2266 - NONDISCRIMINATION ON THE BASIS OF SEX IN EDUCATION PROGRAMS OR ACTIVITIES
The Governing Board of the Educational Service Center of Central Ohio (hereinafter referred to as “the Board” or “the Center”) does not discriminate on the basis of sex (including sexual orientation or gender identity), in its education programs or activities, and is required by Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, and its implementing regulations, not to discriminate in such a manner. The requirement not to discriminate in its education program or activity extends to admission and employment. The Board is committed to maintaining an education and work environment that is free from discrimination based on sex, including sexual harassment.
The Board prohibits Sexual Harassment that occurs within its education programs and activities. When the Center has actual knowledge of Sexual Harassment in its education program or activity against a person in the United States, it shall promptly respond in a manner that is not deliberately indifferent.
Pursuant to its Title IX obligations, the Board is committed to eliminating Sexual Harassment and will take appropriate action when an individual is determined responsible for violating this policy. Board employees, students, third-party vendors and contractors, guests, and other members of the School Center community who commit Sexual Harassment are subject to the full range of disciplinary sanctions set forth in this policy. The Board will provide persons who have experienced Sexual Harassment ongoing remedies as reasonably necessary to restore or preserve access to the Center’s education programs and activities.
This policy applies to Sexual Harassment that occurs within the Center’s education programs and activities and that is committed by a member of the School Center community or a Third Party.
This policy does not apply to Sexual Harassment that occurs off school grounds, in a private setting, and outside the scope of the Center’s education programs and activities; such Sexual Misconduct/Sexual Activity may be prohibited by the Student Code of Conduct if committed by a student, or by Board policies and administrative guidelines, applicable State and/or Federal laws and/or Employee Handbook(s) if committed by a Board employee.
Consistent with the U.S. Department of Education’s implementing regulations for Title IX, this policy does not apply to Sexual Harassment that occurs outside the geographic boundaries of the United States, even if the Sexual Harassment occurs in the Center’s education programs or activities. Sexual Harassment that occurs outside the geographic boundaries of the United States is governed by the Student Code of Conduct if committed by a student, or by Board policies and administrative guidelines, applicable State and/or Federal laws and/or Employee Handbook(s) if committed by a Board employee.
Words used in this policy shall have those meanings defined herein; words not defined herein shall be construed according to their plain and ordinary meanings.
Sexual Harassment: “Sexual Harassment” means conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following:
- A Board employee conditioning the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of the Center on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct (often called “quid pro quo” harassment);
- Unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the Center’s education program or activity; or
- “Sexual assault” as defined in 20 U.S.C. 1092(f)(6)A(v), or “dating violence” as defined in 34 U.S.C. 12291(a)(10), “domestic violence” as defined in 34 U.S.C. 12291(a)(8), or “stalking” as defined in 34 U.S.C. 12291(a)(30).
“Sexual assault” means any sexual act directed against another person, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent. Sexual assault includes rape, sodomy, sexual assault with an object, fondling, incest, and statutory rape.
- Rape is penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of age or because of temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity. Attempted rape is included.
Rape is the carnal knowledge of a person (i.e., penetration, no matter how slight, of the genita or anal opening of a person), without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of age or because of temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.
- Sodomy is oral or anal sexual intercourse with another person, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of age or because of temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.
- Sexual Assault with an Object is using an object or instrument to unlawfully penetrate, however slightly, the genital or anal opening of the body of another person, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of age or because of temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity. An “object” or “instrument” is anything used by the offender other than the offender’s genitalia.
- Fondling is the touching of the private body parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of age or because of temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.
- Incest is sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by State law.
- Statutory Rape is sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent as defined by State law.
- Consent refers to words or actions that a reasonable person would understand as agreement to engage in the sexual conduct at issue. A person may be incapable of giving consent because of age or because of temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity. A person who is incapacitated is not capable of giving consent.
- Incapacitated refers to the state where a person does not understand and/or appreciate the nature or fact of sexual activity due to the effect of drugs or alcohol consumption, medical condition, disability, or due to a state of unconsciousness or sleep.
- “Domestic violence” includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by:
- a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim;
- a person with whom the victim shares a child in common;
- a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner;
- a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the crime occurred; or
- any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the crime occurred.
- “Dating violence” means violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim. The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on consideration of the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.
- “Stalking” means engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to – (1) fear for the person’s safety or the safety of others; or (2) suffer substantial emotional distress.
Complainant: “Complainant” means an individual who is alleged to be the victim of conduct that could constitute Sexual Harassment.
Respondent: “Respondent” means an individual who has been reported to be the perpetrator of conduct that could constitute Sexual Harassment.
Formal Complaint: “Formal Complaint” means a document filed by a Complainant or signed by the Title IX Coordinator alleging Sexual Harassment against a Respondent and requesting that the Center investigate the allegation(s) of Sexual Harassment. At the time of filing a Formal Complaint with the Center, a Complainant must be participating in or attempting to participate in the Center’s education program or activity. A “document filed by a complainant’’ means a document or electronic submission (such as by electronic mail or through an online portal that the Board provides for this purpose) that contains the Complainant’s physical or digital signature, or otherwise indicates that the Complainant is the person filing the Formal Complaint. Where the Title IX Coordinator signs a Formal Complaint, the Title IX Coordinator is not a Complainant or a party to the Formal Complaint and must not have a conflict of interest or bias for or against complainants or respondents generally or an individual complainant or respondent.
Actual Knowledge: “Actual knowledge” means notice of Sexual Harassment or allegations of Sexual Harassment to the Center’s Title IX Coordinator, or any Center official who has authority to institute corrective measures on behalf of the Board, or any Board employee. The mere ability or obligation to report Sexual Harassment or to inform a student about how to report Sexual Harassment, or having been trained to do so, does not qualify an individual as one who has authority to institute corrective measures on behalf of the Center. “Notice” includes, but is not limited to, a report of Sexual Harassment to the Title IX Coordinator. This standard is not met when the only Center official with actual knowledge is the Respondent.
Supportive Measures: “Supportive measures” means non-disciplinary, non-punitive individualized services offered as appropriate, as reasonably available, and without fee or charge to the Complainant or the Respondent before or after the filing of a Formal Complaint or where no Formal Complaint has been filed. Such measures are designed to restore or preserve equal access to the Center’s education program or activity without unreasonably burdening the other party, including measures designed to protect the safety of all parties or the Center’s educational environment, or deter Sexual Harassment. Supportive measures may include counseling, extensions of deadlines or other course-related adjustments, modifications of work or class schedules, school/campus escort services, mutual restrictions of contact between the parties, changes in work locations), leaves of absence, increased security and monitoring of certain areas of the campus (including school buildings and facilities), referral to Employee Assistance Program, and other similar measures.
Education Program or Activity: “Education program or activity” refers to all operations of the Center, including but not limited to in-person and online educational instruction, employment, extracurricular activities, athletics, performances, and community engagement and outreach programs. The term applies to all activity that occurs on school grounds or on other property owned or occupied by the Board. It also includes locations, events and circumstances that take place off-school property/grounds over which the Board exercises substantial control over both the Respondent and the context in which the Sexual Harassment occurs.
School Center community: “School Center community” refers to students and Board employees (i.e., administrators, and professional and classified staff), as well as Board members, agents, volunteers, contractors, or other persons subject to the control and supervision of the Board.
Third Parties: “Third Parties” include, but are not limited to, guests and/or visitors on School Center property (e.g., visiting speakers, participants on opposing athletic teams, parents), vendors doing business with, or seeking to do business with the Board, and other individuals who come in contact with members of the School Center community at school-related events/activities (whether on or off Center property).
Inculpatory Evidence: “Inculpatory evidence” is evidence that tends to establish a Respondent’s responsibility for alleged Sexual Harassment.
Exculpatory Evidence: “Exculpatory evidence” is evidence that tends to clear or excuse a Respondent from allegations of Sexual Harassment.
Day(s): Unless expressly stated otherwise, the term “day” or “days” as used in this policy means business day(s) (i.e., a day(s) that the Board office is open for normal operating hours, Monday – Friday, excluding State-recognized holidays),
Eligible Student: “Eligible Student” means a student who has reached eighteen (18) years of age or is attending an institution of postsecondary education.
Title IX Coordinator(s)
The Governing Board of the Educational Service Center of Central Ohio does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its education program or activity, and is required by Title IX and its implementing regulations not to discriminate in such a manner. The requirement not to discriminate in its education program or activity extends to admission and employment. The Board designates and authorizes the following individual(s) to oversee and coordinate its efforts to comply with Title IX and its implementing regulations:
Regional School Improvement Coordinator for Diversity & Equity
2080 Citygate Drive, Columbus, Ohio 43219
Director of Human Resources
2080 Citygate Drive, Columbus, Ohio 43219
The Title IX Coordinator shall report directly to the Superintendent. Questions about this policy should be directed to the Title IX Coordinators.
The Superintendent shall notify applicants for admission and employment, students, parents or legal guardians of elementary and secondary school students, Board employees, and all unions or professional organizations holding collective bargaining or professional agreements with the Board of the following information:
Any inquiries about the application of Title IX and its implementing regulations to the Center may be referred to the Title IX Coordinator(s), the Assistant Secretary for the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, or both.
The Board has adopted a grievance process and procedures that provide for the prompt and equitable resolution of student and employee complaints alleging any action that is prohibited by Title IX and/or its implementing regulations. The grievance process and procedures are included in Policy 2266 – Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Sex in Education Programs or Activities, which is available at: https://go.boarddocs.com/oh/escco/Board.nsf/Public. The grievance process and procedures specifically address how to report or file a complaint of sex discrimination, how to report or file a formal complaint of Sexual Harassment, and how the Center will respond.
The Superintendent shall also prominently display the Title IX Coordinator’s(s’) contact information – including name(s) and/or title(s), phone number(s), office address(es), and e-mail address(es) – and this policy on the Center’s website and in each handbook or catalog that the Board makes available to applicants for admission and employment, students, parents or legal guardians of elementary and secondary school students, Board employees, and all unions or professional organizations holding collective bargaining or professional agreements.
Grievance Process and Procedures
The Board is committed to promptly and equitably resolving student and employee complaints alleging Sexual Harassment. The Center’s response to allegations of Sexual Harassment will treat Complainants and Respondents equitably, including providing supportive measures to the Complainant and Respondent, as appropriate, and following this Grievance Process before imposition of any disciplinary sanctions or other actions, other than supportive measures, against the Respondent.
The Title IX Coordinator(s), along with any investigator(s), decision-maker(s), or any person(s) designated to facilitate an informal resolution process, shall not have a conflict of interest or bias for or against complainants or respondents generally or an individual complainant or respondent.
If a determination of responsibility for Sexual Harassment is made against the Respondent, the Board will provide remedies to the Complainant. The remedies will be designed to restore or preserve equal access to the Center’s education program or activity. Potential remedies include, but are not limited to, individualized services that constitute supportive measures. Remedies may also be disciplinary or punitive in nature and may burden the Respondent.
Report of Sexual Discrimination/Harassment
Any person may report sex discrimination, including Sexual Harassment (whether or not the person reporting is the person alleged to be the victim of conduct that could constitute sex discrimination or Sexual Harassment), in person, by mail, by telephone, or by electronic mail, using the Title IX Coordinator’s(s’) contact information listed above, or by any other means that results in the Title IX Coordinator receiving the person’s oral or written report. Reports may be made at any time (including during non-business hours), by using the telephone number(s) or electronic mail address(es), or by mail to the office address(es), listed for the Title IX Coordinator(s).
Students, Board members, and Board employees are required, and other members of the School Center community, and Third Parties) are encouraged, to report allegations of sex discrimination or Sexual Harassment promptly to the/a Title IX Coordinator or to any Board employee, who will in turn notify the/a Title IX Coordinator.
Reports can be made orally or in writing and should be as specific as possible. The person making the report should, to the extent known, identify the alleged victim(s), perpetrator(s), and witness(es), and describe in detail what occurred, including date(s), time(s), and location(s).
If a report involves allegations of Sexual Harassment by or involving the Title IX Coordinator, the person making the report should submit it to the Superintendent, or another Board employee who, in turn, will notify the Superintendent of the report. The Superintendent or the other Title IX Coordinator will then serve in place of the Title IX Coordinator for purposes of addressing that report of Sexual Harassment.
The Board does business with various vendors, contractors, and other third-parties who are not students or employees of the Board. Notwithstanding any rights that a given vendor, contractor, or third-party Respondent may have under this policy, the Board retains the right to limit any vendor’s, contractor’s, or third-party’s access to school grounds for any reason. The Board further retains all rights it enjoys by contract or law to terminate its relationship with any vendor, contractor, or third-party irrespective of any process or outcome under this policy.
A person may file criminal charges simultaneously with filing a Formal Complaint. A person does not need to wait until the Title IX investigation is completed before filing a criminal complaint. Likewise, questions or complaints relating to Title IX may be filed with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights at any time.
Any allegations of Sexual Misconduct/Sexual Activity not involving Sexual Harassment will be addressed through the procedures outlined in Board policies and/or administrative guidelines, the applicable Student Code of Conduct, applicable collective bargaining agreement, and/or Employee/Administrator Handbook.
Because the Board is considered to have actual knowledge of Sexual Harassment or allegations of Sexual Harassment if any Board employee has such knowledge, and because the Board must take specific actions when it has notice of Sexual Harassment or allegations of Sexual Harassment, a Board employee who has independent knowledge of or receives a report involving allegations of sex discrimination and/or Sexual Harassment must notify a Title IX Coordinator within two (2) days of learning the information or receiving the report. The Board employee must also comply with mandatory reporting responsibilities pursuant to R.C. 2151.412 and Policy 8462 – Student Abuse and Neglect, if applicable. If the Board employee’s knowledge is based on another individual bringing the information to the Board employee’s attention and the reporting individual submitted a written complaint to the Board employee, the Board employee must provide the written complaint to the Title IX Coordinator.
If a Board employee fails to report an incident of Sexual Harassment of which the Board employee is aware, the Board employee may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
When a report of Sexual Harassment is made, the Title IX Coordinator shall promptly (i.e., within two (2) days of the Title IX Coordinator’s receipt of the report of Sexual Harassment) contact the Complainant (including the parent/guardian if the Complainant is under 18 years of age or under guardianship) to discuss the availability of supportive measures, consider the Complainant’s wishes with respect to supportive measures, inform the Complainant of the availability of supportive measures with or without the filing of a Formal Complaint, and explain to the Complainant the process for filing a Formal Complaint. The Title IX Coordinator is responsible for coordinating the effective implementation of supportive measures. Any supportive measures provided to the Complainant or Respondent shall be maintained as confidential, to the extent that maintaining such confidentiality will not impair the ability of the Center to provide the supportive measures.
Emergency Removal: Subject to limitations and/or procedures imposed by State and/or Federal law, the Center may remove a student Respondent from its education program or activity on an emergency basis after conducting an individualized safety and risk analysis. The purposes of the individualized safety and risk analysis is to determine whether the student Respondent poses an immediate threat to the physical health or safety of any student or other individual arising from the allegations of Sexual Harassment that justifies removal. If the Center determines the student Respondent poses such a threat, it will so notify the student Respondent and the student Respondent will have an opportunity to challenge the decision immediately following the removal. See Policy 5610 – Removal, Suspension, Expulsion, and Permanent Exclusion of Student, Policy 5610.03 – Emergency Removal of Students, and Policy 5611 – Due Process Rights.
If the Respondent is a non-student employee, the Center may place the Respondent on administrative leave during the pendency of the grievance process.
For all other Respondents, including other members of the School Center community and Third Parties, the Board retains broad discretion to prohibit such persons from entering onto its school grounds and other properties at any time and for any reason, whether after receiving a report of Sexual Harassment or otherwise.
Formal Complaint of Sexual Harassment
A Formal Complaint may be filed with the Title IX Coordinator in person, by mail, or by electronic mail, by using the contact information set forth above. If a Formal Complaint involves allegations of Sexual Harassment by or involving the Title IX Coordinator, the Complainant should submit the Formal Complaint to the Superintendent or the other Title IX Coordinator, who will designate another person to serve in place of the Title IX Coordinator for the limited purpose of implementing the grievance process and procedures with respect to that Formal Complaint.
When the Title IX Coordinator receives a Formal Complaint or signs a Formal Complaint, the Center will follow its Grievance Process and Procedures, as set forth herein. Specifically, the Center will undertake an objective evaluation of all relevant evidence – including both inculpatory and exculpatory evidence – and provide that credibility determinations will not be based on a person’s status as a Complainant, Respondent, or witness.
It is a violation of this policy for a Complainant(s), Respondent(s), and/or witness(es) to knowingly making false statements or knowingly submitting false information during the grievance process, including intentionally making a false report of Sexual Harassment or submitting a false Formal Complaint. The Board will not tolerate such conduct. A violation of this Policy is grounds for severe disciplinary or remedial measures.
The Respondent is presumed not responsible for the alleged conduct until a determination regarding responsibility is made at the conclusion of the grievance process.
The Center will seek to conclude the grievance process, including resolving any appeals, within sixty (60) days of receipt of the Formal Complaint.
If the Title IX Coordinator offers informal resolution processes, the informal resolution processes may not be used by the Complainant or Respondent to unduly delay the investigation and determination of responsibility. The timeline, however, may be subject to a temporary delay of the grievance process or a limited extension for good cause with written notice to the Complainant and the Respondent of the delay or extension and the reasons for the action. Good cause may include considerations such as the absence of a party, a party’s advisor, or a witness; concurrent law enforcement activity; and the need for language assistance or accommodation of disabilities. The Title IX Coordinator will provide the parties with reasonable updates on the status of the grievance process.
Upon receipt of a Formal Complaint, the Title IX Coordinator will promptly, but no later than within two (2) days, provide written notice of the following to the parties who are known:
- Notice of the Board’s grievance process, including any informal resolution processes;
- Notice of the allegations of misconduct that potentially constitutes Sexual Harassment as defined in this policy, including sufficient details known at the time and with sufficient time to prepare a response before any initial interview. Sufficient details include the identities of the parties involved in the incident, if known, the conduct allegedly constituting Sexual Harassment, and the date and location of the alleged incident, if known. The written notice must:
- include a statement that the Respondent is presumed not responsible for the alleged conduct and that a determination regarding responsibility will be made at the conclusion of the grievance process;
- inform the parties that they may have an advisor of their choice, who may be, but is not required to be, an attorney, and may inspect and review evidence.
- inform the parties of any provision in the Student Code of Conduct, this policy, and/or Employee Handbook that prohibits knowingly making false statements or knowingly submitting false information during the grievance process.
If, during the course of the investigation, the investigator becomes aware of allegations about the Complainant or Respondent that are not included in the original notice provided to the parties, the investigator will notify the Title IX Coordinator and the Title IX Coordinator will decide whether the investigator should investigate the additional allegations; if the Title IX Coordinator decides to include the new allegations as part of the investigation, the Title IX Coordinator will provide notice of the additional allegations to the parties whose identities are known.
Dismissal of a Formal Complaint
The Center shall investigate the allegations in a Formal Complaint, unless the conduct alleged in the Formal Complaint:
- would not constitute Sexual Harassment (as defined in this policy) even if proved;
- did not occur in the Center’s education program or activity; or
- did not occur against a person in the United States.
If one of the preceding circumstances exist, the Title IX Coordinator shall dismiss the Formal Complaint. If the Title IX Coordinator dismisses the Formal Complaint due to one of the preceding reasons, the Center may still investigate and take action with respect to such alleged misconduct pursuant to another provision of an applicable code of conduct, Board policy, and/or Employee Handbook.
The Title IX Coordinator may dismiss a Formal Complaint, or any allegations therein, if at any time during the investigation:
- a Complainant notifies the Title IX Coordinator in writing that the Complainant would like to withdraw the Formal Complaint or any allegations therein;
- the Respondent is no longer enrolled in the Center or employed by the Board; or
- specific circumstances prevent the Center from gathering evidence sufficient to reach a determination as to the Formal Complaint or allegations therein.
If the Title IX Coordinator dismisses a Formal Complaint or allegations therein, the Title IX Coordinator must promptly send written notice of the dismissal and the reason(s) therefor simultaneously to the parties.
Consolidation of Formal Complaints
The Title IX Coordinator may consolidate Formal Complaints as to allegations of Sexual Harassment against more than one Respondent, or by more than one Complainant against one or more Respondents, or by one party against the other party, where the allegations of Sexual Harassment arise out of the same facts or circumstances.
Where a grievance process involves more than one Complainant or more than one Respondent, references in this policy to the singular ‘‘party,’’ ‘‘Complainant,’’ or ‘‘Respondent’’ include the plural, as applicable.
Informal Resolution Process
Under no circumstances shall a Complainant be required as a condition of enrollment or continuing enrollment, or employment or continuing employment, or enjoyment of any other right, to waive any right to an investigation and adjudication of a Formal Complaint of Sexual Harassment. Similarly, no party shall be required to participate in an informal resolution process.
If a Formal Complaint is filed, the Title IX Coordinator may offer to the parties an informal resolution process. If the parties mutually agree to participate in the informal resolution process, the Title IX Coordinator shall designate a trained individual to facilitate an informal resolution process, such as mediation, that does not involve a full investigation and adjudication. The informal resolution process may be used at any time prior to the decision-maker(s) reaching a determination regarding responsibility.