What Parents Need to Know About Bullying
5517.01 - BULLYING
The Board of Education is committed to providing a safe, positive, productive, and nurturing educational environment for all of its students. The Board encourages the promotion of positive interpersonal relations between members of the school community. Bullying toward a student, whether by other students, staff, or third parties is strictly prohibited and will not be tolerated. This prohibition includes physical, verbal, and psychological abuse. The Board will not tolerate any gestures, comments, threats, or actions which cause or threaten to cause bodily harm or personal degradation. This policy applies to all activities in the District, including activities on school property, including at any of the school buildings or other property used exclusively or in part, whether leased or owned by the District, for the purpose of school-related functions or events; or while traveling to or from school or to and from school-sponsored functions or events; in transporting vehicles arranged for by School District officials. The policy applies as well during activities that occur off school property if the student or employee is at any school-sponsored, school-approved or school-related activity or function, such as field trips or athletic events where students are under the supervision of school authorities, or where an employee is engaged in school business.
Bullying is deliberate or intentional behavior using word or actions, intended to cause fear, intimidation, or harm. Bullying may be a repeated behavior and involves an imbalance of power. Furthermore, it may be serious enough to negatively impact a student's educational, physical, or emotional well being. The behavior may be motivated by an actual or perceived distinguishing characteristic, such as, but not limited to: age; national origin; race; ethnicity; religion; gender; gender identity; sexual orientation; physical attributes; physical or mental ability or disability; and social, economic, or family status; however this type of bullying behavior need not be based on any of the legally protected characteristics. It includes, but is not necessarily limited to such behaviors as stalking, cyberbullying, intimidating, menacing, coercing, name-calling, taunting, making threats, and hazing.
Any student that believes s/he has been or is the victim of bullying should immediately report the situation to the building principal or assistant principal, or the District Administrator. The student may also report concerns to a teacher or counselor who will be responsible for notifying the appropriate administrator or Board official. Complaints against the building principal should be filed with the District Administrator. Complaints against the District Administrator should be filed with the Board President.
Every student is encouraged to report any situation that they believe to be bullying behavior directed toward a student. Reports may be made to those identified above.
All school staff members and school officials who observe or become aware of acts of bullying are required to report these acts to the building principal or assistant principal, or the District Administrator.
Reports of bullying may be made verbally or in writing and may be made confidentially. All such reports, whether verbal or in writing, will be taken seriously and a clear account of the incident is to be documented. A written record of the report, including all pertinent details, will be made by the recipient of the report.
All complaints about behavior that may violate this policy shall be investigated promptly by the building principal. The staff member who is investigating the report of bullying shall interview the victim(s) of the alleged bullying and collect whatever other information is necessary to determine the facts and the seriousness of the report.
Parents and/or guardians of each student involved in the bullying report will be notified prior to the conclusion of the investigation. The District shall maintain the confidentiality of the report and any related student records to the extent required by law.
If the investigation finds that bullying has occurred, it will result in prompt and appropriate remedial and/or disciplinary action. This may include student discipline, including, but not limited to reprimand, suspension, or possible expulsion. Further, the result of an investigation that finds that bullying has occurred may result in discharge for employees, exclusion for parents, guests, volunteers, and contractors, and removal from any official position and/or a request to resign for Board members. Individuals may also be referred to law enforcement officials.
The complainant shall be notified of the findings of the investigation, and as appropriate, that remedial action has been taken.
This policy shall not be interpreted to infringe upon the First Amendment rights of students (i.e., to prohibit a reasoned and civil exchange of opinions, or debate, that is conducted at appropriate times and places during the school day and is protected by State or Federal law).
Retaliation against any person who reports, is thought to have reported, files a complaint, or otherwise participates in an investigation or inquiry concerning allegations of bullying is prohibited and will not be tolerated. Such retaliation shall be considered a serious violation of Board policy and independent of whether a complaint is substantiated. Suspected retaliation should be reported in the same manner as bullying. Making intentionally false reports about bullying for the purpose of getting someone in trouble is similarly prohibited and will not be tolerated. Retaliation and intentionally making a false report may result in disciplinary action as indicated above.
The following definitions are provided for guidance only. If a student or other individual believes there has been bullying, regardless of whether it fits a particular definition, s/he should report it and allow the administration to determine the appropriate course of action.
"Bullying" is defined on page one. Some examples of bullying are:
"Harassment" includes, but is not limited to, any act which subjects an individual or group to unwanted, abusive behavior of a nonverbal, verbal, written or physical nature on the basis of age, race, religion, color, national origin, marital status or disability (sexual orientation, physical characteristic, cultural background, socioeconomic status, or geographic location).
"Intimidation" includes, but is not limited to, any threat or act intended to tamper, substantially damage or interfere with another's property, cause substantial inconvenience, subject another to offensive physical contact or inflict serious physical injury on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin or sexual orientation.
"Menacing" includes, but is not limited to, any act intended to place a school employee, student, or third party in fear of imminent serious physical injury.
"Harassment, intimidation, or bullying" means any act that substantially interferes with a student's educational benefits, opportunities, or performance, that takes place on or immediately adjacent to school grounds, at any school-sponsored activity, on school–provided transportation or at any official school bus stop, and that has the effect of:
"Staff" includes all school employees and Board members.
"Third parties" include, but are not limited to, coaches, school volunteers, parents, school visitors, service contractors, vendors, or others engaged in District business, and others not directly subject to school control at inter-district or intra-district athletic competitions or other school events.
For a definition of and instances that could possibly be construed as hazing, consult Policy 5516.
The School District will respect the privacy of the complainant, the individual(s) against who the complaint is filed, and the witnesses as much as possible, consistent with the Board’s legal obligations to investigate, to take appropriate action, and to conform with any discovery or disclosure obligations. All records generated under this policy and its related administrative guidelines shall be maintained as confidential to the extent permitted by law.
To the extent appropriate in conducting a thorough investigation and/or as legally permitted, confidentiality will be maintained during the investigation process.
Notice of this policy will be annually distributed to all students enrolled in the School District, their parents and/or guardians and employees. The policy will also be distributed to organizations in the community having cooperative agreements with the schools. Additionally, the policy will be posted in conspicuous locations in all school buildings and departments within the District and discussed with students, as well as incorporated into the teacher, student, and parent/guardian handbooks. State and Federal rights posters on discrimination and harassment shall also be posted at each building. All new hires will be required to review and sign off on this policy and the related complaint procedure.
The School District will also provide a copy of the policy to any person who requests it.
Records and Reports
Records will be maintained on the number and types of reports made, and sanctions imposed for incidents found to be in violation of the bullying policy.
An annual summary report shall be prepared and presented to the School Board, which includes trends in bullying behavior and recommendations on how to further reduce bullying behavior. The annual report will be available to the public.
Education and Training
In support of this policy, the Board promotes preventative educational measures to create greater awareness of bullying behavior. The District Administrator or designee shall provide appropriate training to all members of the School District community related to the implementation of this policy and its accompanying administrative guidelines. All training regarding the Board’s policy and administrative guidelines on bullying will be age and content appropriate.
The complaint procedure established by the District Administrator as set forth in AG 5517.01 shall be followed.
Wis. Stat. 118.46
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