- Section 504
- Title IX Compliance
- Uniform Complaints & Procedures
- Parent Policy
- Sexual Harassment
- Special Education Complaints & Proceedures
- Teacher Qualification Notices
- Williams Act Settlements & Complaints
- Student Suicide Prevention
- Preventing & Responding to Hate Violence
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Section 504 is an Act that prohibits discrimination against persons with a disability. The regulations implementing the Act define a person with a 504 disability as anyone who:
- Has a mental or physical impairment which substantially limits one or more life activities (education is a major life activity);
- Has a record of such impairment; or
- Is regarding as having such an impairment.
In order to fulfill its obligation under Section 504, the Amador County Unified School District and the Amador County Office of Education recognize a responsibility to avoid discrimination in policies and practices regarding its personnel and students. No discrimination against any person with a disability will knowingly be permitted in any of the programs and practices in the school system.
The Amador County Unified School District and the Amador County Office of Education have the responsibility to provide a free and appropriate education to all students. Under the Act, this includes the responsibility to identify, evaluate, and if the student is determined to be eligible under Section 504, to provide services and reasonable accommodation(s) to assure a free and appropriate education.
Information Regarding Section 504: Procedural Safeguards
Section 504 is an Act that prohibits discrimination against persons with a disability. The regulations implementing the Act define a person with a 504 disability as anyone who:
- Has a mental or physical impairment which substantially limits one or more life activities (education is a major life activity);
- Has a record of such impairment; or
- Is regarding as having such an impairment.
In order to fulfill its obligation under Section 504, the Amador County Unified School District and the Amador County Office of Education recognizes a responsibility to avoid discrimination in policies and practices regarding its personnel and students. No discrimination against any person with a disability will knowingly be permitted in any of the programs and practices in the school system.
The school district and county office of education have the responsibility to provide a free and appropriate education to all students. Under the Act, this includes the responsibility to identify, evaluate, and if the student is determined to be eligible under Section 504, to provide services and reasonable accommodation(s) to assure a free and appropriate education.
- The right to be informed of all rights under Section 504. (This notice will serve to advise all interested parties concerning these rights).
- The right to an appropriate education designed to meet the student’s educational needs as adequately as the needs of non-disabled students are met.
- The right to placement in the least restrictive environment.
- The right to an evaluation prior to an initial Section 504 placement and subsequent significant change in placement.
- The right to be notified in writing of all the District decisions concerning identification, evaluation, or educational placement.
- The right for the parent/guardian or a qualified disabled student to review relevant records at the school site or at the District Office.
- The right to appeal decision(s) made by the District relating to the identification, evaluation, or education placement/services recommended for the student.
Section 504 Coordinators
|Amador County USD & COE||Sean Snider||(209) email@example.com|
|Amador High School||Katrina Ramos||(209) firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Argonaut High School||Jazmine Haedrich||(209) email@example.com|
|Educational Options||Lori Martinez||(209) firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Ione Junior High School||Rebecca White||(209) email@example.com|
|Jackson Junior High School||Alexandra Taverna||(209) firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Ione Elementary School||Mike Huss||(209) email@example.com|
|Jackson Elementary School||Nicole Gravette||(209) firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Pine Grove Elementary School||John Hawley||(209) email@example.com|
|Pioneer Elementary School||Carmen Glaister||(209) firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Plymouth Elementary School||Joseph Horacek||(209) email@example.com|
|Sutter Creek Elementary/Primary School||Tia Peters||(209) firstname.lastname@example.org|
TITLE IX COMPLIANCE
Under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972:
No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) enforces, among other statutes, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Title IX protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive Federal financial assistance. 20 U.S.C.§ 1681(a)
Title IX prohibits sex discrimination in educational institutions that receive federal funding. While Title IX is a very short statute, Supreme Court decisions and guidance from the U.S. Department of Education have given it a broad scope. For example, sex discrimination includes sexual harassment and sexual violence since it creates a hostile educational environment. Under Title IX, schools are legally required to respond and remedy hostile educational environments and failure to do so is a violation that means a school could risk losing its federal funding.
Click here to view more important information on Title IX Compliance
UNIFORM COMPLAINTS & PROCEDURES
Uniform Complaint Procedures
We are primarily responsible for compliance with federal and state laws and regulations. Any student, staff member or parent/guardian who feels that unlawful discrimination, harassment, intimidation, bullying or sexual harassment has occurred should immediately contact a teacher, the school principal or our district Title IX compliance officer. Copies of the complaint procedures are available free of charge at school or district offices at the district office.
Uniform Complaint Process
Obtain a copy of the form here, any school site or Title IX compliance officer. Submit the complaint form to the Title IX compliance officer.
Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources & Labor Relations
217 Rex Avenue
Jackson, CA 95642
Our district will investigate the complaint and provide a written report of the investigation and decision within 40 calendar days of when the complaint is filed.
Mediation is optional. It involves a third party who assists the parties in resolving the dispute. If mediation is used, the timelines are extended by 30 days.
If the person making the complaint disagrees with our district’s decision, he/she has five days to appeal the decision to the school district board of education; or alternatively, 15 days to appeal the decision to the California Department of Education. A person filing a complaint may also seek civil law remedies, subject to certain timelines.
At any time, a complainant has the right to file a complaint alleging violations of federal laws or regulations, prohibiting unlawful discrimination, , intimidation and/or bullying based on actual or perceived sex, race or ethnicity, color, national origin, nationality, religion, age, sexual orientation, sexual preference, ancestry, ethnic group identification, gender, gender expression, gender identity, physical or mental disability or on the basis of a person’s association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics with the United States Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, 50 Beale Street, Suite 7200, San Francisco, CA 94105.
Complaints will be kept as confidential as appropriate. Amador Unified prohibits retaliation against any participant in the complaint process. Each complaint shall be investigated promptly and in a way that respects the privacy of all parties concerned. If you have a uniform complaint, contact a teacher, principal, site administrator or our district office.
For concerns that do not meet uniform complaint guidelines, contact your school site for assistance.
PARENT INVOLVEMENT POLICY
To ensure that parents/guardians of students participating in Title I programs are provided with opportunities to be involved in their children’s education, the Superintendent or designee shall:
- Involve parents/guardians of participating students in the joint development of the Title I local educational agency (LEA) plan pursuant to 20 USC 6312 and the process of school review and improvement pursuant to 20 USC 6316 (20 USC 6318)The Superintendent or designee may:
- Establish a district-level committee including parent/guardian representatives from each school site to review and comment on the LEA plan in accordance with the review schedule established by the Board of Education
- Ensure that there is an opportunity at a public Board meeting for public comment on the LEA plan prior to the Board’s approval of the plan or revisions to the plan
- Ensure that school-level policies on parent involvement address the role of school site councils and other parents/guardians as appropriate in the development and review of school plans
- Provide coordination, technical assistance, and other support necessary to assist Title I schools in planning and implementing effective parent involvement activities to improve student academic achievement and school performance (20 USC 6318)The Superintendent or designee may:
- Assign person(s) in the district office to serve as a liaison to the schools regarding Title I parent involvement issues
- Provide training for the principal or designee of each participating school regarding Title I requirements for parent involvement, leadership strategies, and communication skills to assist him/her in facilitating the planning and implementation of parent involvement activities
- Provide ongoing district-level workshops to assist school site staff and parents/guardians in planning and implementing improvement strategies, and seek input from parents/guardians in developing the workshops
- Provide information to schools about the indicators and assessment tools that will be used to monitor progress
- Build the capacity of schools and parents/guardians for strong parent involvement (20 USC 6318)The Superintendent or designee shall: (20 USC 6318)
- Assist parents/guardians in understanding such topics as the state’s academic content standards and academic achievement standards, state and local academic assessments, the requirements of Title I, and how to monitor a child’s progress and work with educators to improve the achievement of their children
- Provide materials and training to help parents/guardians work with their children to improve their children’s achievement, such as literacy training and using technology, as appropriate, to foster parent involvement
- Educate teachers, student services personnel, principals, and other staff, with the assistance of parents/guardians, in the value and utility of parent/guardian contributions and in how to reach out to, communicate with, and work with parents/guardians as equal partners, implement and coordinate parent/guardian programs, and build ties between parents/guardians and the schools
- To the extent feasible and appropriate, coordinate and integrate parent involvement programs and activities with Head Start, Preschool Youngsters, public preschool, and other programs, and conduct other activities, such as parent resource centers, that encourage and support parents/guardians in more fully participating in their children’s education
- Ensure that information related to school and parent/guardian programs, meetings, and other activities is sent to the parents/guardians of participating students in a format and, to the extent practicable, in a language the parents/guardians can understand
- Provide other such reasonable support for parent involvement activities as parents/guardians may request
- Inform parents/guardians and parent organizations of the existence and purpose of parent information and resource centers in the state that provide training, information, and support to parents/guardians of participating students. In addition, the Superintendent or designee may:
- Involve parents/guardians in the development of training for teachers, principals, and other educators to improve the effectiveness of such training
- Provide necessary literacy training, using Title I funds if the district has exhausted all other reasonably available sources of funding for such training
- Pay reasonable and necessary expenses associated with parent involvement activities, including transportation and child care costs, to enable parents/guardians to participate in school-related meetings and training sessions
- Train parents/guardians to enhance the involvement of other parents/guardians
- Arrange school meetings at a variety of times or, when parents/guardians are unable to attend such conferences, conduct in-home conferences between parents/guardians and teachers or other educators who work directly with participating students
- Adopt and implement model approaches to improving parent involvement
- Establish a district-wide parent advisory council to provide advice on all matters related to parent involvement in Title I programs
- Develop appropriate roles for community-based organizations and businesses in parent involvement activities
- Make referrals to community agencies and organizations that offer literacy training, parent education programs, and/or other services that help to improve the conditions of parents/guardians and families
- Provide a master calendar of district activities and district meetings
- Provide information about opportunities for parent involvement through the district newsletter, website, or other written or electronic means
- Engage parent-teacher organizations to actively seek out and involve parents/guardians through regular communication updates and information sessions
- To the extent practicable, provide translation services at school sites and at meetings involving parents/guardians as needed
- Provide training and information to members of district and school site councils and advisory committees to help them fulfill their functions
- Regularly evaluate the effectiveness of staff development activities related to parent involvement
- Include expectations for parent/guardian outreach and involvement in staff job descriptions and evaluations
- Coordinate and integrate Title I parent involvement strategies with Head Start, Preschool Youngsters, public preschool, and other programs (20 USC 6318)The Superintendent or designee may:
- Identify overlapping or similar program requirements
- Involve district and school site representatives from other programs to assist in identifying specific population needs
- Schedule joint meetings with representatives from related programs and share data and information across programs
- Develop a cohesive, coordinated plan focused on student needs and shared goals
- Conduct, with involvement of parents/guardians, an annual evaluation of the content and effectiveness of the parent involvement policy in improving the academic quality of the schools served by Title I (20 USC 6318)The Superintendent or designee shall:
- Ensure that the evaluation include the identification of barriers to greater participation in parent involvement activities, with particular attention to parents/guardians who are economically disadvantaged, are disabled, have limited English proficiency, have limited literacy, or are of any racial or ethnic minority background (20 USC 6318)
- Use the evaluation results to design strategies for more effective parent involvement and, if necessary, to recommend changes in the parent involvement policy (20 USC 6318)The Superintendent or designee may:
- Use a variety of methods, such as focus groups, surveys, and workshops, to evaluate the satisfaction of parents/guardians and staff with the quality and frequency of district communications
- Gather and monitor data regarding the number of parents/guardians participating in district activities and the types of activities in which they are engaged
- Recommend to the Board measures to evaluate the impact of the district’s parent involvement efforts on student achievement
- Involve parents/guardians in the activities of schools served by Title I (20 USC 6318)The Superintendent or designee may:
- Include information about school activities in district communications to parents/guardians
- To the extent practicable, assist schools with translation services or other accommodations needed to encourage participation of parents/guardians with special needs
- Establish processes to encourage parent/guardian input regarding their expectations and concerns for their children
The district’s Board policy and administrative regulation containing parent involvement strategies shall be incorporated into the LEA plan and distributed to parents/guardians of students participating in Title I programs. (20 USC 6318)
School-Level Policies for Title I Schools
At each school receiving Title I funds, a written policy on parent involvement shall be developed jointly with and agreed upon by parents/guardians of participating students. Such policy shall describe the means by which the school will: (20 USC 6318)
- Convene an annual meeting, at a convenient time, to which all parents/guardians of participating students shall be invited and encouraged to attend, in order to inform parents/guardians of their school’s participation in Title I and to explain Title I requirements and the right of parents/guardians to be involved
- Offer a flexible number of meetings, such as meetings in the morning or evening, for which related transportation, child care, and/or home visits may be provided as such services relate to parent involvement
- Involve parents/guardians in an organized, ongoing, and timely way in the planning, review, and improvement of Title I programs, including the planning, review, and improvement of the school’s parent involvement policy and, if applicable, the joint development of the plan for school-wide programs pursuant to (20 USC 6314)The school may use an existing process for involving parents/guardians in the joint planning and design of the school’s programs provided that the process includes adequate representation of parents/guardians of participating students.
- Provide the parents/guardians of participating students all of the following:
- Timely information about Title I programs
- A description and explanation of the school’s curriculum, forms of academic assessment used to measure student progress, and the proficiency levels students are expected to meet
- If requested by parents/guardians, opportunities for regular meetings to formulate suggestions and to participate, as appropriate, in decisions related to their children’s education, and, as soon as practicably possible, responses to the suggestions of parents/guardians
- If the school-wide program plan is not satisfactory to the parents/guardians of participating students, submit any parent/guardian comments when the school makes the plan available to the district
- Jointly develop with the parents/guardians of participating students a school-parent compact that outlines how parents/guardians, the entire school staff, and students will share responsibility for improved student academic achievement and the means by which the school and parents/guardians will build a partnership to help students achieve state standards. This compact shall address:
- The school’s responsibility to provide high-quality curriculum and instruction in a supportive and effective learning environment that enables participating students to achieve the state’s student academic achievement standards
- Ways in which parents/guardians will be responsible for supporting their children’s learning, such as monitoring attendance, homework completion, and television viewing; volunteering in the classroom; and participating, as appropriate, in decisions related to their children’s education and the positive use of extracurricular time
- The importance of communication between teachers and parents/guardians on an ongoing basis through, at a minimum:
- Parent-teacher conferences in elementary schools, at least annually, during which the compact shall be discussed as it relates to the student’s achievement
- Frequent reports to parents/guardians on their children’s progress
- Reasonable access to staff, opportunities to volunteer and participate in their child’s classroom, and observation of classroom activities
- Build the capacity of the school and parents/guardians for strong parent involvement by implementing the activities described in items #3a-f in the section “District Strategies for Title I Schools” above
- To the extent practicable, provide full opportunities for the participation of parents/guardians with limited English proficiency, parents/guardians with disabilities, and parents/guardians of migrant children, including providing information and school reports required under 20 USC 6311(h) in a format and language such parents/guardians can understand
If the school has a parent involvement policy that applies to all parents/guardians, it may amend that policy to meet the above requirements. (20 USD 6318)
Each school’s parent involvement policy shall be made available to the local community and distributed to parents/guardians of participating students in an understandable and uniform format and, to the extent practicable, provided in a language the parents/guardians can understand. (20 USC 6318)
The principal or designee, jointly with parents/guardians of participating students, shall periodically update the school’s policy to meet the changing needs of parents/guardians and the school. (20 USC 6318)
District Strategies for Non-Title I Schools
For each school that does not receive federal Title I funds, the Superintendent or designee shall, at a minimum:
- Engage parents/guardians positively in their children’s education by helping them develop skills to use at home that support their children’s academic efforts at school and their children’s development as responsible members of society (Education Code 11502, 11504)
- Inform parents/guardians that they can directly affect the success of their children’s learning, by providing them with techniques and strategies that they may use to improve their children’s academic success and to assist their children in learning at home (Education Code 11502, 11504)The Superintendent or designee may provide parents/guardians with information regarding ways to create an effective study environment at home and to encourage good study habits.
- Build consistent and effective communication between the home and school so that parents/guardians may know when and how to assist their children in support of classroom learning activities (Education Code 11502, 11504)
- Train teachers and administrators to communicate effectively with parents/guardians (Education Code 11502, 11504)
- Integrate parent involvement programs into school plans for academic accountability
The Superintendent or designee may:
- Include parent involvement strategies in school reform or school improvement initiatives
- Involve parents/guardians in school planning processes
Our board is committed to maintaining an educational environment that is free from harassment and prohibits sexual harassment of students by other students, employees or other persons, at school or at school-sponsored or school-related activities. Our board also prohibits retaliatory behavior or action against persons who complain, testify, assist or otherwise participate in the complaint process established pursuant to this policy and the administrative regulation.
Any student who engages in the sexual harassment of another student or anyone from our district may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including expulsion. Any employee who permits or engages in sexual harassment may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.
Any student who feels that he or she is being harassed should immediately contact the principal or designee or another district administrator in order to obtain a copy of Administrative Regulation 1312.3 – Uniform Complaint Procedures. Complaints of harassment can be filed in accordance with these procedures. Teachers will discuss this policy with their students in age-appropriate ways and assure them that they need not endure any form of sexual harassment.
Our board expects students or staff to immediately report incidents of sexual harassment to the principal or designee or to another district administrator. In any case of sexual harassment involving the principal or any other district employee to whom the complaint would ordinarily be made, the employee who receives the student’s report or who observes the incident shall report to the nondiscrimination coordinator or the superintendent or designee.
Our district prohibits retaliatory behavior against any participant in the complaint process. Each complaint shall be promptly investigated, respecting the privacy of all parties concerned.
SPECIAL EDUCATION & COMPLAINT PROCEDURES
Our district has programs for any child with special needs, from birth to age 22. We coordinate efforts with local agencies to seek out students with special needs, including students in private schools, highly mobile students, migrant students, homeless students, students who are wards of the state or students who are advancing from grade to grade but are suspected of having a disability. Anyone in the community who knows of a child with exceptional needs should contact their neighborhood school or the district Special Education department.
Families who suspect that their student may have special needs should consult with the principal or resource specialist at the child’s school about special education and the referral process. Before a child can receive services, an assessment of the child’s needs must be conducted with written parental consent. Staff at the school will assist the family and the student and determine whether a special education referral, assessment and/or services are necessary. To schedule an assessment, contact the resource specialist or principal at your neighborhood school. (EC § 56301-56303 and 56321)
Special Education Complaint Procedures
Federal and state laws provide that any individual, public agency or organization may file a written complaint with the state superintendent of public instruction alleging our district has failed to follow laws governing special education and related services.
If a family believes that their child’s special education program rights may have been violated, they are encouraged to contact the Special Education department. The family may also contact the California Department of Education Complaint Division. All complaints must be in writing. (CCR Title 5, § 3080)
TEACHER QUALIFICATION NOTICES
At the beginning of each school year, local education agencies receiving Title I funds must inform families of their right to request information regarding the professional qualifications of their child’s teacher including state credentialing status, baccalaureate degree major, graduate certification or degree held and paraprofessional information. Their qualifications will also be available in the school office. Families of students attending a Title I school will be notified if their child is taught for more than four weeks by a teacher that not met the California definition of a highly qualified teacher.
WILLIAMS ACT SETTLEMENT & COMPLAINTS
The Williams Settlement is a settlement of a class-action lawsuit against the State of California claiming the State failed to provide poor and underprivileged students with equal educational opportunities. The Williams Settlement applies to all schools in California and addresses sufficiency of textbooks and instructional materials, facility conditions and the vacancy or misassignment of teachers.
Each district classroom has posted the Williams Settlement notice outlining minimum instructional standards including sufficient textbooks, instructional materials, teacher vacancies, staffing misassignments, facilities, available intensive instruction services and complaint procedures. (EC § 35186 and 60119)
A complaint alleging any condition(s) specified in the Williams Settlement should be filed with the school principal or designee. The principal or designee will make all reasonable efforts to investigate any problem within his/her authority. He/she shall remedy a valid complaint within a reasonable time period not to exceed 30 working days from the date the complaint was received.
Complaints may be filed anonymously. If the complainant has indicated on the complaint form that he/she would like a response to his/her complaint, the principal or designee shall report the resolution of the complaint to him/her within 45 working days of the initial filing of the complaint. At the same time, the principal or designee shall report the same information to our district superintendent or his/her designee.
If a complainant is not satisfied with the resolution of the complaint, he/she may describe the complaint to the governing board in open session at a regularly scheduled board meeting.
For complaints concerning a facility condition that poses an emergency or urgent threat to the health or safety of students as described above, a complainant who is not satisfied with the resolution proffered by the principal, district superintendent or his/her designee, may file an appeal to the Superintendent of Public Instruction. Complaints and written responses shall be public records.
A complaint form may be obtained at the school office, district office or downloaded from the Amador Unified School District’s website.
You may also download a copy of the California Department of Education complaint form from the California Department of Education website.
Student Suicide Prevention
The Board of Trustees for Amador County Unified School District / Amador County Office of Education recognize that suicide is a leading cause of death among youth and that an even greater amount of youth consider (17 percent of high school students) and attempt suicide (over 8 percent of high school students) (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2015).
The possibility of suicide and suicidal ideation requires vigilant attention from our school staff. As a result, we are ethically and legally responsible for providing an appropriate and timely response in preventing suicidal ideation, attempts, and deaths. We also must work to create a safe and nurturing campus that minimizes suicidal ideation in students.
Recognizing that it is the duty of the district and schools to protect the health, safety, and welfare of its students, this policy aims to safeguard students and staff against suicide attempts, deaths and other trauma associated with suicide, including ensuring adequate supports for students, staff, and families affected by suicide attempts and loss. As it is known that the emotional wellness of students greatly impacts school attendance and educational success, this policy shall be paired with other policies that support the emotional and behavioral wellness of students.
This policy is based on research and best practices in suicide prevention, and has been adopted with the understanding that suicide prevention activities decrease suicide risk, increase help-seeking behavior, identify those at risk of suicide, and decrease suicidal behaviors. Empirical evidence refutes a common belief that talking about suicide can increase risk or “place the idea in someone’s mind.”
In an attempt to reduce suicidal behavior and its impact on students and families, the Superintendent or Designee shall develop strategies for suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention, and the identification of the mental health challenges frequently associated with suicidal thinking and behavior. These strategies shall include professional development for all school personnel in all job categories who regularly interact with students or are in a position to recognize the risk factors and warning signs of suicide, including substitute teachers, volunteers, expanded learning staff (afterschool) and other individuals in regular contact with students such as crossing guards, tutors, and coaches.
The Superintendent or Designee shall develop and implement preventive strategies and intervention procedures that include the following:
Overall Strategic Plan for Suicide Prevention
The Superintendent or Designee shall involve school-employed mental health professionals (e.g., school counselors, psychologists, social workers, nurses), administrators, other school staff members, parents/guardians/caregivers, students, local health agencies and professionals, law enforcement, and community organizations in planning, implementing, and evaluating the district’s strategies for suicide prevention and intervention. Districts must work in conjunction with local government agencies, community-based organizations, and other community supports to identify additional resources. The District currently works with Nexus, Suicide Prevention Coalition (Amador SPEAKS), and Amador County Behavioral Health.
To ensure the policies regarding suicide prevention are properly adopted, implemented, and updated, the district shall appoint an individual (or team) to serve as the suicide prevention point of contact for the district. In addition, each school shall identify at least one staff member to serve as the liaison to the district’s suicide prevention point of contact, and coordinate and implement suicide prevention activities on their specific campus. This policy shall be reviewed and revised as indicated, at least annually in conjunction with the previously mentioned community stakeholders.
- The K-12 Toolkit for Mental Health Promotion and Suicide Prevention has been created to help schools comply with and implement AB 2246, the Pupil Suicide Prevention Policies. The Toolkit includes resources for schools as they promote youth mental wellness, intervene in a mental health crisis, and support members of a school community after the loss of someone to suicide.
Additional information about this Toolkit for schools can be accessed on the Heard Alliance Web site at http://www.heardalliance.org/.
- Messaging about Suicide Prevention
Messaging about suicide has an effect on suicidal thinking and behaviors. Consequently, Amador County Unified School District / Amador County Office of Education along with their partners have critically reviewed and will continue to review all materials and resources used in awareness efforts to ensure they align with best practices for safe messaging about suicide.
- For information on public messaging on suicide prevention, see the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention Web site at http://suicidepreventionmessaging.actionallianceforsuicideprevention.org/
- For information on engaging the media regarding suicide prevention, see the Your Voice Counts Web page at http://resource-center.yourvoicecounts.org/content/making-headlines-guide-engaging-media-suicide-prevention-california-0
- For information on how to use social media for suicide prevention, see the Your Voice Counts Web page at http://resource-center.yourvoicecounts.org/content/how-use-social-media
2. Suicide Prevention Training and Education
Amador County Unified School District / Amador County Office of Education along with their partners have carefully reviewed available staff training to ensure it promotes the mental health model of suicide prevention and does not encourage the use of the stress model to explain suicide.
Training shall be provided for all school staff members and other adults on campus (including substitutes and intermittent staff, volunteers, interns, tutors, coaches, and expanded learning [afterschool] staff).
- At least annually, all staff shall receive training on the risk factors and warning signs of suicide, suicide prevention, intervention, referral, and postvention.
- All suicide prevention trainings shall be offered under the direction of school-employed mental health professionals (e.g., school counselors, psychologists, or social workers) who have received advanced training specific to suicide and may benefit from collaboration with one or more county and/or community mental health agencies. Staff training can be adjusted year-to-year based on previous professional development activities and emerging best practices.
- At a minimum, all staff shall participate in training on the core components of suicide prevention (identification of suicide risk factors and warning signs, prevention, intervention, referral, and postvention) at the beginning of their employment. Previously employed staff members shall attend a minimum of one-hour general suicide prevention training (the “Suicide Prevention AB2246” course required as part of the online annual mandated trainings). Core components of the general suicide prevention training shall include:
- Suicide risk factors, warning signs, and protective factors;
- How to talk with a student about thoughts of suicide;
- How to respond appropriately to the youth who has suicidal thoughts. Such responses shall include constant supervision of any student judged to be at risk for suicide and an immediate referral for a suicide risk assessment;
- Emphasis on immediately referring (same day) any student who is identified to be at risk of suicide for assessment while staying under constant monitoring by staff member;
- Emphasis on reducing stigma associated with mental illness and that early prevention and intervention can drastically reduce the risk of suicide;
- Reviewing the data annually to look for any patterns or trends of the prevalence or occurrence of suicide ideation, attempts, or death. Data from the California SchoolClimate, Health, and Learning Survey (Cal-SCHLS) should also be analyzed to identify school climate deficits and drive program development. See the Cal-SCHLS Web site at http://cal-schls.wested.org/.
- In addition to initial orientations to the core components of suicide prevention, ongoing annual staff professional development for all staff should include the following components:
- The impact of traumatic stress on emotional and mental health;
- Common misconceptions about suicide;
- School and community suicide prevention resources;
- Appropriate messaging about suicide (correct terminology, safe messaging guidelines);
- The factors associated with suicide (risk factors, warning signs, protective factors);
- How to identify youth who may be at risk of suicide;
- Appropriate ways to interact with a youth who is demonstrating emotional distress or is suicidal. Specifically, how to talk with a student about their thoughts of suicide and (based on district guidelines) how to respond to such thinking; how to talk with a student about thoughts of suicide and appropriately respond and provide support based on district guidelines;
- District-approved procedures for responding to suicide risk (including multi-tiered systems of support and referrals). Such procedures should emphasize that the suicidal student should be constantly supervised until a suicide risk assessment is completed;
- District-approved procedures for responding to the aftermath of suicidal behavior (suicidal behavior postvention);
- Responding after a suicide occurs (suicide postvention);
- Resources regarding youth suicide prevention;
- Emphasis on stigma reduction and the fact that early prevention and intervention can drastically reduce the risk of suicide;
- Emphasis that any student who is identified to be at risk of suicide is to be immediately referred (same day) for assessment while being constantly monitored by a staff member.
- The professional development also shall include additional information regarding groups of students judged by the school, and available research, to be at elevated risk for suicide. These groups include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Youth affected by suicide;
- Youth with a history of suicide ideation or attempts;
- Youth with disabilities, mental illness, or substance abuse disorders;
- Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning youth;
- Youth experiencing homelessness or in out-of-home settings, such as foster care;
- Youth who have suffered traumatic experiences;
- Break-up of a romance or friendship
- Parents’ divorce, or problems in parent-child relationship
- Mental Health condition like depression and/or substance abuse, especially if untreated or undiagnosed
- Death of a loved one or friend, especially if by suicide
- Physical, sexual or emotional abuse
- Bullying or discrimination
- Problems at school or work
- Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) teaches a 5-step action plan to offer initial help to young people showing signs of a mental illness or in a crisis, and connect them with the appropriate professional, peer, social, or self-help care. YMHFA is an 8-hour interactive training for youth-serving adults without a mental health background. See the Mental Health First Aid Web page at https://www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org/cs/take-a-course/course-types/youth/
- Free YMHFA Training is available on the CDE Mental Health Web page at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/cg/mh/projectcalwell.asp
- Question, Persuade, and Refer (QPR) is a gatekeeper training that can be taught online. Just as people trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and the Heimlich Maneuver help save thousands of lives each year, people trained in QPR learn how to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to question, persuade, and refer someone to help. See the QPR Web site at http://www.qprinstitute.com/
- SafeTALK is a half-day alertness training that prepares anyone over the age of fifteen, regardless of prior experience or training, to become a suicide-alert helper. See the LivingWorks Web page at https://www.livingworks.net/programs/safetalk/
- Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) is a two-day interactive workshop in suicide first aid. ASIST teaches participants to recognize when someone may have thoughts of suicide and work with them to create a plan that will support their immediate safety. See the LivingWorks Web page at https://www.livingworks.net/programs/asist/
- Kognito At-Risk is an evidence-based series of three online interactive professional development modules designed for use by individuals, schools, districts, and statewide agencies. It includes tools and templates to ensure that the program is easy to disseminate and measures success at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. See the Kognito Web page at https://www.kognito.com/products/pk12/
C. Employee Qualifications and Scope of Services
Employees of the Amador County Unified School District / Amador County Office of Education and their partners must act only within the authorization and scope of their credential or license. While it is expected that school professionals are able to identify suicide risk factors and warning signs, and to prevent the immediate risk of a suicidal behavior, treatment of suicidal ideation is typically beyond the scope of services offered in the school setting. In addition, treatment of the mental health challenges often associated with suicidal thinking typically requires mental health resources beyond what schools are able to provide.
D. Specialized Staff Training (Assessment)
Additional professional development in suicide risk assessment and crisis intervention shall be provided to mental health professionals (school counselors, psychologists, social workers, and nurses) employed by Amador County Unified School District / Amador County Office of Education.
1. Assessing and Managing Suicide Risk (AMSR) is a one-day training workshop for behavioral health professionals based on the latest research and designed to help participants provide safer suicide care. See the Suicide Prevention Resource Center Web page at http://www.sprc.org/training-events/amsr
E. Parents, Guardians, and Caregivers Participation and Education
1. To the extent possible, parents/guardians/caregivers should be included in all suicide prevention efforts. At a minimum, schools shall share with parents/guardians/caregivers the Amador County Unified School District / Amador County Office of Education suicide prevention policy and procedures.
2. This suicide prevention policy shall be prominently displayed on the Amador County Unified School District / Amador County Office of Education Web page and included in the parent handbook.
3. Parents/guardians/caregivers should be invited to provide input on the development and implementation of this policy.
4. All parents/guardians/caregivers should have access to suicide prevention training that addresses the following:
*Suicide risk factors, warning signs, and protective factors;
*How to talk with a student about thoughts of suicide;
*How to respond appropriately to the student who has suicidal thoughts. Such responses shall include constant supervision of any student judged to be at risk for suicide and referral for an immediate suicide risk assessment.
1. Parents as Partners: A Suicide Prevention Guide for Parents is a booklet that contains useful information for parents/guardians/caregivers who are concerned that their children may be at risk for suicide. It is available from Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE). See the SAVE Web page at https://www.save.org/product/parents-as-partners/
F. Student Participation and Education
The Amador County Unified School District / Amador County Office of Education along with their partners have carefully reviewed available student curricula to ensure it promotes the mental health model of suicide prevention and does not encourage the use of the stress model to explain suicide.
Under the supervision of school-employed mental health professionals, and following consultation with county and community mental health agencies, students shall:
1. Receive developmentally appropriate, student-centered education about the warning signs of mental health challenges and emotional distress;
2. Receive developmentally appropriate guidance regarding the district’s suicide prevention, intervention, and referral procedures.
3. The content of the education shall include:
*Coping strategies for dealing with stress and trauma;
*How to recognize behaviors (warning signs) and life issues (risk factors) associated with suicide and mental health issues in oneself and others;
*Help-seeking strategies for oneself and others, including how to engage school-based and community resources and refer peers for help;
*Emphasis on reducing the stigma associated with mental illness and the fact that early prevention and intervention can drastically reduce the risk of suicide.
Student-focused suicide prevention education can be incorporated into classroom curricula (e.g., health classes, freshman orientation classes, science, and physical education).
The Amador County Unified School District / Amador County Office of Education will support the creation and implementation of programs and/or activities on campus that raise awareness about mental wellness and suicide prevention (e.g., Mental Health Awareness Weeks, Peer Counseling Programs, Freshman Success Programs, and National Alliance on Mental Illness on Campus High School Clubs).
1. More Than Sad is school-ready and evidence-based training material, listed on the national Suicide Prevention Resource Center’s best practices list, specifically designed for teen-level suicide prevention. See the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Web page at https://afsp.org/our-work/education/more-than-sad/
2. Break Free from Depression (BFFD) is a 4-module curriculum focused on increasing awareness about adolescent depression and designed for use in high school classrooms. See the Boston Children’s Hospital Web page at http://www.childrenshospital.org/breakfree
3. Coping and Support Training (CAST) is an evidence-based life-skills training and social support program to help at-risk youth. See the Reconnecting Youth Inc. Web page at http://www.reconnectingyouth.com/programs/cast/
4. Students Mobilizing Awareness and Reducing Tragedies (SMART) is a program comprised of student-led groups in high schools designed to give students the freedom to implement suicide prevention on their campus that best fits their school’s needs. See the SAVE Web page at https://www.save.org/what-we-do/education/smart-schools-program-2/
5. Linking Education and Awareness for Depression and Suicide (LEADS) for Youth is a school-based suicide prevention curriculum designed for high schools and educators that links depression awareness and secondary suicide prevention. LEADS for Youth is an informative and interactive opportunity for students and teachers to increase knowledge and awareness of depression and suicide. See the SAVE Web page at https://www.save.org/what-we-do/education/leads-for-youth-program/
Intervention, Assessment, Referral
Two Amador County Unified School District / Amador County Office of Education staff members who have received advanced training in suicide intervention shall be designated as the primary and secondary suicide prevention liaisons. Whenever a staff member suspects or has knowledge of a student’s suicidal intentions, they shall promptly notify the primary designated suicide prevention liaison. If this primary suicide prevention liaison is unavailable, the staff shall promptly notify the secondary suicide prevention liaison.
1. Under normal circumstances, the primary and/or secondary contact persons shall notify the principal, another school administrator, school psychologist or school counselor, if different from the primary and secondary contact persons. The names, titles, and contact information of multi-disciplinary crisis team members shall be distributed to all students, staff, parents/guardians/caregivers and be prominently available on school and district Web sites. Regina Helmer is the Primary and Christina Bianchi is the Secondary Suicide Prevention Liaison.
The principal, another school administrator, school counselor, school psychologist, social worker, or nurse shall then notify, if appropriate and in the best interest of the student, the student’s parents/guardians/caregivers as soon as possible and shall refer the student to mental health resources in the school or community. Determination of notification to parents/guardians/caregivers should follow a formal initial assessment to ensure that the student is not endangered by parental notification.
If the student is in imminent danger (has access to a gun, is on a rooftop, or in other unsafe conditions), a call shall be made to 911.
1. Whenever a staff member suspects or has knowledge of a student’s suicidal intentions, they shall promptly notify the primary or secondary suicide prevention liaisons.
2. Students experiencing suicidal ideation shall not be left unsupervised.
3. A referral process should be prominently disseminated to all staff members, so they know how to respond to a crisis and are knowledgeable about the school and community-based resources.
4. The Superintendent or Designee shall establish crisis intervention procedures to ensure student safety and appropriate communications if a suicide occurs or an attempt is made by a student or adult on campus or at a school-sponsored activity.
B. Parents, Guardians, and Caregivers
A referral process should be prominently disseminated to all parents/guardians/caregivers, so they know how to respond to a crisis and are knowledgeable about the school and community-based resources.
Students shall be encouraged to notify a staff member when they are experiencing emotional distress or suicidal ideation, or when they suspect or have knowledge of another student’s emotional distress, suicidal ideation, or attempt. Utilizing Mobile Support is an option, if the student isn’t an imminent danger to self or others. If the student is an imminent danger to self or others law enforcement will be called.
A 24/7 line at Behavioral Health is available and as well as walk-in crisis availability from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. A crisis line is available 24/7 and if someone calls after hours, Behavioral Health receives a daily log and a crisis coordinator will follow-up and activate the Mobile Support Team to go visit or check-up on students as well.
D. Parental Notification and Involvement
Each school within the Amador County Unified School District / Amador County Office of Education shall identify a process to ensure continuing care for the student identified to be at risk of suicide. The following steps should be followed to ensure continuity of care:
1. After a referral is made for a student, school staff shall verify with the parent/guardian/caregiver that follow-up treatment has been accessed. Parents/guardians/caregivers will be required to provide documentation of care for the student.
2. If parents/guardians/caregivers refuse or neglect to access treatment for a student who has been identified to be at-risk for suicide or in emotional distress, the suicide point of contact (or other appropriate school staff member) will meet with the parents/guardians/caregivers to identify barriers to treatment (e.g., cultural stigma, financial issues) and work to rectify the situation and build understanding of the importance of care. If follow-up care for the student is still not provided, school staff should consider contacting Child Protective Services (CPS) to report neglect of the youth. (Amador County CPS: 209-223-6550. Or Emergency after-hours: (209) 223-1075).
E. Action Plan for In-School Suicide Attempts
If a suicide attempt is made during the school day on campus, it is important to remember that the health and safety of the student and those around him/her is critical. The following steps should be implemented:
1. Remain calm, remember the student is overwhelmed, confused, and emotionally distressed;
2. Move all other students out of the immediate area;
3. Immediately contact the administrator or suicide prevention liaison;
4. Call 911 and give them as much information about any suicide note, medications taken, and access to weapons, if applicable;
5. If needed, provide medical first aid until a medical professional is available;
6. Parents/guardians/caregivers should be contacted as soon as possible;
7. Do not send the student away or leave them alone, even if they need to go to the restroom;
8. Listen and prompt the student to talk;
9. Review options and resources of people who can help;
10. Be comfortable with moments of silence as you and the student will need time to process the situation;
11. Provide comfort to the student;
12. Promise privacy and help, and be respectful, but do not promise confidentiality;
13. Student should only be released to parents/guardians/caregivers or to a person who is qualified and trained to provide help.
F. Action Plan for Out-of-School Suicide Attempts
If a suicide attempt by a student is outside of Amador County Unified School District / Amador County Office of Education property, it is crucial that the LEA protects the privacy of the student and maintain a confidential record of the actions taken to intervene, support, and protect the student. The following steps should be implemented:
1. Contact the parents/guardians/caregivers and offer support to the family;
2. Discuss with the family how they would like the school to respond to the attempt while minimizing widespread rumors among teachers, staff, and students;
3. Obtain permission from the parents/guardians/caregivers to share information to ensure the facts regarding the crisis is correct;
4. Designate a staff member to handle media requests;
5. Provide care and determine appropriate support to affected students;
6. Offer to the student and parents/guardians/caregivers steps for re-integration to school.
G. Supporting Students after a Mental Health Crisis
It is crucial that careful steps are taken to help provide the mental health support for the student and to monitor their actions for any signs of suicide. The following steps should be implemented after the crisis has happened:
1. Treat every threat with seriousness and approach with a calm manner; make the student a priority;
2. Listen actively and non-judgmental to the student. Let the student express his or her feelings;
3. Acknowledge the feelings and do not argue with the student;
4. Offer hope and let the student know they are safe and that help is provided. Do not promise confidentiality or cause stress;
5. Explain calmly and get the student to a trained professional, guidance counselor, or designated staff to further support the student;
6. Keep close contact with the parents/guardians/caregivers and mental health professionals working with the student.
H. Re-Entry to School After a Suicide Attempt
A student who threatened or attempted suicide is at a higher risk for suicide in the months following the crisis. Having a streamlined and well planned re-entry process ensures the safety and wellbeing of students who have previously attempted suicide and reduces the risk of another attempt. An appropriate re-entry process is an important component of suicide prevention. Involving students in planning for their return to school provides them with a sense of control, personal responsibility, and empowerment.
The following steps shall be implemented upon re-entry:
1. Obtain a written release of information signed by parents/guardians/caregivers and providers;
2. Confer with student and parents/guardians/caregivers about any specific requests on how to handle the situation;
3. Inform the student’s teachers about possible days of absences;
4. Allow accommodations for student to make up work (be understanding that missed assignments may add stress to student);
5. Mental health professionals or trusted staff members should maintain ongoing contact to monitor student’s actions and mood;
6. Work with parents/guardians/caregivers to involve the student in an aftercare plan.
1. The School Reentry for a Student Who Has Attempted Suicide or Made Serious Suicidal Threats is a guide that will assist in school re-entry for students after an attempted suicide. See the Mental Health Recovery Services Resource Web page at http://www.mhrsonline.org/resources/suicide%5Cattempted_suicide_resources_for_schools-9/
I. Responding After a Suicide Death (Postvention)
A death by suicide in the school community (whether by a student or staff member) can have devastating consequences on students and staff. Therefore, it is vital that we are prepared ahead of time in the event of such a tragedy. Regina Helmer and Christina Bianchi, the primary and Secondary Suicide Prevention Liaisons for the Amador County Unified School District / Amador County Office of Education shall ensure that each school site adopts an action plan for responding to a suicide death as part of the general Crisis Response Plan. The Suicide Death Response Action Plan (Suicide Postvention Response Plan) needs to incorporate both immediate and long-term steps and objectives.
1. Suicide Postvention Response Plan shall:
*Identify a staff member to confirm death and cause (school site administrator);
*Identify a staff member to contact deceased’s family (within 24 hours);
*Enact the Suicide Postvention Response Plan, include an initial meeting of the district/school Suicide Postvention Response Team;
*Notify all staff members (ideally in-person or via phone, not via e-mail or mass notification).
2. Coordinate an all-staff meeting, to include:
*Notification (if not already conducted) to staff about suicide death;
*Emotional support and resources available to staff;
*Notification to students about suicide death and the availability of support services (if this is the protocol that is decided by administration);
*Share information that is relevant and that which you have permission to disclose.
3. Prepare staff to respond to needs of students regarding the following:
*Review of protocols for referring students for support/assessment;
*Talking points for staff to notify students;
*Resources available to students (on and off campus).
4. Identify students significantly affected by suicide death and other students at risk of imitative behavior;
5. Identify students affected by suicide death but not at risk of imitative behavior;
6. Communicate with the larger school community about the suicide death;
7. Consider funeral arrangements for family and school community;
8. Respond to memorial requests in respectful and non-harmful manner; responses should be handed in a thoughtful way and their impact on other students should be considered;
9. Identify media spokesperson skilled to cover story without the use of explicit, graphic, or dramatic content (go to the Reporting on Suicide.Org Web site at www.reportingonsuicide.org). Research has proven that sensationalized media coverage can lead to contagious suicidal behaviors.
10. Utilize and respond to social media outlets:
*Identify what platforms students are using to respond to suicide death
*Identify/train staff and students to monitor social media outlets
11. Include long-term suicide postvention responses:
*Consider important dates (i.e., anniversary of death, deceased birthday, graduation, or other significant event) and how these will be addressed
*Support siblings, close friends, teachers, and/or students of deceased
*Consider long-term memorials and how they may impact students who are emotionally vulnerable and at risk of suicide
1. After a Suicide: A Toolkit for School is a comprehensive guide that will assist schools on what to do if a suicide death takes place in the school community. See the Suicide Prevention Resource Center Web page at http://www.sprc.org/comprehensive-approach/postvention
2. Help & Hope for Survivors of Suicide Loss is a guide to help those during the bereavement process and who were greatly affected by the death of a suicide. See the Suicide Prevention Resource Center Web page at http://www.sprc.org/resources-programs/help-hope-survivors-suicide-loss
3. For additional information on suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention, see the Mental Health Recovery Services Model Protocol Web page at http://www.mhrsonline.org/resources/suicide%5Cattempted_suicide_resources_for_schools-9/
4. Information on school climate and school safety is available on the CDE Safe Schools Planning Web page at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/ss/vp/safeschlplanning.asp
5. Additional resources regarding student mental health needs can be found in the SSPI letter Responding to Student Mental Health Needs in School Safety Planning at http://www.cde.ca.gov/nr/el/le/yr14ltr0212.asp
The district designates the individual(s) identified below as the employee(s) responsible for coordinating the district’s efforts to comply with applicable state and federal civil rights laws, including Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, and to answer inquiries regarding the district’s nondiscrimination policies. The individual(s) shall also serve as the compliance officer(s) specified in AR 1312.3 – Uniform Complaint Procedures as the responsible employee to handle complaints alleging unlawful discrimination targeting a student, including discriminatory harassment, intimidation, or bullying, based on the student’s actual or perceived race, color, ancestry, nationality national origin, immigration status, ethnic group identification, ethnicity, age, religion, marital status, pregnancy, parental status, physical or mental disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, or any other legally protected status or association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics. The coordinator/compliance officer(s) may be contacted at: (Education Code 234.1; 5 CCR 4621)
217 Rex Avenue
Jackson, CA 95642
Measures to Prevent Discrimination
To prevent unlawful discrimination, including discriminatory harassment, intimidation, retaliation, and bullying, of students at district schools or in school activities and to ensure equal access of all students to the educational program, the Superintendent or designee shall implement the following measures:
- Publicize the district’s nondiscrimination policy and related complaint procedures, including the coordinator/compliance officer’s contact information, to students, parents/guardians, employees, volunteers, and the general public by posting them on the district’s web site and other prominent locations and providing easy access to them through district-supported social media, when available.
- Post in a prominent and conspicuous location on the district and school web sites information regarding Title IX prohibitions against discrimination based on a student’s sex, gender, gender identity, pregnancy, and parental status, including the following: (Education Code 221.61)
- The name and contact information of the district’s Title IX coordinator, including the phone number and email address
- The rights of students and the public and the responsibilities of the district under Title IX, including a list of rights as specified in Education Code 221.8 and web links to information about those rights and responsibilities located on the web sites of the Office for Equal Opportunity and the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR)
- A description of how to file a complaint of noncompliance with Title IX in accordance with AR 1312.3 – Uniform Complaint Procedures, which shall include:
- An explanation of the statute of limitations within which a complaint must be filed after an alleged incident of discrimination has occurred and how a complaint may be filed beyond the statute of limitations
- An explanation of how the complaint will be investigated and how the complainant may further pursue the complaint, including web links to this information on the OCR’s web site
- A web link to the OCR complaints form and the contact information for the office, including the phone number and email address for the office
- Provide to students a handbook that contains age-appropriate information that clearly describes the district’s nondiscrimination policy, procedures for filing a complaint, and resources available to students who feel that they have been the victim of any such behavior. (Education Code 234.1)
- Annually notify all students and parents/guardians of the district’s nondiscrimination policy, including its responsibility to provide a safe, nondiscriminatory school environment for all students, including transgender and gender-nonconforming students. The notice shall inform students and parents/guardians that they may request to meet with the compliance officer to determine how best to accommodate or resolve concerns that may arise from the district’s implementation of its nondiscrimination policies. The notice shall also inform all students and parents/guardians that, to the extent possible, the district will address any individual student’s interests and concerns in private.
- The Superintendent or designee shall ensure that students and parents/guardians, including those with limited English proficiency, are notified of how to access the relevant information provided in the district’s nondiscrimination policy and related complaint procedures, notices, and forms in a language they can understand.If 15 percent or more of students enrolled in a particular district school speak a single primary language other than English, the district’s policy, regulation, forms, and notices concerning nondiscrimination shall be translated into that language in accordance with Education Code 234.1 and 48985. In all other instances, the district shall ensure meaningful access to all relevant information for parents/guardians with limited English proficiency.
- Provide to students, employees, volunteers, and parents/guardians age-appropriate training and information regarding the district’s nondiscrimination policy; what constitutes prohibited discrimination, including discriminatory harassment, intimidation, retaliation, or bullying; how and to whom a report of an incident should be made; and how to guard against segregating or stereotyping students when providing instruction, guidance, supervision, or other services to them. Such training and information shall include details of guidelines the district may use to provide a discrimination-free environment for all district students, including transgender and gender-nonconforming students.
- At the beginning of each school year, inform school employees that any employee who witnesses any act of unlawful discrimination, including discriminatory harassment, intimidation, or bullying, against a student is required to intervene if it is safe to do so. (Education Code 234.1)
- At the beginning of each school year, inform each principal or designee of the district’s responsibility to provide appropriate assistance or resources to protect students from threatened or potentially discriminatory behavior and ensure their privacy rights.
Enforcement of District Policy
The Superintendent or designee shall take appropriate actions to reinforce BP 5145.3 – Nondiscrimination/Harassment. As needed, these actions may include any of the following:
- Removing vulgar or offending graffiti
- Providing training to students, staff, and parents/guardians about how to recognize unlawful discrimination, how to report it or file a complaint, and how to respond
- Disseminating and/or summarizing the district’s policy and regulation regarding unlawful discrimination
- Consistent with laws regarding the confidentiality of student and personnel records, communicating to students, parents/guardians, and the community the school’s response plan to unlawful discrimination or harassment
- Taking appropriate disciplinary action against students, employees, and anyone determined to have engaged in wrongdoing in violation of district policy, including any student who is found to have filed a complaint of discrimination that he/she knew was not true
Process for Initiating and Responding to Complaints
Any student who feels that he/she has been subjected to unlawful discrimination described above or in district policy is strongly encouraged to immediately contact the compliance officer, principal, or any other staff member. In addition, any student who observes any such incident is strongly encouraged to report the incident to the compliance officer or principal, whether or not the alleged victim files a complaint.
Any school employee who observes an incident of unlawful discrimination, including discriminatory harassment, intimidation, retaliation, or bullying, or to whom such an incident is reported shall report the incident to the compliance officer or principal within a school day, whether or not the alleged victim files a complaint.
Any school employee who witnesses an incident of unlawful discrimination, including discriminatory harassment, intimidation, retaliation, or bullying, shall immediately intervene to stop the incident when it is safe to do so. (Education Code 234.1)
When a verbal report of unlawful discrimination, including discriminatory harassment, intimidation, retaliation, or bullying, is made to or received by the principal or compliance officer, he/she shall make a note of the report and encourage the student or parent/guardian to file the complaint in writing, pursuant to the provisions in AR 1312.3 – Uniform Complaint Procedures. Once notified verbally or in writing, the principal or compliance officer shall begin the investigation and shall implement immediate measures necessary to stop the discrimination and ensure that all students have access to the educational program and a safe school environment. Any interim measures adopted to address unlawful discrimination shall, to the extent possible, not disadvantage the complainant or a student who is the victim of the alleged unlawful discrimination.
Any report or complaint alleging unlawful discrimination by the principal, compliance officer, or any other person to whom a report would ordinarily be made or complaint filed shall instead be made to or filed with the Superintendent or designee who shall determine how the complaint will be investigated.
Transgender and Gender-Nonconforming Students
Gender identity of a student means the student’s gender-related identity, appearance, or behavior as determined from the student’s internal sense of his/her gender, whether or not that gender-related identity, appearance, or behavior is different from that traditionally associated with the student’s physiology or assigned sex at birth.
Gender expression means a student’s gender-related appearance and behavior, whether stereotypically associated with the student’s assigned sex at birth. (Education Code 210.7)
Gender transition refers to the process in which a student changes from living and identifying as the sex assigned to the student at birth to living and identifying as the sex that corresponds to the student’s gender identity.
Gender-nonconforming student means a student whose gender expression differs from stereotypical expectations.
Transgender student means a student whose gender identity is different from the gender he/she was assigned at birth.
Regardless of whether they are sexual in nature, acts of verbal, nonverbal, or physical aggression, intimidation, or hostility that are based on sex, gender identity, or gender expression, or that have the purpose or effect of producing a negative impact on the student’s academic performance or of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational environment are prohibited. Examples of the types of conduct which are prohibited in the district and which may constitute gender-based harassment include, but are not limited to:
- Refusing to address a student by a name and the pronouns consistent with his/her gender identity
- Disciplining or disparaging a student or excluding him/her from participating in activities for behavior or appearance that is consistent with his/her gender identity or that does not conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity, as applicable
- Blocking a student’s entry to the restroom that corresponds to his/her gender identity
- Taunting a student because he/she participates in an athletic activity more typically favored by a student of the other sex
- Revealing a student’s transgender status to individuals who do not have a legitimate need for the information, without the student’s consent
- Use of gender-specific slurs
- Physical assault of a student motivated by hostility toward him/her because of his/her gender, gender identity, or gender expression
The district’s uniform complaint procedures (AR 1312.3) shall be used to report and resolve complaints alleging discrimination against transgender and gender-nonconforming students.
Examples of bases for complaints include, but are not limited to, the above list, as well as improper rejection by the district of a student’s asserted gender identity, denial of access to facilities that correspond with a student’s gender identity, improper disclosure of a student’s transgender status, discriminatory enforcement of a dress code, and other instances of gender-based harassment.
To ensure that transgender and gender-nonconforming students are afforded the same rights, benefits, and protections provided to all students by law and Board policy, the district shall address each situation on a case-by-case basis, in accordance with the following guidelines:
- Right to privacy: A student’s transgender or gender-nonconforming status is his/her private information and the district shall only disclose the information to others with the student’s prior written consent, except when the disclosure is otherwise required by law or when the district has compelling evidence that disclosure is necessary to preserve the student’s physical or mental well-being. In any case, the district shall only allow disclosure of a student’s personally identifiable information to employees with a legitimate educational interest as determined by the district pursuant to 34 CFR99.31. Any district employee to whom a student’s transgender or gender- nonconforming status is disclosed shall keep the student’s information confidential. When disclosure of a student’s gender identity is made to a district employee by a student, the employee shall seek the student’s permission to notify the compliance officer. If the student refuses to give permission, the employee shall keep the student’s information confidential, unless he/she is required to disclose or report the student’s information pursuant to this administrative regulation, and shall inform the student that honoring the student’s request may limit the district’s ability to meet the student’s needs related to his/her status as a transgender or gender-nonconforming student. If the student permits the employee to notify the compliance officer, the employee shall do so within three school days.
As appropriate given the student’s need for support, the compliance officer may discuss with the student any need to disclose the student’s transgender or gender-nonconformity status or gender identity or gender expression to his/her parents/guardians and/or others, including other students, teacher(s), or other adults on campus. The district shall offer support services, such as counseling, to students who wish to inform their parents/guardians of their status and desire assistance in doing so.
- Determining a Student’s Gender Identity: The compliance officer shall accept the student’s assertion of his/her gender identity and begin to treat the student consistent with his/her gender identity unless district personnel present a credible and supportable basis for believing that the student’s assertion is for an improper purpose.
- Addressing a Student’s Transition Needs: The compliance officer shall arrange a meeting with the student and, if appropriate, his/her parents/guardians to identify and develop strategies for ensuring that the student’s access to education programs and activities is maintained. The meeting shall discuss the transgender or gender-nonconforming student’s rights and how those rights may affect and be affected by the rights of other students and shall address specific subjects related to the student’s access to facilities and to academic or educational support programs, services, or activities, including, but not limited to, sports and other competitive endeavors. In addition, the compliance officer shall identify specific school site employee(s) to whom the student may report any problem related to his/her status as a transgender or gender-nonconforming individual, so that prompt action can be taken to address it. Alternatively, if appropriate and desired by the student, the school may form a support team for the student that will meet periodically to assess whether the arrangements for the student are meeting his/her educational needs and providing equal access to programs and activities, educate appropriate staff about the student’s transition, and serve as a resource to the student to better protect the student from gender-based discrimination.
- Accessibility to Sex-Segregated Facilities, Programs, and Activities: When the district maintains sex-segregated facilities, such as restrooms and locker rooms, or offers sex- segregated programs and activities, such as physical education classes, intermural sports, and interscholastic athletic programs, students shall be permitted to access facilities and participate in programs and activities consistent with their gender identity. To address any student’s privacy concerns in using sex-segregated facilities, the district shall offer available options such as a gender-neutral or single-use restroom or changing area, a bathroom stall with a door, an area in the locker room separated by a curtain or screen, access to a staff member’s office, or use of the locker room before or after the other students. However, the district shall not require a student to utilize these options because he/she is transgender or gender-nonconforming. In addition, a student shall be permitted to participate in accordance with his/her gender identity in other circumstances where students are separated by gender, such as for class discussions, yearbook pictures, and field trips. A student’s right to participate in a sex-segregated activity in accordance with his/her gender identity shall not render invalid or inapplicable any other eligibility rule established for participation in the activity.
- Student Records: A student’s legal name or gender as entered on the mandatory student record required pursuant to 5 CCR 432 shall only be changed with proper documentation. However, at the written request of a student or, if appropriate, his/her parents/guardians, the district shall use the student’s preferred name and pronouns consistent with his/her gender identity on all other district-related documents. Such preferred name may be added to the student’s record and official documents as permitted by law.
- Names and Pronouns: If a student so chooses, district personnel shall be required to address the student by a name and the pronouns consistent with his/her gender identity, without the necessity of a court order or a change to his/her official district record. However, inadvertent slips or honest mistakes by district personnel in the use of the student’s name and/or consistent pronouns will, in general, not constitute a violation of this administrative regulation or the accompanying district policy.
- Uniforms/Dress Code: A student has the right to dress in a manner consistent with his/her gender identity, subject to any dress code adopted on a school site.
Preventing & Responding to Hate Violence
The Governing Board is committed to providing a respectful, inclusive, and safe learning environment that protects students from discrimination, harassment, intimidation, bullying, or any other type of behavior that is motivated by hate.
Hate-motivated behavior is any behavior 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 bias or hostility toward the victim’s real or perceived race, color, ancestry, nationality, national origin, immigration status, ethnic group identification, ethnicity, age, religion, marital status, pregnancy, parental status, physical or mental disability, medical condition, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, or genetic information, or any other characteristic identified in Education Code 200 or 220, Government Code 11135, or Penal Code 422.55.
The Superintendent or designee shall design strategies to promote harmonious relationships among students, prevent incidents of hate-motivated behavior to the extent possible, and address such incidents in a timely manner when they occur.
The Superintendent or designee shall collaborate with regional programs and community organizations to promote an environment where diversity is celebrated and hate-motivated behavior is not tolerated. Such collaborative efforts shall focus on the development of effective prevention strategies and response plans, provision of assistance to students affected by hate-motivated behavior, and/or education of students who have perpetrated hate-motivated acts.
The district shall provide students with age-appropriate instruction that:
- Includes the development of social-emotional learning
- Promotes an understanding, awareness, appreciation, and respect for human rights, human relations, diversity, and acceptance in a multicultural society
- Explains the harm and dangers of explicit and implicit biases
- Discourages discriminatory attitudes and practices
- Provides strategies to manage conflicts constructively
As necessary, the district shall provide counseling, guidance, and support to students who are victims of hate-motivated behavior and to students who exhibit such behavior.
When appropriate, students who engage in hate-motivated behavior shall be disciplined.
The Superintendent or designee shall provide staff with training that:
- Promotes an understanding of diversity, equity, and inclusion
- Discourages the development of discriminatory attitudes and practices
- Includes social-emotional learning and nondiscriminatory instructional and counseling methods
- Supports the prevention, recognition, and response to hate-motivated behavior
- Raises the awareness and sensitivity of staff to potentially prejudicial and discriminatory behavior
- Includes effective enforcement of rules for appropriate student conduct
Employees who engage in hate-motivated behavior shall be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal.
Rules prohibiting hate-motivated behavior and procedures for reporting a hate-motivated incident shall be provided to students, staff, and parents/guardians.
This policy shall be posted in a prominent location on the district’s web site in a manner that is readily and easily accessible to parents/guardians and students. (Education Code 234.6)
Any staff member who is notified that hate-motivated behavior has occurred, observes such behavior, or otherwise becomes aware of an incident shall immediately contact the compliance officer responsible for coordinating the district’s response to complaints and complying with state and federal civil rights laws. As appropriate, the staff member shall also contact law enforcement.
A student or parent/guardian who believes the student is a victim of hate-motivated behavior is encouraged to report the incident to a teacher, the principal, the district’s compliance officer, or other staff member.
Any complaint of hate-motivated behavior shall be investigated and, if determined to be discriminatory, shall be resolved in accordance with law and the district’s uniform complaint procedures specified in AR 1312.3 – Uniform Complaint Procedures or other applicable procedure. If, during the investigation, it is determined that a complaint is about nondiscriminatory behavior, the principal or designee shall inform the complainant and shall take all necessary actions to resolve the complaint.