Civil Rights, Nondiscrimination, Title IX, and Sexual Misconduct

The Cambridge Public Schools (“CPS”) has a commitment to providing equal educational opportunities and equal employment opportunities.

The CPS does not discriminate in its programs, facilities, or employment or educational opportunities on the basis of race, color, age, disability, pregnancy, homelessness, sex/gender, gender identity, religion, national origin, ancestry, sexual orientation, genetics or military status, and does not tolerate any form of retaliation, or bias-based intimidation, threat or harassment that demeans individuals’ dignity or interferes with their ability to learn or work. Additionally, CPS prohibits retaliatory conduct toward persons who have reported possible bias, discrimination, or inappropriate behavior, who have assisted in an investigation, or who have otherwise exercised their rights under these various policies. Students and staff who violate these policies may be subject to discipline, up to and including expulsion (for students) or dismissal (for staff).

Below are brief descriptions and links to the CPS’ various anti-discrimination policies.

Non-Discrimination Policy
The CPS has a commitment to maintaining an educational environment and workplace where bigotry and intolerance, including discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, ethnicity, ancestry, religion, age, disability, genetic information, veteran status, marital status, sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy, or pregnancy-related condition are not tolerated and where any form of intimidation, threat, coercion and/or harassment that insults the dignity of others and interferes with their freedom to learn or work is unacceptable.

The CPS strictly enforces a prohibition against harassment and discrimination, sexual or otherwise, of any of its employees, students, students’ parents/guardians/caregivers or members of the public by anyone, including any fellow student, teacher, supervisor, co-worker, vendor, or other third party, as such conduct is contrary to the mission of the CPS and its commitment to equal opportunity in education and employment. Retaliatory conduct toward persons who have reported possible bias, discrimination, or inappropriate behavior, who have assisted in an investigation, or who have otherwise exercised their rights under this policy is also prohibited.

This policy addresses how to file complaints regarding alleged discrimination based on race, color, age, disability, homelessness, sex/gender, gender identity, religious beliefs, national origin, ancestry, retaliation, sexual orientation, genetics, or military status.

Civil Rights Discrimination Grievance Form: Print | Online

Title IX/Sexual Misconduct Policy
CPS has a commitment to fostering and maintaining an educational environment and workplace that is free from all forms of sexual misconduct, including sexual assault and sexual harassment. The CPS strictly enforces a prohibition against sexual misconduct of any of its employees, students, students’ parents/guardians/caregivers or members of the public by anyone, including any fellow student, teacher, supervisor, co-worker, vendor, or other third party, as such conduct is contrary to the mission of the CPS and its commitment to equal opportunity in education and employment.

The CPS will not tolerate sexual misconduct that affects employment or educational conditions, that interferes unreasonably with an individual’s school or work performance, or that creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or school environment. Sexual misconduct of employees, students, students’ parents/guardians/caregivers or members of the public occurring in the schools or workplace is prohibited by law and will not be tolerated by the CPS. For purposes of this policy, “workplace” or “school” includes school-sponsored social events, trips, sports events, work-related travel or similar events connected with school or employment, including without limitation, extracurricular and athletic activities and programs, traveling to and from school or on a school-sponsored field trip. Further, any retaliation against an individual who has complained about sexual misconduct or retaliation; or any retaliation against any individual who has cooperated with an investigation of a sexual misconduct or retaliation complaint is similarly unlawful and will not be tolerated. This policy also sets forth procedures for students to report a sexual assault.

Complete the Title IX/Sexual Misconduct Formal Grievance Form: Printed Version | Online Version

Title IX Coordinator is: Rasheeda Abdul-Musawwir, Title IX Coordinator by email or 857.998.7437.

For more information on Title IX/Sexual Misconduct go here.

Non-Discrimination Against Students on the Basis of Gender Identity
CPS has a commitment to maintaining an educational environment and workplace where bigotry and intolerance, including discrimination on the basis of gender identity, sex, sexual orientation, or gender expression is not tolerated and where any form of intimidation, threat, coercion and/or harassment that insults the dignity of others and interferes with their freedom to learn or work is unacceptable.

CPS strictly enforces a prohibition against harassment and discrimination, sexual or otherwise, of any of its students or employees by anyone, including any fellow student, teacher, supervisor, co-worker, vendor, or other third party, as such conduct is contrary to the mission of the CPS and its commitment to equal opportunity in education and employment. The school district does not and will not discriminate on the basis of gender identity, sex, sexual orientation, or gender expression in the educational programs and activities of the public schools, and strives to create an environment where all students and staff feel safe, welcome and included.

This policy sets out guidelines for schools to create a culture where transgender and gender nonconforming students feel safe, supported, and fully included, and to meet each school’s obligation to provide educational opportunities for all students.

Non-Discrimination on the Basis of Sex
The CPS, in accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, does not and will not discriminate on the basis of sex in the educational programs and activities of the public schools. This policy extends not only to students with regard to educational opportunities, but also to employees with regard to employment opportunities. This policy incorporates the Cambridge Public Schools Non-Discrimination Policy and Prohibition Against Sexual Harassment, which is described above.

Non-Discrimination Against Students with Disabilities
The CPS is committed to maintaining an educational environment and workplace where individuals are not discriminated against on the basis of their disability. CPS strives to create an environment where all students and staff feel welcome. To meet this end, the CPS will not tolerate the denial of access to activities, programs, or services to individuals with disabilities (as defined in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act 29 U.S.C. §705(20)). Students with a disability may not be excluded from, denied the benefits of, or denied access to any program or activity based solely on their disability. This policy incorporates the Cambridge Public Schools Non-Discrimination Policy and Prohibition Against Sexual Harassment, which is described above.

Homeless Students: Enrollment Rights and Services
The CPS is committed to ensuring that homeless children and youth and unaccompanied youth have equal access to the same free, appropriate public education, including a public preschool education, as provided to other children and youth in the school district in accordance with the provisions of the McKinney Vento Homeless Education Act. As required by law, the CPS will work with homeless children and youth and unaccompanied youth (collectively “homeless students”) as well as their families or legal guardians to provide stability in school attendance and other services. Special attention will be given to ensuring the enrollment and attendance of homeless students not currently attending school. Homeless students will be provided district services for which they are eligible, including Head Start and comparable pre-school programs, Title I, similar state programs, special education, bilingual education, vocational and technical education programs, gifted and talented programs, school nutrition programs, summer programming and extracurricular activities.

Educational Opportunities for Students in Foster Care
The purpose of this policy is to ensure the educational stability of students in foster care and their equal access to the same free and appropriate public education through high school graduation as provided to other students as required by law. Educational stability has a lasting impact on students' academic achievement and wellbeing, and the Cambridge School Committee is committed to supporting all efforts to ensure that students in foster care have equal access to high-quality, stable educational experiences.

Educational Opportunities for Military Children
To facilitate the placement, enrollment, graduation, data collection, and provision of special services for students transferring into or out of the CPS because of their parents/guardians/caregivers being on active duty in the U.S. Armed Services, the CPS supports and implements its responsibilities as outlined in the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children. The CPS believes it is appropriate to remove barriers to educational success imposed on children of military families resulting from frequent moves required by the military deployment of the student’s parents/guardians/caregivers.

Hazing
Massachusetts law makes it a crime to engage in hazing activities. In accordance with the Massachusetts law, this policy provides that no student, employee or school organization under the control of the School Committee shall engage in the activity of hazing a student while on school property or at a school sponsored or school related event regardless of the location. Additionally, no organization that uses the facilities or grounds under the control of the School Committee shall engage in the activity of hazing any person while on school property. The policy includes a definition of hazing and an explanation of a person’s legal obligation to report to law enforcement authorities if they know that someone is a hazing victim or witnesses an act of hazing.

Helpful Contacts
We recommend that you begin by speaking with someone at the school level, such as the Principal, Assistant Principal, or Learning Community Dean.

If you need more help, you may also contact at the following individuals:

  • For student matters: Carolyn, L. Turk, Ed.D., Deputy Superintendent by email or 617.349.6418
  • For Title IX/Sexual Misconduct matters: Rasheeda Abdul-Musawwir, Title IX Coordinator by email or 857.998.7437.
  • For staff matters: Corey Dotson, Chief Talent Officer by email or 617.349.6436.
  • For staff or student matters: Rasheeda Abdul-Musawwir, Title IX Coordinator by email or 857.998.7437.
  • For Section 504 matters, click here.
  • For homeless and foster care matters: Mary Grassi, Title I Coordinator/McKinney Vento Homeless Liaison by email or 617.349.6490

Outside of CPS students, families and staff have the right to request assistance or file a complaint with a State agency or local law enforcement. More information about your rights and how to file a complaint can be found in the Equity section of our website and in the Non-Discrimination Policy and Prohibition Against Sexual Harassment and in the Sexual Misconduct/Title IX policies, described above.

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