SHREWSBURY PUBLIC SCHOOLS STATEMENT OF NON-DISCRIMINATION
The Shrewsbury Public Schools are required by the Massachusetts Department of Education to publish an annual statement of non-discrimination. This notice serves to meet that requirement.
The Massachusetts Equal Educational Opportunity statute, General Laws Chapter 76, § 5, ensures that all students have the right to equal educational opportunities in public schools. The Shrewsbury Public School District is committed to ensuring equal educational opportunities for all students and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, sexual orientation or disability.
The Shrewsbury Public Schools are in compliance with state and federal laws prohibiting discrimination and harassment. The following laws apply:
Massachusetts General Law Chapter 76, § 5, which states, "No person shall be excluded from or discriminated against in the admission to a public school or in obtaining the advantages, privileges, and course of study of such public school on account of race, color, sex, religion, national origin or sexual orientation."
Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, is a federal statute which states, in part, "No person in the United States shall on the basis of sex be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination under any educational program receiving federal assistance." This requirement not to discriminate in educational programs and activities also extends to employment. Ms. Barb Malone is the Title IX Coordinator and Director of Human Resources and she can be reached at (508) 841-8400.
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, provides that no person in the United States shall, on the grounds of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be otherwise subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. Title VI provides for equal access and prohibits discrimination in the assignment of students to classes. It also prohibits discrimination in ability grouping or tracking students.
The Shrewsbury School Committee Policies #316 and #645 deal directly with the issues of harassment. Copies of these policies are available in the principal’s office at each school or through the Superintendent’s Office, located at 100 Maple Avenue, Shrewsbury, MA 01545. Further information may be obtained by contacting Ms. Barb Malone, Director of Human Resources at (508) 841-8400.
The following grievance procedure which was approved by the Shrewsbury School Committee is to be used for all issues relating to harassment or discrimination involving students and/or staff:
● The Shrewsbury Public Schools does not and will not knowingly discriminate against any student or employee on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, sexual orientation or disability. All reports of harassment or discrimination will be taken seriously and investigated in a timely fashion. Reports will be held in the utmost confidence.
● Any individual who believes he/she has been the subject of harassment or discrimination should immediately report the incident, either verbally or in writing to an administrator, adjustment counselor, guidance counselor, or teacher. The principal must be notified in all cases of harassment or discrimination. All cases of harassment involving a staff member will be reported to the Director of Human Resources.
○ An administrator will first meet with the parties involved in an attempt to resolve the issue informally.
○ If the complainant is unable to meet with the alleged harasser, the administrator, teacher, or counselor may assist the complainant in drafting a letter clearly describing the incident (behavior, where and when it occurred), how the complainant felt, and a request that the behavior stop immediately.
○ Any letter should be signed by the complainant, sent to the alleged harasser and is kept on file by the school administrator.
○ The alleged harasser may be encouraged to apologize, personally or by letter or to write a letter refuting the allegations.
● In cases of alleged harassment requiring formal investigations, the following shall be implemented.
○ The complainant shall have the support of a staff member of his/her choice and the alleged harasser will also have the opportunity to select representation (union representative, attorney, teacher, etc). An administrator from the appropriate level will complete an investigation promptly and make a decision regarding the allegations.
● In serious cases where alleged harassment does not stop following a warning, appropriate disciplinary sanction may be imposed, up to and including suspension or dismissal.
○ If the conduct violates the law the incident will be reported to the appropriate authorities by the school administration.
○ Retaliation or threats of retaliation are unlawful and will not be tolerated.
○ In all cases of harassment or discrimination, the investigating administrator will make a final disposition and issue a written report, which will be maintained in the school’s files.
● If the complainant cannot utilize the procedure detailed above because the alleged harasser is involved in the procedure, the complainant should contact the Superintendent of Schools. Complaints about the Superintendent of Schools should be made to the Chairperson of the School Committee.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a federal statute which states, in part, "No otherwise qualified individual shall solely on the basis of handicap, be excluded from participation in, be denied benefits of, or be subject to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance." This requirement not to discriminate in educational programs and activities also extends to employment. Each school has a designated Section 504 Coordinator. Initial inquiries relating to Section 504 should be directed to the building-based Section 504 Coordinator who can be contacted through the principal’s office. Further information may be requested by contacting the Director of Pupil Personnel Services at (508) 841-8660.
The following grievance procedure should be used to report discrimination under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Acts of 1973:
o To fulfill its obligation under Section 504, the Shrewsbury Public Schools recognizes a responsibility to avoid discrimination in policies and practices regarding personnel and students. No discrimination against a person with a disability will knowingly be permitted in any of the programs or activities of the Shrewsbury Public Schools.
o The school district has a specific requirement under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which includes the responsibility to identify, evaluate and if the child is determined to be eligible under Section 504, to afford access to free and appropriate educational services. Questions about eligibility or services should be first directed to the building-based coordinator.
o If a parent or guardian disagrees with the determination made by the professional staff of the school, he/she has a right to a hearing, first with the district’s Section 504 Coordinator, and secondly with an impartial hearing officer. The district’s Section 504 Coordinator can be reached at 15 Parker Road, Shrewsbury, MA 01545 or by phone at (508) 841-8660.
o All grievances will be heard in a timely manner by the district’s Section 504 Coordinator, who will provide a written report of the district’s findings. If a parent or guardian is unsatisfied with the results of the review they may appeal to the Superintendent of Schools.
o For grievances not resolved at the Superintendent’s level, a review by an impartial hearing officer may be scheduled.
Individuals with grievances are not required to use the Shrewsbury Public School’s grievance procedure. Written complaints may be filed with the following agencies:
Massachusetts Department of Education 75 Pleasant Street
Malden, MA 02148-5023
United States Department of Education Region 1 – Office of Civil Rights
John W. McCormack Post Office and Courthouse – Room 222 Boston, MA 02109-4557
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission One Congress Street
Boston, MA 02114
Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination One Ashburton Place, Room 601
Boston, MA 02108
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