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Addressing Bullying, Harassment, and Sex-based Discrimination

Bullying

All students have the right to a safe, supportive school environment. Bullying, harassment, or intimidation will not be tolerated.

Reporting an incident

Bullying can be reported by students, parents, staff members, or anyone who witnesses or is concerned about an alleged incident. 

All reports will be investigated. The school principal (or designee) must investigate within two school days, and parents should expect to hear about resolution within two further school days. The principal also reports the investigation and action taken to the district office.

If the investigation concludes that bullying took place, the bully will be disciplined in accordance with the Code of Conduct.

If you are not satisfied with the investigation or resolution, contact the CEO Ombudsman at 443-984-2020.

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Cyberbullying and online safety

Whether bullying takes place in person or online, it will not be tolerated at City Schools. Families should be aware of students' social media use and report any bullying or threatening communication using the online or print forms.

Resources

City Schools is working to make sure that all schools are positive places where students can feel safe and know they are respected and valued. If any member of a school community is concerned about bullying, he or she should speak with a teacher, counselor, principal, school police officer, or other member of the staff. 

There are also many websites that provide information about bullying and how to prevent or respond to it. Here are four comprehensive examples.

Sex-based Discrimination

City Schools takes incidents of sex-based discrimination in schools or during school-sponsored activities seriously. All students have the right to a safe, supportive school environment. 

What is sex-based discrimination?

City Schools defines sex-based discrimination as follows: Actions that unlawfully subject a person—based on the person’s actual or perceived sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, and/or pregnancy/parenting status—to exclusion from participation in, denial of the benefits of, or unfavorable differential treatment with respect to any educational program or activity of City Schools. Sex-based discrimination also includes sexual harassment, as well as acts of hate, violence, insensitivity, disrespect, or retaliation—such as verbal abuse, bullying including cyberbullying, slurs, threats, physical violence, vandalism, or destruction of property—that impede or affect the learning environment, as well as sexism in all its forms, including sex-based stereotyping, based on conformance or nonconformance to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity. In addition, sex-based discrimination includes conduct and practices that may be facially neutral but that have an unjustified disparate impact based on a person’s actual or perceived sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, and/or pregnancy/parenting status.

Some examples of sex-based discrimination include:

  • Not being called by your preferred gender pronoun.
  • Not being allowed to participate in an activity because of your sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.
  • Not being allowed to use a restroom or locker room that corresponds to your gender identity.
  • Not being allowed to dress according to your gender identity and gender expression.

What do I do if I think I have experienced or witnessed sex-based discrimination in school or in a school-based activity or program?

If the incident/behavior does not involve sexual harassment, then fill out this form
If the incident/behavior involves sexual harassment, see below.

What is sexual harassment?

There are two frameworks that govern sexual harassment allegations.
Under Title IX, sexual harassment is defined as follows:

  1. Sexual harassment is actionable under Title IX, as interpreted by the U.S. Department of Education, if a City Schools student experiences one or more of the following
  1. An employee of City Schools conditioning the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of City Schools on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct (i.e., quid pro quo sexual harassment); and/or
  2. Unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to City Schools’ education program or activity (i.e., hostile environment sexual harassment); and/or
  3. Sexual assault, as defined in 20 U.S.C. 1092(f)(6)(A)(v), which means an offense classified as a forcible or nonforcible sex offense under the uniform crime reporting system of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and/or
  4. Dating violence, as defined in 34 U.S.C. 12291(a)(10), which means violence committed by a person—
  •   who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim; and
  •   where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors:
    • The length of the relationship
    • The type of relationship
    • The frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship; and/or
  1. Domestic violence, as defined in 34 U.S.C. 12291(a)(8), which means felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction receiving grant monies, or by 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; and/or
  2. Sex-based stalking, as defined in 34 U.S.C. 12291(a)(30), which means engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to—
  • fear for his or her safety or the safety of others; or
  • suffer substantial emotional distress, which is defined in federal regulations as significant mental suffering or anguish that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.
  1. Examples of sexual harassment may include, but are not limited to:
  1. Verbal harassment, such as derogatory comments or expressions, slurs, jokes, catcalls, spreading rumors, or verbally communicated and unwanted sexual advances or invitations;
  2. Visual harassment, such as derogatory posters, photography, cartoons, drawings, or gestures;
  3. Video harassment, such as taking a sexual picture or recording a sexual video of someone without their permission; asking someone to send a naked picture of themselves (“nude”) when the request is unwelcome; or sharing or threatening to share a sexual picture or video that someone has sent you with other people;
  4. Sexual or physical harassment, such as assault, unwanted or offensive touching, blocking normal movement, or interfering with education environments;
  5. Adult-student relationships: any romantic or sexual encounter between a student and an adult at school;
  6. Sex-based stereotyping or taunting or ridiculing someone because of actual or perceived sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, and/or pregnancy/parenting status; and/or
  7. Retaliation for having reported or threatened to report sexual harassment.

Any conduct that could be construed as sexual harassment but does not fall within the above definition, will be handled under the framework for bullying, harassment, or intimidations set out in Board Policy JICK and Administrative Regulation JICK-RA.

What do I do if I think I have experienced or witnessed sexual harassment in school or in a school-based activity or program?

If you believe you have experienced or witnessed any kind of sexual harassment in school or in a school-based program or activity, please fill out the bullying reporting form. Once the EEO Unit receives the report, we will ensure that the correct framework is used for resolving the complaint.

Who handles complaints of sex-based discrimination and sexual harassment?

The EEO Manager & Title IX Coordinator handles complaints of sex-based discrimination and sexual harassment, in collaboration with the principal of the schools involved in the complaint.

Where can I learn more about City Schools’ rules and procedures related to sex-based discrimination and sexual harassment?

Board Policy JBB and Administrative Regulation JBB-RA contain City Schools’ policies and procedures related to sex-based discrimination and sexual harassment.

Reporting an incident

If you or someone you know experiences sex-based discrimination in school or during school-sponsored activities, please report it.  Anyone can report an incident, including students, parents or guardians, staff members, or bystanders.  

To report an incident, please fill out this form.

All reports will be investigated. After an incident is reported, the school leader will immediately start the investigation and report the complaint to the district office.  The investigation can take up to 60 days to complete.

Please note that if your complaint is against a school leader, you may report the incident directly to the district office by calling (410) 396-8542 or by contacting the Title IX Coordinator whose information is listed below. 

While the investigation is taking place, in cases of alleged sex-based discrimination against a student by another student, interim measures may be taken to place the students in separate classes.

If the investigation concludes that the sex-based discrimination occurred, the school (or district) will take actions to end the discrimination and harassment and to prevent its re-occurrence. Appropriate disciplinary measures will be imposed and additional supports may be provided for the student and, if appropriate, the rest of the school. 

In addition to filing a complaint with school-based staff, a discrimination complaint may be filed with the Baltimore City Schools Office of EEO.  You can also file a complaint with the United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights or file a criminal complaint with the Baltimore City Police Department.

Resources

If you or someone you know is concerned about sex-based behavior at a school, the first step should be to talk to someone at the school, like the principal, a teacher, school counselor, or school police officer.

Victims of sexual assault are encouraged to consider contacting the following organizations. For health emergencies, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.

Baltimore City Police Department Headquarters
601 Fayette Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21202
(410) 396-2525

Baltimore City SAFE (Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence) Hospital
Mercy Medical Center 
301 Saint Paul Place
Baltimore, Maryland 21202
(410) 332-9494

Rape Crisis and Recovery Center 
TurnAround Inc.
2300 North Charles Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21218
Hotline: (443) 279-0379

If you have questions or need more information about sex-based discrimination, please contact:

Title IX Coordinator
Eilene Brown
Director: Fair Practices and Compliance
200 E. North Avenue, Room 208
Baltimore, Maryland 21202
(410) 396-8542
eeo-titleixcompliance@bcps.k12.md.us

Manager, Office of Equal Employment Opportunity and Title IX Compliance
200 E. North Avenue, Room 208
Baltimore, Maryland 21202
(410) 396-8542
eeo-titleixcompliance@bcps.k12.md.us