Dignity for All Bullying and Prevention - Policy 6050

Board of Education
Dignity for All Bullying and Prevention - Policy 6050

STUDENT HARASSMENT AND BULLYING PREVENTION AND INTERVENTION 

 

The Sackets Harbor Central School District Board of Education iscommitted to providing an educational and working environment thatpromotes respect, dignity and equality. The Board recognizes thatdiscrimination, such as harassment, hazing and bullying, are detrimentalto student learning and achievement. These behaviors interfere with the mission of the district to educate its students and disrupt the operation of the schools. Such behavior affects not only the students who are its targets but also those individuals who participate and witness such acts.

To this end, the Board condemns and strictly prohibits all forms of discrimination, such as harassment, hazing and bullying on school grounds, school buses and at all school-sponsored activities, programs and events.

Discrimination, harassment, hazing or bullying that takes place at locations outside of school grounds which can be reasonably expected to materially and substantially interfere with the requirements of appropriate discipline in the operation of the school or impinge on the rights of other students are prohibited, and may be subject to disciplinary consequences.

 

Definitions

Bullying

Bullying is understood to be a hostile activity which harms or induces fear through the threat of further aggression and/or creates terror. In order to facilitate implementation of this policy, provide meaningful guidance and prevent behaviors from rising to a violation of law, this policy will use the term bullying to describe a range of misbehaviors such as harassment, hazing, intimidation or discrimination.The accompanying regulation provides more guidance regarding the definition and characteristics of bullying.

Discrimination

Discrimination is the act of denying rights, benefits, justice,equitable treatment or access to facilities available to all others, to an individual or group of people because of the group, class or category to which that person belongs.

Hazing

Hazing is an induction, initiation or membership process involving harassment which produces public humiliation, physical or emotional discomfort, bodily injury or public ridicule or creates a situation where public humiliation, physical or emotional discomfort,bodily injury or public ridicule is likely to occur.

Harassment

Harassment has been defined in various ways in federal and state law and regulation. The Board recognizes that these definitions are important standards, but the Board's goal is to prevent misbehavior from escalating in order to promote a positive school environment and to limit liability. The Dignity for All Students Act ($$10-18 of Education Law) defines harassment as the creation of a hostile environment by conduct or by verbal threats, intimidation or abuse that has or would have the effect of unreasonably and substantially interfering with a student's educational performance, opportunities or benefits, or mental, emotional or physical well-being; or conduct, verbal threats,intimidation or abuse that reasonably causes or would reasonably be expected to cause a student to fear for his or her physical safety. The harassing behavior may be based on any characteristic, including but not limited to a person's actual or perceived:

  • race
  • color,
  • weight,
  • national origin,
  • ethnic group,
  • religion,
  • religious practice,
  • disability,
  • sex,
  • sexual orientation, or
  • gender (including gender identity and expression).

In some instances, bullying or harassment may constitute a violation of an individual's civil rights. The district is mindful of its responsibilities under the law and in accordance with district policy regarding civil rights protections. 

Prevention

The school setting provides an opportunity to teach children,and emphasize among staff, that cooperation with and respect for others is a key district value. A program geared to prevention is designed to not only decrease incidents of bullying but to help students build more supportive relationships with one another by integrating the bullying prevention program into classroom instruction. Staff members and students will be sensitized, through district-wide professional development and instruction, to the warning signs of bullying, as well as to their responsibility to become actively involved in the prevention of bullying before overt acts occur. 

Curricular material that raises awareness and sensitivity to discrimination or harassment and civility in the relationships of people of different races, weights, national origins, ethnic groups,religions, religious practices, mental or physical abilities, sexual orientations, sexes or gender expression or identities will be included in the instructional program K-12. The District will coordinate curricular materials to be part of its character education program that presently teaches about the following components: Personal responsibility, observance of laws and rules, citizenship/digital,citizenship, caring, embracement, tolerance, honesty, pride/community involvement, respect of others, courtesy, and dignity.

In order to implement this program the Board will designate atits annual organizational meeting a Dignity for All Coordinator (s). Therole of this staff member(s) is/are to coordinate and enforce thispolicy. In addition, the Superintendent will assign to an appropriate district-wide committee, or if no appropriate committee currently exists, will establish a committee on Bullying Prevention as well as assigning a Bullying Prevention committee in each school that will work with the district-wide task force. Committees will include representation from staff, administration, students and parents. The district-wide task force and the school-level committee will assist the administration in developing and implementing specific prevention initiatives, including early identification of bullying and other strategies. In addition, the program will include reporting,investigating, remedying and tracking allegations of bullying. The accompanying regulation provides more detail on the specific programs and strategies implemented by the district.

Intervention

Intervention by adults and bystanders is an important step inpreventing escalation and resolving issues at the earliest stages.Intervention will emphasize education and skill-building.

Successful intervention may involve remediation. Remedial responses to bullying and harassment include measures designed to correct the problem behavior, prevent another occurrence of the behavior and protect the target. Remediation may be targeted to the individual(s) involved in the bullying behavior or environmental approaches which are targeted to the school or district as a whole.

In addition, intervention will focus upon the safety of the target. Staff is expected, when aware of bullying, to either refer the student to designated resources for assistance, or to intervene in accordance with this policy and regulation.

Provisions for students who do not feel safe at school

The Board acknowledges that, notwithstanding actions taken bydistrict staff, intervention may require a specific coordinated approachif the child does not feel safe at school. Students who do not feelsafe at school are limited in their capacity to learn and reach theiracademic potential. Staff, when aware of bullying, should determine if accommodations are needed in order to help ensure the safety of the student and bring this to the attention of the building principal. The building principal, other appropriate staff, the student and the student's parent will work together to define and implement any needed accommodations.

The district recognizes that there is a need to balance accommodations which enhance student safety against the potential to further stigmatize the targeted student. Therefore, each case will be handled individually. The student, parent/guardian, and school administration will collaborate to establish safety provisions that best meet the needs of the targeted student. Follow-up discussion and/or meetings will be scheduled, as needed, to ensure that safety concerns have been adequately addressed and to determine when and if accommodations need to be changed or discontinued. 

Training

The Board recognizes that in order to implement an effective bullying prevention and intervention program, professional development is needed. The Superintendent, the Task Force, and the Dignity for All Coordinators will incorporate training to support this program in new teacher orientation and the annual professional development plan, as needed. Training opportunities will be provided for all staff,including but not limited to bus drivers, cafeteria and hall monitors and all staff who have contact with students. The Task Force will be trained in accordance with state requirements and will continue their professional development so as to successfully support this policy and program. 

Reporting and Investigation

Although it can be difficult to step forward, the district can't effectively address bullying if incidents are not reported. Students who have been bullied, parents whose children have been bullied or other students or staff who observe bullying behavior are encouraged and expected to make a verbal and/or written complaint to any school personnel in accordance with the training and guidelines provided. At all times, complaints will be documented, tracked and handled in accordance with the regulations and procedures accompanying this policy, or, if applicable, and the district's Code of Conduct. If astaff person is unsure of the reporting procedure, he/she is expectedto inquire about how to proceed by speaking with their supervisor.Incidents could be included in the Violent and Disruptive Incident Reporting (VADIR) system when applicable as determined by regulation. 

There shall be a duty for all school personnel to report any incidents of student-to-student and staff-to-student bullying that they observe to their building principal or other administrator who supervises their employment. In addition, there shall be a further duty for all school personnel to report any incidents of student-to-student and staff-to-student bullying of which they are made aware by students to their building principals or other administrator who supervises their employment. Supervisors will refer the information to appropriate district staff for investigation as designated in regulation. A district employee may be deemed to have permitted unlawful discrimination or harassment if he/she fails to report an observed incident, whether or not the target complains. 

The results of the investigation shall be reported back to both the target and the accused in accordance with the accompanying regulation. If either of the parties disagrees with the results of the investigation, they can appeal the findings in accordance with the regulations that accompany this policy. 

Disciplinary Consequences/Remediation

While the focus of this policy is on prevention, bullying acts may still occur. In these cases, offenders will be given the clear message that their actions are wrong and the behavior must improve.Student offenders will receive in-school guidance in making positive choices in their relationships with others. If appropriate, disciplinary action will be taken by the administration in accordance with the district's Code of Conduct, as applicable. If the behavior rises to the level of criminal activity, law enforcement will be contacted.

Consequences for a student who commits an act of bullying shall be unique to the individual incident and will vary in method and severity according to the nature of the behavior, the developmental age of the student, and the student's history of problem behaviors, and must be consistent with the district's Code of Conduct. 

Non-Retaliation

All complainants and those who participate in the investigation of a complaint in conformity with state law and district policies, who have acted reasonably and in good faith, have the right to be free from retaliation of any kind. 

Dissemination, Monitoring, Review, and Reporting

This policy, or a plain language summary, shall be published in student registration materials, student, parent and employee handbooks,and posted on the district's website. A bullying complaint form will beavailable on the district's website. The district will ensure that the process of reporting bullying is clearly explained. Each year, as part of the annual review of the Code of Conduct, this policy will be reviewed to assess its effectiveness and compliance with state and federal law. If changes are needed, revisions will be recommended to the Board for its consideration.

The Board will review the annual VADIR report, for each building and for the district as whole, with particular attention to the trends in the incidence of bullying. 

The district will ensure that reporting of information to the public will be in a manner that complies with student privacy rights under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

Cross-ref:       
0I00. Equal Opportunity and Nondiscrimination
0l10. Sexual Harassment
4321. Programs for Students with Disabilities
5300. Code of Conduct
5710. Violent and Disruptive Incident Reporting
9700. Staff Development

Ref:
Dignity for All Students Act, Education Law, §10-18
Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §l2l0l et seq.
Title VI, Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §2000d et seq.
Title VII, Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §2000e et seq.; 34 CFR § 100 et seq.
Title IX, Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. §1681 et seq.
§504, Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 2 9 U.S.C. §794
Individuals with Disabilities Education Law, 20 U.S.C. §1400 et seq.
Executive Law §290 et seq. (New York State Human Rights Law)
Education Law {ì|i3 I 3(3), 3201, 3201-a
Tinker v. DesMoines Independent Community School Dist., 393 US 503, (1969) Davis v.
Monroe County Board of Education, 526 u.s. 629 (1999)
Gebser v. Lago Vista Independent School District, 524 U.S, 274 (1998)
Faragher v City of Boca Raton,524 U.S. 775 (1998)
Burlington Industries v. Ellerth, 524 U.S. 742 (1998)
Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore Services, Inc., 523 U.S. 75 (1998)
Franklin v. Gwinnett County Public Schools, 503 U.S.60(1992) Meritor Savings Bank, FSB v.Vinson,477 US.57(1986)

Adoption Date:   July 11, 2012

pic_1

    pic_2

    Website by SchoolMessenger Presence. © 2018 West Corporation. All rights reserved.