Harassment and Discrimination Definitions

  • Harassment: is defined as any conduct of a verbal or physical nature that embarrasses, distresses, agitates, disturbs, causes fear, causes an apprehension of harm, harms or troubles a student on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, sex, socioeconomic status, homelessness, academic status, gender identity or expression, physical appearance, pregnant or parenting status, sexual orientation, gender identity, mental, physical, developmental or sensory disability or by association with a person who has or is perceived to have one or more of these characteristics.  Harassment also includes sexual harassment, teen dating violence and sexual assault. Harassment is illegal and will not be tolerated.  The following behaviors are examples of sexual harassment: gestures with sexual overtones, spreading sexual gossip or rumors, unwanted sexual or suggestive gestures, looks, verbal comments, (including but not limited to “mooing”, “barking”, and other noises) or jokes, touching, pinching, and grabbing body parts, sexual notes or pictures (including electronic transmissions), sexual graffiti, being coerced to do something sexual, any unwanted physical contact of a sexual nature, attempted rape, and rape.  Some forms of sexual harassment may also be crimes and could be reported to the police.


    Discrimination: Unfair treatment and/or a denial of one’s rights and privileges based on an person’s race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, sex, marital status, socioeconomic status, homelessness, gender identity or expression, pregnancy or pregnancy related condition, parenting status, sexual orientation, disability (including but not limited to mental, physical, developmental or sensory), academic status, physical appearance  or by association with a person who has or is perceived to have one or other of these characteristics as envisioned by Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments and Chapter 622 of the Acts of 1971, in addition to Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 76 section 5, and 603 CMR 26.00, and 603 CMR 28.00


    Racism: The belief and dominance of one race over all others, manifested in practices, beliefs, social relations, phenomena, institutions, structures, and systems. The reproduction and maintenance of a racial hierarchy and social structure that yield superiority, power, resources and privilege for some, and discrimination, exploitation and oppression for others. In the US, this racial hierarchy has White people (“Caucasians” or “people of European heritage”) at the top.