MASSENA — The Massena Central School Board of Education is taking its first look at the draft of a new detailed policy that’s been through several sets of eyes before being received.
Policy 3421 deals with Title IX and sex discrimination.
“Title IX refers to a 1972 federal education law that mandated equal access to things like athletics and academic programs for everyone in the schools. It’s a new and very comprehensive policy that’s required by education law for schools that receive federal funds. Most of them do. This was required for us to have on the books because we get federal funds,” Policy Committee Chairman Paul Haggett told board members.
He said, before the Policy Committee reviewed the new policy, Superintendent Patrick Brady had the district’s legal counsel look it over, “which was a good thing because it reduced its size by about a third in terms of the number of pages.”
The policy provides definitions of what constitutes sex discrimination, how it’s reported, the grievance process, how an investigation into a complaint is handled, duties of the Title IX coordinator, whistleblower protections, anti-sexual harassment training, recordkeeping and more.
“In our policy, the HR assistant is going to serve as the Title IX coordinator and would be lead investigator where there would be a complaint,” Mr. Haggett said.
He said that, in determining an outcome of a sexual harassment or discrimination complaint, they are proposing to use the preponderance of evidence standard, which is a lesser standard than the other option, clear and convincing evidence.
“The legal counsel recommended the lower standard because it lowers the liability of the district,” he said.
Board members will be asked to adopt the policy during their March meeting.
“It’s an important policy, so I would encourage you to take a look at the minutes that are in your board run, the Policy Committee meeting minutes, and have a look at that policy. Once this policy is approved, it will be like one of four policies that we have on the books dealing with harassment and discrimination,” Mr. Haggett said.
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