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Policy 1010 - Anti-Discrimination

The purpose of this policy is to establish expectations for behavior that promote a safe, engaging and supportive school environment and provide direction for students, employees, and third parties in recognizing and reporting discrimination in accordance with this policy and with local, state, and federal requirements.

Policy Document

I. Policy Statement

The Board of Education is committed to providing an educational and work environment that is free from discrimination, fosters equitable opportunities, and values diversity and commonality. The Board prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, creed, national origin, immigration status, religion, physical, mental, or educational disability, pregnancy, age, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, sexual orientation, marital status, veteran status or socioeconomic status in the educational program, including co-curricular and extra-curricular activities, and in the workplace.

The Board recognizes its responsibility to promote worth, dignity, respect, and safety and therefore prohibits discrimination through curriculum, instruction, professional development, and resource selection.

Employees, students, and third parties share responsibility for the health, safety, and general welfare of students and for creating and ensuring an environment free from discrimination.

Employees, students, and third parties may be subject to disciplinary action or consequences for discriminatory behavior even when the behavior does not rise to the level of discrimination as defined by prevailing federal and state laws.

II. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to establish expectations for behavior that promote a safe, supportive school and work environment and provide direction for students, employees, and third parties in recognizing and reporting discrimination in accordance with this policy and with local, state, and federal requirements.

III. Definitions

Within the context of this policy, the following definitions apply:

  1. Discrimination – Any act or omission due to an individual’s status or perceived status in a protected class that creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or educational environment; or substantially interferes with an individual’s ability to work, learn, or otherwise is sufficiently serious to limit an individual’s employment opportunities, or to limit a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the educational program.

  2. Parent – Any one of the following, recognized as the adult(s) legally responsible for the student:

    1. Biological Parent – A natural parent whose parental rights have not been terminated.

    2. Adoptive Parent – A person who has legally adopted the student and whose parental rights have not been terminated.

    3. Custodian – A person or agency appointed by the court as the legal custodian of the student and granted parental rights and responsibilities.

    4. Guardian – A person who has been placed by the court in charge of the affairs of the student and granted parental rights and responsibilities.

    5. Caregiver – An adult resident of Howard County who exercises care, custody, or control over the student but who is neither the biological parent nor legal guardian, as long as the person satisfies the requirements of the Education Article, §7-101 (c) (Informal Kinship Care).

    6. Foster Parent – An adult approved to care for a child who has been placed in their home by a state agency or a licensed child placement agency as provided by the Family Law Article, §5-507.

  3. Protected Class – A group’s characteristics to include the following: race, color, creed, national origin, immigration status, religion, physical, mental, or learning disability, pregnancy, age, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, sexual orientation, marital status, veteran status or socioeconomic status.

  4. Respondent – An individual named by a complainant as allegedly violating the policy.

  5. Retaliation – The act or process of threatening or otherwise penalizing a person for reporting an alleged violation of policy or for participating in an investigation of an alleged violation.

  6. School-Related Activity – Any school systemactivity, on or off school property, in which a student directly participates (e.g., school field trip, athletic event, or class/graduation activity), or an activity in which the student does not directly participate but represents the school or student body simply by being present (e.g., spectator at a school event).

  7. Third Party – Parents, mentors, volunteers, vendors, contractors and others with whom students or employees interact during school or school-related activities.

IV. Standards

  1. It is a violation of this policy for any student, employee, or third party to engage in acts of discrimination in schools, school system offices, or at school-related activities, or at school system sponsored activities.

    Student, employee, or third party behavior may be severe enough to violate state and/or federal laws prohibiting discrimination in educational institutions and the workplace.

    This generally occurs when:

    1. Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a termor condition of the individual’s employment or educational status.

    2. Such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s work or educational performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment, which may include online and social media.

  2. It is a violation of this policy for any student, employee, or third party to engage in retaliation with regard to allegations or complaints of discrimination.

  3. Discrimination on the basis of gender includes harassment, which is addressed in Policy 1020 Sexual Discrimination, and Title IX. Harassment, defamation, and intimidation that are not discriminatory in nature are addressed in Policy 1040 Safe and Supportive Schools, and in Policy 1060 Bullying, Cyberbullying, Harassment, or Intimidation.

  4. The HCPSS will promote the worth and dignity of all individuals through curriculum, instruction, professional development, and resource selection in accordance with state regulation.

    1. The HCPSS will provide PreK-12 curricula and instructional strategies that enable students to demonstrate an understanding of and respect for living in a culturally pluralistic society.

    2. Instructional staff will use strategies that appropriately address students’ identities and learning styles while providing rigorous instruction for all students to increase academic achievement.

    3. Instructional staff will be provided with curricula that:

      1. Avoids stereotyping, discrimination, bias, and prejudice;

      2. Reflects the diverse experiences relating to cultural groups and individuals;

      3. Is representative of the diversity of society and assist students to demonstrate an understanding of the experiences of individuals and groups.

    4. The HCPSS will provide professional development to prepare employees to design, manage, implement, and evaluate multicultural education.

  5. Discrimination complaints can be filed by those who believe they are being subjected to discrimination and by those who believe they are a witness to discrimination against others.

  6. A student will file a discrimination complaint orally or in writing with a teacher, school counselor, school-based administrator, or the Equity Assurance Manager/designee for action in accordance with established procedures. All such reports that allege discrimination by an employee or third party will be filed with or forwarded to the Equity Assurance Manager/designee.

  7. An employee or third party will file a discrimination complaint with theEquity Assurance Manager/designee or with a school-based administrator or supervisor as appropriate. All such reports will be forwarded to the Equity Assurance Manager/designee.

  8. Staff members and school-based administrators who believe discrimination has occurred will take action promptly in accordance with established procedures as defined in the implementation procedures of this policy.

  9. The school-based administrator, supervisor, or the Equity Assurance Manager/designee will commence an investigation of the allegations of discrimination regardless of how the alleged discrimination is reported within two working days, and address any findings of discrimination.

  10. Utilization and/or exhaustion of these procedures are not aprerequisite for the filing of an administrative complaint of discrimination with a government agency or taking other legal action.

  11. Upon completion of an investigation of a complaint, the individual conducting the investigation will consult with the Equity Assurance Manager/designee. After consultation, that individual will send a written report of the findings and recommended corrective action, if any, within confidentiality guidelines to the complainant and the respondent within thirty calendar days excluding extenuating circumstances.

  12. The complainant and the respondent are entitled to appeal the findings and/or recommended corrective action. All appeals will be decided by the Superintendent/Designee.

  13. In all phases of complaint resolution, every reasonable effort shall be made to maintain the confidentiality and protect the privacy of all parties. These efforts may be limited by the school system’s legal and regulatory obligation to investigate and address allegations of discrimination.

  14. To provide resolution of violations, employees in supervisory or management positions are responsible for taking steps designed to end any existing discrimination by those under their supervision, prevent any recurrence, and remedy any detrimental effects on the complainant and others.

  15. Upon the finding of violation, remedies available to complainants include, but are not limited to, counseling, imposition of an order against the guilty party prohibiting further contact with the complainant or others, reinstatement of employment to the complainant, reconsideration of an award of a contract with the school system or any other remedy as is just and services the interest of reinstating the complainant to his/her position prior to the discrimination.

  16. Violations of this policy are cumulative; subsequent offenses will affect the nature and severity of the consequences.

  17. Students who violate this policy will have consequences that include all appropriate forms of discipline including expulsion fromschools. Disciplinary action against a student will be administered in accordance with the HCPSS Student Code of Conduct, Policy 9000 - Student Residency, Eligibility, Enrollment and Assignment and Policy 9200 - Student Discipline. In addition, a student who violates this policy may also be required to participate in an appropriate education intervention and/or counseling designated by the school administrator and designed to increase his or her understanding of the offense and the impact on others.

  18. Employees who violate this policy will have consequences that include all appropriate forms of discipline including termination of employment. Disciplinary action against school system employees will be administered in accordance with Policy 7030 Employee Conduct and Discipline. A violation of this policy may require, as a condition of continuing employment or other relationship with the school system, participation in counseling and/or other interventions designed to assist in the recognition and correction of the offending behavior/conduct.

  19. Action against third parties will be taken in accordance with relevant school system policies and other applicable state and federal laws. Actions may include ceasing further business with the third party, modifying the terms of the contract, discontinuance of the contract, or banning fromthe property.

  20. Notice that acts of discrimination are prohibited in the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) will be communicated to all students, families, employees, and third parties, and the community annually by public notifications, school web-sites, school newsletters, faculty handbooks and other customary channels.

V. Responsibilities

  1. Principals will notify students, families, third parties, and employees in their schools in a timely manner of all of the provisions within this policy.

  2. Supervisors will notify all those under their immediate supervision of the provisions within this policy.

  3. The Superintendent/Designee will facilitate the communication of the provisions within this policy annually through customary channels such as email, literature, power points, or any other viable communication.

  4. The Equity Assurance Manager/designee will commence appropriate action within two working days upon receipt of the complaint regardless of how the complaint is reported.

  5. Employees will monitor the behavior of students, staff, and third parties, and respond within one working day in an appropriate manner to both observed and reported violations of this policy.

  6. All employees in supervisory or management positions will take the necessary steps designed to end any existing discrimination by those under their supervision, to prevent any recurrence, and to correct discriminatory effects on the complainant and others.

VI. Delegation of Authority

The Superintendent is authorized to develop appropriate procedures for the implementation of this policy.

VII. References

  1. Legal

    • Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. Sec. 1681

    • Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C., Sec 601 and Sec. 2000e.2

    • Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, 29 U.S.C. §§ 621-634 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. 12131 et seq.

    • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 U.S.C. 1400-1487

    • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, 29 U.S.C. Sec. 794

    • The Annotated Code of Maryland, Article 49B Human Relations Commission: Discrimination in Employment, Section 16 (Unlawful Employment Practices)

    • The Annotated Code of Maryland, Education Article, Section 7-421 (Safe Schools Reporting Act of 2005)

    • COMAR 13A.04.05 (Education that is Multicultural)

    • COMAR 13A.08.01.15 (Reporting Delinquent Acts)

  2. Other Board Policies

  3. Relevant Data Sources

  4. Other

VIII. History

ADOPTED: May 28, 1980

REVIEWED:

MODIFIED: August 14, 2014

REVISED: October 25, 1990, January 30, 2001, February 7, 2008, June 7, 2018

EFFECTIVE: July 1, 2018