New Bedford / Dartmouth / Fairhaven

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TITLE IX DEFINITIONS

Actual Knowledge – Occurs when the District’s Title IX Coordinator or any employee (other than a “respondent” or alleged harasser) receives a notice, report or information or becomes aware of sexual harassment or allegations of sexual harassment.

Complainant – An individual who is alleged to be the victim of conduct that could constitute sexual harassment under Title IX. Parents and/or legal guardians of a complainant are not considered a complainant by may file a Formal Complaint on behalf of a minor child and act on behalf of the minor child in any Title IX matter. “Complainant” and “Alleged Victim” can be used interchangeably.

Consent – Is informed, freely giving, and mutually understood. Lack of consent is a critical factor in determining whether sexual violence/assault has occurred. Consent requires an affirmative act or statement by each participant.

Dating Violence – Violence committed by a person who is or has been in a societal relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim. The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on the reporting party’s statement and with consideration of the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship. For the purposes of this definition, dating violence includes but is not limited to, sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse. Dating violence does not include acts covered under the definition of domestic violence.

Decision Maker means the person or persons tasked with: the responsibility of making the initial determination of responsibility (at times referred to as initial decision maker”); or the responsibility to decide any appeal (at times appeals decision maker”) with respect to formal complaints of sexual harassment in accordance with the Title IX Grievance Process.

Domestic Violence – A felony or misdemeanor crime of violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim; by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common; by a person who is cohabitating with, or has cohabitated with, the victim as a spouse or intimate partner; by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the crime of violence occurred; by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the crime of violence occurred.

Fondling – The touching of the private body parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of their age or because of their temporary or permanent mental incapacity. In Massachusetts, pursuant to M.G.L. c.265, §23, the statutory age of consent is 16 years of age.

Formal Complaint – A document or electronic submission filed by a complainant, that includes the complainant’s physical or digital signature or otherwise indicates that the complainant is the person filing the Formal Complaint, or a document signed by the Title IX Coordinator, that:
● Alleges sexual harassment against a respondent; and
● Requests that the District investigate the allegation of sexual harassment.
The complainant must be participating in or attempting to participate in the District’s education program or activity at the time of filing a formal complaint.

Hostile Environment – Such advances, requests or conduct have the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s education or employment by creating an intimidating, hostile, humiliating or sexually offensive educational environment.

Sexual Assault – An assault that meets the definition of rape, fondling, incest, or statutory rape.

Rape – The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person without the consent of the victim.

Examples of Sexual Assault include:
● Sexual intercourse (anal, oral, or vaginal) by a man or woman upon a man or woman without consent.
● Sexual touching with an object or body part, by a man or woman upon a man or woman, without consent.
● Sexual touching with an object or body part, by a man or woman upon a man or woman, committed by force, threat, or intimidation.
● Non-consensual video or audio-taping of sexual activity.

Respondent – An individual who has been reported to be the perpetrator of conduct that could constitute sexual harassment.

Sexual Harassment – The term under Title IX includes three (3) types of conduct based on sex that satisfies one of the following criteria:
● Any instance of “quid pro quo” harassment by a school’s employee;
● Any unwelcome conduct that a reasonable person would find so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it denies a person equal education access; and
● Any instance of sexual violence (i.e., sexual assault, sexual exploitation, dating violence, or stalking as defined below).

Examples of Sexual Harassment may include, but are not limited to:
● Unwelcome touching, kissing, hugging, or massaging
● Pressure for sexual activity
● Unnecessary references to parts of the body
● Sexual innuendos or sexual humor
● Obscene gestures
● Sexual graffiti, pictures, or posters
● Sexually explicit profanity
● Inquiries, or discussions about sexual experiences, activities, or fantasies

Statutory Rape – Sexual Intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent. In Massachusetts, pursuant to M.G.L. c.265, §23, the statutory age of consent is 16 years of age.

Stalking – Engaging in a “course of conduct” directed at a specific person that would cause a “reasonable person” to fear for the person’s safety or the safety of others or suffer “substantial emotional distress.”
● Course of conduct: two or more acts, including, but not limited to, acts in which the stalker directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about a person, or interferes with a person’s property.
● Reasonable person: a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the victim.
● Substantial Emotional Distress: significant mental suffering or anguish that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.

Supportive Measures – Individualized services reasonably available that are non-punitive, non-disciplinary, and not unreasonably burdensome to the Complainant or Respondent, while designed to ensure equal educational access, protect the safety, and/or deter sexual harassment. Supportive measures available to complainants and respondents include, but are not limited to; counseling; extensions of deadlines or other class-related adjustments; modifications of work or class schedules; school escort services; mutual restrictions on contact between the parties; changes in work locations; leaves of absence; increased security and monitoring of certain areas of the school; and other similar measures.