Nondiscrimination - Title VI, Title VII, Title IX, Section 504, ADA

  • Federal law prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin (Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964); sex (Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972); or disability (Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990) in educational programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance. 
    The Public Schools of Brookline (PSB) is dedicated to creating and maintaining an educational and work environment that values the diverse backgrounds of all people.  The PSB desires to provide a safe environment that allows all students and employees equal access and opportunities in the district's academic and other educational support programs, services, and activities. District programs and activities shall be free from discrimination, harassment, intimidation, and bullying based on actual or perceived ancestry, age, color, mental or physical disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, nationality, race or ethnicity, religion, martial or parental status, sex, sexual orientation; the perception of one or more of such characteristics; or association with a person or a group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics. This applies to all acts related to school activities or school attendance under the jurisdiction of the Superintendent.
    With the aim of assuring equal rights and opportunities within our community and to comply with Federal Laws, State Laws, and State Department of Education regulations concerning these, the PSB reaffirms itself to be an Equal Rights and Opportunities School District. As an Equal Rights and Opportunities School District, it does not discriminate against individuals or groups because of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, or handicaps and disabilities. The school district’s commitment to nondiscrimination extends to students, employees, prospective employees, and the community.


  • Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. 2000d et seq. prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin in any program or activity that receives Federal funds or other Federal financial assistance. Programs that receive Federal funds cannot distinguish among individuals on the basis of race, color or national origin, either directly or indirectly, in the types, quantity, quality or timeliness of program services, aids or benefits that they provide or the manner in which they provide them. This prohibition applies to intentional discrimination as well as to procedures, criteria or methods of administration that appear neutral but have a discriminatory effect on individuals because of their race, color, or national origin. 


  • Title VI prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. Title VII prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.


  • Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 states that no person in the United States shall on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. Sex discrimination under Title IX includes sexual harassment and sexual violence. Sexual Harassment is defined as conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following:

    1. An employee of the recipient conditioning the provision of an aid, benefit, or service on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct.

    2. Any unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the recipient’s education program or activity.

    3. Sexual assault (as defined in the Clery Act), dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking as defined in the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

    Rights and Protections Under Title IX

    Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 is a federal law that protects qualified individuals from discrimination based on sex. Title IX forbids organizations and employers from excluding or denying any person from being excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. Sex discrimination under Title IX includes sexual harassment and sexual violence. 

    Title IX Investigation Flowchart

    Supportive Measures
    Sexual discrimination, sexual harassment, stalking, and relationship violence have a profound impact on academic, social, and personal life, and negatively affects friends and families, other students, and members of the school community.  Students who experience sexual discrimination, sexual harassment, stalking, or relationship violence are encouraged to seek support and report the incident.  Personal safety and well-being should be the first priority for any individual who has experienced sexual harassment, misconduct, or violence, including sexual assault.  Where the District learns that discrimination has occurred, the District is committed to remedying the discrimination and its effects.

    One way to do that is to provide Supportive Measures. Supportive measures are temporary actions that are available to either party involved in incidents of sexual harassment or discrimination. These actions are individualized services that are reasonably available, non-punitive, non-disciplinary, and not unreasonably burdensome to one party over the other. Supportive Measures are designed to ensure equal educational access, protect safety, or deter sexual harassment or other prohibited conduct.  

    Upon receipt of notice of alleged sexual harassment or discrimination, the school will work directly with the party to provide reasonable and appropriate supportive measures designed to mitigate the effects of the alleged behavior. These non-disciplinary and non-punitive measures will be determined on a case-by-case basis.  Supportive measures are available to parties whether or not a formal complaint is filed.  

    The District Title IX Coordinators or the BHS Deputy Title IX Coordinator oversee the implementation of supportive measures and will maintain the privacy of parties to the fullest extent possible and will limit the sharing of information regarding these measures only to those who “need to know” and to only the limited information needed to provide these measures. In implementing supportive and safety measures, the Coordinator will work to minimize the academic impact on the parties while still attending to student needs.

    Sample Supportive Measures include, but are not limited to:

    • Access to school counselors and/or school adjustment counselors
    • Assistance to accessing confidential services
    • Assistance in setting up initial appointments for off-campus counseling services
    • Rescheduling or extension of assignments or exams
    • Providing alternative class completion options
    • Options for changing transportation arrangements (if applicable)

    Upon receipt of notice that sexual harassment or discrimination is suspected to have occurred, all employees of the Public Schools of Brookline are required to immediately report this information to the District Title IX Coordinator or the BHS Deputy Title IX Coordinator.

    Under MGL c.119, § 51A, all public school employees are mandated reporters.  Massachusetts law requires mandated reporters to immediately make an oral report to the Department of Children and Families when, in their professional capacity, they have reasonable cause to believe that a child under the age of 18 is suffering from abuse or neglect.

    Translations (To be Added)



  • Section 504 is a federal law designed to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities in programs and activities that receive Federal financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Education (ED). Section 504 provides: "No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States . . . shall, solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance . . . ."
    The Section 504 regulations require a school district to provide a "free appropriate public education" (FAPE) to each qualified student with a disability who is in the school district's jurisdiction, regardless of the nature or severity of the disability. Under Section 504, FAPE consists of the provision of regular or special education and related aids and services designed to meet the student's individual educational needs as adequately as the needs of nondisabled students are met.
    More information on Section 504 can be found in the School Counseling and Clinical Services pages of the district website.


  • The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became law in 1990. The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public. The purpose of the law is to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. The ADA gives civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities similar to those provided to individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion. It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications. 

PSB Policies and Annual Reports

  • The PSB has recently updated its Policy Against Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Harassment, and Retaliation. The policy can be found in its entirety below.

    The policy also requires the District’s Civil Rights Compliance Coordinators to prepare an annual report to the Superintendent and School Committee, and states in pertinent part, “regarding the number and resolution of any complaints or reports of violations under this Policy, along with any measures taken in the prior year, and/or anticipated for implementation in the coming year, to systemically address and prevent violations under this Policy." These reports are also linked below.

  • Questions or issues regarding discrimination and civil rights should be brought to the attention of the district discrimination and civil rights coordinators:
    Elizabeth L. O'Connell
    Interim Deputy Superintendent of Student Services 
    District Title IX and Title VI Coordinator (students)
    Town Hall, 333 Washington Street, 5th Fl
    Brookline, MA 02445

    (617) 730-2444
    Debra Bromfield
    Interim Section 504/Title II Coordinator & McKinney Vento Coordinator (Students)
    Town Hall, 333 Washington Street, 5th Fl
    Brookline, MA 02445
    (617) 730-2460
    Paul Toner
    Human Resources/Labor Relations (Employees)
    Title IX and Title VII Coordinator and 504 (employees)
    Town Hall, 333 Washington Street, 5th Fl
    Brookline, MA 02445
    (617) 730-2410
    Claire Galloway-Jones
    Senior Director of Education Equity
    Town Hall, 333 Washington Street, 5th Fl
    Brookline, MA 02445
    (617) 730-2404
    Inquiries regarding compliance with civil rights may be made to: 
    Office for Civil Rights (OCR)
    Boston Office, US Department of Education
    8th Floor, 5 Post Office Square
    Boston, MA 02109-3921

    Telephone: (617) 289-0111
    FAX: (617) 289-0150
    TDD: (800) 877-8339
    Other Communications