ISPA Title IX and Non-Discrimination Notice
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. §1681 et seq., protects students from discrimination based on sex in educational programs or activities that receive Federal financial assistance. Title IX states that: No person shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any academic, extracurricular, research, occupational training, or other education program or activity operated by a recipient which receives Federal financial assistance.
Insight Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School (ISPA) shall not retaliate against any person for opposing an unlawful educational practice or policy, or making charges, testifying or participating in any complaint or action under Title IX.
In providing any aid, benefit, or service to a student, ISPA shall not, on the basis of sex:
- Treat one person differently from another in determining whether such person satisfies any requirement or condition for the provision of such aid, benefit, or service;
- Provide different aid, benefits, or services or provide aid, benefits, or services in a different manner;
- Deny any person any such aid, benefit, or service;
- Subject any person to separate or different rules of behavior, sanctions, or other treatment;
- Aid or perpetuate discrimination against any person by providing significant assistance to any agency, organization, or person which discriminates on the basis of sex in providing any aid, benefit or service to students or employees;
- Otherwise limit any person in the enjoyment of any right, privilege, advantage, or opportunity
Complaints or questions regarding Title IX and sexual discrimination or harassment should be directed to the ISPA Title IX Coordinator:
Eileen Cannistraci (CEO), Title IX Coordinator
Insight PA Cyber Charter School
350 Eagleview Blvd, Exton PA 19341
Title IX Grievance Procedures (also found in the ISPA Student and Parent Handbook)
The student may seek either an informal or formal resolution of his or her complaint:
The student or his or her parent may request the Title IX Compliance Officer to intervene by notifying the alleged offender that the specific offensive behavior(s) will not be tolerated. In such case the Title IX Compliance Officer must meet with the alleged offender, take a statement with regard to the allegations, and, if warranted, require that the alleged offender participate in non-disciplinary counseling. The alleged offender, if he or she is a student, shall have the right to have his or her parent present during the meeting with the Title IX Compliance Officer. The Title IX Compliance Officer shall document, in writing, all actions taken regarding investigation of the allegations, including statements of other students) and/or school administration/staff/contractor(s) or volunteer(s). The complainant must be notified of the right to end the informal process at any time and begin the formal stage of the complaint process. Moreover, in cases involving allegations of sexual assault, an informal resolution or mediation is not appropriate even on a voluntary basis.
A student who believes that his or her Title IX rights have been violated may file a complaint requesting a formal investigation into the allegations. Formal complaints shall be taken in writing by the Title IX Compliance Officer and signed by the complainant. A thorough and complete investigation shall be conducted by the Title IX Compliance Officer.
This investigation shall determine: (1) whether or not the conduct occurred; (2) whether the conduct constitutes a violation of Title IX or of this policy, and, (3) if the conduct was a violation, what actions the ISPA will take to end the violation, eliminate any hostile environment, and prevent its recurrence, which may include imposing sanctions on the perpetrator and providing remedies for the complainant
To the extent possible and allowed by law, confidentiality shall be maintained within the confines of the investigation of the alleged prohibited behavior. All parties will be treated with dignity and due process.
C. Interim Measures
During the pendency of an investigation, ISPA will take reasonable interim measures in order to prevent further possible Title IX issues. These may include taking steps to avoid further contact between the complainant and the alleged perpetrator by removal of the alleged perpetrator from complainant's homeroom/classroom The Title IX Compliance Officer shall provide the complainant with periodic updates on the status of the investigation. The Title IX Compliance Officer shall also ensure that the complainant is aware of his or her Title IX rights and any available student assistance programs and resources, The Title IX Compliance Officer shall also inform the complainant of his or her right to seek outside legal assistance and of his or her right to report a crime to local law enforcement.
Even when a Title IX Compliance Officer has determined that ISPA can respect a complainant’s request for confidentiality and therefore may not be able to respond fully to an allegation of sexual violence and initiate formal action against an alleged perpetrator, these interim measures may be taken to protect the complainant while keeping the identity of the complainant confidential.
Before a student reveals information that he or she may wish to keep confidential, ISPA should make every effort to ensure that the student understands: (1) ISPA's obligation to report the names of the alleged perpetrator and complainant involved in the alleged sexual violence, as well as relevant facts regarding the alleged incident (including the date, time, and location), to the Title IX Coordinator, other appropriate school officials, local law enforcement and Child Line pursuant to Mandatory Reporter duties. The student's option to request that ISPA maintain his or her confidentiality, which the Title IX Compliance Officer will consider; and
(1) The student's ability to share the information confidentially with counseling, advocacy, health, mental health, or sexual-assault-related services. If the student requests confidentiality, the Title IX Compliance Officer should make every effort to respect this request and should evaluate the request in the context of ISPA's responsibility to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for all students.
Procedures for Investigating and Resolving Complaints
A. Title IX Compliance Officer
The Title IX Compliance Officer shall be capable of conducting a thorough and complete investigation and shall seek advice and assistance from the Board of Trustees if the Title IX Compliance Officer believes that he or she lacks the capacity to conduct a thorough and complete investigation of the alleged misconduct. If the Title IX Compliance Officer or the CEO is the one accused of violating Title IX, the Board will appoint a qualified individual who is not employed by ISPA to conduct the investigation.
B. Conducting Investigations/Holding Hearings
The Title IX Compliance Officer receiving a Title IX complaint shall take the details of the complaint in writing and have the complainant sign it. All Title IX complaints against a student shall be received, investigated and disposed of in accordance with the procedures set forth in this Policy,
(1) The Title IX Compliance Officer shall meet with every complainant to listen and understand the allegations. The complainant may have his or her parent present during any such meeting. The accused, if he or she is a student, shall also have the right to have his or her parents present at any meetings with the Title IX Compliance Officer as well.
(2) From these meetings, the Title IX Compliance Officer will conduct an adequate, reliable, and impartial investigation of complaint(s), which includes interviewing and obtaining statements from any witnesses of both the complainant and alleged perpetrator, and the review of all evidence presented. Parties will be provided updates until a determination is made in writing.
(3) The complaint will be decided using a preponderance of the evidence standard (i.e., it is more likely than not that sexual harassment or violence occurred).
Even though FERPA limits disclosure of certain information in disciplinary proceedings, the Title IX Compliance Officer will disclose information to the complainant about the sanction imposed on the perpetrator when the sanction directly relates to the complainant. This includes an order that the perpetrator stay away from the complainant, or that the perpetrator is prohibited from attending school for a period of time, or is transferred to other homeroom/classes in the Charter School building.
(4) If the Title IX Compliance Officer makes a decision finding that the complainant’s allegations are substantiated by a preponderance of the evidence, the appropriate level of discipline consistent with Charter School’s strong policy against Title IX misconduct will be determined by the CEO, Title IX Compliance Officer and any other Administration as part of the Charter School’s Board approved disciplinary process. If the Title IX Compliance Officer or the CEO believes that the imposition of in school suspension, out of school suspension, or expulsion against an accused student may be appropriate, then an informal or formal hearing shall be held. The formal disciplinary procedures contained in the Charter School’s Code of Conduct shall be followed for such hearings to assure due process protection for the accused. Documents regarding substantiated charges of sexual harassment shall be placed in the accused student’s file. Documents regarding unsubstantiated charges shall not be placed in student files, but shall be maintained by the Board of Trustees in a confidential file established expressly for retaining complaints of Title IX complaints against students
(1) Notice of the right and how to appeal this decision will be included with the Decision to both students and Parents.
C. Other Reporting Requirements
If the complaint involves sexual assault, rape or conduct of a criminal nature, the local Police Department shall be contacted and a report of the incident made by ISPA. (A report must also be made by any mandatory reporter to Child Line and the Department of Public Welfare in accordance with the Charter School’s Board approved Mandatory Reporter Policy. If there is any question of whether the conduct complained of constituted criminal activity, ISPA's Board Solicitor should be contacted immediately. Knowledge of a law enforcement investigation does not relieve ISPA of its independent Title IX obligation to investigate the conduct.
Employees will be trained so that they know to report harassment to appropriate school officials, and so that employees with the authority to address harassment know how to respond properly. Training for employees will include practical information about how to identify types of conduct that constitute sexual harassment or violence, how to identify warning signals that may need attention and how to report sexual harassment and violence. This training will be provided to any employees likely to witness or receive reports of sexual harassment and violence, including teachers, school administrators, school counselors, and health personnel. All persons involved in implementing a recipient’s grievance procedures (e.g., Title IX Coordinators, investigators, and adjudicators) must have training or experience in handling complaints of sexual harassment and sexual violence, and with the Charter School’s grievance procedures. The training also will include applicable confidentiality requirements. In sexual violence cases, the fact-finder and decision-maker also will have adequate training or knowledge regarding sexual violence.
Additionally, the Charter School will ensure that staff is capable of providing culturally competent counseling to all complainants. It will ensure that its counselors and other staff who are responsible for receiving and responding to complaints of sexual violence, including investigators and hearing board members, receive appropriate training about working with Lesbian/Gay/Bi-sexual/Transgender and gender-nonconforming students and same-sex sexual violence.
ISPA will also ensure that any school reporting forms, information, or training about sexual violence be provided in a manner that is accessible to students and employees with disabilities, for example, by providing electronically-accessible versions of paper forms to individuals with print disabilities, or by providing a sign language interpreter to a deaf individual attending a training.
To ensure that students understand their rights under Title IX, the Charter School will provide age-appropriate training to its students regarding Title IX and sexual violence. Training may be provided separately or as part of the Charter School’s broader training on sex discrimination and sexual harassment.
The Charter School may include these education programs in its orientation programs for new students, faculty, staff, and employees, training for student athletes and coaches, and school assemblies and “back to school nights.” These programs will include a discussion of what constitutes sexual harassment and sexual violence, the Charter School’s policies and disciplinary procedures, and the consequences of violating these policies.
The Charter School also will include such information in their employee handbook and any handbooks that student athletes and members of student activity groups receive.
These materials will include where and to whom students should go if they are victims of sexual violence. These materials also will tell students and school employees what to do if they learn of an incident of sexual violence.
ISPA TITLE IX COMPLAINT FORM
PURPOSE: The purpose of this Title IX Grievance Form is to gather the essential basic facts of the alleged actions in order that prompt and equitable resolutions of complaints based on sex discrimination, including complaints of sexual harassment or sexual violence, in violation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (“Title IX”) can be resolved as expediently and appropriately as possible.
This form only applies to complaints alleging discrimination prohibited by Title IX (including sexual harassment and sexual violence).