Hiawatha Unified School District No. 415
706 South First Street; P.O. Box 398
Hiawatha, Kansas 66434-0398
(785) 742-2266 Fax: (785) 742-2301
September 12, 2019
Yesterday, we became aware of an issue involving allegations of racial bullying from one or more students directed at another student. Please know this matter is being taken very seriously and is currently under investigation.
Although some initial actions were taken by our high school administration, the investigation is on-going. When our investigation is complete, we will act according to our policy.
USD 415 has an existing policy against racial harassment. I have included it below.
JGECA Racial and Disability Harassment JGECA
(See GAACA, GAAB, GAF, JDDC and KN)
The board of education is committed to providing a positive and productive learning and working environment, free from discrimination, including harassment, on the basis of race, color, national origin, or disability. Discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, or national origin (“racial harassment”) or on the basis of disability (“disability harassment”) shall not be tolerated in the school district. Racial or disability harassment of employees or students of the district by board members, administrators, certificated and support personnel, students, vendors, and any others having business or other contact with the school district is strictly prohibited.
Racial harassment is unlawful discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin under Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Kansas Acts Against Discrimination. Disability harassment is unlawful discrimination on the basis of disability under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act. All forms of racial or disability harassment is prohibited at school, on school property, and at all school-sponsored activities, programs or events. Racial or disability harassment against individuals associated with the school is prohibited, whether or not the harassment occurs on school grounds.
It shall be a violation of this policy for any student, employee, or third party (visitor, vendor, etc.) to so harass any student, employee or other individual associated with the school. It shall further be a violation for any employee to discourage a student from filing a complaint, or to fail to investigate or refer for investigation, any complaint lodged under the provisions of this policy.
Prohibited conduct under this policy includes racially or disability-motivated conduct which:
- Affords a student different treatment, solely on the basis of race, color, national origin, or disability, in a manner which interferes with or limits the ability of the student to participate in or benefit from the services, activities or programs of the school;
- Is sufficiently severe, pervasive or persistent so as to have the purpose or effect of creating a hostile academic environment; or
- Is sufficiently severe, pervasive or persistent so as to have the purpose or effect of interfering with a student’s academic performance or ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities or programs of the school.
Racial or disability harassment may result from verbal or physical conduct or written graphic material.
The district encourages all victims of racial or disability harassment and persons with knowledge of such harassment to report the harassment immediately. The district will promptly investigate all complaints of racial or disability harassment and take prompt corrective action to end the harassment.
Any student who believes he or she has been subject to racial or disability harassment or has witnessed an act of alleged racial or disability harassment, should discuss the alleged harassment with the building principal, another administrator, the guidance counselor, or another certified staff member. Any school employee who receives a complaint of racial or disability harassment from a student shall inform the student of the employee’s obligation to report the complaint and any proposed resolution of the complaint to the building principal. If the building principal is the alleged harasser, the complaint shall be reported to the district compliance coordinator. The building principal shall discuss the complaint with the student to determine if it can be resolved. If the matter is not resolved to the satisfaction of the student in this meeting, the student may initiate a formal complaint under the district’s discrimination complaint procedure in policy KN.
Complaints received will be investigated to determine whether, under the totality of the circumstances, the alleged behavior constitutes racial or disability harassment under the definition outlined above. Unacceptable student conduct may or may not constitute racial or disability harassment, depending on the nature of the conduct and its severity, pervasiveness and persistence. Behaviors which are unacceptable but do not constitute harassment may provide grounds for discipline under the code of student conduct. The discipline of a student for violation of any provision of the code of student conduct may be enhanced if the conduct is racially or disability motivated.
If discrimination or harassment has occurred, the district will take prompt, remedial action to prevent its reoccurrence.
An employee who witnesses an act of racial or disability harassment shall report the incident to the building principal. Employees who fail to report complaints or incidents of racial or disability harassment to appropriate school officials may face disciplinary action. School administrators who fail to investigate and take appropriate corrective action in response to complaints of racial or disability harassment may also face disciplinary action.
When a complaint contains evidence of criminal activity or child abuse, the compliance coordinator shall report such conduct to the appropriate law enforcement or DCF authorities.