Title IX and Non-Discrimination Notice
The North Carolina Virtual Academy (NCVA) is committed to providing an environment that is free from all forms of sex discrimination against students and employees. Discrimination includes any gender-based disparate treatment, harassment, hostile environment, violence, or retaliation as prohibited by state and federal law. This policy provides guidelines for addressing instances or alleged instances of school-related sex discrimination. NCVA reserves the authority to deal independently with sex discrimination regardless of whether a complaint has been lodged in accordance with the complaint procedure set forth below.
DISSEMINATION OF INFORMATION
NCVA shall notify applicants for admission and employment, students, parents/guardians of school students, employees (including by materials related to admission and employment), that the School does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its educational programs or activities. The notification shall be made in the form and manner required by law.
- Sex Discrimination (Students). Sex discrimination occurs when a person, because of his or her sex, is denied participation in or the benefits of any educational program or activity. Sexual harassment, a form of discrimination, is conduct that: 1) is sexual in nature; 2) is unwelcome; and 3) denies or limits a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from a school’s educational program or activity. Sexual harassment can be verbal, nonverbal, or physical.
- Sex Discrimination (Job Applicants and Employees). Sex discrimination occurs when a person who is qualified for a position at issue is subjected to an adverse employment action because of his or her sex. Sexual harassment, another form of discrimination, is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when: 1) submission to such conduct is made a term or condition of employment; 2) submission to or rejection of the conduct is used as a basis for employment decisions affecting the individual; or 3) the conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with the employee’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment.
- Retaliation. Retaliation, another form of discrimination, is a hostile act taken against a person who complains of sex discrimination or who assists in a discrimination investigation.
INFORMATION AND ASSISTANCE
Any individual (“Complainant”) who believes s/he may have experienced any form of sex discrimination, including retaliation, or who has witnessed such actions taking place, may receive information and assistance regarding the School’s policies and reporting procedures from the NCVA Title IX Coordinator, identified below:
Name: Chris Withrow, Title IX Coordinator
Email / Phone: email@example.com / (919) 346-0121)
Office Address: 4220 NC Highway 55, Suite 130 Durham, NC 27713
COMPLAINT INVESTIGATION GUIDELINES AND PROCEDURES
The following shall serve as guidelines and procedures under normal circumstances of a complaint process. Deviation from any such provisions may be necessary in the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator or NCVA legal counsel, but shall only occur when necessary, and in the most timely manner feasible under the circumstances. Any substantive deviation from the procedures below should be documented as to its nature and cause. Specific timeframes indicated below are noted in bold font (in addition to section headers). In instances involving clear risk of serious harm or injury, all necessary action shall be taken immediately or as soon a possible to protect interested parties and/or the School.
- Informal resolution. Any member of the school community believes s/he is subject to or witnesses any unwelcomed behavior that may not amount to actual discrimination or retaliation, is encouraged, if feasible, to reasonably attempt to resolve the matter informally, promptly, and discreetly, by communicating directly with the person(s) causing the perceived unwelcomed treatment.
- Formal Complaint. Any member of the school community (“Complainant”) should report the matter to the School’s Title IX Coordinator, or alternatively, a school counselor, supervisor, or the Head of School. The Complainant, with assistance as needed, should complete a Sex Discrimination Complaint Form (“Complaint Form”). The Complaint Form is available on the school website at http://ncva.k12.com/title-ix-non-discrimination.html and from the Title IX Coordinator. A Formal Complaint should be filed promptly, and at least within fourteen (14) calendar days of the first date of the alleged sex discrimination. However, failure to file a complaint by such time shall not preclude later filing of a complaint and/or initiation of an investigation into sex discrimination.
- Appointment of Title IX Coordinator Designee. If the Complaint implicates the Title IX Coordinator, or for any other reason the Title IX Coordinator should not direct the investigation due to a conflict of interest, unavailability, or otherwise, then the Head of School, School Attorney, or other person (“Designee”) assigned by the School Board Chairperson shall serve in lieu of the Title IX Coordinator. Whoever leads the investigation process will be considered the Complaint “Investigator” throughout. Any reference, hereafter, to the Title IX Coordinator shall be understood to include any appointed Designee by the School Board Chairperson. Any Designee appointment should be made promptly, and at least within 2 working days from the time notice is given to the Board Chairman of the need for such appointment.
- Consultation with Legal Counsel. If the Investigator determines upon initial or subsequent consideration that a complaint appears to present reasonably credible allegations of Sex Discrimination or other matters of legal significance, the Investigator shall inform the Board Chair, promptly. The Investigator and/or Board Chair shall subsequently and promptly consult with NCVA legal counsel, then and beyond as necessary to ensure proper legal process and protection. In addition, if the complaint is made against an employee of K12, Inc., NCVA’s legal counsel shall promptly notify legal counsel for K12, Inc.
- Interim Measures. During a complaint investigation, the Title IX Coordinator shall act (if authorized to do so) or recommend action to appropriate supervisory personnel or Board Chairperson (as necessary) to implement necessary interim measures to ensure that the Complainant, the School, and/or others are protected during the investigation. This includes removing the Complainant from any potential risk of harm or potential discrimination, or removing the alleged aggressor as necessary in a non-punitive manner pending the investigation (e.g., suspension with pay, change of assignment or placement). Such interim measures should be recommended and, if approved, taken promptly, and typically within one working day of notice of such need.
- Investigation. The Investigator, shall impartially and thoroughly investigate the complaint in a confidential manner, and shall reasonably document such efforts. The investigation should begin promptly and no later than one working day within receipt of a properly filed complaint. Alternatively, if the Investigator believes an external or other alternative investigator (e.g., the school attorney) should be appointed, s/he should, upon such determination, recommend immediately such appointment to the School Board Chairperson, who shall promptly determine whether to approve and carry out the recommendation, and at least within two (2) working days. The Investigator shall meet with all individuals reasonably believed to have relevant information, including the Complainant and the individual(s) against whom the complaint is lodged, and witnesses. All involved persons shall maintain confidentiality, except as otherwise required by law. All relevant investigation efforts, evidence, and findings shall be properly documented and preserved. The Investigator shall promptly conduct and complete the interview process, and at least within fourteen (14) calendar days of initiating the Investigation.
- Investigative Determination. Upon completing the investigation, the Investigator shall, after appropriate consideration and consultation, make a written determination (“Determination”) that includes findings of fact, conclusions concerning the complaint’s validity, any recommended remedial actions (to the extent permissible under confidentiality laws), and other matters relevant to the Complaint and investigation, including procedures related to the right to appeal the Determination. The Investigator shall provide copies of the Determination to the parties and other interested persons, except to the extent confidentiality requirements preclude such disclosure. The investigation and the Determination should be completed as early as feasible, and no later than twenty-one (21) calendar days from the investigation’s initiation.
- Corrective Action. If after an investigation, the Investigator determines that there is reasonable cause to believe that sex discrimination or other misconduct has occurred, s/he shall take prompt and appropriate corrective action (if within the Investigator’s authority) or recommendation to appropriate supervisors (as needed) corrective action to stop and prevent future misconduct. The Investigator may also arrange for or recommend confidential counseling, training, discipline, suspension, and/or student expulsion or employee termination as is fitting for any offending person. Such action or recommendation shall be made at the earliest point feasible, considering factors such as degree of risk, nature of the conduct, and whether the Determination is appealed.
- Right to Board Hearing. If any party involved in the investigation wishes to challenge the Determination, that person may file, by submission to the Title IX Coordinator, a written request for review by the School Board (or a panel thereof) pursuant to applicable Board hearing procedures in place at the time. A copy of such procedures and any applicable form(s) will be provided promptly to such party upon request. Such request for review shall be made no later than seven (7) days after receipt of the determination. Failure to request review in a timely and proper manner may preclude the right to a review hearing.
OTHER GUIDELINES AND PROCEDURES
- Retention of investigative records. Unless advised otherwise by legal counsel, NCVA will retain records relative to a NCVA-initiated investigation for the greater of a period of seven years or the minimum retention period required by law.
- Release of investigative records. NCVA will not release any investigative files, including interviews and findings, unless authorized by legal counsel, or otherwise legally required.
- Disclosures to third parties. No NCVA employee or agent involved in an investigation shall disclose any confidential matter associated with the investigation to a person not in a need-to-know position, except in consultation with legal counsel or as otherwise legally required.
NCVA Title IX Coordinator
Chris Withrow, Executive Director, firstname.lastname@example.org 919.346.0121.
Address: 4220 NC 55, Suite 130, Durham, NC 27713