Bullying, Cyber Bullying, Harassment, and Hazing

New Policy:    5-22-05

Revised:        10-14-09, 9-11-13, 10-14-15, 02-07-17

Philosophy

The Board of Education is committed to provide all students and District employees with a safe and secure learning and working environment. Bullying, cyber bullying, hazing, harassment, and retaliation for reporting such incidences reduces a student’s ability to achieve academically and reduces an employee’s ability to perform job responsibilities. In addition, these offenses can directly affect a student’s or an employee’s health and well being, and may contribute to excessive absences, physical illness, mental and emotional anguish, and long-term social and psychological consequences. This policy prohibits bullying, cyberbullying and harassment regardless of the motivation for such misconduct, including bullying, cyberbullying or harassment of students because of their transgender status or gender expression. The Board encourages educators, employees, students, and parents to develop procedures to prevent bullying, cyber bullying, harassment, hazing, and retaliation for reporting of these incidences. 

Definitions—

  1. Bullyingmeans abusive conduct, intentionally or knowingly committing an act that is done for the purpose of placing a school employee or student in fear of physical harm or harm to the property of the school employee or student. The following constitutes acts of bullying, regardless of whether the person against whom the conduct is committed directed, consented, or agreed to the conduct:
    1. "Abusive conduct" means verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a parent or student directed toward a school employee that, based on its severity, nature, and frequency of occurrence, a reasonable person would determine is intended to cause intimidation, humiliation, or unwarranted distress.  A single act does not constitute abusive conduct;
    2. endangerment to the physical health or safety of a school employee or student;
    3. brutality of a physical nature such as whipping, beating, branding, poking, hitting, tripping, shoving, calisthenics, bruising, electric shocking, placing of a harmful substance on the body, or exposure to the elements to a school employee or student;
    4. forced or unwilling consumption of any food, liquor, drug, or other substance by a school employee or student;
    5. forced or coerced act of a sexual nature or with sexual connotations such as asking prospective or active team members to remove articles of clothing or expose or touch private areas of the body;
    6. physical activity that endangers the physical health and safety of a school employee or student;
    7. physically obstructing a school employee’s or student’s freedom to move;
    8. psychological bullying that includes, but is not limited to, socially isolating an individual, demeaning or sarcastic comments, gestures, and threatening comments and behavior; or
    9. verbal and/or written bullying which includes, but is not limited to: name calling, mean teasing, spreading false rumors, intimidation, sexual comments, harassing, and threatening comments and behavior that is communicated verbally or in writing, including the use of electronic media (i.e., “cyber bullying”).
  2. Communication  - means the conveyance of a message, whether verbal, written, or electronic.
  3. Cyber Bullying  -  means:
    1. Using the internet, a cell phone, or another device to send or post text, video, or an image with the intent or knowledge, or with reckless disregard, that the text, video or image will hurt, embarrass, or threaten an individual, regardless of whether the individual directed, consented to, or acquiesced in the conduct, or voluntarily accessed the electronic communication.
    2. In addition, any communication of this form that is generated off campus but causes or threatens to cause a material and substantial disruption at school or interference with the rights of students to be secure may also be considered cyber bullying.
  4. Harassment -  means repeatedly communicating to another individual, in an objectively demeaning or disparaging manner, statements that contribute to a hostile learning or work environment for the individual. 
  5. Hazing  -  means intentionally or knowingly committing an act that:
    1. Endangers the physical health or safety of a school employee or student; and
      1. involves any brutality of a physical nature such as whipping, beating, branding, calisthenics, bruising, electric shocking, placing a harmful substance on the body, or exposure to the elements;
      2. nvolves consumption of any food, liquor, drug, or other substance;
      3. involves forced or coerced actions or activities of a sexual nature or with sexual connotations;
      4. involves other physical activity that endangers the physical health and safety of a school employee or student; or
      5. involves physically obstructing a school employee’s or student’s freedom to move; and:
    2. is done for the purpose of initiation or admission into, affiliation with, holding office in, or as condition for, membership or acceptance, or continued membership or acceptance, in any school or school sponsored team, organization, program, or event; or
    3. if the person committing the act against a school employee or student knew that the school employee or student is a member of, or candidate for, membership with a school, or school sponsored team, organization , program, or event to which the person committing the act belongs to or participates in. 
  6. Retaliation -  means an act or communication intended as retribution against a person for reporting bullying, cyber bullying, harassment, or hazing; or to improperly influence the investigation of, or the response to, a report of bullying or hazing.
  7. School Employee -  means an administrator, teacher, and staff, as well as all others employed or authorized as volunteers, directly or indirectly, by the school, the Board, or the District. 

Policy—

South Sanpete School District prohibits bullying, cyber bullying, harassment, hazing, and retaliation of students or school employees at any time or in any location, especially at school/work, while on school or District property, which includes playgrounds, hallways, and lunch areas, at school/work-related activities and events, on a school bus, at a school bus stop, or while the student or employee is traveling to or from a school/work-related activity or event. The District encourages all victims of these offenses, and all persons with knowledge of these incident(s), to report them immediately.

No student or employee may engage in retaliation against a student, employee, investigator, or a witness of an alleged incident of bullying, cyber bullying, harassment, hazing, or retaliation. No student or employee may make a false allegation of these offenses against a student or employee. The District encourages all victims of retaliation, and all persons with knowledge of retaliation, to report the incident(s) immediately. 

Reporting of Complaints —

A student victim of bullying, cyber bullying, harassment, hazing, or retaliation should inform a school employee of the infraction. An employee victim should inform his/her supervisor. A parent, teacher, or any other individual who is aware of these violations at school should inform school administration. A teacher or administrator to whom a complaint is made shall, as soon as is reasonably possible after receiving the complaint, report it to the principal or his/her designee. If a victim so chooses, he/she may be allowed to report such incidences anonymously.

Investigation—

The principal/supervisor, or his/her designee, to whom a complaint of any violation is reported shall promptly investigate the complaint. In the event the principal/supervisor or designee finds that a violation has occurred, he/she shall take prompt, appropriate action to end the bullying, cyber bullying, harassment, hazing, or retaliation and address its effects on the victim. The principal/supervisor or designee may refer the victim of any of these violations to the school counselor or psychologist or to appropriate counseling services provided by the District, as applicable. All acts of bullying, cyber bullying, harassment, hazing, or retaliation that constitute criminal activity will be promptly reported to law enforcement. To the extent permitted by federal and State law, District policies, confidentiality and privacy rights, and to assure the integrity of the investigation and corrective action, parents or legal guardians of a student perpetrator or victim will be involved in the process of responding to, and resolving conduct, prohibited by this Policy. 

Discipline—

Any student who engages in bullying, cyber bullying, harassment, hazing, or retaliation, as described herein, is in violation of this Policy and shall be subject to disciplinary action. Consequences should be firm and fair and correspond to the severity of the infraction. A continuum of consequences should be utilized. Disciplinary action may include, but is not limited to: a verbal warning; suspension; expulsion; exclusion or loss of extracurricular activities; dissolution of a team, organization, or other group; probation; alternate educational placement; and/or a referral to law enforcement authorities. In imposing such discipline, all facts and circumstances of the incident(s) shall be taken into account. Formal disciplinary action may not be based solely on an anonymous report of bullying, hazing or retaliation. Disciplinary due process procedures shall be followed. To the extent permitted by federal and State law, District policies, and confidentiality and privacy rights, the parents or legal guardians of a student who is a victim of these infractions are to be informed of the actions taken against the perpetrators.

 

Any employee who engages in these illegal activities, as described herein, is in violation of this Policy and shall be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including employment termination. Consequences should be firm and fair and correspond to the severity of the infraction. Professionally licensed employees may be referred to the Utah Professional Practices Advisory Commission (UPPAC), along with any and all evidence, for investigation and possible disciplinary action against professional licensing. Illegal acts will also result in referral to law enforcement authorities. Disciplinary due process procedures shall be followed.

Dissemination of Policy—

This Policy may be posted on the District’s Web site and published in student registration materials, student and employee handbooks, parent information guides, and other appropriate school publications as directed by the District. 

Each District principal, athletic coach, cheerleading advisor, drill team advisor, and other extra-curricular/program or club supervisors shall inform his/her students about this Policy at the beginning of each school year, and prior to the beginning of each team or group activity for the year. It is recommended that each coach, supervisor, or advisor have each participant and his/her parents sign the “Statement of Commitment” Form (Policy JGA-1) in regards to bullying, cyber bullying, harassment, hazing, and retaliation. 

Making a False Report Prohibited—

No school employee or student may make a false allegation of bullying, harassment, cyberbullying, hazing, or retaliation against a school employee or student. 

Students who engage in making such false allegations are in violation of this policy and are subject to disciplinary action up to and including expulsion, consistent with the District’s Safe Schools Policy (JH).

School employees who engage in making such false allegations are in violation of this policy and verified violations shall result in disciplinary action up to and including termination, consistent with the school district’s Orderly Termination policy (GCPDA). 

Utah Admin. Rules R277-613-1 (2009)

Education and Training— 

The District recognizes the importance of educating its employees and students regarding the prevention of these illegal activities. To these ends, the District and/or each school shall provide annual ongoing training and education in this area. 

Each school shall establish procedures for training school employees, volunteers and students to recognize and prevent bullying, harassment, cyberbullying, hazing, or retaliation.

Training to students, staff, and volunteers shall include:

  1. Training specific to overt aggression that may include physical fighting such as punching, shoving, kicking, and verbally threatening behavior, such as name calling, or both physical and verbal aggression or threatening behavior;
  2. Training specific to relational aggression or indirect, covert, or social aggression, including rumor spreading, intimidation, enlisting a friend to assault a child, and social isolation;
  3. Training specific to prohibitions against bullying or hazing of a sexual nature or with sexual overtones;
  4. Training specific to cyber bullying, including use of email, web pages, text messaging, instant messaging, three-way calling or messaging or any other electronic means for aggression inside or outside of school; and
  5. Training regarding civil rights violations and appropriate reporting and investigative procedures.  “Civil rights violations” means bullying, cyber-bullying, hazing, or harassment targeted at a federally protected class and includes such conduct based upon students’ actual or perceived identities and conformance or failure to conform to stereotypes.

In addition to training school employees and educating students mentioned above, all volunteer coaches, employees, and students involved in any curricular athletic program or any extra-curricular club or activity shall:

  1. Complete bullying, cyber-bullying, harassment and hazing prevention training prior to participation; 
  2. Repeat bullying, cyber-bullying, harassment and hazing prevention training at least every three years; 
  3. Be informed annually of the prohibited activities list provided previously in this Policy and the potential consequences for violation of this Policy.

Teachers should discuss this policy with their students in age-appropriate ways and should assure them that they need not endure any form of bullying, harassment, hazing, or cyberbullying.  

Utah Code § 53A-11a-301 (2013)

Evaluation of Student Support Needs—

When it is determined that a student has been bullied, cyberbullied, hazed, or harassed, consideration should be given to what support, counseling, or other assistance the student may need to prevent such mistreatment from adversely affecting the student’s ability to learn and function in the school setting.

Assessment—

Each school shall regularly (and at least once per year) conduct assessment through student input (surveys, reports, or other methods) of the prevalence of bullying, cyber bullying, hazing, and harassment in the school, and specifically in locations where students may be unsafe and adult supervision may be required such as playgrounds, hallways, and lunch areas.

Utah Admin. Rules R277-613-4.D (October 8, 2013)

Parent/Guardian Notification—

  1. The school shall notify the parent/guardian of a student who:
    1. Threatens to commit suicide, or
    2. Is involved in an incident of bullying, hazing, cyber bulling, harassment or retaliation.
  2. In addition, the school shall produce and maintain a record that verifies that the parent or guardian was notified of the threats or incidents listed above.  The record is a private record for purposes of the Government Records Access and Management Act.  The record may not be used by the school for the school’s own purposes.  Example may include: Grant proposals, District or individual school reports, and/or article for media.  
  3. The process for notifying a parent/guardian shall consist of:
    1. The school principal or designee shall attempt to make personal contact with the parent/guardian when the school has been notified of a threat or incident listed above.  It is recommended that the parent/guardian be informed of the threat of incident with two school officials present.  If personal contact is not possible, the parent/guardian may be contacted by phone.  A second school official should witness the phone call.
    2. Contact with the parent/guardian must be documented and maintained for future reference. 
  4. At the request of a parent/guardian, a school may provide information and make recommendations related to an incident or threat. 
  5. The record of parental notification shall be maintained in accordance with Policy FE, Policy FEA, and the Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”).  A copy of the record of parental notification shall upon request be provided to the student to whom the record relates. After the student has graduated, the District shall expunge the record of parental notification upon request of the student.

Utah Code §53A-11a-203 (2015)

References: District Policy: JH “Safe Schools,” Board Rule R277-613, 53A-11A-203, Utah Code 53A-11a, and SB 304 (2011)

pdfJGA_Bulllying_doc.pdf

 

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