Sexual Harassment / Discrimination Reporting (Title IX)

PODER Academy will promote respect and civility for all students, staff, volunteers, and visitors. The school does not tolerate any form of unlawful discrimination or harassment. Consistent with our mission, vision and values, the schools will respond to all reports of sexual misconduct, civil rights discrimination, and workplace misconduct in the most judicious, prompt, and equitable manner.

Any person can report misconduct whether or not the person is the alleged victim. However, only the Complainant (or parent/guardian) may file a formal complaint. Complaints may be submitted in writing or verbally to the school's Title IX coordinator. 

Conduct is considered sexual harassment if it's unwelcome, based on a person's sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity, and interferes with that person's ability to do his or her job, or with a student's ability to participate in or benefit from a school's educational program.

Sexual harassment as defined by Title IX includes any of three types of misconduct on the basis of sex:

1) Quid pro quo harassment - Asking for sexual favors of some kind in exchange for special treatment on the job, in the classroom, etc or ill-treatment if the victim will not consent to sexual favors.  

2) Hostile Work Environment - Unwelcome conduct that a reasonable person would find so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it denies a person equal educational access.

3) Any instance of sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking as defined in the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

After receiving an incident report, the Title IX coordinator will contact the complainant to offer supportive measures and will then conduct an assessment within 72 hours to determine if an investigation should proceed. Investigations must be prompt, fair, and impartial.

Once an investigation is initiated, the following steps will occur:

1) The Tile IX Coordinator will appoint an Investigator. The Investigator will then send a Notice of Investigation to both parties.

2) The Investigator will have an initial meeting with the complainant to:

  • Review the incident report
  • Collect or request all relevant evidence and documents
  • Review rights and options with respect to the incident reported
  • Review relevant interim supportive measures

3) The Investigator will then schedule an initial meeting with the person(s) accused to review the same four points outlined above.

4) The Investigator will meet with witness(es) who have direct knowledge of events and also review any relevant documentation. 

5) The Investigator will draft a written report to summarize the allegations, relevant evidence, findings, and outcomes. External resources may be used to assist in preparation of the written report including anyone trained in Title IX or sexual harassment/discrimination proceedings. The Investigator will then meet with the Title IX coordinator to review the report. The Investigator may in certain cases seek to resolve the matter informally if both parties agree.

6) The Investigator will provide the report to both parties for review with 10 calendar days for response.

7) After both parties have an opportunity to respond, the Investigator will make any revisions and then send the final report to a separate decision-maker who will issue a written final determination at the end of 10 calendar days.

8) The final determination shall include the following:

  • Description of alleged violations (including relevant policies violated)
  • Summary of findings of fact and rationale supporting the determination
  • Description of sanctions imposed on the respondent
  • Remedies to be provided to the complainant designed to restore or preserve access to the education program or activity
  • Procedures/timelines for any appeal

Interviews, allegations, statements, and identities will be kept confidential to the greatest extent possible as allowed by law. However, PODER Academy will not allow the goal of confidentiality to be a deterrent to an effective investigation.

9) At the conclusion of the investigation, the Investigator will provide all documentation, records, notes, evidence, and reports to the Title IX Coordinator to retain for 7 years. 

* The preponderance of the evidence standard will be used for all formal complaints of sexual harassment.

A timely resolution of each complaint will be reached and communicated to the respondent. Appropriate corrective action, up to and including termination, will be taken promptly against any employee or student found to be engaging in discrimination and/or harassment. The corrective action issued will be proportional to the severity of the conduct. The respondent's employment or student history and any similar complaints will be taken into consideration.

Any party can request an appeal of the final determination on the following bases:

1) procedural integrity that affected the outcome of the matter

2) newly discovered evidence that could affect the outcome of the matter

3) Conflict of interest or bias, which affected the outcome of the matter

An appeals officer shall be separate from the Title IX Coordinator, Investigator, and Decision-maker. Parties will have 10 days to file a written appeal. If an appeal is filed, the determination will be final after the decision is made in the appeals process. If an appeal is not filed, the original determination will be final after 10 days.

All employees have a duty to report sexual misconduct, and are required by law to notify the school's designated Title IX Coordinator. The Title IX Coordinator will direct victims to appropriate resources for emotional support and or provide information on available options for resolution. Reports from PODER Academy or PODER Secondary can be routed to either designated Title IX Coordinator listed below:

Title IX Coordinators: Nicholas Vaughn or Colton St. Peter

Designated Investigators: Jessica Rader or Derek Schaneman 

Decision-Maker - Independent mediator to be assigned by the Title IX Coordinator

Appeals Officer - Separate independent mediator to be assigned by the Title IX Coordinator

If you believe you have been a victim of misconduct related to sexual harassment and/or discrimination, please complete this form and submit it to the Title IX Coordinator of your choice.

Incident Report Form

A Title IX claim does not preclude a complainant from filing under Title VI or with the Office of Civil Rights. Staff & students are encouraged to report possible crimes to law enforcement. Please be advised that criminal processes are independent of the schools. Even when a report has been made to law enforcement, employees are required to make a report to the Title IX Coordinator.

* Staff / students are encouraged to report possible crimes to law enforcement. Please be advised that criminal processes are independent of the schools. Even when a report has been made to law enforcement, employees are required to make a report to the Title IX Coordinator.