School Board Policy 526 -
Hazing Prohibition

 

Adopted: march 9, 1998  REVISED: june 11, 2001 revised: december 14, 2009  revised: january 9, 2012  Revised: june 8, 2015  

I. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to maintain a safe learning environment for students and staff that is free from hazing. Hazing activities of any type are inconsistent with the educational goals of the school district and are prohibited at all times.

II. General Statement of Policy

  1. No student, teacher, administrator, volunteer, contractor or other employee of the school district shall plan, direct, encourage, aid or engage in hazing.

  2. No student, teacher, administrator, volunteer, contractor or other employee of the school district shall permit, condone or tolerate hazing.

  3. Apparent permission or consent by a person being hazed does not lessen the prohibitions contained in this policy.

  4. This policy applies to behavior that occurs on or off school property and before, during, and after school hours, including weekends and other non-school days.

  5. A person who engages in an act that violates school policy or law in order to be initiated into or affiliated with a student organization shall be subject to discipline for that act.

  6. The school district will act to investigate all complaints of hazing and will discipline or take appropriate action against any student, teacher, administrator, volunteer, contractor or other employee of the school district who is found to have violated this policy.

III. Definitions

  1. “Hazing” means committing an act against a student, or coercing a student into committing an act, that creates a substantial risk of harm to a person, in order for the student to be initiated into or affiliated with a student organization, or for any other school-related purpose. The term hazing includes, but is not limited to:

    1. Any type of physical brutality such as whipping, beating, striking, branding, electronic shocking or placing a harmful substance on the body.

    2. Any type of physical activity such as sleep deprivation, exposure to weather, confinement in a restricted area, calisthenics or other activity that subjects the student to an unreasonable risk of harm or that adversely affects the mental or physical health or safety of the student.

    3. Any activity involving the consumption of any alcoholic beverage, drug, tobacco product or any other food, liquid, or substance that subjects the student to an unreasonable risk of harm or that adversely affects the mental or physical health or safety of the student.

    4. Any activity that intimidates or threatens the student with ostracism, that subjects a student to extreme mental stress, embarrassment, shame or humiliation, that adversely affects the mental health or dignity of the student or discourages the student from remaining in school. This may include verbal abuse such as yelling, swearing at and insulting the student.

    5. Any activity that causes or requires the student to perform a task that involves violation of state or federal law or of school district policies or regulations.

  2. “Student organization” means a group, club or organization having students as its primary members or participants. It includes grade levels, classes, teams, activities or particular school events. A student organization does not have to be an official school organization to come within the terms of this definition.

IV. Reporting Procedures

  1. Any student who believes he or she has been the victim of hazing or any person who has personally observed or has knowledge or belief of conduct which may constitute hazing shall report the alleged acts immediately to an appropriate school district official designated by this policy such as a coach, counselor, teacher, athletic director or administrator.

  2. The building principal is the person responsible for receiving and investigating reports of hazing at the building level. Any person may report hazing directly to a school district human rights officer or to the superintendent. If the complaint involves the building report taker, the complaint shall be made or filed directly with the assistant superintendent or superintendent or the school district human rights officer by the reporting party or complainant.

  3. Teachers, administrators, volunteers, contractors and other employees of the school district shall be particularly alert to possible situations, circumstances or events which might include hazing. Any such person who receives a report of, observes, or has other knowledge or belief of conduct which may constitute hazing shall inform the building principal immediately. School district personnel who fail to inform the building report taker of conduct that may constitute hazing in a timely manner may be subject to disciplinary action.

  4. Submission of a good faith complaint or report of hazing by a student or staff member will not affect the complainant or reporter’s future employment, grades, activity participation or work assignments.

  5. Reports of hazing are classified as private educational and/or personnel data and/or confidential investigative data and will not be disclosed except as permitted by law. The school district will respect the privacy of the complainant(s), the individual(s) against whom the complaint is filed, and the witnesses as much as possible, consistent with the school district’s legal obligations to investigate, to take appropriate action, and to comply with any discovery or disclosure obligations.

V. School District Action 

  1. Upon receipt of a complaint or report of hazing, the school district shall undertake or authorize an investigation by school district officials or a third party designated by the school district. The district must ensure that the investigation begins within one school day of receipt of a hazing report or complaint.

  2. The school district may take immediate steps, at its discretion, to protect the complainant, reporter, students, or others pending completion of an investigation of hazing.

  3. Upon completion of the investigation, the school district will take appropriate action against students or staff that condoned, planned, directed, encouraged, aided, permitted, or engaged in hazing. Such action may include, but is not limited to, warning, suspension, suspension from Minnesota State High School League activities, Saturday School, exclusion, expulsion, transfer, remediation, termination or discharge. Disciplinary consequences will be adequate to deter violations and to appropriately discipline prohibited behavior. School district action taken for violation of this policy will be consistent with the requirements of applicable collective bargaining agreements, applicable statutory authority, including the Minnesota Pupil Fair Dismissal Act, school district policies and regulations.

  4. The school district is not authorized to disclose to a victim private educational or personnel data regarding an alleged perpetrator who is a student or employee of the school district. At a parent(s)/guardian(s) request school officials will notify the parent(s)/guardian(s) of students involved in a hazing incident of the remedial action taken, to the extent permitted by law, based on a confirmed report.

VI. Reprisal

The school district will discipline or take appropriate action against any student, teacher, administrator, volunteer, contractor or other employee of the school district who (1) retaliates against any person who makes a good faith report of alleged hazing; (2) retaliates against any person who testifies, assists, or participates in an investigation, or (3) retaliates against any person who testifies, assists or participates in a proceeding or hearing relating to such hazing. Retaliation includes, but is not limited to, any form of intimidation, reprisal or harassment or intentional disparate treatment.

VII. Dissemination of Policy 

  1. This policy shall be referenced in each school’s student handbook and in each school’s building and staff handbooks.

  2. The school district will develop a method of annually disseminating this policy to students, parents/guardians, and employees.

Legal References:
Minn. Stat. § 121A.40 - 121A.56 (Pupil Fair Dismissal Act)
Minn. Stat. § 121A.69 (Hazing Policy)
Minn. Stat. § 121A.0695 (School Board Policy; Prohibiting Intimidation and Bullying)

Cross Reference:
W.B.L.A.S.B Policy 403 (Discipline, Suspension and Dismissal of School District Employees)
W.B.L.A.S.B. Policy 413 (Harassment and Violence)
W.B.L.A.S.B. Policy 506 (Student Discipline)
W.B.L.A.S.B. Policy 514 (Bullying Prohibition Policy)
W.B.L.A.S.B. Policy 525 (Violence Prevention [Applicable to Students and Staff])