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SEXUAL HARASSMENT

Policy:

Sexual harassment is prohibited at Hamilton Junior High School.

Sexual harassment may be defined as: A wide range of behaviours constituting unwanted sexual attention. Including;

  • Sexually orientated jokes
  • Physical contact – unwanted or deliberate
  • Remarks questioning a persons sexual activity
  • Suggestive comments regarding appearance
  • Persistent unwanted social invitations or telephone calls
  • Obscene or offensive hand or body gestures
  • Offering advantages in return for sex
  • Indecent exposure
  • Sexual assault
  • Kissing or embracing
  • Displaying offensive pictures, posters or graffiti

Purpose

  • To prevent sexual harassment
  • To resolve complaints of sexual harassment

Procedures

  1. The school has a legal responsibility as outlined in the policy statement to ensure individuals do not suffer sexual harassment but this may still occur. For this reason there shall be a contact person for anybody with a complaint of sexual harassment. The contact person for all staff and students is the Principal.
    1. Discussions and any investigations must be conducted in the strictest confidence.
    2. No one is required to make complaint if they do not wish to.
    3. Any person who feels they have been subject to Sexual harassment must keep written records of the alleged harassment and of all meetings and conversations related to the alleged harassment.
    4. Before making a formal complaint, it is suggested that, other than serious cases which if substantiated could result  in disciplinary or legal action, the aggrieved party firstly consider sensitivity broaching the subject with the person(s) involved, one on one, to attempt to rectify the matter amicably in constructive confrontation. This procedure is to be encouraged for it allows the person to control the process, keeps the problem in perspective at a local level and gives the respondent an opportunity to correct any behaviour.
    5. In any meeting, if the aggrieved person wishes, s/he may take a support person to the person concerned.
    6. A formal complaint is the process used in cases where the informal approach has not resolved the problem, or allegations are so serious that if substantiated will require a discipline or legal action.

a)      For this process the complainant must:

-  Collate all written details of the complaint and the person whose behaviour is complained of (cf. iv)

-  The complaint must then be signed by the complainant.

-  The complaint must then be submitted “in confidence” to the Principal.

-  The Principal must contact the Board Chairperson.

b)      At this time, the complainant must also be advised that the complaint may be submitted to the Board of Trustees and possibly the Human Rights Commission, with investigations following.

c)      In this case, the Principal submits the written complaint to the Board of Trustees who act as arbiters in the situation, with the Human rights Commission acting as “High Court”.

viii.  The rights of the person accused of sexual harassment must also be considered.

a)      The individual must be told the details of the accusation and be allowed to respond.

b)      If formal intervention is chosen, then the individual must be given the opportunity to seek representation and time to prepare a response.

  1. It should be noted that sexual harassment by a staff colleague or student may result in a personal grievance under the Employment Relations Act 2000.
  2. All these procedures may be omitted when the complainant, and/or their parents in the case of a student choose to contact the police.
  3. In serious cases where the complaint is substantiated, the person  found guilty of harassment is disciplined appropriately according  to the Board of Trustees resolution. This may include dismissal for staff members and disciplinary processes for students. The Board of Trustees is also empowered to suspend a teacher on full pay pending an investigation where suspension on full pay is provided for as a remedy in their employment contract.
  4. In all cases where the complaint is substantiated, management must ensure that harassment ceases immediately and the complaint is not made to suffer in any way for having made the complaint.
  5. In the unlikely case where a decision cannot be reached, management must attempt to restore harmonious working relationship.
  6. It should be noted that complainants are protected against defamation where the complaint is made honestly to those who have a duty to receive it.
  7. If a complaint is found to have no substance, all records shall be destroyed (shredded) and no notes of the allegations shall be recorded on any personnel (in the case of staff) academic (in the case of students) or family (in the case of parents) files.
  8. If a complaint is made, investigated and substantiated, then the relevant personnel file of the person found guilty of sexual harassment should contain a summary of the nature of the complaint, with the outcome and the penalty.

xvii.  A full record of information obtained during the investigation and at the disciplinary interview(s) shall be kept in a separate file marked “confidential” and kept under strict security so that only staff who absolutely need to have access to it.

xviii. A full record of all complaints and investigations are kept in a secure and confidential place. Access to this information is limited to the Principal and Board Chair, both of whom are bound by the Privacy Act.

Review

This policy will be reviewed as part of the Board’s cycle of review/schedule    


Date of Approval __________________________________________________

Chairperson _________________________________________________