Equity/Nondiscrimination/Title IX

Equity/Nondiscrimination/504/Title II-ADA/Title IX


Equity/Nondiscrimination

The Sierra Sands Unified School District prohibits discrimination, intimidation, harassment (including sexual harassment) and bullying based on actual or perceived age, ancestry, ethnicity, parental status, pregnancy status, color, mental or physical disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, immigration status, marital status, medical condition, nationality, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics.

Nondiscrimination in Programs and Activities (Education Code 200-262.4; SSUSD Board Policy 0410)

SSUSD is committed to providing a safe school environment where all individuals in education are afforded equal access and opportunities. The District's academic and other educational support programs, services and activities must be free from discrimination, harassment, intimidation, and bullying of any individual based on the person's actual or perceived race, color, ancestry, national origin, immigration status, ethnic group identification, age, religion, political affiliation, marital or parental status, military or veteran status, pregnancy and related conditions, physical or mental disability, genetic information, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or gender expression; or association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics. The District assures that lack of English language skills will not be a barrier to admission or participation in District programs. District programs and facilities, viewed in their entirety, must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and any implementing standards and/or regulations. Complaints of unlawful discrimination are investigated and resolved through the Uniform Complaint Procedures, as described in this section.

Married, Pregnant and Parenting Students (34 CFR 106.40; Education Codes 221.51, 222, 222.5, 46015, 48205; SSUSD Board Policy 5146)

Married, pregnant and parenting students often face overwhelming obstacles to receiving an education of equal quality to that of their peers, placing them at higher risk of dropping out of school. A student under the age of 18 years who enters into a valid marriage has all the rights and privileges of students who are 18 years old, even if the marriage has been dissolved. SSUSD further supports pregnant and parenting students by providing them with the opportunity to succeed academically while protecting their health and the health of their children in the following ways:

  1. The District shall not adopt any rule concerning a student's actual or potential parental, family, or marital status that treats students differently on the basis of sex.
  2. The District will not exclude or deny any student from an educational program or activity, including any class or extracurricular activity, solely on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy, or related recovery; the District will treat pregnancy, childbirth, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy, or related recovery in the same manner and under the same policies as any other temporary disabling condition.
  3. Pregnant and parenting students have the right to participate in the regular education program and will not be required to participate in a pregnant minor program or alternative education program. Students who voluntarily participate in an alternative education program, must be given educational programs, activities, and courses equal to those they would have been in if participating in the regular education program.
  4. The District may require a pregnant or parenting student to obtain the certification of a physician or nurse practitioner that they are physically and emotionally able to participate, or continue to participate, in the regular education program or activity.
  5. The school will provide reasonable accommodations to any lactating student to express breast milk, breastfeed an infant child, or address other needs related to breastfeeding. A student will not incur an academic penalty for using any of these reasonable accommodations and will be provided the opportunity to make up any work missed due to such use. Reasonable accommodations include, but are not limited to:
  1. Access to a private and secure room, other than a restroom, to express breast milk or breastfeed an infant child
  2. Permission to bring onto a school campus a breast pump and any other equipment used to express breast milk
  3. Access to a power source for a breast pump or any other equipment used to express breast milk
  4. Access to a place to store expressed breast milk safely
  5. A reasonable amount of time to accommodate the student's need to express breast milk or breastfeed an infant child

        6.  A pregnant or parenting student will be excused from school when the absence is due to the illness or medical appointment of their child, including absences to care for a sick child.

        7. During the school year in which the birth of the student's infant takes place, a pregnant or parenting student is entitled to eight weeks of parental leave, which the student may take before childbirth if there is a medical necessity and after childbirth to care for and bond with the infant. If deemed medically necessary by the student's physician, parental leave may be extended beyond eight weeks.

        8. Specific to parental leave:

  1. No student is required to take all or part of the parental leave.
  2. A student on parental leave cannot be required to complete academic work or other school requirements but has the right to make up work missed upon return to school.
  3. The student has the right to return to the school and course of study in which they were enrolled before taking parental leave.
  4. The District's Supervisor of Attendance will ensure that absences from school, as a result of the parental leave, are excused until the student returns to school.

A student cannot be penalized for exercising the rights listed above. A complaint of noncompliance by the District can be filed through the Uniform Complaint Procedures, as described in this section.

Safe Place to Learn Act (Education Codes 234, 234.1; SSUSD Board Policy 5131.2)

The Sierra Sands Unified School District prohibits discrimination, harassment, intimidation, and bullying based on the actual or perceived characteristics set forth in PC 422.55, including immigration status, and EC 220, and disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, nationality, race or ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics. All school personnel who witness an act of discrimination, harassment, intimidation, or bullying must take immediate steps to intervene when safe to do so. Any student who engages in acts of discrimination, harassment, violence, intimidation, or bullying related to school activity or school attendance occurring within a District school may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including expulsion.

The policy addressing discrimination, harassment, violence, intimidation, or bullying are posted in all schools and offices, including staff lounges and student government meeting rooms. The posting provides information to students, parents, employees, members of the Governing Board, and the general public on how to file a complaint at the school, the process for investigating complaints, and all applicable timelines. Generally, any student, parent, or other individual may report an incident to a teacher, the principal, a compliance officer, or any other available school employee. The complaint alleging unlawful discrimination, harassment, intimidation, or bullying against any student, employee, or other person participating in District programs and activities will be investigated and resolved through the Uniform Complaint Procedures, as described in this section.

Hate-Motivated Behavior (Education Codes 200-262.4, 48900.3, 48900.4; Penal Code 422.55; SSUSD Board Policy 5145.9)

The SSUSD Governing Board is committed to providing a safe learning environment that protects students from discrimination, harassment, intimidation, bullying, and other behavior motivated by a person's hostility towards another person's real or perceived ethnicity, national origin, immigrant status, sex, gender, sexual orientation, religious belief, age, disability, or any other physical or cultural characteristic. The District will implement strategies to promote harmonious relationships among students, prevent incidents of hate-motivated behavior to the extent possible, and address such incidents if they occur. Any student who engages in hate-motivated behavior at school or at a school-sponsored or school-related activity will be subject to disciplinary action. For students in grades 4 through 12, disciplinary action may include suspension and/or expulsion.

Prevention and Intervention Strategies

Students will be provided with age-appropriate instruction that includes the development of social-emotional learning, promotes their understanding of and respect for human rights, diversity, and acceptance in a multicultural society, and provides strategies to manage conflicts constructively. As necessary, counseling, guidance, and support will be provided to students who are victims of hate-motivated behavior and to students who exhibit such behavior.

Defining Hate-Motivated Behavior

"Hate motivated behavior" is any act, or attempted act, intended to cause emotional suffering, physical injury, or property damage through intimidation, harassment, bigoted slurs or epithets, force or threat of force, or vandalism motivated in part or in whole by hostility towards a victim's real or perceived ethnicity, national origin, immigrant status, religious belief, sex, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, political affiliation, race, or any other physical or cultural characteristic.

A "hate crime" is a criminal act or attempted criminal act committed against a person or the person's property because the person is, or is perceived to be, a member of a protected class.

Reporting and Investigating Allegations of Hate-Motivated Behaviors

Any person who believes that a student is a victim of hate­ motivated behavior is strongly encouraged to report the incident to a teacher, the principal, or other staff member. Any complaint of hate-motivated behavior is investigated and, if determined to be discriminatory, resolved in accordance with law and the Uniform Complaint Procedures, as described in this section. If, during the investigation, it is determined that a complaint is about nondiscriminatory behavior, the principal or designee will inform the complainant and take all necessary actions to resolve the complaint.

Educational Equity (Education Code 234.7; SSUSD Board Policy 5145.13)

All students, regardless of their immigration status or religious beliefs, have the right to a free public education. As such, the District: (1) prohibits discrimination, harassment, intimidation, and bullying based on actual or perceived immigration status; (2) receives and investigates related complaints based on immigration status in accordance with its Uniform Complaint Procedures; (3) prohibits the collection of information or documents regarding the citizenship or immigration status of students or their family members unless required to administer a state or federal program; (4) requires reporting to the Board any requests to gain information or access to a school site by an officer or employee of a law enforcement agency for immigration enforcement purposes; and (5) will first exhaust parents' instruction concerning a student's care in the emergency contact information in the parents' absence and to avoid contacting Child Protective Services unless the District is unable to arrange for care based on parental instruction. The following "know your rights" information regarding immigration-enforcement actions is provided by the California Attorney General.

Know Your Educational Rights

All children have the right to a free public education

  • All children have a right to equal access to free public education, regardless of their or their parents' immigration status.
  • All children in California:
    • Have the right to a free public education.
    • Must be enrolled in school if they are between 6 and 18 years old.
    • Have the right to attend safe, secure, and peaceful schools. Have a right to be in a public school learning environment free from discrimination, harassment, bullying, violence, and intimidation.
    • Have equal opportunity to participate in any program or activity offered by the school without discrimination.

Section 504 (29 USC 794; 34 CFR, Part 104; SSUSD Board Policy 6164.6)

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a federal law which prohibits discrimination against persons with a disability. The SSUSD provides Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) to all students regardless of the nature or severity of their disability. In addition, qualified students with disabilities are provided an equal opportunity to participate in programs and activities that are integral components of the District's basic education program, including, but not limited to, extracurricular athletics, interscholastic sports, and/or other nonacademic activities.

To qualify for Section 504 protections, the student must have a mental or physical impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities. Some students may be eligible for educational services under both Section 504 and IDEA. For the purpose of implementing Section 504, the following terms and phrases are defined below:

  • Physical impairment means any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more body systems, such as neurological, musculoskeletal, special sense organs, respiratory (including speech organs), cardiovascular, reproductive, digestive, genito-urinary, immune, hemic, lymphatic, skin, and endocrine.
  • Mental impairment means any mental or psychological disorder, such as intellectual disability, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disability.
  • Substantially limits major life activities means limiting a person's ability to perform functions, as compared to most people in the general population, such as caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, writing, communicating, and working. Major life activities also include major bodily functions such as functions of the immune system, special sense organs and skin, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, cardiovascular, endocrine, hemic, lymphatic, musculoskeletal, and reproductive functions, as well as the operation of an individual organ within a body system.

The District has a responsibility to identify, evaluate, and if eligible, provide students with disabilities the same opportunity to benefit from education programs, services, or activities as provided to their non-disabled peers. A parent, teacher, other school employee, student success team, or community agency may refer a student to the principal or 504 Coordinator for identification as a student with a disability under Section 504.

If a student needs or is believed to need special education or related services under Section 504, the District will obtain written parent consent to conduct an evaluation of the student prior to initial placement. The determination will be based on a review of the student's school records, including those in academic and nonacademic areas of the school program; consultation with the student's teacher(s), other professionals, and the parent, as appropriate; and analysis of the student's needs.

If, upon evaluation, a student is determined to be eligible for services under Section 504, a team will develop a written 504 services plan that specifies the types of regular or special education services, accommodations, and supplementary aids and services necessary to ensure that the student receives FAPE.

For additional information about the rights of parents of eligible students, or questions regarding the identification, evaluation, and eligibility of Section 504 protections, please contact the District's Section 504 Coordinator.

District Section 504 Coordinator

Kevin Wythe, Coordinator of Student Support Services
Sierra Sands Unified School District
Sierra Vista Education Center
1327 A N. Norma St. Ridgecrest, CA 93555
Email: [email protected] Phone: (760) 499-1700

Education for Foster Youth (Education Codes 48204, 48853, 48853.5, 51225.1, 51225.2; SSUSD Board Policy 6173.1)

A foster youth means a child who has been removed from their home pursuant to WIC 309, is the subject of a petition filed under WIC 300 or 602, or has been removed from their home and is the subject of a petition filed under WIC 300 or 602, or is a nonminor who is under the transition jurisdiction of a juvenile court, as described in WIC 450, who satisfies the criteria specified in EC 42238.01.

District Foster Youth Educational Liaison

The District's educational liaison for foster youth is:

Lisa Decker, Coordinator of State and Federal Programs
Sierra Sands Unified School District
1323 N. Norma St. Ridgecrest, CA 93555
Email: [email protected] Phone: (760) 499-1640

The role of the educational liaison is to: (1) ensure and facilitate the proper educational placement, enrollment in school, and checkout from school of foster youth; (2) assist foster youth when transferring from one school or school district to another school or school district in ensuring proper transfer of records, credits, and grades; (3) notify a foster youth's attorney and county welfare agency representative(s) when the foster youth is undergoing any expulsion or other disciplinary proceeding, including a manifestation determination review, when they are a student with a disability; and (4) address any disputes over school selection or enrollment.

The following link is for the standardized notice of foster youth rights posted on the CDE website:

https://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/pf/fy/documents/fosteryouthedrights.pdf

The following is a brief summary of a foster youth's rights:

  1. Right to attend either the "school of origin" or the current school of residence. The school of origin can be the school attended when the student first entered foster care, the school most recently attended, or any school the foster youth attended in the last 15 months.
  2. Right to immediate enrollment even if the foster youth is unable to produce records normally required for enrollment (e.g., proof of  residency, birth certificate, immunization, transcript), does not have clothing normally required by the school (e.g., school uniforms), or has outstanding fees, fines, textbooks, or other monies due to the school last attended.
  3. Right to file a complaint through the Uniform Complaint Procedures if there is an allegation that the District has not complied with requirements regarding the education of foster youth.

Education for Homeless Youth - Families in Transition (42 US 11432; Education Codes 48853, 49069, 51225.1, 51225.2; SSUSD Board Policy 6173)

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act for Homeless Children and Youth entitles all homeless school-aged children to the same free and appropriate public education that is provided to non-homeless students. A homeless youth is defined as a child who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence and includes children and youth who: are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason; may be living in motels, hotels, trailer parkers, or shelters; have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings; are living in cars, parks, public spaces abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings; or are migratory children who qualify as homeless because of similar living circumstances.

District Homeless Youth Educational Liaison

The District's educational liaison for homeless youth is:

Lisa Decker, Coordinator of State and Federal Programs
Sierra Sands Unified School District
1323 N. Norma St. Ridgecrest, CA 93555
Email: [email protected] Phone: (760) 499-1640

The role of the educational liaison is to: (1) ensure that homeless students are identified so that they have access to and receive educational services for which they are eligible; (2) assist homeless students when transferring from one school or school district to another school or school district in ensuring proper transfer of records, credits, and grades; (3) ensure that homeless families and students receive referrals for services, such as health care, dental, mental health, and housing; (4) assist, facilitate, or represent a homeless student who is undergoing disciplinary proceeding that could result in expulsion from the District; (5) participate in an IEP or Section 504 team meeting to make a manifestation determination regarding the behavior of a homeless student with disability; and (6) address any disputes over school selection or enrollment.

The following is a brief summary of a homeless youth's rights:

  1. Right to attend either the "school of origin" or the current school of residence, and not be required to attend a separate school for homeless children or youth. The school of origin can be the school attended when the student had permanent housing, the school most recently attended, or any school the homeless youth attended in the last 15 months. Transportation may be provided.
  2. Right to immediate enrollment even if the homeless youth is unable to produce records normally required for enrollment (e.g., proof of residency, birth certificate, immunization, transcript), does not have clothing normally required by the school (e.g., school uniforms), or has outstanding fees, fines, textbooks, or other monies due to the school last attended.
  3. Right to automatically qualify for child nutrition programs.
  4. Right to not be stigmatized by school personnel.
  5. Right to file a complaint through the Uniform Complaint Procedures if there is an allegation that the District has not complied with requirements regarding the education of homeless youth.

Unaccompanied youth who meet the definition of homeless youth are also eligible for rights and services under the McKinney­ Vento Act. An unaccompanied youth is defined as a minor who is not in the physical custody of a parent.

Uniform Complaint Procedures (5 CCR 4600-4670; Education Code 33315; SSUSD Board Policy 1312.3)

Sierra Sands Unified School District has the primary responsibility to ensure compliance with applicable state and federal laws and regulations governing education programs. The Uniform Complaint Procedures (UCP) will be used to investigate and resolve complaints.

How do I file a discrimination, harassment, intimidation, and/or bullying complaint?

A student, parent, guardian, employee, individual, or organization may file a written complaint alleging discrimination, harassment, intimidation, and/or bullying on the basis of a protected characteristic under the applicable district’s Uniform Complaint Procedure by sending a complaint to:

Title IX Coordinator

Bryan Auld, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources
Sierra Sands Unified School District
113 W. Felspar Ave., Ridgecrest, CA 93555
Email: [email protected] Phone: (760) 499-1620

If you need assistance putting your complaint in writing, please contact the district by calling the Human Resources Department at (760) 499-1620. You may file a complaint anonymously, but the district’s ability to investigate and respond may be limited by a lack of information.

You may also file a discrimination complaint with the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights.  The electronic complaint form for the Office for Civil Rights is available online at https://ocrcas.ed.gov/. Contact the Office for Civil Rights at:

Pacific Region
Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
90 7th Street, Suite 4-100
San Francisco, CA 94103
Telephone: (800) 368-1019
Fax: (202) 619-3818; TDD: (800) 877-8339
Email: [email protected]

When must a complaint be filed?

A complaint alleging unlawful discrimination or retaliation must be filed no later than six months from the date the discrimination or retaliation occurred, or six months from when the complainant first learned of the unlawful discrimination.  The Superintendent or designee may extend this timeline by up to ninety days for good cause, upon written request by the complainant setting forth the reasons for the extension.

How will a complaint be investigated?

Complaints filed under the district’s Uniform Complaint Procedure will be investigated and a decision made within sixty calendar days of the district’s receipt unless the complainant agrees to an extension.  The district’s compliance officer or designee may interview alleged victims, alleged offenders, and relevant witnesses.  The compliance officer may review available records, statements, or notes related to the complaint, including evidence or information received from the parties during the investigation.  The compliance officer may visit reasonably accessible locations where discrimination is alleged to have occurred.  As appropriate, the district’s compliance officer periodically will inform the parties of the status of the investigation.  The complainant will be notified when a decision is made. Complaints that are not filed under the district’s Uniform Complaint Procedure will be investigated and decided pursuant to the applicable procedure.



CAREER TECHNICAL EDUCATION
(CTE)

 ANNUAL NOTIFICATION

Prior to the beginning of each school year, the Sierra Sands Unified School District advises students, parents/guardians, employees, and the general public that all Career Technical Education (CTE) opportunities are offered without regard to any actual or perceived characteristic protected from discrimination by law. The District will take steps to ensure that the lack of English language skills will not be a barrier to admission and participation in the CTE program. (Board Policy 6178) (20 USC 2354; 34 CFR 100 Appendix B, 104.8, 106.9)

Nondiscrimination in District Programs and Activities: The District is committed to providing equal opportunity to all individuals in district programs and activities. District programs and activities shall be free from unlawful discrimination, including discrimination against an individual or group based on race, color, ancestry, nationality, national origin, immigration status, ethnic group identification, age, religion, marital, pregnancy, or parental status, physical or mental disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or expression, or genetic information; a perception of one or more of such characteristics; or association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics. (Board Policy 0410) As applicable, the district provides equal access to the Boy Scouts of America and other designated youth groups. (34 CFR 106.8(b); 34 CFR 104.8; 34 CFR 100.6(d); 28 CFR 35.106; 20 USC 790).

Career Technical Education Opportunities Offered to All Students: The governing board desires to provide a comprehensive career technical education (CTE) program in the secondary grades which integrates core academic instruction with technical and occupational instruction in order to increase student achievement, graduation rates, and readiness for postsecondary education and employment. The district’s CTE program is designed to help students develop the academic, career, and technical skills needed to succeed in a knowledge- and skills-based economy. The program includes a rigorous academic component and provides students with practical experience and understanding of all aspects of an industry. (Board Policy 6178)

The Sierra Sands Unified School District currently offers CTE programs as follows at Burroughs High School:

  • Automotive Systems Diagnostics/Service & Repair: Prepares students to use diagnostic equipment to find automotive operational faults, document the faults, and repair them.
  • Cabinetry, Millwork, and Woodworking: Students engage in the planning, design, layout, and technical drawing interpretation for practical use in cabinetry, millwork, and woodworking. Provides students with knowledge of different cabinet and furniture styles, wood products and materials, and proper tool selection.
  • Engineering Design: Provides a strong foundation in engineering and design. The students are engaged in an instructional program that integrates academic and technical preparation and focuses on career awareness, exploration, and preparation.
  • Food Service and Hospitality: Prepares students for careers in the restaurant and retail food service occupations. Focus on knowledge of safety and food sanitation, cooking methods, and principles.
  • Public Safety: Prepares students for Public Safety occupations including police, corrections, and homeland security. Students learn about the theories, principles, and techniques including policies, procedures, and skills needed in services that provide for the safety and security of people and property and prevention of theft and damage.
  • Welding and Materials Joining: Provides students with an understanding of manufacturing processes and systems common to careers in welding and related industries.

For inquiries regarding CTE pathways, contact:

Carrie Cope, Principal
Sierra Sands Unified School District
Burroughs High School
500 E. French Ave. Ridgecrest, CA 9355
[email protected] (760) 499-1800


AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT (ADA)

The Sierra Sands Unified School District is committed to achieving full compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.  

Sierra Sands Unified School District DOES NOT:

  • Deny the benefits of District programs, services and activities to qualified individuals with a disability on the basis of a disability.
  • Discriminate on the basis of disability in access to or provision of programs, services, activities of the District, or application for employment or employment to qualified individuals with disabilities.
  • Provide separate, unequal or different programs, services or activities, unless the separate or different programs are necessary to ensure that the benefits and services are equally effective.

The Sierra Sands Unified School District operates its programs so that, when viewed in their entirety, they are readily accessible to or usable by individuals with disabilities.

The Sierra Sands Unified School District welcomes those with disabilities to participate fully in the programs, services and activities offered to students, parents, guardians and members of the public.  If you need a disability-related modification or accommodation, including auxiliary aids or services, to participate in any program, service or activity offered to you, contact the district ADA Coordinator at least 48 hours before the scheduled event so that we may make every reasonable effort to accommodate you. [Government Code Section 54953.2; Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Section 202 (42 U.S.C. Section 12132).]

The U.S. Department of Education has recognized the importance of extracurricular activities, particularly club, intramural and interscholastic athletics in the daily lives of all students including qualified students with disabilities.  The Sierra Sands Unified School District wishes to be responsive and compliant with this law and to that end has and will implement appropriate procedures to assess a student with disabilities qualifications to participate in extracurricular activities, work with the appropriate organizations, leagues and clubs to ensure compliance, and work to provide reasonable accommodation whenever practicable and consistent with the stated purpose of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

In accordance with Section 35.106 of the Americans with Disabilities Act, all participants, applicants, organizations and interested individuals are advised and noticed that the ADA Coordinator for the District is:

ADA/Title II Coordinator

Kevin Wythe, Coordinator of Student Support Services
Sierra Vista Educational Center
Sierra Sands Unified School District
1327 A N. Norma St.
Ridgecrest, CA  93555
Email: [email protected] Phone: (760) 499-1700


Title IX

What is Title IX? 

Title IX: Sex Equity in Education Act (20 USC 1681-1688; Education Code 221.61, 221.8)

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is one of several federal and state anti-discrimination laws that ensure equality in educational programs and activities that receive federal funding. Specifically, Title IX protects students, employees, applicants for admission and employment, and other persons from all forms of sex discrimination, including discrimination based on gender identity or failure to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity. All students (as well as other persons) are protected by Title IX-regardless of their sex, gender, gender expression, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, race, or national origin - in all aspects of the district's educational programs and activities. California law further provides that students may not be discriminated against based on their parental, family, or marital status, and pregnant and parenting students may not be excluded from participating in any educational program, including extracurricular activities, for which they qualify. The essence of Title IX is to ensure that students (as well as other persons) are not excluded, separated, denied benefits to, or otherwise treated differently on the basis of sex unless expressly authorized to do so under state or federal law in areas including, but not limited to: recruitment, admissions, and counseling; financial assistance; athletics; sex-based harassment; treatment of pregnant and parenting students; discipline; single-sex education; and employment.

Title IX information provided here applies to every school site and to all district programs and activities.

Under Title IX, students in Sierra Sands Unified School District have the right to:

  1. Fair and equitable treatment that is free from discrimination based on sex.
  2. Not be required to take and/or be denied enrollment in a course based on the student's gender, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation.
  3. Not be subjected to separate or different rules of behavior, sanctions, or other treatment, such as discriminatory discipline policies and practices, based on sex.
  4. Be provided with an equitable opportunity to participate in all academic extracurricular activities, including athletics.
  5. Inquire of the school's athletic director as to the athletic opportunities offered by the school.
  6. Apply for athletic scholarships.
  7. Receive equitable treatment and benefits in the provision of all of the following: equipment and supplies; scheduling of games and practices; transportation and daily allowances; access to tutoring; coaching; locker rooms; practice and competitive facilities; medical and training facilities and services; and publicity.
  8. Access to the District's compliance officer to answer questions regarding gender equity laws.
  9. Contact the California Department of Education (CDE) and the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) to get information on gender equity laws.
  10. File a confidential discrimination complaint with the United States Office of Civil Rights (OCR) or CDE if discrimination, or unequal treatment, on the basis of sex has occurred.
  11. Pursue civil remedies as a result of discrimination.
  12. Be protected against retaliation for filing a discrimination complaint.

Learn more about your rights under Title IX:

Visit the website of the California Department of Education of Equal Opportunity  and the webpage on Gender Equity/Title IX

The district has a responsibility to respond promptly and effectively to sex-based discrimination, including sexual harassment and sexual violence.  If the district knows or reasonably should know about sex discrimination, it must take action to eliminate the sex discrimination, prevent its

recurrence, and address its effects.  The district must resolve complaints of sex discrimination promptly and equitably.  Information on filing a complaint alleging sex-based discrimination is below, including contact information for the district’s Title IX Coordinator. Any complaint alleging noncompliance with Title IX will be investigated and resolved through the Uniform Complaint Procedures. Questions and complaints regarding the District's non-discrimination policies specific to Title IX may be directed to the Title IX Coordinator as well.

Who is the Title IX Coordinator?

The district has a Title IX Coordinator who oversees the district’s compliance with Title IX requirements and promotes sex equity in the district’s programs.  Contact the district’s Title IX Coordinator:

Title IX Coordinator

Bryan Auld, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources
Sierra Sands Unified School District
113 W. Felspar Ave., Ridgecrest, CA 93555
Email: [email protected] Phone: (760) 499-1620

Sexual Harassment (5 CCR 4917; Education Codes 231.5, 48900.2; SSUSD Board Policy 5145.7)

The Governing Board is committed to maintaining a learning environment that is free of harassment. Sexual harassment of students at school or at school-sponsored or school-related activities is prohibited. Retaliatory behavior or action against any person who reports, files a complaint, or testifies about, or otherwise supports a complainant in alleging sexual harassment is also prohibited. Any student who engages in sexual harassment or sexual violence at school or at a school-sponsored or school­ related activity will be subject to disciplinary action. For students in grades 4 through 12, disciplinary action may include suspension and/or expulsion, provided that in imposing such discipline the entire circumstances of the incident(s) will be taken into account.

Defining Sexual Harassment (34 CFR 106.30(a))

Prohibited sexual harassment includes, but is not limited to, unwelcome sexual advances, unwanted requests for sexual favors or other unwanted verbal, visual or physical conduct of a sexual nature made against another person of the same or opposite sex, in the educational setting, under any of the following conditions:

  1. Submission to the conduct is explicitly or implicitly made a term or condition of a student's academic status or progress.
  2. Submission to or rejection of the conduct by a student is used as the basis for academic decisions affecting the student.
  3. The conduct has the purpose or effect of having a negative impact on the student's academic performance or of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational environment.
  4. Submission to or rejection of the conduct by the student is used as the basis for any decision affecting the student regarding benefits and services, honors, programs, or activities available at or through any district program or activity.

Examples of types of conduct which are prohibited and which may constitute sexual harassment include, but are not limited to:

  • Unwelcome leering, sexual flirtations, or propositions
  • Unwelcome sexual slurs, epithets, threats, verbal abuse, derogatory comments, or sexually degrading descriptions
  • Graphic verbal comments about an individual's body or overly personal conversation
  • Sexual jokes, derogatory posters, notes, stories, cartoons, drawings, pictures, obscene gestures, or computer-generated images of a sexual nature
  • Spreading sexual rumors
  • Teasing or sexual remarks about students enrolled in a predominantly single-sex class
  • Massaging, grabbing, fondling, stroking, or brushing the body
  • Touching an individual's body or clothes in a sexual way
  • Impeding or blocking movements or any physical interference with school activities when directed at an individual on the basis of sex
  • Displaying sexually suggestive objects
  • Sexual assault, sexual battery, or sexual coercion
  • Electronic communications containing comments, words, or images described above.

Any prohibited conduct that occurs off campus or outside of school-related or school-sponsored programs or activities will be regarded as sexual harassment in violation of District policy if it has a continuing effect on or creates a hostile school environment for the complainant or victim of the conduct.

Reporting and Investigating Allegations of Sexual Harassment

Any student who feels that they are being or have been sexually harassed on school grounds or at a school-sponsored or school­ related activity by another student, an employee, or a third party or who have witnessed sexual harassment is strongly encouraged to report the incident to their teacher, the principal, or any other available school employee. An employee who receives a report or observes an incident of sexual harassment will notify the principal or the District compliance officer within one school day. The employee will take these actions, whether or not the alleged victim files a complaint. Once notified, the principal or compliance officer will take the steps to investigate and address the allegation. Any complaint alleging sexual harassment will be investigated and resolved through the Uniform Complaint Procedures, as described in this section.

When a verbal or informal report of sexual harassment is submitted, the principal or compliance officer will inform the student or parent of the right to file a formal written complaint in accordance with the District's Uniform Complaint Procedures. Regardless of whether a formal complaint is filed, the principal or compliance officer will take steps to investigate the allegations and, if sexual harassment is found, will take prompt action to stop it, prevent a recurrence, and address any continuing effects.

All complaints and allegations of sexual harassment are kept confidential except as necessary to carry out the investigation or take other subsequent necessary action. However, when a complainant or victim of sexual harassment notifies the District of the harassment but requests confidentiality, the compliance officer will inform the complainant or victim that the request may limit the District's ability to investigate the harassment or take other necessary action. When honoring a request for confidentiality, the District will nevertheless take all reasonable steps to investigate and respond to the complaint consistent with the request. When a complainant or victim of sexual harassment notifies the District of the harassment but requests that the District not pursue an investigation, the District will determine whether or not it can honor such a request while still providing a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for all students.

If you need assistance putting your complaint in writing, please contact the district by calling the Human Resources Department at (760) 499-1620. You may file a complaint anonymously, but the district’s ability to investigate and respond may be limited by a lack of information.

You may also file a discrimination complaint with the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights.  The electronic complaint form for the Office for Civil Rights is available online at https://ocrcas.ed.gov/. Contact the Office for Civil Rights at:

Pacific Region
Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
90 7th Street, Suite 4-100
San Francisco, CA 94103
Telephone: (800) 368-1019
Fax: (202) 619-3818; TDD: (800) 877-8339
Email: [email protected]

For information about how to file other types of complaints and the procedures for those complaints, please contact the Human Resources Department at (760) 499-1620.

When must a complaint be filed?

A complaint alleging unlawful discrimination or retaliation must be filed no later than six months from the date the discrimination or retaliation occurred, or six months from when the complainant first learned of the unlawful discrimination.  The Superintendent or designee may extend this timeline by up to ninety days for good cause, upon written request by the complainant setting forth the reasons for the extension.

What happens when the investigation is complete?

For complaints filed under the Uniform Complaint Procedure, the compliance officer will prepare and send a final written decision to the complainant and respondent, if any, within 60 calendar days of the district’s receipt of the complaint (unless this deadline is extended by mutual agreement).

The complainant or respondent may appeal the district’s decision within fifteen calendar days to the California Department of Education.  The appeal must specify the reason for the appeal and whether the district’s facts are incorrect and/or the law is misapplied.  The appeal must include a copy of the original complaint to the district and a copy of the district’s decision.  For more information, visit the California Department of Education’s webpage on Uniform Complaint Procedures.

For complaints alleging unlawful discrimination based on state law, the complainant may pursue available civil law remedies, including seeking assistance from mediation centers or public/private interest attorneys, sixty calendar days after filing an appeal with the California Department of Education.  (California Education Code § 262.3.)  Note that this sixty-day moratorium does not apply to complaints seeking injunctive relief in state courts or to discrimination complaints based on federal law.  (California Education Code § 262.3.)

Complaints may also be filed with the United States Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, within 180 days of the alleged discrimination. For contact information, see the section above on “How do I file a complaint of sex discrimination?” 

If the compliance officer finds that a complaint has merit, the district will take appropriate corrective action. 

Records of all reported cases of sexual harassment are maintained to enable the District to monitor, address and prevent repetitive harassing behavior in its schools.


Staff Title IX Training

Please refer to the SSUSD’s board policy and administrative regulations below for more information on the district’s anti-discrimination policies.

Board Policy:

Administrative Regulations:

AR 5145.3 Nondiscrimination/Harassment

Review related district policies and regulations: 

 

Website by SchoolMessenger Presence. © 2023 Intrado Corporation. All rights reserved.