APPENDIX B--ANTI-BULLYING AND HARASSMENT POLICY

APPENDIX B

 

ANTI-BULLYING AND HARASSMENT POLICY

 

STUDENTS AND INSTRUCTION    5000

 

STUDENT CONDUCT                                                                                          5400

 

STUDENT HARASSMENT                                                                                     5402

 

It is the policy of the Lunenburg Public Schools (the “District”) that all of its students have an education/work setting that is safe, secure, and free from harassment and bullying of any kind.  The District will not tolerate harassment or bullying of any type.  Conduct that constitutes harassment and bullying, as defined herein, is prohibited.  This policy applies to student behavior, but all students, staff members, guests and contractors are protected.

 

(1)  Definitions:

a.      Harassment:  “Harassment” means any threatening, insulting, or dehumanizing gesture, use of data or computer software, or written, verbal or physical conduct, which is derogatory to a person and designed to demean, intimidate, or have the effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s school/work performance.  Such action may occur on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, age, gender, sexual orientation or disability, or for any other reason.

 

b.      Sexual Harassment: “Sexual Harassment” means unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other inappropriate verbal, written, electronically transmitted, or physical conduct of a sexual nature, including but not limited to unwelcome comments, touching, written notes, pictures/cartoons or other inappropriate conduct, such as leering, whistling, brushing up against the body, and/or commenting on sexual activity or body parts.  Harassment has the effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or learning environment that takes place under any of the following circumstances:

1.   When submission to such conduct is made, explicitly or implicitly, a term or condition of employment, instruction, or participation in school activities or programs;

2.  When submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used by the offender as the basis for making personal or academic decisions affecting the individual subjected to sexual advances;

3.   When such conduct has the effect of unreasonably interfering with the individual's work, attendance at school or participation in academic or curricular activities, or

4.   When such conduct has the effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or learning environment.

 

c.      Bullying: “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: (i) causes physical or emotional harm to the victim or damage to the victim’s property; (ii) places the victim in reasonable fear of harm or of damage to his/her property; (iii) creates a hostile environment at school for the victim; (iv) infringes on the rights of the victim at school; or (v) materially and substantially disrupts the education process or the orderly operation of a school.  

 

Bullying includes direct behaviors like taunting, stealing, threatening, and unwanted physical contact.  Bullying also includes indirect behaviors like deliberate exclusion, lying about someone and spreading rumors.  Bullying is a form of harassment.

 

d.      Cyber-bullying: “Cyber-bulling” is defined as the use of the internet, cell phones or other electronic devices to send, post or text messages and/or images and material intended to hurt or embarrass another person.  This may include, but is not limited to: continuing to send e-mail to someone who has said they want no further contact with the sender; sending or posting threats, sexual remarks or pejorative labels (i.e., hate speech); ganging up on victims by making them the subject of ridicule in online forums, and posting false statements as fact intended to humiliate the victim; disclosure of personal data, such as the victim’s real name, address, or school on websites or forums; posing as the identity of the victim for the purpose of publishing material in their name that defames or ridicules them; sending threatening and harassing text, instant messages or emails to the victim(s); and posting or sending rumors or gossip to instigate others to dislike and gang up on the target, which is determined to have a material and substantial interference with school activities or with the rights of students and teachers.

 

Cyber-bullying shall also include the distribution by any 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 clauses (i) to (v), inclusive, of the definition of bullying. Cyber-bullying is a form of bullying.

 

e.       Hazing: “Hazing” is any conduct or method of initiation into any student organization, whether on public or private property, which willfully or recklessly endangers the physical or mental health of any student or other person.  Such conduct shall include, but is not limited to, whipping, beating, branding, forced calisthenics, exposure to the weather, forced consumption of any food, liquor, beverage, drug or other substance or any other brutal treatment or forced physical activity which is likely to adversely affect the physical health or safety of any student or person, or which subjects any student or person to extreme mental stress, including extended deprivation of basic necessities (i.e. sleep, food) or extended isolation.

 

(2)  Expectations

Every District student has the right to: travel to and from school on buses; participate in academic classes and vocational programs; walk the corridors and stairwells, have lunch in the cafeteria; participate in sports, clubs, activities and school functions; make friendships, express individuality, and enjoy a sense of belonging; leave past mistakes behind and achieve greater success and confidence.  You have the right to do all these things in safety, free from harassment, sexual harassment, bullying, intimidation or humiliation.

 

District employees and guests are similarly entitled to a safe and secure environment, where they are treated with civility and respect. 

 

Under Massachusetts Law, harassment or bullying of any student or employee is prohibited:
(i)    on school grounds and property immediately adjacent to school grounds,
(ii)   at a school-sponsored or school-related activities, functions or programs whether on or off school grounds,
(iii)  at a bus stop, or on a school bus or other vehicle owned, leased or used by The District,
(iv)  through the use of technology or an electronic device owned, leased or used by The District
(v)   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 The District, if the harassment or bullying 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.

 

(3)  Consequences

      Every complaint of harassment will result in an investigation of the circumstances and an interview of the offending person.  Harassing behavior will be stopped.

 

      Consequences and appropriate interventions for students who commit an act of bullying or harassment will result in, but will not be limited to, disciplinary consequences that could include counseling, loss of school privileges, detention, Saturday school, suspension or expulsion, and/or notification of the police.

 

      Consequences and appropriate interventions for an employee found to have committed an act of bullying or harassment will be instituted in accordance with District policies, procedures and agreements.

 

      Consequences and appropriate intervention for a visitor or volunteer found to have committed an act of bullying or harassment shall be determined by the Superintendent after consideration of the nature and circumstances of the act, including reports to appropriate law enforcement officials.

 

(4)   Reporting an act of Bullying or Harassment

      a.    The building principal is responsible for receiving oral and/or written complaints alleging violations of this policy.
      b.    All employees are required and must report, in writing, any instance of bullying or retaliation the staff member has witnessed or become                aware of to the principal or school official identified as responsible for receiving such reports or both. Failure to report will result in
            action(s) or discipline, up to and including termination of employment.
      c.   Any other member of the school community with credible information that an act of bullying or harassment has taken place is encouraged             to file a report, whether a victim or a witness.
 d.    Any student (or parent/guardian on the student’s behalf) who believes he/she is victim of bullying or harassment is strongly encouraged
       to report and/or discuss the incident with an adult (teacher, counselor, nurse, administrator).
 e.     Complaints may be filed anonymously, however no disciplinary action shall be taken against a student solely on the basis on an
       anonymous report.
 f.      Complaints should be filed as soon as possible after the alleged incident(s).  Failure to report incidents of harassment in a timely 
       manner may have an adverse impact on the school’s ability to conduct a meaningful investigation.            
 

 

(5)  Investigation and Resolution

       Every complaint of harassment will result in an investigation of the circumstances and an interview of the offending person(s). 

  i.        In situations involving students, parents will be informed of the situation and invited to participate in resolution discussions.

  ii.      Failure to participate in an investigation and/or resolution meeting will result in appropriate discipline.

  iii.     Referral to law enforcement will be considered based on the circumstances.

 

All attempts will be made to resolve the situation as confidentially and quickly as the circumstances permit.  Harassing behavior will be stopped. 

 

(6)  Retaliation

Retaliation in any form against any person who has made or filed a complaint relating to harassment is forbidden. Individuals accused of harassment, or involved in an investigation, will be warned that there can be no discussion or the incident and no retaliation against a student or employee who makes a complaint.  If retaliation occurs, it could be considered grounds for dismissal of personnel and/or removal from the educational setting for a student.  A referral to law enforcement may be made.

 

(7)  Confidentiality

To the extent possible, all reports of harassment will be kept confidential, consistent with necessary investigation procedures, and with the goal of protecting the victim and stopping the behavior.

 

For further information about these guidelines or help with sexual harassment problems or any other form of harassment, consult:

 

Loxi Jo Calmes, Equity Coordinator

 

If the alleged harasser is responsible for conducting an investigation, the Superintendent or School Committee shall designate an alternative Harassment Coordinator.

 

CROSS REFERENCES:                   Student Handbook

                                                            Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan

LEGAL REFERENCES:                    Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Section 703

                                                            Title IX of the 1972 U.S. Civil Rights Act.

                                        Chapter 151C, Massachusetts General Laws

                                                            M.G.L. Chapter 76 § 5

                                        M.G.L. Chapter 269 § 17, 18, 19

                                                            M.G.L. Chapter 71, §§37H, 37O, 82, 84

 

Approved by School Committee:  December 15, 2010

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