ODLS Title IX and Non-Discrimination Notice
Ohio Digital Learning School (ODLS) is committed to providing an environment that is free from all forms of sex discrimination, which includes gender-based discrimination, sexual harassment and sexual violence, as regulated by Title VII and Title IX, and to insuring the accessibility of appropriate grievance procedures for addressing all complaints regarding all forms of sex discrimination and sexual harassment. ODLS reserves the authority to independently deal with sex discrimination and sexual harassment whenever becoming aware of their existence, regardless of whether a complaint has been lodged in accordance with the grievance procedure set forth below.
Information and Assistance
Definition of Sex Discrimination and Sexual Harassment (for Students):
- Sex discrimination occurs when a person, because of his or her sex, is denied participation in or the benefits of any education program or activity that receives federal financial assistance.
- Sexual harassment 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.
Definition of Sex Discrimination and Sexual Harassment (for 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 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.
Any individual, who believes he/she may have experienced any form of sex discrimination or sexual harassment, or who believes that he/she has observed such actions taking place, may receive information and assistance regarding the School’s policies and reporting procedures from any of the following:
Any student, parent/guardian, current or prospective employee or other individual within the school community who believes he/she has experienced and/or observed sex discrimination or sexual harassment (“grievant”) should promptly report the matter to the school’s Title IX Coordinator, a school counselor, principal or other school administrator. A Title IX grievant is requested to complete a complaint form. Complaints of alleged sex discrimination, including sexual harassment, brought forth by students, parents/guardians, current or prospective employees, and other members of the school community will be promptly investigated in an impartial and in as confidential a manner as reasonably possible, so that corrective action can be taken if necessary.
The grievance procedures will be as follows:
- It is the express policy of Ohio Digital Learning School to encourage the prompt reporting of claims of sex discrimination and/or sexual harassment. Once the school has “actual knowledge” of sexual harassment, or allegations of sexual harassment, the school will respond within 24 hours. “Actual knowledge” means notice or allegations received by Title IX coordinator, school official with authority to institute corrective measures on behalf of the school, or any school employee. The school must treat a person as a complainant any time the school has notice that the person is alleged to be the victim of conduct that could constitute sexual harassment (regardless of whether the person themselves reported, or a third party reported the sexual harassment), and irrespective of whether the complainant ever chooses to file a formal complaint. Further, it should be noted, there is no time limit or statute of limitations on a complainant’s decision to file a formal complaint.
- At the time the complaint is filed, the grievant shall promptly be given a copy of these grievance procedures and a description of the supportive measures offered by the school. A formal complaint form for such purpose can be found on our website and will also be provided to the grievant upon notification of such complaint. It is the responsibility of the Title IX Coordinator or designee to explain these procedures and measures and answer any questions anyone has. As it pertains to students, in appropriate circumstances, due to the age of the student making the complaint, a parent/guardian or school administrator may be permitted to fill out the form on the student’s behalf. In addition, if the grievant is a minor student, the Title IX Coordinator should consider whether a child abuse report should be completed in accordance with Ohio Digital Learning School’s policy on the Reports of Suspected Child Abuse or Neglect of Children.
- The Title IX Coordinator or designee shall investigate the complaint as promptly as practicable but in no case more than ten (10) working days from the date the complaint was received. The Title IX Coordinator or designee shall have the complete cooperation of all persons during the investigation.
- The Title IX Coordinator will provide written notice to the parties identified in the complaint. The written notice will include, the allegations and facts that may constitute sexual harassment, the presumption of that the accused did not engage in prohibited conduct, notice that parties are entitled to an advisor of their choice, parties can request to inspect and review certain evidence, a copy of the code of conduct, false statements (if any), the opportunity to engage in informal resolution, the right to appeal, the range of possible remedies and disciplinary sanctions following determination of responsibility, and which standard of evidence will be used to reach a determination.
- The Title IX Coordinator or designee shall meet with all individuals reasonably believed to have relevant information, including the grievant and the individual(s) against whom the complaint was lodged, and any witnesses to the conduct. The investigation shall be carried on by the school discreetly, maintaining confidentiality insofar as reasonably possible while conducting an effective investigation. The investigator will objectively evaluate all relevant evidence regardless of who it favors or disfavors. Where facts are in conflict, credibility determinations can be made. However, credibility determinations will not be based on a person’s status as a complainant, respondent, or witness. Following the evaluation, the investigator will prepare an investigative report and will share the report with all parties before a determination regarding responsibility is reached.
- Prior to sharing the investigation report, the Title IX Coordinator must provide all parties a copy of the evidence used to form the basis of the report, and allow all parties 10 days to submit a written response. All written responses received will be objectively reviewed and considered by the school’s investigator before issuing the report. Further, the Title IX Coordinator must afford each party the opportunity to submit written, relevant questions that a party wants asked of any party or witness, provide each party with the answers, and allow for additional, limited follow-up questions from each party.
- Finally, the school’s identified decision-maker, not the Title IX Coordinator or investigator, will make a determination and provide written determination of responsibility to both parties simultaneously. The written determination will include:
- Identification of the allegations potentially constituting sexual harassment as defined in §106.30; 2027
- A description of the procedural steps taken from the receipt of the formal complaint
through the determination, including any notifications to the parties, interviews with parties and witnesses, site visits, methods used to gather other evidence, and hearings held;
- Findings of fact supporting the determination;
- Conclusions regarding the application of the recipient’s code of conduct to the facts;
- A statement of, and rationale for, the result as to each allegation, including a
determination regarding responsibility, any disciplinary sanctions the recipient imposes on the respondent, and whether remedies designed to restore or preserve equal access to the recipient’s education program or activity will be provided by the recipient to the complainant; and
- The recipient’s procedures and permissible bases for the complainant and respondent
- If after an investigation, the decision-maker determines that there is reasonable cause to believe that sex discrimination or sexual harassment in violation of the school’s policy has occurred, the Ohio Digital Learning School shall take appropriate corrective action in an effort to ensure that the conduct ceases and will not recur. The Title IX Coordinator or designee shall also provide and or arrange for support services that are individualized, non-disciplinary, non-punitive, protect the safety of all parties and educational environment, deter harassment, and are not unreasonably burdensome. Such support services may include, no contact orders, academic accommodations, health and mental health services, disability services, confidential counseling or training where appropriate.
Dissemination of Information
ODLS shall notify applicants for admission and employment, students, parents/guardians of elementary and secondary school students, employees, and sources of referral of applicants for admission and employment, that it does not discriminate on the basis of sex in the educational programs or activities which it operates, and that it is required by Title IX and its administrative regulations not to discriminate in such a manner. The notification shall be made in the form and manner required by law or regulation.
ODLS Title IX Coordinator
ODLS Staff Title IX Training:
All ODLS staff are trained on Title IX via SafeSchool Training in the areas of Regulator and Subregulatory Guidance, Relevant Terminology, School Policy, and Federal School Guidelines.
ODLS Title IX Team Training
ODLS’s Title IX Coordinator, school administrators, school counselors, and school social worker received training from Bricker & Eckler in December 2020. Training materials from each session are provided below.