Human Dignity Policy

The Board of Education, recognizing that we are a multiracial, multiethnic school district, believes it is a part of our mission to provide a positive, harmonious environment in which respect for the diverse make up of our school community is promoted. A major aim of education in the Ferndale School District is the development of a reasoned commitment to the core values of a democratic society. In accordance with this aim, the school district will not tolerate behavior by students or staff that insults, degrades, or stereotypes any race, gender, handicap, physical condition, sexual orientation, marital status, ethnic group or religion. Prohibited activities include, but are not limited to:

  • Spoken or written racial or ethnic slurs.
  • Racial, ethnic or religious intimidation.
  • Authorship, publication, and circulation of other unauthorized material.
  • Possession or distribution of pornographic or obscene material.
  • Hazing or initiations.

Harassment

The harassment by a student of a staff member, fellow student of this District, or third party (e.g. visiting speaker, athletic team member, volunteer, parent, etc.) is strictly forbidden.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual Harassment, which includes, but is not limited to, unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, inappropriate verbal, nonverbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that is sufficiently persistent as to create a hostile environment or uncomfortable atmosphere, is prohibited by law and School Board Policy. Examples of such harassment include unwanted sexual touching, teasing, jokes, comments, gestures, etc.

Verbal

The making of written or oral sexual innuendoes, suggestive comments, jokes of a sexual nature, sexual propositions, or threats to a fellow student, staff member, or other person associated with the District.

Nonverbal

Causing the placement of sexually suggestive objects, pictures, or graphic commentaries in the school environment or the making of sexually suggestive or insulting gestures, sounds, leering, whistling, and the like to a fellow student, staff member, or other person associated with the District.

Physical Contact

Threatening or causing unwanted touching, contact, or attempts at same, including patting, pinching, pushing the body, or coerced sexual intercourse or other forms of criminal sexual conduct, with a fellow student, staff member, or other person associated with the District.

Gender/Ethnic/Religious/Disability Harassment

Verbal

Written or oral innuendoes, comments, jokes, insults, threats, or disparaging remarks concerning a person’s gender, sexual orientation, national origin, religious beliefs, etc... toward a fellow student, staff member, or other person associated with the District.

Nonverbal

Placing objects, pictures, or graphic commentaries in the school environment or making insulting or threatening gestures toward a fellow student, staff member, or other person associated with the District. Conducting a “campaign of silence” toward a fellow student, staff member, or other person associated with the District by refusing to have any form of social interaction with the person.

Physical

Any intimidating or disparaging action such as hitting, hissing, or spitting on a fellow student, staff member, or other person associated with the District.

Bullying

The school believes that every individual deserves to be able to come to school without fear of bullying, demeaning remarks or actions. This conduct is not permitted. This includes any speech or action that badgers or intimidates to create a hostile, intimidating or offensive learning environment.

Any offense of the human dignity policy will result in parental contact, disciplinary suspension of appropriate duration, possible police contact and possible expulsion.

Reporting Incidents of Harassment

Students who believe they or someone else are the victim of any of the human dignity policies or have observed such actions taken by another student, staff member, or other person associated with the District, should make contact with a staff member, counselor, and/or an administrator selected by each building Principal with whom the students would most likely be comfortable in discussing a matter of this kind.

Students may make contact either by a written report by telephone or personal visit. During this contact, reporting students should provide the name of the person(s) whom they believe to be responsible for the harassment and the nature of the harassing incident(s). A written summary of each incident reported will be prepared promptly and a copy forwarded to the Principal.

Alternatively, students may use the State of Michigan anonymous reporting tools through the OK2SAY program.‚Äč

Each report shall be investigated in a timely and confidential manner. While a charge is under investigation, no information will be released to anyone who is not involved with the investigation, except as may be required by law or in the context of a legal or administrative proceeding. No one involved is to discuss the subject outside of the investigation.

If the investigation reveals that the complaint is valid, then appropriate remedial and/or disciplinary action will be taken promptly to prevent the continuance of the harassment or its recurrence.

Given the nature of harassing behavior, the school recognizes that false accusations can have serious effects on innocent individuals. Therefore, all students are expected to act responsibly, honestly, and with the utmost candor whenever they present harassment allegations or charges.

Some forms of sexual harassment of a student by another student may be considered a form of child abuse that will require the student-abuser be reported to proper authorities.

Hazing by any school group, club, or team is not permitted. This includes any form of initiation that causes or creates a risk of causing mental or physical harm, no matter how willing the participant may be.

Under no circumstances will the school threaten or retaliate against anyone who raises or files an harassment complaint.