VASC prohibits acts of harassment, intimidation, or bullying of a student by another student or students, staff, or third parties that interferes with or disrupts a student’s ability to learn and the school’s responsibility to educate its students in a safe and orderly environment whether in a classroom, on school premises, at a school-sponsored activity or event, whether or not it is held on school premises, or at another program or function where the school is responsible for the student.
VASC expects students to conduct themselves in an orderly, courteous, dignified, and respectful manner. Students and employees have a responsibility to know and respect the policies, rules and regulations of the school.
“Harassment, intimidation, or bullying” is defined as a gesture, an electronic communication or a written, verbal, physical, or sexual act that a reasonable person should know will have the effect of either of the following:
- Harming a student, physically or emotionally, or damaging a student’s property, or placing a student in reasonable fear of personal harm or damage to his/her property
- Insulting or demeaning a student or group of students in such a way as to cause substantial disruption in or substantial interference with the orderly operation of the school
Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitutes sexual harassment under the following circumstances:
- The harasser requires the individual to submit to the conduct as an explicit or implicit condition of employment, status, or promotion or educational development
- The harasser uses the individual’s submission to, or rejection of, the conduct as a basis for decisions affecting the individual’s employment or education
- The harassment substantially interferes with an individual’s work performance or education or otherwise creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or educational environment
- The individual’s submission to, or rejection of, the conduct is the basis for any decision affecting benefits, services, honors, educational programming, or other available activities
Sexual harassment as defined above may include, but is not limited to, the following:
- Sexually-oriented teasing, name-calling, abuse, or harassment
- Unwelcome comments or conduct based on an individual’s gender identity or nonconformity with gender stereotypes
- Graphic or written statements including, but not limited to, text messages, typed or hand-written notes, derogatory cartoons, drawings, posters or graffiti
- Inquiries into one’s sexual experiences or activities
- Unwelcome touching including, but not limited to, pinching, patting, constant brushing against another’s body, or physical interference with movement or work
- Remarks with sexual or demeaning implications
To be in violation of this harassment policy, the victim does not have to be the person to whom the unwelcome sexual conduct is directed. It may also be someone who is affected by such conduct when it is directed towards another person. For example, the sexual harassment of a particular employee may create an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment for a coworker or may unreasonably interfere with the coworker’s work performance.
Conduct of a sexual nature directed towards students by staff will be presumed to be unwelcomed, and such conduct will be reported as child abuse for investigation by appropriate authorities.
Sexual harassment is also defined under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and governed by the Board’s Title IX Policy.
Reporting and Investigations
Any student who believes he or she has been subject to harassment, intimidation, or bullying should file a complaint with the Principal or his/her designee. Such a complaint may also be filed by a student’s parent/legal guardian. If an employee receives a complaint of harassment, intimidation, or bullying or observes any behavior that could amount to harassment, intimidation, or bullying, the employee must transmit the complaint to the Principal or other designated contact person as soon as practicable.
Although reports by students or employees may be made anonymously, formal disciplinary action may not be taken solely on the basis of an anonymous report.
VASC will be responsible for ensuring that reasonable efforts are made to prevent public disclosure of the names of all parties involved in harassment, intimidation, or bullying allegations, except to the extent necessary to carry out an investigation and comply with statutory obligations.
All complaints will be investigated promptly, thoroughly, and confidentially, to the extent possible. The investigation will include appropriate steps to determine what occurred and to take actions reasonably calculated to end the harassment, intimidation, or bullying and prevent such misconduct from occurring again. The student and his or her parent(s)/legal guardian(s) will be informed that appropriate actions were taken and will be advised how to report any subsequent problems.
Complaints of sexual harassment shall be evaluated to determine if the conduct meets the definition of sexual harassment under Title IX. To the extent conduct qualifies as sexual harassment under Title IX, the school shall conduct an investigation in accordance with the Board’s Title IX Policy.
Consequences for Engaging in Harassment, Intimidation, or Bullying
If the investigation determines that harassment, intimidation, or bullying has occurred, the administration will take reasonable, timely, age-appropriate and effective corrective action. Examples of corrective action include but are not limited to:
- Disciplinary action against the aggressor, up to and including termination of an employee or expulsion of a student
- Special training or other interventions
- Dissemination of statements that the school does not tolerate harassment, intimidation, or bullying
- Independent reassessment of student work
Individuals, including students, employees, parents/legal guardians, and volunteers, may also be referred to law enforcement officials, if warranted.
Consequences for Retaliation or False Accusations
VASC strictly prohibits retaliation or reprisal in any form against a student or employee who has filed a complaint or report of harassment, intimidation, or bullying. The school also prohibits any person from falsely accusing another as a means of harassment, intimidation, or bullying. The consequences and appropriate remedial action for such conduct will be determined by the Principal or his/her designee and may range from positive behavioral interventions to disciplinary action, up to and including suspension or expulsion for students and termination for employees.