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What is the CPS Sexual Harassment Policy?

By Hope Rogers, Staff Writer

Federal and state laws require schools to have clear policies outlining how sexual harassment should be reported, and the consequences for an individual proven to have harassed somebody during or outside of school. However, because sexual harassment is a small subset of discrimination as a whole, students do not always get the opportunity to learn about their rights and the laws protecting them in situations of sexual harassment specifically.

Here is an explanation of the basic protections against sexual harassment in place for students enrolled in education programs in the United States. It is important to note that there are many more laws on various levels of government that interact to establish standards for cases surrounding sexual harassment. The points presented here should be used as a starting point for understanding sexual harassment policies, not a complete guide to every institution’s policy.

Definition of sexual harassment

Sexual harassment encompasses a broad range of uninvited sexual advances or other discriminatory behavior, including both verbal and physical actions. Sexual harassment can happen within a variety of environments and forms of interaction, but regardless of the particular nature of an incident it is punishable by law in the United States and defined in multiple legislative documents.

People to report sexual misconduct to at school

Payton’s Title IX coordinators for non-athletic issues are Mr. Devine and Mr. Adamji. CPS policy dictates that the principal and assistant principal of each school should be the Title IX coordinators for reports of discrimination based on gender or sex in the school.

As Payton’s Principal Mr. Devine said, “A student would come to myself or Mr. Adamji, express to us what their concern was… and then we would open an investigation into that,” whether the student experienced discrimination or harassment from another student, a school employee, or somebody outside of the school.

If someone would prefer to speak to a teacher they have a close relationship with, they could report sexual harassment or abuse to a teacher. Keep in mind that teachers are mandated reporters, meaning that they are legally required to report any suspicion or knowledge of abuse against a student to higher authorities.

Laws and Regulations

  • Federal: U.S. Department of Education
    • Protects civil rights and guides Title IX-related issues
    • Title IX: establishes standards for schools to follow for their treatment of sexual harassment cases
      • Grievance Procedures: Every school, from elementary to post-secondary, is required to include a procedure for individuals to report sexual misconduct in their school policy.
      • Title IX Coordinator: Each school is required to have a Title IX coordinator to review cases of discrimination based on gender or sex.
  • CPS: Student Code of Conduct
    • 3-4: Prohibits “profane, obscene, indecent, and immoral or seriously offensive language and gestures, propositions, behavior, or harassment” based on a variety of factors including gender identity or expression
    • 3-11: Prevents online harassment, often involving the publication of online materials without the subject’s consent, such as “unauthorized distribution of recordings” or “use of device to record others without permission.”
    • 5-7: Protects students against “inappropriate sexual conduct,” or in other words, the wide range of actions that fall within the category of sexual harassment.
    • 5-9: Protects against “persistent or severe acts of sexual harassment,” including both verbal and physical harassment, given that the victim’s learning at school is impeded by the presence of continued harassment.

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