Welcome to Lakeland Schools


Adoption Date: 2/15/2007
Bias Harassment of Students
Regulation # 5149R


I. Complaint Officer

The Board of Education shall appoint a Title VI Complaint Officer at its annual reorganization meeting, or as needed during the year.

II. Reporting of Complaints

All complaints of bias harassment or discrimination (including based on race, color, religion, ethnicity or national origin) must be reported to the Title VI Complaint Officer appointed by the Board of Education.

1. A student (or his/her parent/guardian) who believes that s/he has been subjected to bias harassment should immediately consult with any staff member with whom the student (parent/guardian) feels comfortable (e.g., a teacher, guidance counselor, school nurse, building principal, the Superintendent of Schools or the Complaint Officer).

2. Any staff member who is consulted with in accordance with paragraph “1”, above, shall:

A. Provide a copy of the Student Bias Harassment Policy and Regulations to the student or parent/guardian.

B. Promptly report the complaint or inquiry to the Complaint Officer.

C. Maintain complete confidentiality and secrecy that a complaint or inquiry has been made.

D. NOT attempt to influence any further actions on the part of the student, except to tell the student to talk to his/her parents/guardian.

3. Any staff member who becomes aware of a possible incident of bias harassment shall promptly report it to the Complaint Officer.

4. Any staff member who fails to report a possible incident or complaint of bias harassment may be subject to disciplinary action in accordance with law and any collectively negotiated agreement.

III. Investigation of a Complaint

1. Upon receipt of a complaint, the Title VI Complaint Officer shall:

A.  Conduct a preliminary investigation to determine whether to proceed personally or to designate or request a different investigator.

B.   Determine whether or not the complaint can be handled in an informal manner with the Complaint Officer acting as a mediator.

C. Discuss the above actions with the Superintendent, unless the Superintendent is the subject of the complaint, in which case the Complaint Officer should consult with the President of the Board of Education.

D. Report the incident to the police and/or to other appropriate authorities if the behavior constitutes or may constitute a crime.

E. Ensure that any investigation or mediation is conducted within 30 calendar days from receipt of the complaint.

2. If, after consultation, the Complaint Officer determines that a more formal investigation is warranted, any investigation must adhere to the following:

A. During the investigation, the investigator must protect the confidentiality of the complainant, the victim, the accused and all witnesses to the extent practicable. The investigator shall inform all parties of the need for confidentiality.

B.  The investigator must immediately notify the parents/guardian of any child, other than witnesses, that an investigation is taking place, the nature of the complaint and the nature of the child’s involvement.

C. The investigator must conduct a thorough, prompt and impartial investigation.

D. The investigator must seek out relevant documents.

E. The investigator must interview any and all witnesses, including the accused, the victim and the complainant.

F. The investigator must keep accurate documentation and records.

G. The complainant, victim and accused may bring their attorney or union representative (if applicable) to any meetings, and children may also be accompanied by their parents/guardian.

H. The investigator must notify the accused that s/he is the subject of a bias harassment complaint investigation when appropriate.

3. As soon as possible upon completion of any investigation, the investigator shall issue a written factual report containing:

A. A summary report for distribution to the parties and School District officials as needed. This report shall contain:

a. A summary of the complaint and findings.
b. A determination of whether or not the behavior constitutes bias harassment. (The investigator may find that the evidence is inconclusive.)
c. Recommended action, if any.

B. The investigative information shall be sealed and kept on file by the Complaint Officer, including:

a. Copies of all related written documents, including the summary report.
b. Copies of any handwritten notes taken during the investigation and interviews.
c. Any further written details deemed by the investigator to be informative or useful to a better understanding of his/her findings.

4. The following individuals shall be given a copy of the summary report:

A. The victim

B. The complainant (if applicable)

C. The accused

If any of the above individuals is a minor, the summary report shall be sent to their parents/guardian.

5. The Superintendent (or President of the Board of Education, if the Superintendent is the subject of the investigation) shall review the summary report and shall determine whether or not formal disciplinary action is needed. Formal discipline of students or staff shall be in accordance with law, District Policy and any applicable collectively negotiated agreement.

IV. Appeal Procedure

The victim (or his/her parents/guardian if a minor) and/or the accused may appeal the findings and/or recommendations of the investigation, as contained in the summary report.

A. The appeal must be in writing.

B. The appeal must be made within 30 calendar days from the date of receipt of the written results of the investigation.

C. The appeal is made to the Board of Education, who shall review all relevant information within 30 calendar days of the date of the filing of the appeal.

D. The determination of the Board of Education is final insofar as the District Policy is concerned.

V. District Training and Distribution of Policy

A. The Superintendent of Schools shall implement specific and continuing actions to notify students, parents/guardians, employees and prospective students and employees that the District does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, ethnicity or national origin in the educational programs or activities which it operates, as required by Title VI. Such actions may include, but are not limited to:

1. Annual publication in local newspapers and/or School District publications.
2. Announcements in school sponsored publications.
3. Memoranda or other written communications distributed to students and employees.

B. The Superintendent shall provide for student and staff training in accordance with Policy.

C. The Superintendent shall insure that all students, parents/guardians and staff are informed of the name, office address and office telephone numbers of the Title VI Complaint Officer, and that such information is posted conspicuously and updated, as needed.

D. The District Policy on bias harassment of students shall always be distributed with a copy of the applicable regulations.

Bias Harassment Complaint Form