Paulding County School District
Paulding County School District
The U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR), initiated the above-referenced investigation of the Paulding County School District(District), pursuant to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504), 29 U.S.C. § 794 and its implementing regulation, 34 C.F.R. Part 104, which prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability by recipients of Federal financial assistance and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (Title II), 42 U.S.C. § 12131, and its implementing regulation, 28 C.F.R. Part 35, which prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability by public entities. Prior to the completion of OCR’s investigation, the District asked to resolve the issues of the investigation pursuant to Section 302 of OCR’s Case Processing Manual (CPM).
The District agrees to take all steps reasonably designed to ensure that students enrolled in the District are not subject to a hostile environment on the basis of disability, and the District will promptly investigate all incidents and complaints of harassment. Harassing conduct may take many forms, including verbal acts and name calling; graphic and written statements, which may include use of cell phones or the internet; or other conduct that may be physically threatening, harmful or humiliating. The District will take prompt and effective responsive action reasonably designed to end the hostile environment, if one has been created, prevent its recurrence, and, where appropriate, take steps to remedy the effects of the hostile environment on the affected student(s). Accordingly, to ensure compliance with Section 504 and Title II, and to resolve the issues of this investigation, the District voluntarily agrees to take the following actions:
Student Focused Remedies
- By February 14, 2014, the District will conduct a reevaluation of the Student through a process that comports with the Section 504 regulation at 34 C.F.R. § 104.35. This evaluation will include consideration of a psychoeducational evaluation and other evaluation materials determined to be appropriate based upon a review of the Student’s records (including academic, social and behavioral records); any relevant medical records; any parent, Student or staff observations; and the Student’s needs. The District will arrange and pay any related costs for the reevaluation of the Student.
Reporting Requirement. By February 28, 2014, the District will submit to OCR a copy of any updated psychoeducational report and all other evaluation materials identified in Item #1 used to reevaluate the Student. The District also will provide the reasons for selecting the specific materials used in the reevaluation, including any reasons for concluding that the materials are sufficient to assess the Student’s current disability-related needs.
- By February 14, 2014, the Student’s IEP team will convene and determine whether any compensatory educational services for the Student are necessary in light of the reevaluation conducted in accordance with Item #1 of this Agreement.
- By March 14, 2014, the District will submit to OCR for review the IEP team’s determination regarding the provision of compensatory educational services to the Student, including all documentation and other evidence that was considered by the IEP team in reaching its determination. Upon OCR’s review of the determination, the District will amend the Student’s IEP accordingly and submit a copy of the amended IEP to OCR by no later than March 14, 2014, provided that OCR has reviewed the amended IEP by that date.
- By May 30, 2014, the District will submit to OCR documentation certifying that the agreed upon compensatory educational services were provided to the Student.
- By February 7, 2014, the District will expunge from the Student’s disciplinary record the Weapons charge, related sanctions, and all mention of the incident that occurred on May 2, 2013 on the Student’s Behavior Detail report and any other documents reflecting the Student’s disciplinary record.
Reporting Requirement. By February 14, 2014, the District will submit to OCR a copy of the Student’s Behavior Detail Report and all other disciplinary records showing that the charge, sanctions, and other statements relating to the Weapons charge have been removed.
- By February 14, 2014, the District will conduct a climate survey in the School to determine whether students feel that a hostile environment on the basis of disability exists. If the results of the survey show that a hostile environment exists, the District will, develop a plan to eradicate the hostile environment from the School. The District will implement the plan by February 28, 2014.
Reporting Requirement. By February 28, 2014, the District will submit to OCR a copy of the climate survey conducted by the District and the results of the survey. The District will also provide a summary of the plan developed and implemented by the District to eradicate any hostile environment reflected by the survey results.
Notice of Nondiscrimination
- By March 14, 2014, the District will amend its Chart of Responsibilities for Responses to Civil Rights Concerns on the first paragraph of Page 10 of its Parent & Student Guide (Guide) and its website to include a reference after each of the federal statutes OCR enforces stating the bases covered by those statutes.
Reporting Requirement. By March 28, 2014, the District will provide OCR with a copy of the revised Guide and a link to the website page containing the language described in Item #7.
- By March 14, 2014, the District will amend its Student Discrimination policy on Page 28 of the Guide and its website to include a sentence inserted after the first paragraph stating: “All students who believe they were harassed on any of these bases may file a complaint that will also be processed in accordance with the following procedure.”
Reporting Requirement. By March 28, 2014, the District will provide OCR with a copy of Page 28 of the revised Guide and a link to the website page containing the language described in Item #8.
- By May 28, 2014, or within 60 days of OCR’s approval of the policies developed in accordance with Items #7 and #8 of the Agreement, whichever is later, the District will adopt and implement the procedures and will publish the revised procedures in a written document and on its website.
Reporting Requirement. Within 30 days of completion of Item #9, the District will provide OCR with documentation that it has implemented Item #9 above.
Bullying and Harassment Policies/Grievance Procedures
- By March 14, 2014, the District will revise and submit for OCR approval, its existing policies and procedures concerning bullying, harassment and grievances or other complaints regarding treatment of students as necessary to clarify that: a) the District’s policies concerning bullying apply to bullying on the basis of disability; b) the District’s grievance procedures apply to allegations of discrimination, including harassment, on the basis of disability by staff, students or third parties; c) the complainant and subject of the complaint shall be afforded the opportunity to present witnesses and other evidence; and d) the District will take steps to prevent the recurrence of any discrimination and harassment and to correct any discriminatory effects on the complainant and others, if appropriate.
Reporting Requirement. By March 28, 2014, the District will submit its revised policies and procedures to OCR for its review and approval.
- By May 28, 2014, or within 60 days of OCR’s approval of the procedures developed in accordance with Item #10 of the Agreement, whichever is later, the District will adopt and implement the procedures and will publish the revised procedures in a written document and on its website.
Reporting Requirement. Within 30 days of the completion of Item #11, the District will provide OCR with documentation that it has implemented Item #11 above.
- By June 13, 2014, the District will initiate annual training for all Principals and Assistant Principals on the prohibition of disability harassment under the Section 504 implementing regulation at 34 C.F.R. § 104.4 and on the revised policies and procedures developed in accordance with Item #11. The training should include examples of the types of conduct (e.g., one incident of a serious physical threat) which may create a hostile environment on the basis of disability and cover the District’s obligation to investigate reports of disability harassment and eliminate a hostile environment of which it has notice. The District will also provide training for staff responsible for responding to complaints of harassment based on disability concerning the steps to take in investigating and addressing a complaint of disability-based harassment.
Reporting Requirement. By June 27, 2014, the District will provide OCR with a report confirming that this training has been completed, including (a) the date of the training; (b) the background and qualifications of the presenters/trainers; (c) a copy of the transcript(s)/materials used for the training; (d) a sign in log with name and title of all District employees who completed the training.
District Statement Regarding Harassment
- By February 14, 2014, the Superintendent and School Board will issue a statement to the District’s students, parents and staff that will be printed in the District’s newsletter, website, student handbook and posted in prominent locations at the School, stating that the District does not tolerate harassment on the basis of disability. The statement will encourage any student who believes that he or she has been subjected to harassment on the basis of disability to report the harassment to the District, and note the District’s commitment to take immediate action to eliminate the harassment, prevent its recurrence, and address its effects. The statement will include the appropriate contact information for the individual designated to receive complaints of harassment on the basis of disability. The statement will warn that students or employees found to have engaged in acts of harassment on the basis of disability will be promptly disciplined and make clear that such discipline may include, if circumstances warrant, suspension or expulsion for students or suspension or termination for employees. The statement will encourage students, parents and District staff to work together to prevent harassment on the basis of disability. The District will distribute this statement in languages other than English, as necessary.
Reporting Requirement. By February 28, 2014, the District will provide OCR with a copy of the statement referred to in Item #13 along with a description of where the statement was published.
The District understands that by signing this Agreement, it agrees to provide data and other information in a timely manner in accordance with the reporting requirements of this Agreement. Further, the District understands that during the monitoring of this Agreement, if necessary, OCR may visit the District, interview staff and students, and request such additional reports or data as are necessary for OCR to determine whether the District has fulfilled the terms of this Agreement and is in compliance with Section 504 and Title II, and their implementing regulations.
The District understands that OCR will not close the monitoring of this Agreement until OCR determines that the District has fulfilled the terms of this Agreement and is in compliance with Section 504, Title II, Title VI, Title IX, and their implementing regulations.
The District understands and acknowledges that OCR may initiate administrative enforcement or judicial proceedings to enforce the specific terms and obligations of this Agreement. Before initiating administrative enforcement (34 C.F.R. §§ 100.9, 100.10), or judicial proceedings to enforce this Agreement, OCR shall give the District written notice of the alleged breach and a minimum of sixty (60) calendar days to cure the alleged breach.
Superintendent or Designee