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BILL AS INTRODUCED 2007-2008

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H.723

Introduced by Representative Komline of Dorset

Referred to Committee on

Date:

Subject:  Education; harassment; school choice

Statement of purpose:  This bill proposes to authorize school choice for students who have been subject to harassment.

AN ACT RELATING TO SCHOOL CHOICE FOR STUDENTS WHO HAVE BEEN SUBJECT TO HARASSMENT

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1.  16 V.S.A. § 14(b) is amended to read:

(b)(1)  In regard to claims brought pursuant to 9 V.S.A. chapter 139, if after notice, the educational institution finds that the alleged conduct occurred and that it constitutes harassment, the educational institution shall take prompt and appropriate remedial action reasonably calculated to stop the harassment.  No action shall be brought pursuant to 9 V.S.A. chapter 139 until the administrative remedies available to the claimant under the policy adopted by the educational institution pursuant to subsection 166(e) or 565(b) of this title or pursuant to the harassment policy of a postsecondary school have been exhausted.  Such a showing shall not be necessary where the claimant demonstrates that:  (1) the educational institution does not maintain such a policy; (2) a determination has not been rendered within the time limits established under subdivision 565(b)(1) of this title; (3) the health or safety of the complainant would be jeopardized otherwise; (4) exhaustion would be futile; or (5) requiring exhaustion would subject the student to substantial and imminent retaliation.

(2)  In addition to the process outlined in subdivision (1) of this subsection, an alleged victim attending an elementary or secondary school may file an affidavit with the Vermont human rights commission, outlining the alleged harassing conduct.  Within 14 days of receiving the affidavit, the commission shall investigate the allegations and issue its findings and conclusions.  If the commission determines that a preponderance of the evidence supports the victim’s claims and that it is not in the victim’s best interest to continue attending the school at which the harassment occurred, then, at the victim’s request, the school shall arrange for tuition to be paid to a school of the victim’s choice.



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us