The Washoe County School District prohibits harassment of any kind, including harassment based on race, color, national origin, or sex. Prohibited harassment occurs when harassing conduct is bad enough or happens often enough to make an individual feel uncomfortable, scared, or confused, and when it interferes with the student’s school work or ability to participate in school activities or attend class or a staff member's ability to do his/her job.
Harassing conduct can take many forms, including physical, verbal, graphic, or written conduct. Harassment does not have to include intent to harm, be directed at a specific victim, or involve repeated incidents. Harassers can be students, school staff, or even someone visiting the school, such as a volunteer, or a student or an employee from another school.
Below is a brief explanation of the various types of harassment that are prohibited by the District:
Racial and national origin harassment is unwelcome conduct based on an individual’s actual or perceived race or national origin. Racial and national origin harassment can include slurs, taunts, stereotyping, or name-calling, as well as racially-motivated physical threats, attacks, or other intimidating conduct.
Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment can happen to girls or boys, men or women. Sexual harassment can be:
- Verbal (e.g., comments about your body, spreading sexual rumors, making sexual remarks or accusations, telling dirty jokes or stories);
- Physical (e.g., grabbing, rubbing, flashing, mooning, touching, or pinching in a sexual way; playing games involving pinching or grabbing private body parts; sexual assault);
- Visual (e.g., displaying photos of sexual images or sex-related objects, making obscene gestures); and
- Cyberbullying (e.g., using cell phones or the internet to target individuals by calling them sexually charged names, spreading sexual rumors, disseminating compromising photographs or videos of a person).
Sexual violence is a form of sexual harassment. Sexual violence refers to physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent (e.g., due to the student’s age or use of drugs or alcohol, or because of an intellectual or other disability prevents the student from having the capacity to give consent). A number of different acts fall into the category of sexual violence, including rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual abuse, and sexual coercion.
Gender-based harassment is unwelcome conduct based on a person’s actual or perceived sex. It includes slurs, taunts, stereotyping, or name-calling, as well as physical threats, attacks, or other intimidating conduct based on sex or sex-stereotyping, but which are not necessarily sexual in nature. Gender-based harassment includes harassment of an individual either for exhibiting what is perceived as a stereotypical characteristic for their sex, or for failing to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity and femininity.
Quid pro quo harassment occurs when a school employee causes a student to believe that he/she must submit to unwelcome sexual conduct in order to participate in a school program or activity. It can also occur when an employee causes a student to believe that the employee will make an educational decision based on whether or not the student submits to unwelcome sexual conduct. For example, when a teacher threatens to fail a student unless the student agrees to date the teacher, it is quid pro quo harassment. Quid pro quo harassment can also occur when a supervisor or other staff member in authority causes another staff member to believe that he/she must submit to unwelcome sexual conduct as a condition of employment or employment opportunities.