Statement of Human Dignity
Saint Thomas Apostle School expects all persons (students, employees, volunteers, and/or others having business with Saint Thomas school) to conduct themselves with dignity and with respect for fellow persons. Bullying or harassing anyone, including sexual or racial harassment, will not be tolerated. Harassment is a form of discrimination.
Sexual and racial harassment are violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education-Larson Civil Rights Act. As sexual and racial harassment are unacceptable to this school, it is against our policy for any person to sexually or racially harass another person.
Bullying or harassment includes any gesture that:
- Is reasonably perceived as being dehumanizing, intimidating, hostile, humiliating, threatening, or otherwise likely to evoke fear of physical harm or emotional distress and includes any gesture or written, verbal, graphic or physical act, including cyber bullying, through the use of internet, cell phone, personal digital assistant (pda), computer, or wireless handheld device, currently in use or later developed.
- Interferes substantially with educational opportunities, benefits, or programs of one or more person.
- Is based on a person’s actual or perceived distinguishing characteristic or on an association with another person who has or is perceived to have any of these characteristics.
Sexual harassment includes:
- Making unwelcome sexual advances, requesting sexual favors, or submitting any person to other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.
- Making submission to, or rejection of, such conduct the basis for decisions affecting any person.
- Creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment, through such conduct.
Racial harassment includes:
- Making negative references to a person’s cultural or racial background.
- Creating a hostile or offensive classroom environment through such conduct.
Human Dignity Complaint Procedure
Any person who believes he/she has been subjected to harassment should report it immediately to the principal and/or pastor of Saint Thomas School. If for some reason you are uncomfortable discussing this with either of these individuals, please discuss this with a counselor, any other teacher, or administrator. Each report will be given serious consideration and investigated promptly. Appropriate action will be taken.
The parents of the students involved shall receive written notice from the school on the outcome of the investigation. All reports on instances of bullying and/or harassment must be recorded by the school for annual review.
- Action taken on behalf of the complainant could result in penalties ranging from an oral reprimand, mandatory counseling, expulsion or termination of employment.
- The complainant is not held to any specified level of authority in making their initial complaint.
- Complaints will be investigated followed by a written report within 30 calendar days.
- Retaliation against complainants or false accusations against a target of bullying, witness or any other person with reliable information about an act of bullying is absolutely forbidden. The penalties for retaliation could result in expulsion.
- Final appeal on all investigator reports can be ultimately addressed by the Pastor of Saint Thomas School, within 10 days of the investigator’s final report.
- Support counseling may be recommended for the complainant as necessary.
Investigators Course of Action on Human Dignity Complaints
- The administrator shall conduct the investigation unless the complaint is directed towards the administrator, in which case the investigation shall be conducted by the pastor.
- Depending on the complaint brought forward, the investigator may ask for assistance from various persons within the school/church community to assist him/her with the investigation. They may also choose to enlist the help of outside trained specialists.
- The investigation will commence immediately, even if the complainant delayed in coming forward.
- All complaints will be investigated, the investigator will make no decision upon the believability of an accusation and will investigate each complaint.
- The complainant is required to produce any physical evidence which supports their claim: letters, notes, photographs, etc.
- The investigator will make separate, private, interviews with: The complainant, the accused, and any witnesses named by the complainant or the accused.
- If a complainant wishes to withdraw their complaint at some point in the investigative process, the investigator should:
- Ascertain if retaliation against the complainants has occurred.
- If retaliation has not occurred, document the reasons the complaint is being withdrawn.
The Saint Thomas Board of Education requires its school administrators to develop and implement procedures that ensure both the appropriate consequences and remedial responses to a student or staff member who commits one or more acts of bullying and harassment. The school administration shall develop an annual process for discussing the school policy on harassment and bullying with students and staff.
The Board of Education requires school officials to annually disseminate the policy to all school staff, students and parents, along with a statement explaining that it applies to all applicable acts of harassment and bullying that occur on school property, at school-sponsored functions, or on a school bus.