of sexual harassment Complaints and allegations of sexual harassment will be kept confidential except when disclosure is necessary to enable the district to monitor, address and prevent repetitive harassing behavior in its schools. Disclosure may also be  necessary to further the end of the investigation or other needed remedial action or ongoing monitoring. 

xi. Retaliation

The San Francisco Board of Education prohibits retaliation in any form for the filing of a complaint, the reporting of instances of discrimination, or participation in complaint procedures.  Such participation shall not in any way affect the status, work assignment of the complainant or the grades of a student/complainant.