Bullying, Harassment and Discrimination

 

Bullying

The School District of Philadelphia recognizes the negative impact that bullying has on student health, welfare, and safety and on the learning environment at school. The District also recognizes that bullying creates an atmosphere of fear and intimidation, and detracts from a safe environment.

 

The District defines bullying as an intentional electronic, written, verbal, nonverbal, psychological or physical act or series of acts directed at another student or students, which occurs in and/or outside a school setting, that is severe, persistent, or pervasive and has the effect of doing any of the following:

1.     Substantially interfering with a student’s education

2.     Creating a threatening school environment

3.     Substantially disrupting the orderly operation of the school

 

Bullying is further characterized by the following three (3) criteria:

1.     It is aggressive behavior or intentional harm doing

2.     It is carried out repeatedly over time

3.     It occurs between people where there is an imbalance of power (I.e., physical strength, mental capacity, popularity, or social skills)

 

Harassment

It is the School District of Philadelphia’s policy to maintain an educational environment in which harassment including sexual harassment, sexual assault and sexual violence in any form is not tolerated.

The School District of Philadelphia defines harassment as verbal, nonverbal, written, graphic or physical conduct relating to an individual’s known or perceived race, color, ethnicity, age, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, ancestry, national origin, marital status, pregnancy, English language proficiency, veteran status, disability, or other protected classification.

 

Harassment includes unwelcome conduct such as graphic, written, electronic, verbal, or nonverbal acts including offensive jokes, slurs, epithets, and name-calling; ridicule or mockery; insults or put-downs; offensive objects or pictures; physical assaults or threats; intimidation; sexual misconduct; or other conduct that may be harmful or humiliating or interfere with a person’s school or school-related performance when:

1.     Such conduct is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive and;

2.     A reasonable person in the complainant’s position would find that it creates an intimidating, threatening, or abusive educational environment such that it deprives or adversely interferes with or limits an individual or group of the ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or opportunities offered by a school.

 

Harassment does not have to include the intent to harm, be directed at a specific target, or involve repeated incidents.

Discrimination

Discrimination: To treat individuals differently based on a protected classification including race, color, ethnicity, age, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, ancestry, national origin, marital status, pregnancy, English language proficiency, veteran status, disability, or other protected classification.  A single incident of discrimination may implicate more than one protected class.

 

The School District of Philadelphia does not discriminate in employment, education programs, or activities based on race, creed, color, national origin, religion, ancestry, age, marital status, sexual orientation (known or perceived), gender identity, expression (known or perceived), sex, handicap, disability, nationality, citizenship, union membership, or limited English proficiency.

 

The School District’s policy of non-discrimination extends to all other legally protected classifications as listed below:

 

Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended (ADA), is a federal law prohibiting discrimination against individuals with disabilities and, together with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504), ensures to deaf and hard-of-hearing students, parents, staff, and community members the right of equal access to services and accommodations provided by the School District of Philadelphia through enhanced communications.

 

Parents/Guardians and Authorized Visitors

Board Policy 904 states that a disabled parent/guardian or authorized visitor to a school event that requires a reasonable accommodation to assist in his/her attendance/participation in the event should contact the event administrative organizer at least three (3) business days in advance of the scheduled event or three (3) days following receipt of notice of the event, whichever accomplishes the earliest notice to the school district.

Requests should be made as early as possible because some accommodations require additional time to prepare/arrange.

 

Title IX

Title IX is a federal law that prohibits sex and gender-based discrimination. In line with federal regulations (Title IX), the district defines Title IX sexual harassment as any instance of quid pro quo harassment by a school’s employee; any unwelcome conduct that a reasonable person would find so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it denies a person equal educational access; any instance of sexual assault (as defined in the Clery Act), dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking (as defined in the Violence Against Women Act).

 

Examples of potential Title IX Sexual Harassment violations are:

1.     Bullying or Harassment based on sex or gender identity or expression

2.     Bullying or Harassment based on Pregnant or Parenting status

3.     Bullying or harassment in the form of:

a.     Comments, threats, gestures, or rumors of a sexual nature

b.     Sharing/showing images/videos of a sexual nature

c.     Non-consensual sex acts and sexual violence

 

Such conduct must have taken place during a district education program or activity and against a person in the United States to qualify as sexual harassment subject to Title IX regulations.

 

*NOTE: Not all unwelcome sexual conduct meets the definition of Title IX sexual harassment. Conduct that does not meet this definition might be considered harassment as defined in the Behavior Matrix of the Code of Conduct.

 

If there are concerns or questions related to Title IX, please contact:

 

Inquiries related to students:                                                  Inquiries related to employees:

Compliance Officer/Title IX Coordinator                                Title IX Co-Coordinator

Andrea Prince                                                                                  Michelle Chapman

440 N. Broad Street, Phila, PA 19130                                   400 N. Broad Street, Phila, PA 19130 antiharassment@philasd.org                                                            employeerelations@philasd.org

 

 

Reporting

Any school community member can report bullying, harassment and/or discrimination and all reports will be investigated. There are numerous ways to make a report:

·       Completing the online Bullying Harassment and Discrimination reporting form

·       Calling the Bullying, Harassment and Discrimination hotline at 215-400-SAFE.

·       Submitting a complaint via Safe2Say or by phone at 1-844-SAF2SAY (723-2729)

·       Emailing the Compliance Officer/Title IX Coordinator directly at antiharassment@philasd.org

·      Reporting the incident to the building principal or designee, or to any other member of the school staff, including teachers, guidance counselors, bilingual counseling assistants (BCAs), coaches, and administrators.