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Discrimination and Harassment: Parents/ Guardians

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The Albuquerque Public Schools (APS) provides equal opportunities for all students and prohibits any form of discrimination/harassment in all facets of the education environment including, but not limited to, any program or activity sponsored by APS.  These prohibitions apply to all students (and employees, as covered in a separate directive) and to third parties not directly subject to district-sponsored control.  Examples of third parties include audiences and competitors at inter-district athletic competitions, service contractors, school visitors, and employees of businesses or organizations participating in cooperative work or school programs with the district.

Why EOS?

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the New Mexico Human Rights Act and APS Board of Education policies prohibit discrimination.  Questions or concerns regarding any form of discrimination or harassment based on disability, race, ethnicity, color, gender, sexual orientation, national origin or ancestry, religion, age, veteran status,  HIV status, pregnancy,   or any other protected status as defined by law should be directed to Equal Opportunity Services.

Definition and Examples of Harassment as Defined by Law

Generally, harassment is considered to have occurred when conduct:

  1. has the intent or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive educational environment,
  2. has the intent or effect of substantially or unreasonably interfering with a student’s academic performance,
  3. or otherwise adversely affects a student’s opportunities

Harassment is offending behavior that creates a hostile environment. Both objective and subjective perspectives are considered in relation to a particular type of conduct, including the victim’s age, race, gender, disability, and/or any other protected classes as defined by law. 

Individuals or groups are in violation of district policy if they engage in the following types of behaviors (not an all-inclusive list) toward an individual on school grounds, in the workplace, at school/work-sanctioned activities or in vehicles owned/dispatched by the district.

  1. making demeaning or derogatory remarks or comments directly or indirectly to an individual or group because of his/her/their disability, race, ethnicity, color, gender, sexual orientation, national origin or ancestry, religion, age, veteran status or any other protected status as defined by law
  2. displaying suggestive visual or written material of a sexual nature
  3. defacing APS property or materials by writing demeaning or derogatory words, letters, names or the like directly or indirectly to an individual or group because of his/her/their disability, race, ethnicity, color, gender, sexual orientation, national origin or ancestry, religion, age, veteran status or any other protected status as defined by law
  4. staring or glaring or showing obscene gestures or suggestive gestures (such as touching your private parts in front of others)
  5. repeatedly asking someone for a date when he/she is not interested
  6. damaging, defacing, or destroying private property of any individual or group because of his/her/their disability, race, ethnicity, color, gender, sexual orientation, national origin or ancestry, religion, age, veteran status or any other protected status as defined by law

Definition and Examples of Disability Harassment

Discriminatory behavior toward an individual with a disability may be considered harassment when that disability-focused behavior is sufficiently severe, pervasive or persistent so as to interfere with or limit the ability of an individual to participate in or benefit the district’s programs or activities.

Examples of circumstances that may constitute disability harassment include, but is not limited to:

  1. a student places classroom furniture or other objects in the path of classmates who use wheelchairs impeding the classmates’ mobility
  2. denying a student with a disability access to lunch, field trips, assemblies, and extracurricular activities as punishment for taking time off from school for required services related to a student’s disability
  3. belittling and criticizing a student for using accommodations in class
  4. taunting and belittling a student with special needs by mocking and intimidation

Please review the complete procedural directive for Disability Harassment: Students.

Definition and Examples of Racial and National Origin and Ancestry Harassment

Harassment based on race or national origin is oral, written, graphic or physical conduct relating to an individual’s race, color, ethnicity or national origin (including an individual’s ancestry, county of origin, or country of origin or a student’s parents, family members, or ancestors) that is sufficiently severe, pervasive, or persistent that it interferes with or limits the ability of an individual to participate in or benefit from the district’s programs or activities. Harassment of an immigrant, of someone who speaks another language or has a foreign accent may constitute discrimination based on national origin or race or both, depending on the circumstances. A racial or national origin basis for acts of harassment may be evident from the explicit statements of the perpetrator or may be inferred from the surrounding circumstances.

Examples of possible race or national origin harassment are:

  1. physical acts of aggression or assault upon another, or damage to another’s property that is motivated by the individual’s race, color, ethnicity or national origin
  2. depending on the circumstances and context, demeaning racial jokes, taunting, racial slurs and derogatory racial “nicknames,” innuendos, or other negative or derogatory remarks of a racial nature or relating to national origin
  3. depending on the circumstances and context, graffiti and/or slogans or visual displays such as cartoons or posters depicting racial/ethnic slurs or racially/ethnically derogatory origin.

Definition and Examples of Gender Discrimination and Sexual Harassment (Title IX)

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.

Sexual harassment/bullying is a form of gender discrimination and is considered a misuse of power. Examples of possible sexual harassment are:

  1. unwelcome pressure for sexual activity
  2. unwelcome sexually motivated or inappropriate physical contact
  3. unwelcome verbal or written words or symbols directed at an individual because of gender (whether that gender is the same as the harasser or aimed at the opposite sex)
  4. and use of authority to coerce sexual favors.

Sexual harassment generally may fall under one of three categories: quid pro quo, hostile environment and retaliatory harassment.

Sexual violence is a broad term and includes conduct that is also criminal in nature such as rape, sexual assault, stalking, child sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, human trafficking, unwanted sexual contact, sexual harassment, exposure and similar offenses. Although sexual violence may also be considered sexual harassment, criminal sexual violence against students within the district’s jurisdiction needs to be reported to the APS School Police Department and the district’s Title IX director in Equal Opportunity Services (EOS).

Please review the complete procedural directive for Student Gender Discrimination and Sexual Harassment (Title IX) or Employee Gender Discrimination and Sexual Harassment (Title IX).

Gender Identity

Gender identity refers to an individual's deeply held sense of their gender, which may or may not align with the sex they were assigned at birth. It encompasses how one perceives themselves and the gender with which they identify, whether it be male, female, both, neither, or something else entirely. Gender identity is a complex interplay of biological, psychological, social, and cultural factors, and it is unique to each person. It's important to recognize that gender identity exists on a spectrum and can evolve over time, and everyone deserves respect and acceptance for who they are.

Title IX & Gender Identity

Title IX is a comprehensive federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity. The principal objective of Title IX is to avoid the use of federal money to support sex discrimination in education programs and to provide individual citizens effective protection against those practices.

Title IX includes sexual harassment, sexual misconduct and sexual violence.  Any report of gender/sex discrimination made to an employee must be addressed in a timely manner by school administration or the supervisor and reported to the Title IX Director at Equal Opportunity Services.

Title IX Violations

Formal complaints of Title IX violations may be reported to Equal Opportunity Services.

All students, regardless of gender identity, are entitled to a safe and respectful school environment.  Complaints of discrimination or harassment should be addressed in a timely manner by appropriate school personnel.

If you are a student (or parent/guardian of a student) who wants to assert a gender that differs from previous representations or records, please contact the school principal or counselor to request a Gender Support Plan meeting.  You may also contact the District Title IX Director if you have general questions or need assistance with the process.

Looking for a site Title IX coordinator? Call your school's main number and ask to speak with the principal.

Inspect Our Training:

As required by OCR in §106.45(b)(10)(i)(D) of the new Title IX Regulations, please view the training  used to train APS' Title IX Coordinator.

More Information:

For more information, contact: Heather Cowan, Director, Equal Opportunity Services and Title IX, by phone at (505) 855-9831, or by email at .

Definition of Examples of Harassment Based on Religion

Targeting an individual or individuals because of his/her/their religion or religious beliefs may be a form of harassment. Examples of possible harassment based on religion are:

  1. making derogatory jokes regarding a particular religion
  2. and verbal, physical or written intimidation of an individual because of his/her/their religion.


The following procedures apply to discrimination and harassment complaints by student(s), parent(s), legal guardian(s) employee(s), or third parties.  Examples of third parties include audiences and competitors at inter-district athletic competitions, service contractors, school visitors and employees and businesses or organizations participating in cooperative work or school programs with the district in relation to the incident(s) at issue.

These procedures shall be available in every school site, administrative office, posted on the district website and included in the student handbook. Furthermore, a more detailed in scope reporting and complaint procedure process can be found in the Equal Opportunity Manual:

Who may file a complaint

Student(s), parent(s) or legal guardian(s) who believes his/her/their student has been subjected to alleged discrimination and/or harassment by a student, teacher, administrator or other school personnel or third parties should report the incident(s) immediately to a school administrator such as a principal, assistant principal and/or dean of students. They may also directly report to Equal Opportunity Services or any civil rights entities such as the New Mexico Human Rights Division.

Any APS employee, who becomes aware of an alleged discrimination and/or harassment incident, whether by witnessing the incident or being told of it, must report it to their immediate supervisor or to Equal Opportunity Services. This reporting obligation is in addition to a school employee’s reporting obligations to appropriate officials pursuant to law and APS Procedural Directive G. Personnel: Reporting Child Abuse, Neglect or Educational Neglect, when the employee has a reasonable belief that a student is being sexually abused or subjected to other forms of abuse and neglect prohibited by law.

How to file a complaint

Supervisors and administrators who have received a complaint must report the alleged allegation(s) to Equal Opportunity Services.

Anyone may contact Equal Opportunity Services directly.

When the district becomes aware of the existence of an alleged discrimination and/or harassment, it is obligated by law to take prompt and appropriate action, whether or not the victim wants the district to proceed or not.

For allegations that may rise to the level of sexual violence, parties may choose and/or be directed by Equal Opportunity Services to also file a police report. Individuals who file police reports should also report to Equal Opportunity Services.

Informal concerns can be reported through the fillable Report a Concern form to discover what options are available. For formal complaints, please use the PDF complaint form(s) that's found on the Reporting a Complaint page.

Types of Complaints

Informal complaint resolution process

Informal resolution may be an appropriate choice when the conduct involved is not a serious or repetitive nature and disciplinary action is not required to remedy the situation.  The determination is made by an administrator or designee.  The informal resolution process can be ended by a complainant at any time to begin a formal complaint process.  The administrator or designee shall document any informal resolution, and a copy of such documentation shall be forwarded within three (3) business days of resolution to the Office of Equal Opportunity Services, and when appropriate, the Chief of Human Resources & Legal Services.

Formal complaint resolution process

Initiation of the formal complaint procedures requires a written complaint.  The complaint form can be accessed from Equal Opportunity Services’ webpage.  Hard copy forms are available in Equal Opportunity Services.  Individuals can also request a school or department to provide a hard copy form. 

Formal complaints must be submitted in writing to Equal Opportunity Services within 180 days from the date of alleged act(s), in accordance with timelines set forth by the Office of Civil Rights, unless the time for filing is extended by Equal Opportunity Services for good cause (to be determined by EOS).  Failure of a complaint to comply with any time limitation in the complaint procedure may result in dismissal of the complaint and/or denial of the appeal.  Dismissal shall not preclude the individual’s right to pursue the complaint through other appropriate external agencies. 

Equal Opportunity Services shall review the formal complaint to determine whether the matter falls within the scope of these procedures.  Within ten (10) business days after the complaint submission date, Equal Opportunity Services shall initiate an investigation of the matters alleged, or inform the complainant in writing that the matters alleged in the complaint are not within the jurisdiction or authority of the district to investigate and that the district will not carry out any further investigations.  If the matter does not involve allegations of discrimination within the scope of these procedures, Equal Opportunity Services shall forward the matter to the proper district administrative authority for review, if appropriate.

During either the informal or formal complaint processes interim measures, such as schedule changes, placing employees on leave and/or counseling support may be implemented to protect students in the educational setting, pending the outcome of the process. 

Physical Access Request

If you or others have had problems accessing Albuquerque Public Schools properties, programs, activities, and facilities because of your or their disabilities, please let us know by filling out the Physical Access Request Fillable Form.

Legal Compliance

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 and discrimination issues.

For discrimination and harassment claims contact:

Equal Opportunity Services
Albuquerque Public Schools, 6400 Uptown Blvd, NE
Albuquerque, NM  87110

Administrative Position:                 

  • Associate Superintendent of Equity, Instruction, Innovation and Support
  • Chief Operations Officer
  • Chief of Human Resources & Legal Services

Department Director:                              

  • Senior Director, Office of Equity and Engagement
  • Director of Title IX Programs
  • Director of Equal Opportunity Services
  • Executive Director of Student, Parent and Employee Service Center

Cross References:

Legal Reference:

  • Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
  • Americans with Disabilities Act
  • Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972
  • The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act
  • New Mexico Human Rights Act (NMSA § 28-1-7)
  • 6.10.3 NMAC
  • Children's Code Article 4: Child Abuse and Neglect, 32A-4-1 through 32A-4-34

Board Policy Cross Ref:           

 Procedural Directive Cross Ref: