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ACAB - Sexual Harassment

Policy ACAB

Adopted: October 21, 2010
Amended: N/A

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The School Committee expects persons associated with the Hopkinton Public Schools, including, but not limited to, School Committee members, administration, staff, students, volunteers, and firms or individuals who are contracted to perform work for the Hopkinton Public Schools, to refrain from action or speech that meets the definition of sexual harassment.

The definition of sexual harassment includes, but is not limited to, unwelcome sexual advances; requests for sexual favors; or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature where one or more of these factors are present:

  • Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of a person’s employment, promotion, evaluation, or educational development (quid pro quo).

  • Submission to or rejections of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment or education decisions affecting such individual.

  • Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or educational performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or educational environment.

  • In addition to the above, other sexually oriented conduct, whether it is intended or not, that is unwelcome and has the effect of creating an environment that is hostile, offensive, intimidating, or humiliating to either males or females may also constitute sexual harassment.

Sexually harassing conduct directed at either a male or female may include, but is not limited to:

  • Sexual advances – whether or not the advances involve physical touching;

  • Pressuring another person for sexual activities such as writing suggestive notes after being told they are unwelcome;

  • Touching or brushing against another person’s body in a way that is unwelcome or repeated;

  • Commenting, discussing, or inquiring orally or in writing into an individual's sexual activity, deficiencies, or prowess;

  • Continually asking a person to socialize after work when that person has verbally indicated no interest in such activities;

  • Leering or suggestively whistling at another person;

  • Making suggestive or insulting comments about a person’s body, gender, or sexuality;

  • Using lewd and offensive language or telling lewd and offensive jokes;

  • Making sexual gestures;

  • Causing another person to view pornography or any sexually suggestive or explicit objects, pictures, videos, graphics, or cartoons.

Sexual harassment between co‐workers may also occur outside the workplace. The Massachusetts Commission against Discrimination considers the following to determine if workplace sexual harassment has occurred:

  • Whether the event at which the conduct occurred is linked to the workplace in any way, such as at an employer‐sponsored function;

  • Whether the conduct occurred during work hours;

  • The severity of the alleged outside‐of‐work conduct;

  • The work relationship of the complainant and alleged harasser, which includes whether the alleged harasser is a supervisor and whether the alleged harasser and complainant come into contact with one another on the job;

  • Whether the conduct adversely affected the terms and conditions of the complainant's employment or

  • Impacted the complainant's work environment.

Any retaliation against an individual who has complained about sexual harassment or retaliation against individuals for cooperating in an investigation of a sexual harassment complaint is illegal. Such behavior, when verified, will lead to disciplinary consequences.

Each employee of the Hopkinton Public Schools has the affirmative responsibility to create an environment free of sexual harassment and to report any explicit or probable sexual harassment following the district’s reporting procedures. (ACAB – R1)

Once the principal is made aware of the situation that may constitute sexual harassment, he or she must take the following actions:

  • Immediately report any suspected or reported sexual harassment of or by students to the district Civil Rights Administrator and of or by adults to the Director of Human Resources.

  • Notify parents of targets and parents of any student who has alleged to be harassing as soon as viable information is known. Information will be provided in a manner consistent with state and federal student records laws and regulations.

  • The principal or his/her designee, upon receipt of a viable report, shall promptly contact the parents or guardians of a student who has been the alleged target or alleged harasser as soon as possible. Information will be provided in a manner consistent with state and federal student records laws and regulations.

  • Protect the target from further harassment or retaliation.

  • Protect the alleged harasser from retaliation.

  • Explain to the target and any witnesses that while they are protected against retaliation, confidences may not be maintained in reporting the matter to the Civil Rights Administrator and/or Director of Human Resources, or in some cases of student harassment, to the Department of Children and Families (DCF) or law enforcement agencies.

  • Make a clear statement to the alleged harasser about the nature of the allegations.

  • Explain to the witnesses and the alleged harasser that substantiated retaliatory activity will result in disciplinary action.

  • Initiate an immediate, thorough, and fair investigation in accordance with due process procedures, school policy and state and federal law.

  • Document and date all conversations and investigatory activity.

  • Verify the accuracy of interview notes with the interviewee before the conclusion of the interview.

  • Carry out all investigatory activity and produce a final report as quickly as possible.

  • Offer counseling services available in the school to any student targets and the alleged harasser, as appropriate.

In situations that could potentially lead to legal action or job loss, the Civil Rights Administrator and/or Director of Human Resources will continue the investigation begun by the principal. When reports of sexual harassment are substantiated, the district will act promptly to protect the person who has been harassed, eliminate the conduct, and carry out corrective action, which may include disciplinary action, including, for employees, dismissal from the Hopkinton Public Schools. In appropriate circumstances, law enforcement agencies may be notified.

The Superintendent will ensure that the staff receives annual training on this policy and the laws about discrimination and sexual harassment.

Principals will ensure that all students, to the extent possible at their developmental stage, will receive annual education about harassment as part of the overall anti‐bullying work at each school.

1 See the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination website  

Legal References:

Title VII, Section 703, Civil Rights Act of 1964 as amended 45
Federal Regulation 74676 issued by EEO Commission Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. 1681 et seq. (Title IX)
M.G.L. Chapter 151B, Sections 4(1) and 4(16A) Massachusetts Board of Education 603 CMR 26:00 Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination at:

Cross References:

AC – Non‐Discrimination
JICFB ‐ Bullying

Procedure Reference:


School Committee Policies