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Student Fair Practices

This page features fair practices information about:

  • Nondiscrimination
  • Sex-Based Discrimination
  • LGBTQ+ Support
  • Nursing Parents Policy
Bullying Facts
  • 1 in 7 City Schools high school students and 1 in 3 City Schools middle school students reported having been bullied during the 2018-2019 school year. (Youth Risk Behavior Survey)
  • 1 in 7 City Schools high school students and 1 in 6 City Schools middle school students reported having been cyberbullied during the 2018-2019 school year. (Youth Risk Behavior Survey)
  • Nationally, more than 160,000 students skip school each day because of bullying, and
  • 1 in 10 students drop out because of bullying. (Dosomething.org)
  • Nationally, the most commonly reported type of bullying is verbal harassment (79%), followed by social harassment (50%), physical bullying (29%), and cyberbullying (25%). (Dosomething.org)
  • Unfortunately, not all students who are bullied actually report this to an adult, so it is probable that bullying is underreported.
  • 57% of bullying situations stop when a peer intervenes on behalf of the student being bullied. (Dosomething.org)
Nondiscrimination 

The EEO Unit is charged with preventing, investigating, and addressing acts of discrimination based on race, ethnicity, color, ancestry, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, pregnancy/parenting status, disability, veteran status, genetic information, age, or other legal or constitutionally protected attributes or affiliations against City Schools students, employees, and third parties.

Discriminatory acts are those that unlawfully subject a person—based on membership in one of the protected classes listed above—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.

Baltimore City Public Schools (“City Schools”) is committed to promoting respect for and appreciation of the diverse religions, beliefs, and customs of all our students and their families. As part of that commitment, the EEO Unit is charged with reviewing religious accommodation requests to determine whether they meet the requirements of Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and other applicable legal standards. Critically, under the law, the religious belief must be bona fide and sincerely held, and the accommodation requested must be feasible and must not create unreasonable health and safety risks to other students and staff, as well the broader school community. Parents who wish to request a religious exemption from COVID-19 testing or vaccination (for student-athletes) on behalf of their child(ren) should send a letter or email to Jane Ehrenfeld (jehrenfeld@bcps.k12.md.us) explaining why your sincerely held religious belief prevents your child(ren) from being tested for or vaccinated against COVID-19.

Discrimination can also include bullying, harassment, or intimidation.

Maryland State law sets out a four-part test for determining whether a situation involves bullying, harassment, or intimidation:

Part I requires, “Intentional conduct, including verbal, physical, or written conduct or an intentional electronic communication.”

AND

Part II requires that the intentional conduct, “creates a hostile educational environment by substantially interfering with a student’s educational benefits, opportunities, or performance, or with a student’s physical or psychological well-being.”

AND

Part III requires that the intentional conduct is:

  1. motivated by an individual’s actual or perceived race, ethnicity, color, ancestry, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, pregnancy/parenting status, disability, veteran status, genetic information, age, or other legally or constitutionally protected attributes or affiliations;

 OR

  1. sexual in nature, including descriptions or depictions of a student with the student’s intimate parts exposed or while engaged in an act of sexual contact;

OR

  1. threatening or seriously intimidating.

AND

Part IV requires that the intentional conduct either-

  1. occurs on school property, at a school activity or event, or on a school bus;

OR

  1. substantially disrupts the orderly operation of a school.

If you believe you have been the victim of bullying, harassment, or intimidation, visit City Schools’ bullying website

You can also fill out this form online or on paper. It's also available in Spanish.

If you believe you have been the victim of any other form of discrimination, please fill out this form and submit it to your principal or school counselor.

Related Board Policies and Administrative Regulations:
JBA, JBB-RA, JICK, JICK-RA, JBB, JBB-RA

Sex-Based Discrimination

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 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—
      1. who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim; and
      2. where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors:
        1. The length of the relationship
        2. The type of relationship
        3. The frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship; and/or
    5. 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
    6. 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—
      1. fear for his or her safety or the safety of others; or
      2. 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.
  2. 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.

Related Board Policies and Administrative Regulations:
JBA, JBB-RA, JICK, JICK-RA, JBB, JBB-RA

LGBTQ+ Support

City Schools prohibits discrimination and harassment based on students’ actual or perceived sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, and/or pregnancy/parenting status. Sex-based stereotyping, based on conformance or nonconformance to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity, is also a form of sex-based discrimination.

If you would like support at school, this protocol is a tool you can use with a trusted member of the school administration.

Key Terms:

  • Gender expression – The manner in which a person represents or expresses gender through their behavior, speech, word choices, clothing, hairstyles, activities, or mannerisms.
  • Gender identity – A person’s deeply held sense or psychological knowledge of their own gender, regardless of the sex assigned at birth. One’s gender identity can be the same or different than the sex assigned at birth.
  • Sexual orientation – The emotional and sexual attraction one feels for others. Sexual orientation can range from exclusively homosexual (attraction to same-sex only) to bisexual (attraction to members of more than one sex), to exclusively heterosexual (attraction to another sex only).
  • Lesbian – A woman whose sexual orientation is towards women.
  • Gay – A man whose sexual orientation is towards men.
  • Agender – A person who has an internal sense of being neither male nor female nor some combination of male and female. A person whose gender identity is genderless or neutral.
  • Cisgender – A person whose sex assigned at birth corresponds with their gender identity.
  • Intersex – A person whose biological characteristics do not seem to fit typical definitions of male or female.
  • Gender fluid – A person whose gender identity or gender expression is not fixed and may shift over time depending on the situation.
  • Sex assigned at birth – The sex designation recorded on an infant’s birth certificate, should such a record be provided at birth.
  • Transgender – The umbrella term that can be used to describe people whose gender expression or gender identity and sense of who they are as male or female does not match their sex assigned at birth.
  • Transition – The process through which transgender people begin to live as the gender with which they identify, rather than the one typically associated with their sex assigned at birth.
  • Non-binary – A person who transcends commonly held concepts of gender through their own expression and identity (e.g., gender expansive, gender creative, or genderqueer). Some non-binary people are also transgender.

Policies

This January 26, 2021 report to the Board contains information on City Schools’ LGBTQ+ Support initiative.

Board Policy JBB and Administrative Regulation JBB-RA also have information on specific protections and supports City Schools offers to LGBTQ+ employees, third parties, and students. If you have experienced or witnessed bullying or discrimination based on your sexual orientation, gender identity, gender, or gender expression, please visit the Student Sex-Based Discrimination and Sexual Harassment section above.

For information on transgender student participation in athletics: MPSSAA Guidance for Participation of Transgender Youth in Interscholastic Athletics, August 2016

City Schools has established an LGBTQ+ Cross-Functional Team, comprised of individuals from across City Schools offices and schools, as well as external stakeholders.

Team Mission: Develop and implement supportive practices that will contribute to safe and secure environments for all those we serve in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQ+) community, by building the capacity of the City Schools community in the work; by ensuring robust compliance with legal requirements and Board policies; and by reporting and responding to complaints while working to reduce the occurrence of policy violations.

Team Vision: All members of the City Schools LGBTQ+ community will be affirmed, feel brave, experience equitable treatment and have the opportunity to reach their full potential.

 Please reach out to Jane Ehrenfeld (jehrenfeld@bcps.k12.md.us) or Chitamawe Daka Mulwanda (CDMulwanda@bcps.k12.md.us) for more information, or with any questions or ideas for the Cross-Functional Team.

Preferred or Chosen Name and Sex & Nonbinary Option

Did you know that you can use a preferred name and sex in school, on virtual learning platforms, and on most City Schools documents, without having to go through the legal name/sex change process?

Read City Schools’ Administrative Guidance on Changes to Student Records to Affirm Gender and Identity.

Maryland state law allows students to identify as nonbinary on their student records. Please see the Maryland State Records Manual for more information.

If you want to know more, please reach out to your principal or counselor for more information.

Safe and Welcoming Schools

Some City Schools host Gender Sexuality Alliances (GSAs). These are sometimes also known as Gay-Straight Alliances.

Please reach out to your principal if you would like to explore starting a GSA at your school.

This guide also contains helpful information about creating safe and welcoming schools: Maryland State Department of Education Providing Safe Spaces for Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Youth: Guidelines for Gender Identity Non-Discrimination

Support Resources

If you are in crisis and need support, the following hotlines are open 24/7:

Baltimore Crisis Response, Inc – (410) 433-5255
Trained counselors provide mental health and substance use information and referrals, supportive counseling, suicide crisis intervention and adolescent crisis intervention. They also dispatch emergency assistance and link callers with more intensive BCRI and community services.  The Hotline operates as the gateway to BCRI's Mobile Crisis Team.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1-800-273-8255
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The Trevor Project – 1-866-488-7386
A non-judgmental hotline for those 25 years old and below with LGBTQ-sensitive trained counselors you can contact through a call, text, or chat during a mental health crisis and/or suicidal thoughts.

Trans Lifeline – 1-877-565-8860
Trans Lifeline is primarily for transgender people in a crisis, from struggling with gender identity to thoughts of self-harm.

Other Resources:

  • GLSEN: GLSEN works to ensure that LGBTQ students are able to learn and grow in a school environment free from bullying and harassment. Together we can transform our nation's schools into the safe and affirming environment all youth deserve.
  • Gender Spectrum: Gender Spectrum works to create gender sensitive and inclusive environments for all children and teens.
  • Stop Bullying Gov provides kids, teens, educators, families and communities with resources to address bullying related to sexual orientation.
  • Teaching Tolerance is a place for educators to find thought-provoking news, conversation and support for those who care about diversity, equal opportunity and respect for differences in schools. Best Practices: Creating an LGBTQ-inclusive School Climate is a guide for school leaders on teaching tolerance for LGBTQIA+ students.
  • Youth Online Source for Credible Health Information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers resources to youth, educators, and family members.
  • YES Drop-In Center: YES Drop-In Center is a safe space for youth who are homeless and between the ages of 14-25, to get basic needs met and establish supportive relationships with peer staff and allies that them make and sustain connections to long-term resources and opportunities.
  • JOY Baltimore: JOY Baltimore (JOY) ​​is a grassroots organization whose primary goal is to end youth homelessness within Baltimore, Maryland. Through our Drop-In Center, we offer homeless, displaced, runaway and LGBTQ youth ages 13-24, access to emergency and permanent housing, medical and dental services, community services, vital records, and Maryland State ID.
  • Baltimore City LGBTQ Commission: The Baltimore City Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) Commission will advise the Mayor, City Council, and City agencies about issues of concern affecting the LGBTQ community, recommend policies and legislation, bring the LGBTQ communities and the larger Baltimore community together through long-ranged projects, and ensure that City agencies fairly and equitably address issues affecting Baltimore's LGBTQ communities.

sex based graphic

Nursing Parents

The Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners (“Board”) recognizes the importance and benefits of breastfeeding for both parents and infants and is committed to supporting nursing parents (both students and employees). Board Policy ACH, which applies to all employees and students, covers City Schools’ policy regarding nursing parents, and Administrative Regulation ACH-RA covers access to nursing facilities.

Prior to the student being absent for childbirth,  schools will advise and review with the student the range of academic opportunities available and advocate for both the development of options and necessary supports, which may include credit recovery, independent study, dual enrollment, attendance, or other educational options to allow them to maintain their educational progress. Schools will assist a student nursing parent with appropriate referrals to home and hospital supports, social services and health care resources available in the community both before and after childbirth.

If you have a question or concern related to nursing, please contact the EEO Manager at EEO-TitleIXCompliance@bcps.k12.md.us.

Lactation Time Request – Student

Related Board Policy and Administrative Regulation:
ACH, ACH-RA, JEA, JEA-RA

Learn more

Notice of Nondiscrimination