Bullying, Intimidation, and Sexual Harassment
Bullying, intimidation, and harassment (including sexual) are not acceptable in any form and will not be tolerated at school or in any school-related activity, on school property, on school buses and transportation vehicles, through a school computer, network or other school electronic equipment, or through the transmission of information from a computer that is accessed at a non-school related location, activity, function, or program or from the use of technology or an electronic device that is not owned, leased, or used by the School District or School if the bullying causes a substantial disruption to the educational process or orderly operation of a school. The School will protect students against retaliation for reporting incidents of bullying, intimidation, or sexual harassment, and will take disciplinary action against any student who participates in such conduct.
No person shall harass, intimidate or bully another based upon race, color, nationality, sex, sexual orientation, gender-related identity or expression, ancestry, age, religion, creed, physical or mental disability, gender identity, order of protection status, status as homeless, or actual or potential marital or guardian status, including pregnancy, or other protected group status. The School and District will not tolerate harassing, intimidating conduct, or bullying, whether verbal, physical, or visual, that affects the tangible benefits of education, that unreasonably interferes with a student’s educational performance, or that creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational environment.
Bullying means any severe or pervasive physical or verbal act or conduct, including communications made in writing or electronically (cyber-bullying), directed toward a student that has or can be reasonably predicted to have the effect of (1) placing the student in reasonable fear of harm to the student’s person or property; (2) causing a substantially detrimental effect on the student’s or student's physical or mental health; (3) substantially interferes with the student’s or student's academic performance; or (4) substantially interferes with the student’s or student's ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or privileges provided by the School.
Examples of prohibited conduct include, without limitation, name-calling, using derogatory slurs, stalking, sexual violence, causing psychological harm, threatening or causing physical harm, threatened or actual destruction of property, wearing or possessing items depicting or implying hatred or prejudice of one of the characteristics previously stated, or other comparable conduct. A reprisal or retaliation against any person who reports an act of bullying is prohibited and will be treated as bullying for purposes of determining any consequences or other appropriate remedial actions.
Examples of sexual harassment include touching, crude jokes or pictures, discussions of sexual experiences, teasing related to sexual characteristics, and spreading rumors related to a person’s alleged sexual activities.
Bullying includes cyber-bullying and means any severe or pervasive physical or verbal act or conduct, including communications made in writing or electronically, directed toward a student or students that has or can be reasonably predicted to have the effect of one or more of the following:
- Placing the student or students in reasonable fear of harm to the student’s or student's person or property.
- Causing a substantially detrimental effect on the student’s or student's physical or mental health.
- Substantially interfering with the student’s or student's academic performance.
- Substantially interfering with the student’s or student's ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or privileges provided by a school.
Cyberbullying means bullying through the use of technology or any electronic communication, including without limitation 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 system, photo-electronic system, or photo-optical system, including without limitation electronic mail, Internet communications, instant messages, or facsimile communications. Cyberbullying includes the creation of a webpage or weblog in which the creator assumes the identity of another person or the knowing impersonation of another person as the author of posted content or messages if the creation or impersonation creates any of the effects enumerated in the definition of bullying. Cyberbullying also includes the distribution by electronic means of 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 effects enumerated in the definition of bullying. Examples of prohibited conduct include name-calling, using derogatory slurs, stalking, sexual violence, causing psychological harm, threatening or causing physical harm, threatened or actual destruction of property, or wearing or possessing items depicting or implying hatred or prejudice of one of the characteristics stated above.
Students who believe they are victims of bullying, intimidation, or harassment or have witnessed such activities are encouraged to discuss the matter with the student nondiscrimination coordinator, building administrator, or a complaint manager. Students may choose to report to a person of the student’s same sex. Complaints will be kept confidential to the extent possible given the need to investigate. Students who make good faith complaints will not be disciplined.
Any student who is determined, after an investigation, to have engaged in bullying, intimidation or harassment will be subject to disciplinary consequences as provided in this handbook, including but not limited to, suspension and expulsion consistent with the school and district’s discipline policy. Guardians of students who have engaged in the above behavior will be notified. Any student making a knowingly false accusation regarding harassment may also be subject to disciplinary consequences.
Procedures For Students At Risk For Aggressive Behavior and/or Bullying
In School District 103, bullying is defined as intentional, repetitive, and aggressive physical, verbal, and/or nonverbal conduct by one or more students that would harass, humiliate, abuse, or otherwise victimize one or more students. The District has adopted a set of Administrative Procedures to guide our response to bullying incidents. Procedures are flexible and may be modified by the school principal but are intended to provide consistency throughout the District.
The plan for responding to students who bully should take into account the bullying behavior and describe appropriate interventions. While inappropriate or hurtful behavior must be stopped and prohibited, the ultimate goal of the intervention plan is to change the child’s behavior.
The District 103 plan is based on a tiered response. The suggested process for intervening with a student involved in bullying requires that school personnel determine the appropriate level of intervention based on the nature, frequency, and duration of the behavior.
The plan provides opportunities for a student to change his/her behavior based on understanding its impact on others. The District’s plan uses specific strategies including reflective activities, social learning activities, and restorative activities to help students who have been involved in bullying incidents. Appropriate consequences are also assigned.
The school district has a statutory requirement to develop a response to aggressive behavior and/or bullying, and guardian objection or disagreement with an intervention plan, either in whole or in part, does not relieve the school district of its responsibility to respond and intervene or prevent school personnel from exercising their authority.
Description of Interventions/Consequences
Reflective activities encourage a student to think about what happened and the role they played in the incident. Social Learning activities engage a student in positive social interactions with their peers and provide opportunities to make a positive contribution to the climate of a school, reconcile with the student who has been mistreated, and learn and practice positive social behaviors. Restorative activities allow the student to make reparation for any harm done to another.
Interventions may include but are not limited to:
- Student conference with school personnel.
- Conflict resolution.
- Student self-reflection.
- Guardian contact.
- Apology letter.
- Perform and record acts of kindness.
- Behavior contract or incentive program.
- Referral to school social worker or psychologist.
- Required participation in behavior development lessons.
- Interventions as defined per the student’s individualized education plan or behavior plan.
Consequences may include but are not limited to:
- Loss of privilege(s).
- Guardian-student conference.
- Restricted interactions.
- Restricted schedule.
- Assigned seat or location.
- Repair or replacement of damaged property.
- Financial restitution and/or payment for any damage to property.
- School-based social service consequences.
- In-school time-out or alternative day assignment.
- Out-of-school suspension.
- Consequences as defined per the student’s individualized education plan or behavior plan.
Guidelines for Implementation
Student Conference: School personnel should follow normal investigative procedures prior to making the determination that an aggressive behavior/bullying incident has taken place. A typical process would include the following:
- Talk with each of the students involved separately, including those who witnessed the incident, to ascertain what happened.
- Ask open-ended questions to determine the nature of the behavior, when and where it occurred, who was involved, what the students were doing prior to the incident, and how each student feels about what happened.
- Talk with other staff who have direct knowledge of the student’s behavior.
Guardian Contact: Contact with the guardian is intended to provide information about the current incident, the school’s immediate response, the recommended interventions and consequences, as well as the consequences for any further aggressive behavior or bullying incidents. In the case of more severe, chronic, or persistent aggressive behavior or bullying, the School will provide the guardian a copy of the Aggressive Behavior and/or Bullying Reporting Form outlining the incident and may choose to request a conference with the guardian. If a meeting is called, school personnel may:
- Inform the guardian of the school’s efforts to support the student.
- Discuss the plan made with the student and ask the guardians for input and/or support.
- Listen to the guardian's concerns and answer questions.
- Provide strategies, resources, and/or activities that the guardian may use at home.
- Offer school-based support for the student.
- Consider referral to community-based support services.
- Encourage the guardian to inform the school if the concerning behavior(s) continues.