Handbooks & Policies
Scholar & Family Handbook (Highlight Versions)
Special Education Policies and Procedures
Bullying Incident Documents
Work Permit for Minors
Alma del Mar Non-Discrimination Policy
Definition Of Harassment
In General, Harassment includes communications such as jokes, comments, innuendoes, notes, display of pictures or symbols, gestures, or other conduct that offends or shows disrespect to others based upon race, color, religion, national origin, age, gender, sexual orientation, or disability.
By law, what constitutes harassment is determined from the perspective of a reasonable person with the characteristic on which the harassment is based. What one person may consider acceptable behavior, may reasonably be viewed as harassment by another person. Therefore, individuals should consider how their words and actions might reasonably be viewed by other individuals. It is also important for individuals to make it clear to others when a particular behavior or communication is unwelcome, intimidating, hostile or offensive.
While all types of harassment are prohibited, sexual harassment requires particular attention. Sexual harassment includes sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and/or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:
- Acceptance of or submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of employment or education.
- The individual's response to such conduct is used as a basis for employment decisions affecting an employee or as a basis for educational, disciplinary, or other decisions affecting a scholar.
- Such conduct interferes with an individual's job duties, education or participation in extracurricular activities.
- The conduct creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work or school environment.
Harassment and Retaliation Prohibited
Harassment in any form or for any reason is absolutely forbidden. This includes harassment by administrators, certified and support personnel, scholars, vendors and other individuals in school or at school related events. In addition, retaliation against any individual who has brought harassment or other inappropriate behavior to the attention of the school or who has cooperated in an investigation of a complaint under this policy is unlawful and will not be tolerated by Alma del Mar Charter School.
Persons who engage in harassment or retaliation may be subject to disciplinary action, including, but not limited to reprimand, suspension, termination/expulsion or other sanctions as determined by the school administration and/or Board of Trustees, subject to applicable procedural requirements.
Where To File A Complaint: Any scholar or employee who believes that Alma del Mar Charter School has discriminated against or harassed her/him because of her/his race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age in admission to, access to, treatment in, or employment in its services, programs, and activities may file a complaint with the Executive Director. If the Executive Director is the person who is alleged to have caused the discrimination or harassment, the complaint may be filed with the Chief of Staff. These individuals are listed below and are hereinafter referred to as "Grievance Administrators."
Chief of Staff
Alma del Mar Charter School
515 Belleville Avenue
New Bedford, MA, 02746
Complaints of harassment by peers: In the event the complaint consists of a scholar's allegation that another scholar is harassing him/her based upon the above-referenced classifications, the scholar may, in the alternative, file the complaint with one of the Grievance Administrators.
Complaints of discrimination based upon disability: A person who alleges discrimination on the basis of disability relative to the identification, evaluation, or educational placement of a person, who because of a handicap needs or is believed to need special instruction or related services, pursuant to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Chapter 766, and/or the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, must use the procedure outlined in the Massachusetts Department of Education's Parents' Rights Brochure rather than this Grievance Procedure.
Complaints under this Grievance Procedure must be filed within 30 school days of the alleged discrimination. The complaint must be in writing. The Grievance Administrator or any person of the grievant’s choosing, may assist the grievant with filing the complaint. The written complaint must include the following information:
The name and school (or address and telephone number if not a scholar or employee) of the grievant.
- The name (and address and telephone number if not a scholar or employee) of the grievant’s representative, if any.
- The name of the person(s) alleged to have caused the discrimination or harassment (respondent).
- A description, in as much detail as possible, of the alleged discrimination or harassment.
- The date(s) of the alleged discrimination or harassment.
- The name of all persons who have knowledge about the alleged discrimination or harassment (witnesses), as can be reasonably determined.
- A description, in as much detail as possible, of how the grievant wants the complaint to be resolved.
Investigation and Resolution of the Complaint
Respondents will be informed of the charges as soon as the Grievance Administrator deems appropriate based upon the nature of the allegations, the investigation required, and the action contemplated.
The Grievance Administrator will interview witnesses whom s/he deems necessary and appropriate to determine the facts relevant to the complaint, and will gather other relevant information. Such interviews and gathering of information will be completed within fifteen (15) school days of receiving the complaint.
Within twenty (20) school days of receiving the complaint, the Grievance Administrator will meet with the grievant and/or her/his representative to review the information gathered and, if applicable, to propose a resolution designed to stop the discrimination or harassment and to correct its effect. Within five (5) school days of the meeting with the grievant and/or representative, the Grievance Administrator will provide written disposition of the complaint to the grievant and/or representative and to the respondent(s).
Notwithstanding the above, it is understood that in the event a resolution contemplated by Alma del Mar Charter School involves disciplinary action against an employee or a scholar, the complainant will not be informed of such disciplinary action, unless it directly involves the complainant (i.e., a directive to "stay away" from the complainant, as might occur as a result of a complaint of harassment).
Where it is determined that inappropriate conduct has occurred, Alma del Mar will act promptly to address and eliminate the conduct and will impose corrective action as necessary. Any disciplinary action imposed upon an employee or scholar is subject to applicable procedural requirements. Disciplinary actions imposed upon scholars shall be in accordance with the school’s disciplinary policies and may include behavior intervention, suspension, expulsion, and/or court involvement.
All the time lines specified above will be implemented as specified, unless the nature of the investigation or exigent circumstances prevent such implementation, in which case, the matter will be completed as quickly as practicable. If the timelines specified above are not met, the reason(s) for not meeting them must be clearly documented. In addition, it should be noted that in the event the respondent is subject to a collective bargaining agreement which sets forth a specific timeline for notice and/or investigation of a complaint, such time lines will be followed.
Confidentiality of grievants/respondents and witnesses will be maintained, to the extent consistent with Alma del Mar Charter School’s obligations relating to investigation of complaints and the due process rights of individuals affected.
Retaliation against someone because he/she has filed a complaint under this Grievance Procedure is strictly prohibited. Acts of retaliation may result in disciplinary action, up to and including suspension or expulsion/discharge.
If the grievant is not satisfied with a disposition by a Grievance Administrator, the grievant may appeal the disposition to the Board of Trustees, as follows:
Chairperson, Board of Trustees
Alma del Mar Charter School
515 Belleville Avenue
New Bedford, MA 02746
The Board of Trustees will issue a written response on the appeal to the grievant within ten (10) school days of receiving the appeal.
Generally, a grievant may file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, JW McCormack POCH, Boston, Massachusetts 02109-4557, telephone (617)223-9662, TTY (617) 223-9695 as follows:
- within 180 calendar days of alleged discrimination of harassment, or
- within 60 calendar days of receiving notice of Alma del Mar Charter School’s final disposition on a complaint filed through Alma del Mar Charter School, or
- within 60 calendar days of receiving a final decision by the Massachusetts Department of Education, Bureau of Special Education Appeals, or
- instead of filing a complaint with Alma del Mar Charter School.