Student Safety and Well-Being
Cultivating respect for others is a core institutional value at Milton Academy, which requires deliberate, consistent thought and action. In Kindergarten through Class I, we focus intently on nurturing appropriate and healthy relationships between students and adults, as well as developing mutual care and respect among students. In the environment of respect that Milton nurtures, and guided by our motto, “Dare to Be True,” we aspire to be a leader in the realm of student safety and wellness, now and in the years to come.
Policies for Faculty and Staff
Mandatory Reporting Policy for Child Abuse or Neglect
State law requires Milton Academy to report all child abuse or neglect of which it is aware or has reasonable cause to believe has occurred or may be occurring.
More specifically, Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 119 Section 51A(a) provides that a “mandated reporter” who, in his or her professional capacity, has reasonable cause to believe that a child (under the age of 18) is suffering physical or emotional injury resulting from: (1) abuse inflicted upon the child which causes harm or substantial risk of harm to the child’s health or welfare, including sexual abuse; (2) neglect, including malnutrition; or (3) physical dependence upon an addictive drug at birth, must report such condition to the Department of Children & Families (“DCF”). Massachusetts law requires mandated reporters to make an oral report to DCF immediately and submit a written report within 48 hours thereafter.
A “mandated reporter” includes, among other people, public or private school teachers, educational administrators, guidance or family counselors; and early education, preschool, child care or after school program staff. As such, all faculty members and many staff members at Milton qualify as “mandated reporters” under the law.
However, the law allows private educational institutions such as Milton to identify one person at the institution as a “designated filer” for the institution, in which case, a mandated reporter who suspects neglect or abuse can notify that person who will then be charged with notifying the DCF, via the formal DCF filing process. The designated filer at Milton is the director of counseling, in consultation with the head of school. Thus, if any employee has reason to believe that a student at Milton Academy is being abused or neglected, that employee should inform the director of counseling or head of school, who will guide the filing process.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, all faculty members have the right to file a complaint with DCF on their own, should they wish to do so. The Academy asks, however, that before a faculty member files a complaint on his or her own, that the director of counseling or head of school is informed either before a complaint is filed or as soon as possible thereafter so that the Academy can be aware of the filing and ensure that all proper internal steps are followed.
A person to whom abuse or neglect has been reported should inform the reporting student that this information cannot be kept confidential and must be reported to the director of counseling or head of school and DCF. The role of the School is not to investigate the allegations of abuse or neglect, nor to try to determine if they have actually occurred, but to timely report them to the DCF, which will conduct the investigation. Child abuse or neglect is reported to Child Protective Services in the geographic region where the abuse or neglect occurred (e.g., Boston, New York, Chicago).
In addition, when a child’s life is in immediate danger from the individual who is abusing him or her, the director of counseling or head of school will call the police.
Sexual Misconduct Policy
Unlawful Harassment and Sexual Harassment Policy
All Milton Academy employees are to be treated with respect and dignity. Milton Academy is committed to providing a work environment that is free from all forms of conduct that are harassing, coercive, or disruptive, including sexual harassment, and Milton Academy strictly prohibits sexual and other forms of unlawful harassment of any employee. This policy will provide guidance on what constitutes sexual or other harassment and how to report any such harassment. It should be noted that this policy describes the procedures for harassment complaints involving adults, and this policy also includes the School’s prohibition on adult-student relationships.
Milton Academy will not tolerate any actions, threats, insults, slurs, words, jokes, gestures, or comments based on an individual’s race, color, religion, sex, national origin or ancestry, age, criminal records (inquiries only), mental illness, citizenship, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetic information, marital or familial status, veteran or military status, membership in Uniformed Services, or any other characteristic protected by law, which harasses, disrupts, or interferes with another employee’s work performance or which creates an intimidating, offensive or hostile work environment. Nor will Milton Academy tolerate any unwanted or inappropriate physical contact or the display or circulation of derogatory or inappropriate written or other physical materials or pictures, by and among its employees. All Milton Academy employees, whether managers, supervisors, or co-workers, without any exception, are responsible for maintaining and preserving an environment free of any type of harassment.
Employees who violate this policy and supervisory employees who condone, overlook, or allow unlawful harassment of others, or hinder any investigation of harassment complaints, are subject to disciplinary action up to and including immediate discharge.
Sexual harassment is one form of harassment covered by this policy, but it is also addressed in federal and state law. A form of sex discrimination, sexual harassment is illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Massachusetts General Laws c. 151B. These laws provide that unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other physical or verbal conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when:
- Submission to or rejection of such advances, requests or conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or a basis for employment decisions affecting the individual; or
- Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably or substantially interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, humiliating or sexually offensive work environment.
Examples of Conduct That May Constitute Unlawful Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment is unwelcome behavior that inappropriately introduces sexual activities or comments into the work environment. Sexual harassment generally does not include behavior or occasional compliments of a socially acceptable nature.
Sexual harassment often involves relationships of unequal power. Such situations may contain elements of coercion, such as when compliance with requests for sexual favors becomes a condition for granting privileges or favorable treatment on the job. However, sexual harassment may also involve relationships among persons of equal authority or power, such as when repeated advances or demeaning verbal comments by a co-worker towards another co-worker have a harmful effect on a person’s ability to perform his or her work. Sexual harassment can also involve employee behavior directed at nonemployees or non-employee behavior directed at employees.
Depending upon the circumstances, examples of sexual harassment could include such conduct as the following:
- Repeated offensive sexual flirtations, advances, or propositions which are offensive;
- Verbal abuse or innuendo of a sexual nature which is continued or repeated;
- Physical contact such as touching, hugging, patting or pinching which is uninvited and unwanted by the other person;
- Offensive verbal comments of a sexual nature about an individual’s body or sexual terms used to describe an individual;
- An open display of sexually suggestive objects or pictures which are offensive;
- Jokes or remarks of a sexual nature which are offensive;
- Unwanted prolonged and apparent staring or leering at a person;
- Obscene gestures or suggestive or insulting sounds made towards people who find them offensive;
- The demand for sexual favors accompanied by an implied or overt threat concerning an individual’s employment status or promises of preferential treatment;
- Indecent exposure;
- Romantic involvement between supervisors and subordinates that is known to others in the work place and which impacts the work place in areas such as assignments, advancements and benefits;
- Disseminating, accessing or downloading through Academy property, equipment or computers (such as voicemail, electronic mail or the Internet) any sexually explicit voicemail, electronic mail, graphics, photographs, movies, videos, clips or written materials, or any sexually explicit information of any kind or by the use of the Academy’s computer systems or network.
References to sexual harassment and other unlawful discrimination based on sex/gender herein apply regardless of whether such activity involves persons of the opposite sex or same sex.
Procedures for Reporting Unlawful Harassment and Sexual Harassment Complaints Involving Adults
If any adult member of the community feels he or she has been sexually harassed or harassed based upon the other protected categories described at the beginning of this policy, he or she has both informal and formal options for reporting the harassment.
It should be noted at the outset that retaliation against any individual for making a good faith complaint of sexual assault, sexual harassment, harassment or discrimination based on other legally protected categories, or for assisting in the investigation of such a complaint, is unlawful and will not be tolerated. An individual should report any retaliatory conduct to his or her supervisor, respective Principal, or the Chief Human Resources Officer. Complaints of retaliation will be handled in the same manner as a report of unlawful harassment or discrimination. Violators will be subject to disciplinary action.
Informal Response Procedures
If any member of the community believes that he or she has been subject to any sort of harassment, or unlawful discrimination, the most immediate goal is to stop the harmful conduct. Often, this can be accomplished by confronting whoever is committing the harassing or discriminatory conduct, telling them what is harassing or discriminating, and requesting that they stop. Complainants may also discuss their concerns with a member of the Human Resources department who will assist them in resolving the matter.
If the informal process is not effective, or if the accused is the employee’s supervisor, or if for any other reasons the informal approach is not practical or acceptable, the employee should report the conduct in accordance with the formal procedure described below in which the complaining party is not required to confront or inform the accused about a complaint.
Formal Response Procedures
An individual who believes he or she has been subject to unlawful sexual harassment, harassment based on other protected categories, or discrimination, should report the conduct, preferably in writing, to his or her direct supervisor, respective Principal, or the Chief Human Resources Officer promptly, generally within three calendar days of the incident or issue. Milton Academy recognizes there may be circumstances preventing an employee from filing a report within three days. If this is the case, Milton Academy encourages reporting the incident after the three-day reporting period. If an employee is not sure whether, or how, to file a complaint, the Chief Human Resources Officer, Lower School Principal, Middle School Principal, and the Upper School Principal are available to discuss and provide further information about this policy and the complaint process.
Anyone in a managerial position who witnesses or receives a complaint of discrimination or harassment should report the complaint in writing to the Chief Human Resources Officer.
Following the report of harassing conduct and/or a complaint, the Chief Human Resources Officer will convene an internal investigatory team that will include a member of the Human Resources team and a manager not directly related to the incident that is alleged to have occurred.
The investigation team will gather facts, review the submissions of the parties, and conduct confidential interviews with any necessary parties, including the complainant, the accused and all other individuals. Depending upon the nature of the claim, one or more of the investigators (or their designees) may meet with witnesses whom they believe may assist in the factual investigation and/or review documents they believe may assist in the factual investigation.
Neither the complainant nor the accused is required to retain legal counsel; however, should either party choose to do so, it will be at the expense of that individual.
If external proceedings (civil or criminal litigation) are initiated by the accused, the indemnification provisions of the Academy’s by-laws will apply.
Following its investigation, the investigation team will prepare a confidential report with findings of fact and any recommendations deemed appropriate by the team. The investigation team will share the findings of its investigation and recommendations with the Head of School, or designee. The Head of School, or designee, will consider the recommendations and accept, reject, or modify the recommendations.
The complainant and accused will be informed of the outcome of the investigation in person and in writing by the investigation team. This notification will include the disposition of the complaint and any information regarding corrective action or further investigation.
The decision of the investigation team will be final, except for an appeal based on new information. If new information is forthcoming, either party may appeal to the Chief Human Resources Officer. Otherwise, the original decision will stand.
After the matter is resolved, the Chief Human Resources Officer will follow up with the appropriate administrator to make sure that the situation has been corrected, to prevent recurrence, and to ensure that neither party is subjected to acts of retaliation. Confidential records of this process will be kept by the Human Resources Department.
While the general investigation process for claims raised under this Policy is set forth above, the Academy must retain flexibility as to the investigation process in order to achieve its goal of properly investigating and resolving any claims raised. Accordingly, this process may be modified depending on the circumstances in the Academy’s discretion.
The Chief Human Resources Officer, Lower School Principal, Middle School Principal, and/or Upper School Principal, may also take interim actions as deemed appropriate to address the safety, protection, and interests of the Milton community, including immediately placing an employee on leave, removing the employee from school housing, or dismissing an employee from his or her position at any time during the formal response procedures.
If the complaint involves the Head of School, then the Head of School will not participate in the investigation, except as a witness, and the investigatory panel will submit its report to the Chairperson of the Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees will then determine the disposition of the complaint. The decision of the Board of Trustees will be final and not subject to appeal.
In the event that the findings of the investigatory panel indicate that a violation of Academy policy has occurred, or that any inappropriate conduct (even if not unlawful) has occurred, further corrective actions may be taken, including but not limited to reprimand, change in work assignment, suspension, termination, or required counseling or training.
State and Federal Remedies
In addition to the above internal processes for resolving complaints, employees who believe they have been subjected to unlawful sexual harassment, harassment based on other protected categories, discrimination in the workplace, and/or retaliation for making or cooperating in the investigation of a complaint, may file a complaint with either or both of the federal and state government agencies set forth below. These agencies provide further information and assistance concerning your legal rights. Using the Academy’s complaint process does not prohibit an individual from filing a complaint with these agencies.
Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (“MCAD”)
1 Ashburton Place, Room 601, Boston, MA 02108, (617) 727-3990
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”)
J.F.K. Federal Building, 475 Government Center, Boston, MA 02203, (617) 565-3200
Provision Regarding Students
Under no circumstances will a sexual relationship between an adult member of the community (someone over 18 years of age, not in the status of student) and a Milton Academy student (K-12) be construed as consensual. Faculty and staff are advised that engaging in sexual relations with a student under the age of 16 constitutes statutory rape and is a criminal offense.
Romantic or sexual relationships between students and faculty or staff are strictly prohibited and will lead to the faculty or staff member’s termination, even if no complaint has been made under this policy. Likewise, the Academy will fulfill its mandatory reporting obligations to the authorities, even if no complaint has been made under this policy. Faculty and staff should avoid even the appearance of an improper relationship with students. Failure to abide by this policy may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination, as well as civil and/or criminal liability.
Boston Area Rape and Crisis Center
Jane Doe Inc.: The Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence
National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse
RAINN: The Nation’s Largest Anti-Sexual Violence Organization
Ways to Report a Concern
To report a concern to an internal contact:
To report a concern to an external contact:
Milton Police Department Contact
Detective Valter Pires, Milton Police Department
Resources for Students
Understanding Affirmative Consent:
“Tea” Video, shown in Affective Education classes
Consent for Kids: video for younger children
Human Sexuality and Relationships (HS&R) is an elective course offered in the winter to students in Classes I, II and III. Groups of 10 to 12 students meet once a week for 10 weeks with specially trained faculty members and a senior teaching assistant from Students Educating the Community about Sexuality (SECS). The discussions focus on issues of sexuality, interpersonal relationships, love and communication skills. The groups are voluntary, but once a student makes a commitment, his or her attendance is required for the 10 weeks. Completion of this course is mandatory for students who wish to participate in the SECS, Individual Student Support (ISS), and Peer Discussion Leaders programs.
Students who have taken HS&R may sign up for a continuing seminar in a subsequent year. A group of Class I students are selected from those who have taken both beginners and advanced HS&R to be the SECS Seniors who lead in the teaching of this class.
Students Educating the Community about Sexuality (SECS)
A group of seniors are selected from those who have taken both HS&R and the continuing seminar to be teaching aides for the HS&R course. These students, referred to as SECS (Students Educating the Community about Sexuality), participate in weekly training sessions with faculty sponsors and are also trained to provide information on sexuality and resources to other students.
Individual Student Support
Individual Student Support (ISS) is a group of 10 Class I students trained and supervised by Dr. Elihu Selter to talk with students about personal issues and act as a bridge to professional counseling. ISS members participate in weekly training sessions with Dr. Selter and are available to students who want to talk with a caring, trained peer.
Peer Discussion Leaders
Peer discussion leaders are students in Classes I and II who facilitate discussions about a variety of topics with students in Classes IV through II. Students who wish to be peer discussion leaders must have completed the HS&R course. These students submit applications in the spring of their Class III year and begin their tenure during their Class II year. Class I peer discussion leaders review applications and make recommendations to the faculty advisor, who chooses the new peer discussion leaders for the following year. Peer discussion leaders participate in weekly training sessions with the faculty sponsor.
Healing and Safety Oversight Committee
Read updates from the Healing and Safety Oversight Committee.