Civil Rights

Civil Rights Policy and Procedures

I. NONDISCRIMINATION GENERAL POLICY AND GUIDELINES

 

Policy

Trillium Charter School (TCS) is committed to providing an educational environment where all students feel safe and welcomed. We recognize safety and inclusion as the foundation upon which academic excellence and growth is built. As such, we commit ourselves to providing an educational and working environment for our students, faculty, and staff that is free from discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, marital status, religion, disability, or age.

 

This Policy prohibits discrimination and harassment as defined herein.  The School will respond promptly and effectively to reports of discrimination and/or harassment, and will take appropriate action to eliminate the hostile environment, prevent it from happening again, remedy the effects it hard on the victim and the wider school community, and when necessary, to discipline behavior that violates this Policy.

 

Scope
This policy applies to visitors, applicants for admission to or employment with TCS, and students, employees, and volunteers of the School who allege discrimination by School employees, students, visitors, or contractors.

This Policy applies regardless of the complainant’s or respondent’s sexual orientation, sex, gender identity, age, race, nationality, religion or ability.

Definitions

  • Civil Rights refers State and Federal laws that apply to protected classes including:

    • Title VI- Race, Color, National Origin

    • Title IX- Sex, Gender, Gender Expression, Sexual Orientation

      • Gender Based Harassment- Harassment based on failure to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity

      • Gender Discrimination- words or actions and that imply one gender is better than or more deserving of resources than another.

      • Sexual Violence and Harassment- Unwelcome behavior or communication, sexual in nature, that creates a hostile environment

    • Section 504-Disabilities

    • Americans with Disabilities (ADA)

    • Guidelines for eliminating discrimination and denial of services on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, and handicap in vocational education

  • Discrimination is defined as conduct directed at a specific individual or a group of identifiable individuals that subjects the individual or group to treatment that adversely affects their employment or education because of their race, color, national origin, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, marital status, religion, disability, or age.

  • Harassment is a form of discrimination is defined as verbal or physical conduct that is directed at an individual or group because of race, color, national origin, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, marital status, religion, disability, or age, when such conduct is sufficiently severe, pervasive or persistent so as to have the purpose or effect of interfering with an individual’s or group’s academic or work performance; or of creating a hostile academic or work environment.

  • Verbal conduct is defined as oral, written, or symbolic expressions that:

    • personally describe or are personally directed at a specific individual or group of identifiable individuals; and

    • not necessary to an argument for or against the substance of any political, religious, philosophical, ideological, or academic idea

II. REPORTING AND RESPONDING TO A COMPLAINT

Reporting
A person who believes that they have been subjected to discrimination or harassment in violation of this policy should report the incident to any School administrator or supervisor. A faculty member is not an “administrator, or supervisor” for this purpose unless that faculty member holds an administrative position. Students are encouraged to report such incidents to the Student Support Center, a teacher, or administrator; employees and campus visitors are encouraged to report to their supervisor, an administrator, or the acting Civil Rights Coordinator. Incidents should be reported as soon as possible after the time of their occurrence. No person is required to report discrimination or harassment to the alleged offender. If the person to whom the misconduct would normally would be reported is the individual accused of harassment, reports may be made to another manager, supervisor, or designated employee. Managers, supervisors, and designated employees are required to notify the Civil Rights Coordinator or other appropriate official designated to review and investigate.

Reporting Responsibility
Every supervisor, administrator, teacher, school employee, or volunteer is responsible for promptly reporting incidents of discrimination and harassment in violation of this policy that come to their attention to the Civil Rights Coordinator.

Prompt Reporting Encouraged
Complainants of discrimination or harassment may report incidents at any time, but are strongly encouraged to make reports promptly in order to best preserve evidence for a potential legal or disciplinary proceeding.  In general, there is no time limit for students to make a report, but an undue delay in reporting may affect the quality or preservation of evidence or witness testimony that would have been available. Employees who have experienced or observed conduct that they believe is contrary to this Policy have an obligation to promptly make a report.  Timely reporting is necessary for employees.

Confidentiality
To the extent permitted by law, the confidentiality and/or the identities of all parties involved in the investigation and/or resolution of alleged or suspected violations of this Policy will be observed, provided that it does not interfere with the School’s ability to conduct an investigation and take any corrective action deemed appropriate.

When weighing a complainant’s request for confidentiality or that no investigation, hearing or discipline be pursued, the Civil Rights Coordinator will consider a range of factors, including the following:

  1. The increased risk that the respondent will commit additional acts of discrimination or harassment, such as: whether there have been other discrimination or harassment complaints about the same respondent, whether the respondent has a history of violence, and whether the respondent threatened further discrimination or harassment or other violence against the complainant or others.

  2. Whether the discrimination or harassment was committed by multiple perpetrators.

  3. Whether the discrimination or harassment was perpetrated with a weapon.

  4. Whether the School possesses other means to obtain relevant evidence of the discrimination or harassment (e.g. security cameras or personnel, physical evidence).

  5. Whether the complainant’s report reveals a pattern of perpetration at a given location or by a particular group.

The presence of one or more of these factors, or other factors unique to the situation, could lead the School to investigate and, if appropriate, pursue discipline or corrective actions.

 

III. COMPLAINT RESOLUTION PROCEDURE

Definitions

  • Complaint. Complaint means a signed document alleging discrimination, including harassment under this policy.

  • Complainant. Complainant means a person who submits a written complaint alleging discrimination, including harassment under this policy.

  • Respondent. Respondent means the person designated to respond to a complaint. Generally the respondent would be the person alleged to be responsible for the prohibited discrimination or harassment alleged in a complaint. The term “Respondent” may be used to designate persons with direct responsibility for a particular action or those persons with administrative responsibility for procedures and policies in those areas covered in a complaint.

Required Notice for Reports of Discrimination or Harassment
Within five (5) business days, TCS will provide a written acknowledgement of the report, and a notice of available rights and options, including procedures to follow when the School receives a report that a student or employee has been a victim of discrimination or harassment, whether the offense has occurred on- or off-campus or in connection with any School program. The written information shall include:

  • To whom the alleged offense should be reported.

  • Options for reporting to law enforcement, including the option to notify local law enforcement authorities

  • The rights of the parties regarding orders of protection, no contact orders, restraining orders, or similar lawful orders issued by criminal or civil courts and the School’s responsibilities regarding such orders.

  • The importance of preserving evidence as may be necessary to prove Sexual Assault, discrimination, or harassment, or to obtain a protection order.

  • Options for, and available assistance to, change academic, and working situations, if requested by the one of the parties and if reasonably available.  These options are available regardless of whether the victim chooses to report the crime to local law enforcement.

  • Any applicable procedures for institutional disciplinary action.

Initial Assessment
Upon receipt of a report of a Policy violation, the Civil Rights Coordinator will conduct an initial assessment.  The first step of the assessment will usually be a preliminary meeting with the complainant. The purpose of the preliminary meeting is to gain a basic understanding of the nature and circumstances of the report; it is not intended to be a full interview.  At this meeting, the complainant will be provided with information about resources, procedural options and interim measures.

This initial assessment will proceed to the point where a reasonable determination of the safety of the individual and of the school community can be made.  Thereafter, an investigation may be initiated depending on a variety of factors, such as whether the complainant will pursue disciplinary action, the nature of the allegation, and the proper grievance process to be applied.

IV. RESOLUTION OPTIONS

Informal Resolution​
Informal resolution may be an appropriate choice when the conduct involved is not of a serious or repetitive nature and disciplinary action is not required to remedy the situation. No formal investigation is involved in the informal resolution process.

Methods for informal resolution may include, but are not limited to: coaching the person on how to directly address a situation which is causing a problem; mediating the dispute with the parties; aiding in the modification of a situation in which the offensive conduct occurred; assisting a department with the resolution of a real or perceived problem; or arranging a documented meeting with the alleged offender that involves a discussion of the requirements of the Nondiscrimination Policy.

TCS shall document any informal resolution. Such documentation shall be retained by the Civil Rights Coordinator as appropriate and will be kept confidential to the extent permitted by law. An informal resolution meeting shall not be considered a precondition for the filing of a written complaint.

Formal Resolution
If a full investigation is initiated, the complainant must provide a written complaint to the School regarding the alleged violations and the respondent will be provided with a copy of the complaint.  After the process has been initiated, the respondent will have an opportunity to prepare a written response to the alleged violations and assert any cross-complaints, which will be provided to the complainant.

Anonymous and Third-Party Complaints
Where a complainant requests to remain anonymous or that no formal action be taken, the School must balance this with its obligations to provide a safe and non- discriminatory environment for all community members, and to afford a respondent fundamental fairness by providing notice and an opportunity to respond before any action is taken against a respondent.  In the event that the circumstances of the complaint dictate a full investigation, the School will take all actions necessary to conduct the investigation while balancing the wishes of the complainant. This may include disclosing the identity of the complainant and other steps that might compromise the complainant’s request for confidentiality and anonymity. Subject to these limitations, the School will take all reasonable steps to investigate and respond to the complaint consistent with the request for confidentiality or request not to pursue an investigation.  The School shall inform the complainant that its ability to investigate or take action will be limited based on the nature of the request by the complainant.

Reports that are made anonymously or by third parties may not initiate the formal complaint process.  However, the law requires the School to investigate all incidents about which the School knows or has reason to know in order to protect the health and safety of the School community.  The School may undertake an initial assessment even in cases where the alleged victim and/or complainant choose not to cooperate or participate. As necessary, the School reserves the right to initiate a complaint, to serve as complainant, and to initiate conduct proceedings without a formal complaint by the victim or complainant.

Reluctance to Report Based on Potential Violations
Students may be reluctant to report incidents because of concerns that their own behavior may be a violation of School policies.  The School’s primary concern is student safety. Any other rule violations will be addressed separately from the Sexual Misconduct allegation.  Although school policy violations cannot be overlooked, the School will consider the positive impact of reporting an incident involving the Civil Rights Policy when determining the appropriate response to other policy violations.  In such cases, any possible negative consequences for the reporter of the problem should be evaluated against the possible negative consequences of not reporting the incident.

Interim Measures
At any time during the process, the Civil Rights Coordinator (or a designee) may impose reasonable and appropriate interim measures designed to eliminate the reported hostile environment and protect the parties involved.  Interim Measures may be imposed regardless of whether discipline or corrective measures are sought by the complainant or the School. All individuals are encouraged to report concerns about the failure of another individual to abide by any restrictions imposed by an Interim Measure.  The School will take responsive action to enforce the Interim Measures.

The School reserves the right to take immediate action and impose restrictions on any person accused of violating this policy, or to take any other interim measures it deems appropriate, pending the outcome of an investigation and/or disciplinary proceedings. If the Civil Rights Coordinator, or a designee, decides at any point the well-being of a student or employee is at stake, an interim suspension may be imposed on the individual, who is suspected of violating this Policy or otherwise poses a risk of safety to others, until the investigation and/or hearing can be completed. This action assumes no presumption or determination of guilt and the investigation will be completed as soon as possible.

At any time during the investigation, TCS may implement the following Interim Measures:

  • Placing an employee on paid or unpaid administrative leave.

  • Removing a student from campus and/or current classes.

  • Providing access to counseling services.

  • Issuing on-campus No Contact Orders.

  • Modifying course schedules, rescheduling of exams and assignments.

  • Limitations on time and access to campus (including reduced access to the library and other School buildings).

  • Banning individuals from campus except for classes and required school activities.

  • Changing class schedules, work schedules or job assignments.

  • Voluntary leave of absence.

  • Providing an escort to ensure safe movement between classes and activities.

  • School imposed leave or separation.

  • Any other remedy tailored to the involved individuals to achieve the goals of this Policy.

The School may use these Interim Measures in any combination thereof, or create new measures as needed.  The School will take responsive action to enforce the Interim Measures.

V. DISCIPLINARY ACTIONS FOR VIOLATIONS OF THIS POLICY

Students who are found to have violated Civil Rights Policy will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including expulsion or dismissal in accordance (i) with the provisions of any applicable Honor Code or other comparable policy; and (ii) with the additional provisions set forth in this Policy.

Employees who are found to have violated this Policy will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination in accordance (i) with any applicable policies or procedures governing disciplinary action against faculty and staff and; (ii) with the additional provisions set forth in this Policy, to the extent these additional provisions are applicable.

Guests and other third parties who are found to have violated this Policy will be subject to corrective action deemed appropriate by the School, which may include removal from the campus and termination of any applicable contractual or other arrangements.  In instances where the School is unable to take disciplinary action in response to a violation of this Policy because a complainant insists on confidentiality or for some other reason, the School will nonetheless pursue other steps to limit the effects of the conduct at issue and prevent its recurrence.

VI. INVESTIGATING A COMPLAINT

Duty to Investigate
TCS is committed to investigating known or suspected violations of this Policy.  In addition to direct or third-party complaints, some common triggers for an investigation may include: a student filing a police report with local police who alert the School, parents calling an administrator to complain, or an administrator receiving an anonymous voicemail, email, or written message alleging a Civil Rights violation.  TCS’s ability to investigate in a particular situation, or the extent of the investigation in any given situation, may be affected by any number of factors, including whether the complainant is willing to file a complaint or to consent to an investigation, the location where the alleged conduct occurred, and TCS’s access to information relevant to the alleged violation of this Policy.  All parties are expected to fully cooperate with the Civil Rights Coordinator and/or the investigation.

Discrimination or Harassment Involving Bodily Harm
In the event that the Civil Rights Coordinator has received a report of harassment involving bodily harm, the Civil Rights Coordinator must determine, consistent with state or local law, whether appropriate law enforcement or other authorities should be notified.  The victim of harassment also may choose to file a criminal complaint against the respondent. Any pending criminal investigation or criminal proceeding may have some impact on the timing of the School’s investigation, but the School will commence its own investigation as soon as is practicable under the circumstances. TCS reserves the right to commence and/or complete its own investigation prior to the completion of any criminal investigation or criminal proceeding.

Investigations
The Civil Rights Coordinator may investigate the claims or select a person(s) to investigate the claims.  The designated investigator (“Investigator”) is primarily responsible for investigating or coordinating the investigation of reports and complaints of violations of the Policy.  Attorneys for the parties will not be allowed to participate in the investigation. The Investigator shall:

  • Conduct a fact-finding inquiry or investigation into the complaint, including appropriate interviews and meetings with witnesses named by both the complainant and respondent.

  • Inform the witnesses and other involved individuals of the confidentiality requirements and the prohibition against retaliation.

  • Create, gather and maintain investigative documentation, as appropriate.

  • Disclose appropriate information to others only on a need to know basis, consistent with state and federal law, and provide a data privacy notice in accordance with state law.

  • Handle all data in accordance with applicable federal and state privacy laws.

  • Apply a preponderance of evidence standard to determine whether there has been a violation of this Policy.

The investigation will be completed within sixty (60) days of the filing of a complaint or from the report of the suspected violation of this Policy, unless the School determines in its discretion that more time is required to initiate and complete the investigation. As part of the investigation, the Investigator will seek to interview the complainant and the respondent.

To help ensure a prompt and thorough investigation, complainants are encouraged to provide as much of the following information as possible:

  • The name, department, and position of the person or persons allegedly causing discrimination, harassment or retaliation.

  • A description of any relevant incident(s), including the date(s), location(s), and the presence and identities/names of any witnesses.

  • The alleged effect of the incident(s) on the complainant’s academic standing, educational benefits or opportunities, position of employment, salary, employee benefits, promotional opportunities, or other terms or conditions of employment.

  • The names of other students or employees who the complainant knows to have been subject to the same or similar Sexual Misconduct, or retaliation.

  • Any steps the complainant has taken to try to stop the Sexual Misconduct or retaliation.

  • Any other information the complainant believes to be relevant to the alleged Sexual Misconduct or retaliation.

The respondent is also encouraged to provide as much of the above information as possible that relates to or may be applicable to the respondent in connection with the investigation as well as any other additional information, including:

  • Any information or documentation providing support for any defense or counterclaim.

  • The identity or name of any witnesses who can testify on the respondent’s behalf or who can contradict the complainant’s allegations.

  • The identity or name of any witnesses who can testify as to the complainants’ competence, including whether or not the complainant was under the influence of any drugs or alcohol.

  • Any other information the respondent believes to be relevant to the allegations, defenses or counterclaims.

Mediation
Allegations of Sexual Assault or any type of violence may not be resolved using mediation or any other an informal resolution process that involves direct contact between the parties.  However, some allegations of nonviolent discrimination or harassment may be resolved using an informal resolution process overseen by the Civil Rights Coordinator or his or her designee, in conjunction with the Investigator, if (i) the School determines, in its discretion, that such a process would be appropriate; and (ii) both the complainant and respondent agree to participate. The parties to any such informal process will not be required to deal directly with one another.  Instead, one or more representatives, selected by the School, may arrange for or facilitate informal resolution measures between the parties. The parties must be notified of the right to end the informal process at any time during the complaint process.

With advanced approval of the Civil Rights Coordinator, each party may be entitled to one non-attorney advisor (“Advisor”) or support person who may attend the mediation or other informal resolution process.

Investigation Report
After the investigation has been completed, the Investigator shall:

Prepare an investigation report.  Generally, an investigation results in a written report that at a minimum includes (i) statement of the allegations and issues (ii) the position of the parties, (iii) a summary of evidence, findings of fact, and (iv) a determination by the Investigator whether the Policy has been violated.  The Investigator may recommend:

  1. That no disciplinary action be taken if no violation of this Policy has occurred.

  2. That the Title IX Coordinator conducts or coordinates education/training.

  3. Separation of the parties, changes in workplace assignments, enrollment in a different course or program, or any other rehabilitative or corrective action deemed appropriate.

  4. Discipline or corrective measures, up to and including expulsion, termination of employment, termination of relationship with the School or other disciplinary action deemed appropriate.

Any other recommendations deemed appropriate to resolve the complaint in a fair and just manner.

  • Take any follow-up or additional investigative measures as determined by the Civil Rights Coordinator.

  • Be responsible for coordinating responses to requests for information contained in an investigation report in accordance with the privacy laws and other applicable law including but not limited to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

VII. POST INVESTIGATION

After receiving the report prepared by the Investigator, the Civil Rights Coordinator shall make the final determination as to whether a violation of this Policy has occurred, and what disciplinary actions or corrective measures, if any, should be taken. The Civil Rights Coordinator may take the following actions:

  • Determine there has been no violation(s) under the Policy or that there is insufficient evidence to conclude that there has been a violation under the Policy.

  • Determine that a violation has occurred; determine the appropriate discipline or corrective measure; and provide the respondent an opportunity to accept the findings of fact and discipline or corrective measure.

  • Take other measures deemed necessary to determine whether a violation of the Policy has been established by a preponderance of the evidence; additional steps may include a request that the Investigator conduct further inquiries.

  • Notify the complainant and the respondent of the outcome as appropriate, in accordance with applicable privacy laws.

 

XII. RIGHT TO APPEAL

Once written notification of the resolution has been provided, either the complainant or the respondent will have the opportunity to appeal the outcome, including the issue of whether there is a Policy violation and any discipline or corrective measure imposed.  Any appeal must be submitted in writing to the Title IX Coordinator within ten (10) calendar days of being notified of the outcome of the investigation or hearing and must set forth the grounds upon which the appeal is based.

The only grounds for appeal are as follows:

  • a procedural error that significantly impacted the outcome

  • to consider new evidence unavailable during the original investigation, or the sanctions imposed are substantially disproportionate to the severity of the violation.

Appeals will be resolved in accordance with any applicable procedures found in this Policy or other applicable procedure regarding discipline or corrective measures actions taken against employees or students.

The Civil Rights Coordinator will refer the appeal to the Executive Director or other designated School official who shall resolve the appeal. Both parties will be informed in writing of the outcome of any appeal within fourteen (14) days of the date by which all requested information is received, unless the School determines that additional time is required.  The appeal decision is final.

VIII. PROHIBITION AGAINST RETALIATION

Retaliation exists when action is taken against a complainant or participant in the complaint process that (i) adversely affects the individual’s employment or academic status; and (ii) is motivated in whole or in part by the individual’s participation in the complaint process.

No individual who makes a complaint alleging a violation of this Policy or who participates in the investigation or resolution of such a complaint shall be subject to retaliation as a result of such activity or participation.  Any acts of retaliation, as defined in this Policy, shall be grounds for discipline or corrective measures, up to and including expulsion, termination of employment or termination of relationship with the School.

IX. PRIVACY

The School shall protect the privacy of individuals involved in a report of discrimination or harassment to the extent permitted by law and School Policy.  A report of discrimination or harassment may result in the gathering of extremely sensitive information about individuals in the School community. While such information is considered confidential, School policy regarding access to public records and disclosure of personal information may require disclosure of certain information concerning a report of discrimination or harassment.  In such cases, efforts shall be made to redact the records in order to protect the privacy of individuals. An individual who has made a report of discrimination or harassment may be advised of discipline or corrective measures imposed against the respondent when the individual needs to be aware of the discipline or corrective measures in order for it to be fully effective (such as restrictions on communication or contact with the individual who made the report).

In addition, when the offense involves a crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense, FERPA permits disclosure to the complainant the final results of a disciplinary proceeding against the respondent, regardless of whether the School concluded that a violation was committed.  Information regarding discipline or corrective measures taken against the respondent shall not be disclosed without the respondent’s consent, unless permitted by law as noted above, or unless it is necessary to ensure compliance with the action or the safety of individuals.

 

X. RETENTION OF RECORDS

The Civil Rights Coordinator is responsible for maintaining records relating to Discrimination or harassment, investigations, and resolutions. Records shall be maintained in accordance with School records policies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Trillium Charter School does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, religion, disability, or age in its programs or activities, and provides equal access to designated youth groups such as Boy Scouts. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding discrimination:
Isaiah Jackson, they/them
Head of Student Support
(503) 285-3833
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