AAC-AP: Nondiscrimination & Anti-Harassment

  • General Prohibitions

    The West Fargo Public School District is committed to maintaining a learning and working environment free from discrimination and harassment in all employment and educational programs, activities, and facilities.  The District prohibits discrimination and harassment based on a learner’s, parent’s, guardian’s, or educator’s race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, ancestry, disability, age, or other status protected by law. The District also provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups, as required by federal law.

    It is a violation of this policy for any district  learner, parent, guardian,  educator, or third party to discriminate against or harass another district learner or educator, based on any status protected by law, if the conduct occurred within the context of an education program or activity, or if the conduct had a continuing effect in the educational setting of a program or activity occurring on or off school district property. The District will not tolerate discrimination or harassment of a district learner or educator by a third party.  The District also prohibits aiding, abetting, inciting, compelling, or coercing discrimination or harassment; discriminating against or harassing any individual affiliated with another who is protected by this policy and/or law; knowingly making a false discrimination and/or harassment report; and retaliation against individuals who report and/or participate in a discrimination and/or harassment investigation, including instances when a complaint is not substantiated.

    The District shall promptly investigate any discrimination, harassment, or retaliation complaint and act on findings as appropriate, or as required by law.  Outcomes may include disciplinary measures such as termination of employment or learner expulsion in accordance with District policy, law, and, when applicable, the negotiated agreement. Learners and educators are expected to fully cooperate in the investigation process. The District will take steps to prevent recurrence of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation and remedy discriminatory effects on the complainant and others, if appropriate.

    Definitions

    • Complainant is the individual filing the complaint.  If the complainant is not the victim of the alleged discrimination and/or harassment, the victim must be afforded the same rights as the complainant under this policy and regulations AAC-AR1 or AAC-AR2.
    • Disability is defined in accordance with NDCC 14-02.4-02 (5).
    • Discrimination means failure to treat an individual equally due to a protected status.
    • Protected status is defined in applicable state (NDCC 14-02.4-02 (6)) and federal laws.
    • Educator is defined in accordance with employee under NDCC 14-02.4-02 (7).
    • Harassment is a specific type of discrimination based on a protected status.  It occurs under the following conditions:
      1. For educators:  When enduring the offensive conduct becomes a condition of continued employment, or the conduct is severe, persistent, and/or pervasive enough to create a work environment that a reasonable individual would consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive.
      2. For learners: When the conduct is sufficiently severe, persistent, and/or pervasive so as to limit the learner’s ability to participate in or benefit from the education program or to create a hostile or abusive education environment.
    • North Dakota Human Rights Act (NDCC Ch. 14-02.4) provides protection from discrimination in the workplace on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, the presence of any mental or physical disability, status with regarding to marriage or public assistance, or participation in lawful activity off the employer’s premises during nonworking hours which is not in direct conflict with the essential business-related interests of the employer.  
    • Section 504 (Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, 29 U.S.C. § 794) is a federal law designed to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities in programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Education.
    • Sexual harassment is a form of harassment based on sex. It is defined under Title IX as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and/or other verbal, written, or physical conduct or communication of a sexual nature, that:
      1. Constitutes quid pro quo harassment, meaning submission to such conduct or communication is made a term or condition, either explicitly or implicitly, of the basis for employment decisions or educational decisions or benefits for learners (e.g., receiving a grade),
      2. Is so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the District’s education program or activity; or,
      3. Constitutes sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking as those offenses are defined in the Clery Act, 20 U.S.C. § 1092(f) and the Violence Against Women Act, 34 U.S.C. § 12291(a).
    • Sexual harassment examples include, but are not limited to, the following:
      1. Sexual or "dirty" jokes,
      2. Sexual advances,
      3. Pressure for sexual favors,
      4. Unwelcome touching, such as patting, pinching, or constant brushing against another's body,
      5. Displaying or distributing of sexually explicit drawings, pictures, and written materials,
      6. Graffiti of a sexual nature,
      7. Sexual gestures,
      8. Touching oneself sexually or talking about one's sexual activity in front of others,
      9. Spreading rumors about or rating other’s sexual activity or performance,
      10. Remarks about an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity; and
      11. Sexual violence, including rape, sexual battery, sexual abuse, and sexual coercion.
    • Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act extends the prohibition on discrimination established by Section 504 to all services, programs, and activities of State and local government entities.
    • Title VI is a federal law that provides protection from discrimination based on race, color, or national origin in employment and employment practices in programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance.
    • Title VII is a federal law that provides protection from discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.  Title VII applies to all public school districts with 15 or more educators.
    • Title IX is a federal law that provides protection from discrimination, based on sex, including sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender characteristics, in education programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance.

    Other or different definitions may be set forth in regulations AAC-AR1 or AAC-AR2.

    Complaint Filing Procedure

    The District shall create an informal and formal discrimination and harassment complaint filing procedure in regulations coded AAC-AR. For Title IX sexual harassment complaints, grievance procedures shall be followed in accordance with federal regulations and regulation AAC-AR2.

    The procedure provides for an impartial investigation free of conflicts of interest and bias.  Nothing in this policy or in the discrimination and harassment grievance procedure prevents an individual from pursuing redress available through state and/or federal law.

    Confidentiality

    An individual wishing to file an anonymous discrimination and/or harassment complaint must be advised that confidentiality may limit the district’s ability to fully respond to the complaint and that retaliation is prohibited.  The appropriate grievance coordinator (504/Title IIor Nondiscrimination) shall perform a confidentiality analysis to determine when a request for confidentiality cannot be honored due to safety reasons or the district’s obligation to maintain a nondiscriminatory educational environment. A Title IX complaint is unable to be confidential due to required notifications.  The complainant must be notified in writing of the confidentiality analysis outcome.  A discrimination or harassment investigation report is subject to the open records law after 60 days or when the investigation is complete (whichever comes first), with limited exceptions such as when the record is protected by FERPA.

    Complaint Recipients

    If any district educator receives a discrimination or harassment complaint, the educator shall promptly forward it to the appropriate grievance coordinator.  All district educators must receive training on their reporting duties

    Policy Training and Dissemination

    The Board authorizes the Superintendent to develop discrimination and harassment awareness training for learners and educators.  In addition, the Superintendent shall display this policy and complementary grievance procedures in a prominent place on the district’s website and publish it in learner and educator handbooks.

    Grievance Coordinators

    Districts must designate at least one educator to be their Title IX Coordinator and authorize such individual(s) to coordinate the district’s efforts to comply with its responsibilities under the applicable regulations.

    The Title IX Coordinator’s responsibilities include overseeing the district’s response to Title IX reports and complaints and identifying and addressing any patterns or systemic problems revealed by such reports and complaints.  The Title IX Coordinator must have knowledge of the requirements of Title IX, of the district’s policies and procedures on sex discrimination, and of all complaints raising Title IX issues throughout the District. To accomplish this, the Title IX Coordinator must be informed of any report or complaint raising Title IX issues, even if the report or complaint was initially filed with another individual or office or if the investigation will be conducted by another individual or office.  Title IX Coordinators may also be investigators as needed.

    The District designates the following individuals as Title IX Coordinators:

    Name

    Title

    Address

    Phone

    Email

    Britnee Nikle

    Director of Human Resources

    207 Main Ave W

    West Fargo, ND 58078

    (701) 356-2001

    bnikle@west-fargo.k12.nd.us

    Logan Midthun

    Activities Director

    207 Main Ave W

    West Fargo, ND 58078

    (701) 356-2000

    jdecann@west-fargo.k12.nd.us

    Carol Zent

    Principal/504 Coordinator

    50 Ironwood Dr

    Horace, ND 58047

    (701) 356-2080

    zent@west-fargo.k12.nd.us

    Elicia Hofmann

    Assistant Principal

    631 4th Ave E

    West Fargo, ND 58078

    (701) 356-2010

    ehofmann@west-fargo.k12.nd.us 

    Jana Oistad 

    Assistant Principal 

    800 40th Ave E 

    West Fargo, ND 58078 

    (701) 356-2160 

    joistad@west-fargo.k12.nd.us 

    Rick Wilson

    Assistant Principal 

    801 9th St E 

    West Fargo, ND 58078 

    (701) 356-2150 

    rwilson@west-fargo.k12.nd.us   

    Pam Cronin

    Principal

    8100 Lakeview Drive

    Horace, ND 58047

    (701) 356-2070

    pcronin@west-fargo.k12.nd.us 

    Alicia Severson

    Executive Assistant

    207 Main Ave W

    West Fargo, ND 58078

    (701) 356-2000

    aseverson@west-fargo.k12.nd.us   

    Cory Herrmann

    Activities Coordinator

    800 40th Ave E
    West Fargo, ND 58078

    (701) 356-2160

    cherrmann@west-fargo.k12.nd.us 

    Justin Behm

    Activites Coordinator

    801 9th St W

    West Fargo, ND 58078

    (701) 356-2050

    Jbehm@west-fargo.k12.nd.us 

    Aaron La Deaux

    Activities Coordinator

    8100 Lakeview Drive
    Horace, ND 58047

    (701) 356-2070

    ala-deaux@west-fargo.k12.nd.us 

    Levi Bachmeier

    Business Manager

    207 Main Ave W 
    West Fargo, ND 58078

    (701) 356-2000

    lbachmeier@west-fargo.k12.nd.us 

    Heather Leas

    Director of Health, Safety, and Public Relations

    207 Main Ave W
    West Fargo, ND 58078

    (701) 356-2000

    hleas@west-fargo.k12.nd.us 

    Districts must notify learners, parents or legal guardians, educators and unions of the name and specified contact information for the designated Title IX Coordinators. The notification must also state that inquiries about the application of Title IX and its regulations may be directed to the district’s Title IX Coordinator or the Assistant Secretary of Education, or both.  Districts must prominently display the Title IX Coordinators contact information on their website, if any, and in each handbook, it makes available to learners, parents or legal guardians, educators, and unions.

    The 504/Title II Coordinator’s responsibilities include overseeing the district’s response to disability discrimination reports and complaints.  The 504/Title II Coordinator must have knowledge of the requirements of Section 504 and Title II, of the district’s policies and procedures on disability discrimination, and of all complaints raising Section 504/Title II issues throughout the District.  To accomplish this, the 504/Title II Coordinator must be informed of any report or complaint raising Section 504/Title II issues, even if the report or complaint was initially filed with another individual or office or if the investigation will be conducted by another individual or office.  The District designates Carol Zent, Principal and 504 Coordinator as the 504/Title II Coordinator. She may be contacted at 50 Ironwood Dr., Horace, ND 58047, 701-356-2080, or zent@west-fargo.k12.nd.us.

    The Nondiscrimination Coordinator’s core responsibilities include overseeing the district’s response to discrimination and harassment reports and complaints that do not include sex or disability under applicable federal laws, but instead the other protected statuses or sex or disability-based discrimination under state law.  The District designates Brittnee Nikle, HR Director as the Nondiscrimination Coordinator.  She may be contacted at 207 Main Ave W, West Fargo, ND 58078, 701-356-2001, or bnikle@west-fargo.k12.nd.us.

    Training

    The Title IX, 504/Title II, and Nondiscrimination Coordinators, and any other school official responsible for the investigation of discrimination complaints, shall receive training.  This training must include:

    1. The definition of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation,
    2. The handling of complaints under the Discrimination and Harassment Grievance Procedure (AAC-AR); and
    3. The applicability of confidentiality requirements.

    In addition, the Title IX Coordinators, investigators, decision-makers, and those facilitating an informal resolution process, if applicable, under Title IX shall receive training in a number of areas specified in regulation AAC-AR2.

    The district designates the decision-makers as the assistant superintendents and the appeal decision maker as the superintendent.

     

    Adopted: 06/21/93

    Reviewed: 03/25/10

    Revised: 03/27/95, 03/10/97

    03/11/02, 07/07/16

    10/10/17, 12/10/19

    08/13/20, 09/08/20

    11/08/22