What To Do If You’re Harassed or Discriminated Against
The Oregon Safe Schools Act of 2009, protects students from harassment and discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity.
Make a complaint at your school
The most important thing to do if you experience harassment or discrimination is to make sure you are safe. Violence and threats of violence are illegal: if you have experienced a serious attack, report it to the police. Once you are safe, here are some steps to take to stop the harassment or discrimination from continuing.
Write it down.
Document the incident. Make sure you write down a thorough description of the incident, including what happened, who was involved, where it happened, when it happened, the names of any witnesses, and whether any faculty members were present and how they responded. It is essential that you do this immediately. If someone witnessed the harassment, ask them to join you in person when you make the complaint or have the witness add a short note to your written description verifying that they witnessed the incident and that it happened as you described it.
Take it to the person in charge. Take your complaint to the school principal or to the person he or she has designated to receive and process complaints of harassment or other forms of discrimination. Under OR state law, your school is legally responsible for protecting you from harassment and discrimination. However, you must notify the person responsible for taking complaints (your principal or other administrator) or your school can still claim that they never knew about it. Don’t let your school use this excuse!
Present your written report. (download TransActive‘s fantastic Oregon Safe Schools Non-Compliance packet here.) It helps those in charge take a complaint seriously if he or she is also presented with a written description of the event. Make a copy for yourself and keep it in a folder. A more general version of this Report Form can be found here.
Ask for a solution. Ask your principal to take action that will stop the harassment and prevent it from happening again. Make sure that this action doesn’t involve removing you from the classroom or school – you are not to blame for any harassment you suffer. Ask your principal to let you know what action he or she plans to take and when.
Report back. If harassment continues from the same individual, let your principal know that the disciplinary action isn’t working.
Document your interaction with your principal. Make a note of when you met with your principal, what you agreed on, and whether your principal carried out his or her end of the bargain.