POLICY Highlands
Board of Education
Section: Pupils
5512.01. HARASSMENT, INTIMIDATION AND BULLYING (M)
Date Created: August, 2003
Date Edited: May, 2008

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POLICY STATEMENT

 

The Board of Education prohibits acts of harassment, intimidation, or bullying.  A safe and civil environment in school is necessary for pupils to learn and achieve high academic standards.  Harassment, intimidation, or bullying, like other disruptive or violent behaviors, is conduct that disrupts both a pupil’s ability to learn and a school’s ability to educate its pupils in a safe environment; and since pupils learn by example, school administrators, faculty, staff and volunteers should be commended for demonstrating appropriate behavior, treating others with civility and respect, and refusing to tolerate harassment, intimidation, or bullying.

 

“Harassment, intimidation, or bullying” means any gesture, written, verbal or physical act, or any electronic communication, that takes place on school property, at any school-sponsored function or on a school bus and that:

 

1.         Is motivated by any actual or perceived characteristic, such as race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, or a mental, physical or sensory disability; or

 

2.         By any other distinguishing characteristic; and

 

3.         A reasonable person should know, under the circumstances, that the act(s) will have the effect of harming a pupil or damaging the pupil’s property, or placing a pupil in reasonable fear of harm to his/her person or damage to his/her property; or

 

4.         Has the effect of insulting or demeaning any pupil or group of pupils in such a way as to cause substantial disruption in, or substantial interference with, the orderly operation of the school.

 

“Electronic communication” means communication transmitted by means of an electronic device, including, but not limited to, a telephone, cellular phone, computer, or pager.

 

 

 

 

 

Acts of harassment, intimidation, or bullying may also be a pupil exercising power and control over another pupil, either in isolated incidents (e.g., intimidation, harassment) or patterns of harassing or intimidating behavior (e.g., bullying).

 

The Policy will impose consequences for acts of harassment, intimidation, or bullying that occur off school grounds, such as cyber-bullying (e.g., the use of electronic or wireless devices to harass, intimidate, or bully), to the extent this Policy complies with the provisions of N.J.A.C. 6A:16-7.6, Conduct Away from School Grounds, and the district’s pupil code of student conduct, pursuant to N.J.A.C. 6A:16-7.1. In all instances of harassment, intimidation, or bullying behavior occurring off school grounds, the consequences only may be exercised when it is reasonably necessary for the pupil’s physical or emotional safety and well-being or for reasons relating to the safety and well-being of other pupils, staff or school grounds, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:25-2 and 18A:37-2, and when the conduct which is the subject of a proposed consequence materially and substantially interferes with the requirements of appropriate discipline in the operation of the school.  All acts of harassment, intimidation, or bullying that include the use of school property (e.g., school computers, other electronic or wireless communication devices) apply to the provisions of N.J.S.A. 18A:37-15 and N.J.A.C. 6A:16-7.9, harassment, intimidation, and bullying, whether the subject or recipient of the bullying is on or off school property.

 

Expected Behavior

 

The Board expects pupils to conduct themselves in keeping with their levels of development, maturity and demonstrated capabilities with proper regard for the rights and welfare of other pupils and school staff, the educational purpose underlying all school activities and the care of school facilities and equipment.

 

The Board believes that standards for pupil behavior must be set cooperatively through interaction among the pupils, parent(s) or legal guardian(s), staff and community members, producing an atmosphere that encourages pupils to grow in self-discipline.  The development of this atmosphere requires respect for self and others, as well as for school district and community property on the part of pupils, staff and community members.

 

 

The Board believes the best discipline is self-imposed, and it is the responsibility of school district staff to use disciplinary situations as opportunities to help pupils learn to assume and accept responsibility for their behavior and the consequences of their behavior.  Staff members who interact with pupils shall apply best practices designed to prevent discipline problems and encourage pupils’ abilities to grow in self-discipline.

 

General guidelines for pupil conduct will be developed by the Superintendent  in conjunction with school staff, and approved by the Board.  These guidelines will be developed based on accepted core ethical values from a broad community involvement with input from parent(s) or legal guardian(s) and other community representatives, school employees, volunteers, pupils and administrators.  These guidelines for pupil conduct will be suited to the age level of the pupils and the mission and physical facilities of the individual school(s) in the district.  This Policy requires all pupils in the district to adhere to these rules and guidelines and to submit to such disciplinary measures as are appropriately assigned for infraction of these rules and guidelines.

 

The district prohibits active or passive support for harassment, intimidation, or bullying.  Pupils are encouraged to support other pupils who walk away from these acts when they see them, constructively attempt to stop them, and report these acts to the Building Principal or designee.

 

Pupils are required to conform to reasonable standards of socially acceptable behavior; respect the person, property and rights of others; obey constituted authority; and respond to school district teaching, support and administrative staff.  Each school Principal will develop and provide a school-based program for appropriate recognition for positive reinforcement for good conduct, self-discipline, good citizenship and academic success. 

 

The Superintendent will provide annually to pupils and their parent(s) or legal guardian(s) the rules of the district regarding pupil conduct, pupil’s due process and other rights. This Policy will appear in all publications of the school district’s comprehensive rules, procedures and standards of conduct for school(s) within the district, including pupil handbooks.  Provisions will be made for informing parent(s) or legal guardian(s) whose primary language is other than English.

 

Consequences and Appropriate Remedial Actions

 

The following factors, at a minimum, shall be given full consideration by school administrators in the development of the procedures for determining appropriate consequences and remedial measures for each act of harassment, intimidation, or bullying:

 

Factors for Determining Consequences

 

1.         Age, developmental and maturity levels of the parties involved;

 

2.         Degrees of harm;

 

3.         Surrounding circumstances;

 

4.         Nature and severity of the behavior(s);

 

5.         Incidences of past or continuing patterns of behavior;

 

6.         Relationships between the parties involved; and

 

7.         Context in which the alleged incidents occurred.

 

Factors for Determining Remedial Measures

 

Personal

 

1.         Life skill deficiencies;

 

2.         Social relationships;

 

3.         Strengths;

 

4.         Talents;

 

5.         Traits;

 

6.         Interests;

 

7.         Hobbies;

 

8.         Extra-curricular activities;

 

9.         Classroom participation; and

 

10.       Academic performance.

 

 

            Environmental

 

1.         School culture;

 

2.         School climate;

 

3.         Pupil-staff relationships and staff behavior toward the pupil;

 

4.         General staff management of classrooms or other educational environments;

 

5.         Staff ability to prevent and manage difficult or inflammatory situations;

 

6.         Social-emotional and behavioral supports;

 

7.         Social relationships;

 

8.         Community activities;

 

9.         Neighborhood situation; and

 

10.       Family situation.

 

Consequences and appropriate remedial action for pupils who commit acts of harassment, intimidation, or bullying may range from positive behavioral interventions up to and including suspension or expulsion, as set forth in the Board adopted Pupil Discipline/Code of Conduct.  Remedial measures shall be designed to correct the problem behavior, prevent another occurrence of the problem, and protect the victim of the act.  The consequences and remedial measures may include, but are not limited to, the examples listed below:

 

Examples of Consequences

 

1.         Admonishment;

 

2.         Temporary removal from the classroom;

 

3.         Deprivation of privileges;

 

4.         Classroom or administrative detention;

 

5.         Referral to disciplinarian;

 

6.         In-school suspension during the school week or the weekend;

 

7.         After-school programs;

 

8.         Out-of-school suspension;

 

9.         Legal action; and

 

10.       Expulsion.

 

Examples of Remedial MeasuresPersonal

 

1.         Restitution and restoration;

 

2.         Mediation;

 

3.         Peer support group;

 

4.         Recommendations of a pupil behavior or ethics council;

 

5.         Corrective instruction or other relevant learning or service experience;

 

6.         Supportive pupil interventions, including participation of the Intervention and Referral Services Team, pursuant to N.J.A.C. 6A:16-8;

 

7.         Behavioral assessment or evaluation, including, but not limited to, a referral to the Child Study Team, as appropriate;

 

8.         Behavioral management plan, with benchmarks that are closely monitored;

 

9.         Assignment of leadership responsibilities (e.g., hallway or bus monitor);

 

10.       Involvement of school disciplinarian;

 

11.       Pupil counseling;

 

12.       Parent conferences;

 

13.       Pupil treatment; or

 

14.       Pupil therapy.

 

Examples of Remedial Measures - Environmental (Classroom, School Building or School District)

 

1.         School and community surveys or other strategies for determining the conditions contributing to harassment, intimidation, or bullying;

 

2.         School culture change;

 

            3.         School climate improvement;

 

4.         Adoption of research-based, systemic bullying prevention programs;

 

5.         School policy and procedures revisions;

 

6.         Modifications of schedules;

 

7.         Adjustments in hallway traffic;

 

8.         Modifications in pupil routes or patterns traveling to and from school;

 

9.         Targeted use of monitors (e.g., hallway, cafeteria, bus);

 

10.       Small or large group presentations for fully addressing the behaviors and the responses to the behaviors;

 

11.       General professional development programs for certificated and non-certificated staff;

 

12.       Professional development plans for involved staff;

 

13.       Disciplinary action for school staff who contributed to the problem;

 

14.       Supportive institutional interventions, including participation of the Intervention and Referral Services Team, pursuant to N.J.A.C. 6A:16-8;

 

15.       Parent conferences;

 

16.       Family counseling;

 

17.       Involvement of parent-teacher organizations;

 

18.       Involvement of community-based organizations;

 

19.       Development of a general bullying response plan;

 

20.       Recommendations of a pupil behavior or ethics council;

 

21.       Peer support groups; and

 

22.       Law enforcement (e.g., school resource office, juvenile officer) involvement.

 

N.J.A.C. 6A:16-7.9(a)2.vi requires appropriate consequences and remedial actions for any staff member who commits an act of harassment, intimidation, or bullying.

 

Reporting Procedure

 

Complaints alleging violations of this Policy shall be reported to the Principal or designee.  All school employees as well as all other members of the school community including pupils, parent(s) or legal guardian(s), volunteers, and visitors are required to report alleged violations of this Policy to the Principal or designee.  While submission of an Incident Report Form to the Principal or designee is not required, the reporting party is encouraged to use the Incident Report Form available from the Building Principal or available at the school district’s administrative offices.  Oral reports will also be considered official reports.  Reports may be made anonymously, but formal disciplinary action may not be based solely on the basis of an anonymous report.

 

            A school employee who promptly reports an incident of harassment, intimidation, or bullying in accordance with this Policy, and who makes this report in compliance with the procedures set forth in this Policy, is immune from a cause of action for damages arising from any failure to remedy the reported incident, as set forth in N.J.S.A. 18A:37-16.c.

 

Investigation

 

The Principal or designee is responsible for determining whether an alleged act constitutes a violation of this Policy.  The Principal or designee shall conduct a prompt, thorough and complete investigation of the alleged incident.  The Principal or designee will maintain a record of each investigation regarding allegations of harassment, intimidation, and bullying.

 

Response to an Incident of Harassment, Intimidation, or Bullying

 

An appropriate response will be provided to the individual who commits any incident of harassment, intimidation, or bullying.  Some acts of harassment, intimidation, or bullying may be isolated incidents requiring the school respond appropriately to the individual(s) committing the acts.  Other acts may be so serious or part of a larger pattern of harassment, intimidation, or bullying that require a response either at the classroom, school building or school district level or by law enforcement officials.

 

             Consequences and appropriate remedial actions for pupils who commit an act of harassment, intimidation, or bullying range from positive behavioral interventions up to and including suspension or expulsion, as permitted under N.J.S.A. 18A:37-1, Discipline of Pupils and as set forth in N.J.A.C. 6A:16-7.2, Short-term Suspensions, N.J.A.C. 6A:16-7.3, Long-term Suspensions and N.J.A.C. 6A:16-7.5, Expulsions.

 

In considering whether a response beyond the individual level is appropriate, the administrator shall consider the nature and circumstances of the act, the degree of harm, the nature and severity of the behavior, past incidences or continuing patterns of behavior, and the context in which the alleged incident(s) occurred.  The school district’s responses can range from school and community surveys, to mailings, to focus groups, to adoption of research-based bullying prevention program models, to training for certificated and non-certificated staff.  The district’s responses may also include participation of parent(s) or legal guardian(s) and other community members and organizations, small or large group presentations for fully addressing the actions and the school district’s response to the actions, in the context of acceptable pupil behavior and the consequences of such actions, and the involvement of law enforcement officers, including school resource officers.  The district will also make resources available to individual victims of harassment, intimidation, and bullying.

 

Reprisal or Retaliation Prohibited

 

The Board prohibits reprisal or retaliation against any person who reports an act of harassment, intimidation, or bullying.  The consequence and appropriate remedial action for a person who engages in reprisal or retaliation shall be determined by the Principal or designee after consideration of the nature, severity and circumstances of the act, in accordance with case law, Federal and State statutes and regulations and district policies and procedures.

 

Consequences for False Accusation

 

The Board prohibits any person from falsely accusing another as a means of harassment, intimidation, or bullying.  Consequences and appropriate remedial action for a pupil found to have falsely accused another as a means of harassment, intimidation, or bullying range from positive behavioral interventions up to and including suspension or expulsion, as permitted under N.J.S.A. 18A:37-1 et seq., Discipline of Pupils and as set forth in N.J.A.C. 6A:16-7.2, Short-term Suspensions, N.J.A.C. 6A:16-7, Long-term Suspensions and N.J.A.C. 6A:16-7.5, Expulsions.

 

Consequences and appropriate remedial action for a school employee found to have falsely accused another as a means of harassment, intimidation, or bullying shall be disciplined in accordance with district policies, procedures, and agreements.

 

Consequences and appropriate remedial action for a visitor or volunteer, found to have falsely accused another as a means of harassment, intimidation, or bullying shall be determined by the Principal or designee, after consideration of the nature, severity and circumstances of the act, including reports to appropriate law enforcement officials.

 

 

Policy Publication

 

This Policy will be disseminated annually to all school staff, pupils, parent(s) or legal guardian(s), along with a statement explaining the Policy applies to all applicable acts of harassment, intimidation, and bullying that occur on school property, at school-sponsored functions or on a school bus.  A range of options may be implemented by the school district for publicizing this Policy to include, but not limited to, publishing in pupil handbooks that are provided to pupils and parent(s) or legal guardian(s).

 

Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying Prevention Programs

 

Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:37-17.c and N.J.A.C. 6A:16-7.9(d)1.i, information regarding the district’s Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying Policy shall be incorporated into a school’s employee training program.

 

Pursuant to N.J.A.C. 6A:16-7.9(d)3, the district is required to annually review the extent and characteristics of harassment, intimidation, and bullying behavior in the schools of the district and implement locally determined programmatic or other responses, if determined appropriate by the district Board of Education.

 

Pursuant to N.J.A.C. 6A:16-7.9(d)1, the school district is required to annually review the training needs of district staff for the effective implementation of the harassment, intimidation, and bullying policy, procedures, programs, and initiatives of the district Board of Education and implement locally determined staff training programs consistent with the annual review of training needs and the findings of the annual review and update of the code of pupil conduct, pursuant to N.J.A.C. 6A:16-7.1(a)3, as determined appropriate by the district Board of Education.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PUPILS

Pursuant to N.J.A.C. 6A:16-7.9(d)2, the school district is required to develop a process for annually discussing the school district’s harassment, intimidation, and bullying policy with pupils.

 

Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:37-19, the school district may apply to the Commissioner of Education for additional costs due to the implementation of the provisions of N.J.S.A. 18A:37-13 through N.J.S.A. 18A:37-18.

 

 

N.J.S.A. 18A:37-13 through 18A:37-19

N.J.A.C. 6A:16-7.9 et seq.

 

Adopted: August 2003

Revised: April 28, 2008

 

 

 

 

 

 

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