A Policy To Prevent Bullying
Towards Respectful Relationships Within and Without Schools
1. PURPOSE AND SCOPE
It is the intention of the Triton Regional School District to provide an educational and working atmosphere for students, employees and visitors in which they feel physically and emotionally secure.
This policy reflects the requirements of the law as it relates to bullying, and the School Committee’s understanding that students and staff perform at their best when they are free from a hostile working environment.
It is the responsibility of every employee, student, volunteer and parent/guardian to recognize acts of bullying and take every action necessary to ensure that the applicable policies and procedures of this school district are implemented.
The Anti-Bullying Plan set out below is the district’s response to the requirement of M.G.L. Chapter 71, Section 370. It represents the framework for the implementation of the district’s Anti-Bullying Policy. Read More.
Report and Incident by downloading this form here.
In order to achieve the intention to provide an atmosphere in which staff and students feel physically and emotionally secure, the school district will:
- implement the new statute concerned with bullying;
- establish clear expectations regarding behaviors that are not acceptable;
- establish responsibilities on the part of staff, students, volunteers, and parents for responding to unacceptable behavior;
- provide training for all categories of personnel and volunteers and make available training for parents, with the aim of ensuring that there is a consistent and informed response to unacceptable behaviors;
- ensure that developmentally appropriate curricular experiences are provided at all grades with the aim of fostering respectful relationships;
- establish protocols for the investigation of alleged unacceptable behavior, and the recording of the outcomes of such investigations;
- liaise with community based organizations with an interest in the
- development of resilience among youth, and respectful relationships within schools and the community; and
- regard this policy document as basis for the district’s plan for responding to harassment in schools in all its forms, as required by the statute.
Schools tend to reflect the communities they serve. It is therefore understood that the creation of a culture within schools and the community in which adults and students feel emotionally and physically secure is the responsibility of school administration, school staff, parents, students, and the wider community.
“Bullying” is defined as the repeated use by one or more students of a written, verbal or electronic expression or a physical act or gesture or any combination thereof, directed at a victim that:
- causes physical or emotional harm to the victim or damage to the victim’s property;
- places the victim in reasonable fear of harm to himself or of damage to his property;
- creates a hostile environment at school for the victim;
- infringes on the rights of the victim at school; or
- materially and substantially disrupts the education process or the orderly operation of a school. For the purposes of this section, bullying shall include cyber- bullying.
While the focus of this policy is on bullying between students it is recognized that adult may also be aggressors in this regard.
Bullying should not be confused with isolated conflicts between students or staff. Research on bullying identifies it as behavior that occurs repeatedly, that is intended to harm the target, and that involves a power imbalance between the target and the person or persons who are bullying.
“Cyber-bullying” is defined as bullying through the use of technology or any electronic communication, which shall include, but shall not be limited to, any transfer of signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data or intelligence of any nature transmitted in whole or in part by a wire, radio, electromagnetic, photo electronic or photo optical system, including, but not limited to, electronic mail, internet communications, instant messages or facsimile communications.
Cyber-bullying shall also include: (i) the creation of a web page or blog in which the creator assumes the identity of another person; or (ii) the knowing impersonation of another person as the author of posted content or messages, if the creation or impersonation creates any of the conditions enumerated in clauses (a) to (e) inclusive, of the definition of bullying. Cyber- bullying shall also include the distribution by electronic means of a communication to more than one person or the posting of material on an electronic medium that may be accessed by one or more persons, if the distribution or posting creates any of the conditions enumerated in the above clauses (a) to (e) inclusive, of the definition of bullying.
2.1 Prohibition Of Unacceptable Behavior
Bullying as defined above, shall be prohibited:
(i) on school grounds, property immediately adjacent to school grounds, at a school-sponsored or school-related activity, function or program whether on or off school grounds, at a school bus stop, on a school bus or other vehicle owned, leased or used by a school district or school, or through the use of technology or an electronic device owned, leased or used by a school district or school and
(ii) at a location, activity, function or program that is not school- related, or through the use of technology or an electronic device that is not owned, leased or used by a school district or school, if the bullying creates a hostile environment at school for the victim, infringes on the rights of the target at school or materially and substantially disrupts the education process or the orderly operation of a school. Nothing contained herein shall require schools to supervise any non-school related activities, functions, or programs.
A. All District Employees
It is a violation of this policy for any administrator, teacher. other employee, volunteer, or any student to engage in or condone bullying in school or to fail to report or otherwise take reasonable corrective measures when they become aware of an incident of harassment as defined in Section 1 above.
This policy is not designed or intended to limit the school’s authority to take disciplinary action or take remedial action when bullying occurs out of school. School administration must intervene if bullying that starts outside of the school and creates a hostile environment at school for the target; and/or infringes on the rights of the target at school; and/or materially and substantially disrupts the education process or the orderly operation of a school.
Reports of cyber bullying by electronic or other means, occurring in or out of school will be reviewed and, when a nexus to work or school exists, will result in discipline. Parents of students alleged to have engaged in cyber bullying will be requested to attend a meeting at which the activity, words or images subject to the complaint will be reviewed. A student disciplined for cyber-bullying will not be re-admitted to the regular school program until his or her parent(s) attend such meeting.
In cases in which school staff become aware of cyber bullying that does not have a nexus in school, staff must report what they know to the school administration, who shall make families involved aware of the concerns.
Any employee or student who believes that he or she has been subjected to bullying has the right to file a complaint and to receive prompt and appropriate handling of the complaint. Further, all reasonable efforts shall be made to maintain the confidentiality and protect the privacy of all parties, but proper enforcement of this policy may require disclosure of any or all information received.
Where circumstances require the breach of normal privacy considerations those whose privacy rights may be breached shall be informed ahead of time.
In their communications with families school administrators shall be sensitive to student privacy issues in circumstances in which families may not be aware of the sexual preferences or gender identify issues that may be the cause of bullying behavior.
School and district employees shall confirm annually that they have read the policy.
If an instance of student-to-student bullying is reported to a staff member other than an administrator, the staff member must inform administration.
If a situation involving a charge of staff member to student bullying is brought to the attention of any staff member, the staff member must notify school administration immediately.
In a situation involving a charge of staff member to staff member bullying the staff member should notify school administration immediately.
The Principal (or his/her designee) shall be responsible for assisting employees and students seeking guidance or support in addressing matters relating to any form of bullying.
The Principal (or his/her designee) shall determine whether or not the police should be immediately involved depending upon the severity and nature of the allegation of bullying, and the Principals shall inform parents/guardians of concerns regarding bullying as soon as is practicable, while recognizing specific circumstances of an investigation.
The principal shall immediately inform the Superintendent of Schools in writing of all confirmed instances of bullying and the action taken.
Parents/guardians are requested to:
- report to the Principal (or his/her designee) any concerns regarding bullying as soon as they arise;
- call the police, particularly in cases of suspect cyber-bulling where there is no evident nexus to the school;
- avoid anticipating the outcome of an investigation into an allegation prior to the conclusion of the investigation;
- refrain from taking matters into their own hands;
- confirm that they have read this policy during the first year that a child is enrolled.
Students have a responsibility to:
(a) Report bullying to any member of the district staff they feel comfortable talking with.
(b) Not be a passive bystander
Volunteers shall be made aware of this policy, and be expected to report to administrator any behavior that might reasonably fall within the definition of bullying.
F. Once a charge of bullying has been made the following course of action
must be taken.The Principal shall investigate the charge through discussions with the individuals involved. In situations involving allegations against a staff member, he /she shoul d be informed of his/her rights to have a third party present at the time of the discussion. In situations involving students the Principal may engage such staff as s/he deems to be appropriate. Parents w ill be informed of the situation and invited to participate in resolution discussions. It is important that the situation be resolved as confidentially and as quickly as the circumstances permit.
The Principal shall inform the police if s/he believes that criminal charges may be pursued against an aggressor/s.
G. Parents shall be informed in writing as to the findings of an investigation into an allegation of bullying. Any consequences received by an aggressor shall be regarded as confidential to the school and his/her parents.
2.4 Rehabilitation of Victims
The Principal shall take all reasonable steps to ensure that there are clear procedures for restoring a sense of safety for a victim and assessing and providing for that victim’s needs for protection.
Retaliation in any form against any person who has made or filed a complaint relating to harassment or bullying is forbidden. If it occurs, it may be considered grounds for dismissal of staff personnel and / or removal from the educational setting for a student. A referral to law enforcement may be made.
Reports of bullying should be kept completely confidential by all parties (including parents/guardians), consistent with necessary investigation procedures, with the goal of protecting the victim and stopping the behavior.
2.7 Educational Programs
The school district shall support schools in satisfying a requirement that each school build on current practice relative to the development of resilience and respectful relationships among students, and to provide age appropriate instruction on bullying prevention in each grade that is incorporated into the curriculum of the school district or school. The curriculum shall be evidence based.
Annual Training shall be provided for all district employees and volunteers in preventing, identifying and responding to incidents of bullying.
2.8 Students With Special Needs
Whenever the evaluation of the Individualized Education Program team indicates that the child has a disability that affects social skills development or that the child is vulnerable to bullying, harassment or teasing because of the child’s disability, the Individualized Education Program shall address the skills and proficiencies needed to avoid and respond to harassment.
3. Publication and Notice
3.1 Annual written notice of the relevant sections of the bullying prevention and intervention plan shall be provided to students and their parents/guardians, in age-appropriate terms. Annual written notice of the bullying prevention and intervention plan shall be provided to all school staff. The faculty and staff at each school shall be trained annually on the bullying prevention and intervention plan applicable to the school.
3.3 Relevant sections of the bullying prevention and intervention plan relating to the duties of the faculty and staff shall be included in the school employee handbook.
3.4 The bullying prevention and intervention plan shall be posted on the Triton Regional School District website.
An Act Relative To Bullying In Schools, 2010
Title VII, S 703, Civil Rights Act of 1964 as amended
Federal EEO Commission Regulation 74676
DESE Regulation 603 CMR 26.00 Mandatory reporting
M.G.L. 71, S37O School bullying prohibited; bullying prevention plans
M.G.L. 265, S43,43A Crime against a person
M.G.L. 268, S13B Intimidation of witnesses and jurors
M.G.L. 269, S14A Annoying telephone calls
AC / 102 Nondiscrimination
ACAB / 103 Harassment
JI / 1010 Student Rights and responsibilities
JICFA-E / 1018 Hazing
JK / 1029 Student Discipline