Gender Discrimination and Sexual Harassment: Students
Albuquerque Public Schools (APS) affords all students equal educational opportunities, as well as, equal opportunities to participate in extra curricular activities and prohibits discrimination and harassment in any program or activity of or sponsored by the APS.
A. DISCRIMINATION AND HARASSMENT BASED ON GENDER, SEXUAL ORIENTATION OR PREGNANCY
Discrimination and harassing behavior based on gender, sexual orientation or pregnancy violate federal and/or state civil rights law and deny equal educational opportunities for all students. Discrimination may occur when an individual or individuals are treated differently specifically because of his/her/their gender, sexual orientation or pregnancy. Additionally, unintended behavior or action that ultimately results in treating a group differently because of their gender, sexual orientation or pregnancy may be a form of gender discrimination. Also making comments, name-calling, conduct of a physical nature, or other expressive behavior directed at an individual or group on the basis of gender, sexual orientation or pregnancy are prohibited behaviors. Discriminatory and harassing behavior creates a demeaning, intimidating, and hostile educational environment.
- Discrimination/Harassment is considered to have occurred when such conduct:
-has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive academic environment,
-has the purpose or effect of substantially or unreasonably interfering with a student’s academic performance, or
-otherwise adversely affects an individual’s academic opportunities.
- Individuals or groups are in violation of this policy if they engage in the following behavior (not all inclusive) toward a student, teacher, administrator, other school personnel, or any other individual on school grounds, at school sanctioned activities or in vehicles dispatched by the district:
-making demeaning remarks directly or indirectly to an individual or group based upon his/her/their gender, sexual orientation or pregnancy,
-displaying suggestive visual or written material or defacing APS property or materials to demean an individual or group based upon gender, sexual orientation or pregnancy,
-staring, glaring, obscene gestures, suggestive gestures (touching your private intimate parts in front of others),
-repeatedly asking someone out when he/she is not interested, or
-damaging, defacing, or destroying private property.
B. SEXUAL HARASSMENT
Sexual harassment is a form of gender discrimination as defined in Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 as well as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the New Mexico Human Rights Act. Sexual harassment is a violation of federal and state law as well as district policy. Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, written or verbal conduct of a sexual nature.
If behavior toward another student(s) makes him/her feel intimidated, uncomfortable or threatened, it may be considered sexual harassment even if the harasser did not intend for his/her actions to be offensive.
Sexual harassment may also be considered a criminal offense under state and local assault and child abuse laws.
C. SEXUAL MISCONDUCT
Sexual misconduct may include, but is not limited to, physical act(s) of aggression, force or threats against another individual of the same or opposite sex, threatening to force or coerce sexual acts, including the touching of private/intimate parts, and coercing, forcing or attempting to coerce or force sexual intercourse.
Although sexual misconduct may also be considered sexual harassment, these acts need to be reported to the APS School Police Department.
D. COMPLAINT PROCEDURES
- Who may file a complaint
Students, or parent(s) or legal guardian(s) who believe his/her student has been subjected to discrimination and/or harassing behavior based on gender, sexual orientation or pregnancy by a student, teacher, administrator or other school personnel should report the incident(s) immediately to a school administrator, teacher or a counselor.
APS encourages students, a parent(s) or legal guardian(s) to report incident(s) of discrimination/harassment and resolve their complaints at the lowest level. If further assistance is needed, contact the appropriate administrator. Assistance may also be sought or a complaint filed through the Office of Equal Opportunity Services.
- How to file a complaint
Complaints may be filed with the Office of Equal Opportunity Services and must be submitted in writing within 180 days from the date of alleged act(s), unless the time for filing is extended by the Office of Equal Opportunity Services for good cause (to be determined by the OEOS). All inquiries and discrimination complaints filed with the OEOS are confidential to the extent possible as described below. Confidentiality also applies to the investigative process of all investigations conducted by the OEOS.
- Where to file a complaint
APS Office of Equal Opportunity Services
- Appeal Process
The Office of Equal Opportunity Services informs the Superintendent of the determination of the investigation indicating either that there was (1) sufficient information to determine there was a violation of District policies and procedures and/or sufficient information to support the allegations made or (2) insufficient information to support that there was a violation of District policies and procedures and/or insufficient information to support the allegations made.
The complainant (the individual(s) filing the complaint) and respondent (the individual(s) responding to the complaint) have the right to appeal the Office of Equal Opportunity Services’ determination. If the complainant or respondent is not in agreement with the Office of Equal Opportunity Services’ determination, he/she will have (10) working days from the date of the determination to submit an appeal in writing to the Superintendent. The Superintendent will inform the complainant/respondent of the appeal decision in writing.
After the Superintendent’s review, the internal complaint process has concluded. The time lines set forth in this policy may be waived or extended by the Superintendent.
The complainant and respondent may also voluntarily choose to participate in mediation to resolve the complaint. The mediation program minimizes the need for a lengthy investigation and helps to resolve complaints in a faster time frame. Specific mediation information and guidelines may be requested through the Office of Equal Opportunity Services.
Any student who violates this policy by engaging in conduct defined throughout this policy that directly or indirectly caused intimidation, harassment, or physical harm to another student or employee will be subject to disciplinary action as specified in the Student Behavior Handbook.
No student will suffer retaliation or intimidation for participating in the internal complaint process. Retaliation means some type of adversarial or punitive action taken against an individual or individuals as a result of filing a complaint or participating in the complaint process. Retaliation against any student seeking assistance at their school, filing a complaint, or participating in the investigative process is grounds for a subsequent retaliation/harassment complaint.
APS will respect the privacy of the complainant, the individual(s) against whom the complaint is filed and the witnesses as much as possible, consistent with our legal obligations to investigate, take appropriate action, and conform to any legal discovery or disclosure obligations.
E. LEGAL COMPLIANCE
The Office of Equal Opportunity Services has the responsibility to monitor the compliance of State and Federal Laws and Regulations as well as District policies and procedures related to harassment/discrimination issues based upon sex, sexual orientation or pregnancy. The Coordinator for Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and Title IX of the Education Amendments is the Director of the Office of Equal Opportunity Services.
Cross Reference: Board Policy A.03
Cross Reference: Procedural Directives: Section 504/ADA: Physical Access for Students, Parents and Employees with Disabilities
Section 504/ADA Compliance: Students
Disability Harassment: Students
Discrimination and Harassment: Students
Discrimination and Harassment: Employees
NSBA/NEPN Classification: JBA
Revised: April 1996
Revised: May 1997
Revised: January 2005