03.23.17

 

QUINTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF EDUCATION

POLICY FILE CODE: 5131.9

 

PROHIBITING HARASSMENT, INTIMIDATION AND BULLYING

 

The Quinton Township Board of Education believes that a safe and civil environment in school is necessary for students to learn and achieve high academic standards.  The Board also believes that harassment, intimidation or bullying, like other disruptive or violent behaviors, is conduct that disrupts both a pupil's ability to learn and a school's ability to educate its pupils in a safe environment; and since pupils learn by example, school administrators, faculty, staff and volunteers should be commended for demonstrating appropriate behavior, treating others with civility and respect, and refusing to tolerate harassment, intimidation or bullying.  Therefore, the Quinton Township Board of Education prohibits acts of harassment, intimidation and bullying.  

   

For the purposes of this policy, "harassment, intimidation or bullying" means any gesture or written, verbal or physical act or any use of an electronic communication (as defined by NJSA 18A:37-15.1: "A communication transmitted by means of an electronic device, including, but not limited to, a telephone, cellular phone, computer or pager.") that takes place on school property, at any school-sponsored function or on a school bus and that:  

 

A. Is motivated by any actual or perceived characteristic, such as race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, or a mental, physical or sensory disability or by any other distinguishing characteristic; or  

B. Is motivated by the desire of one child to exercise power and control over another child either in isolated incidents (e.g., intimidation, harassment) or patterns of harassing or intimidating behavior (e.g., bullying); or  

C. A reasonable person should know, under the circumstances, that the act(s) will have the effect of harming a pupil or damaging the pupil's property, or placing a pupil in reasonable fear of harm to his person or damage to his property; or  

D.   Has the effect of insulting or demeaning any pupil or group of pupils in such a way as to cause substantial disruption in, or substantial interference with, the orderly operation of the school.

 

  "Harassment, intimidation or bullying" can also include acts that occur off school grounds, such as cyber-bullying (e.g., the use of electronic or wireless devices to harass, intimidate or bully).  Consequences may be exercised when it is reasonably necessary for the offended student's physical or emotional safety and well-being or for reasons relating to  the  safety  and  well-being  of other students, staff on school  grounds  and  when  the

 

conduct which is the subject of a proposed consequence materially and substantially interferes with the requirements of appropriate discipline in the operation of the school.  All acts of harassment, intimidation or bullying that include the use of school property (e.g., school computers or other electronic or wireless communication devices) apply to this policy whether the subject or recipient of the bullying is on or off school property.  

 

The Board of Education expects pupils to conduct themselves in keeping with their levels of development, maturi1y and demonstrated capabilities with a proper regard for the rights and welfare of other pupils and school staff, the educational purpose underlying all school activities, and the care of school facilities and equipment.  

 

The Board of Education believes that standards for pupil behavior must be set cooperatively through interaction among the pupils, parents/guardians, staff and community members, producing an atmosphere that encourages pupils to grow in self-discipline. The development of this atmosphere requires respect for self and others, as well as for district and community property on the part of pupils, staff and community members.

 

The Board of Education believes that the best discipline is self-imposed, and that it is the responsibility of staff to use disciplinary situations as opportunities to help pupils learn to assume and accept responsibility for their behavior and the consequences of their behavior. Staff members who interact with pupils shall apply best practices designed to prevent discipline problems and encourage pupils' abilities to grow in self-discipline.

 

The administration, in collaboration with the School Improvement Team shall develop guidelines and detailed regulations for student conduct suited to the age levels of the students and the mission and physical facilities of the school.  Board policy requires all students in the district to adhere to the rules and regulations established by the school district and to submit to such disciplinary measures as are appropriately assigned for infractions of these rules.

 

The Superintendent of Schools shall provide annually to students and their parents/guardians the rules of the district regarding student conduct through dissemination of the discipline handbook. 

 

The Student Code of Conduct shall:

 

A. Describe student responsibilities, including the requirements for students to conform to reasonable standards of socially acceptable behavior; respect the person,  property  and  rights  of  others;  obey  constitutes  authority;  and respond to those who hold that authority;

 

 

B. Address appropriate recognition for positive reinforcement of good conduct, self- discipline and good citizenship;

C. Explain student rights; and,

D. Identify disciplinary sanctions and due process for violations of the Student Code of Conduct. 

 

In determining the appropriate response to students who commit one or more acts of harassment, intimidation or bullying, school administrators should consider the following factors: the developmental and maturity levels of the parties involved, the levels of harm, the surrounding circumstances, the nature of the behavior(s), past incidences or past or continuing patterns of behavior, the relationships between the parties involved, and, the context in which the alleged incidents occurred. Concluding whether a particular action or incident constitutes a violation of this policy requires a determination based on all of the facts and surrounding circumstances. It is only after meaningful consideration of these factors that an appropriate consequence should be determined, consistent with the case law, Federal and State statutes, regulations and policies, and district policies and procedures. Consequences and appropriate remedial action for pupils who commit acts of harassment, intimidation or bullying may range from positive behavioral interventions up to and including suspension or expulsion. In all cases, an attempt will be made to actively involve parents/guardians in the remediation of the behavior(s) of concern.  Active or passive support for harassment, intimidation or bullying is also prohibited.  Students are encouraged to support students who walk away from these acts when they see them, constructively attempt to stop them or report them to the designated authority.

 

The Principal is responsible for receiving written, verbal or electronic complaints alleging violations of this policy.  Oral reports also shall be considered official reports. All school employees are required to report alleged violations of this policy to the Principal. All other members of the school community, including pupils, parents, volunteers and visitors, are required to report any act that may be a violation of this policy.  Reports may be made anonymously, but formal disciplinary action may not be based solely on the basis of an anonymous report.

 

The Principal is responsible for determining whether an alleged act constitutes a violation of this policy.  In so doing, the Principal shall conduct a prompt, thorough and complete investigation of the alleged incident.

 

Some acts of harassment, intimidation or bullying may be isolated incidents requiring that the school respond appropriately to the individuals committing the acts.  Other acts may be so serious or parts of a larger pattern of harassment, intimidation or bullying that they require a response either in the classroom, school building or by law enforcement officials.

 

Consequences and appropriate remedial actions for pupils who commit an act of harassment, intimidation or bullying range from positive behavioral interventions up to and including suspension or expulsion, as permitted under NJSA 18A:37-1, et seq. 

 

The following factors at a minimum, shall be given full consideration by school administrators in the development of the procedures for determining appropriate consequences and remedial measures for each act of harassment, intimidation or bullying.

 

Factors for Determining Consequences

·   Age, developmental and maturity levels of the parties involved;

·   Degrees of harm;

·   Surrounding circumstances;

·   Nature and severity of the behaviors;

·   Incidences of past incidences or past or continuing patterns of behavior;

·   Relationships between the parties involved; and,

·   Context in which the alleged incidents occurred. 

 

Factors for Determining Remedial Measures

Personal

·   Life skill deficiencies;

·   Social relationships;

·   Strengths;

·   Talents;

·   Traits;

·   Interests;

·   Hobbies;

·   Extra-curricular activities;

·   Classroom participation; and,  

·   Academic performance

 

Environmental 

·   School culture;

·   School climate;

·   Student-staff relationships and staff behavior toward the student;

·   General staff management of classrooms or other educational environments;

·   Staff ability to prevent and manage difficult or inflammatory situations; 

·   Social-emotional and behavioral supports;

·   Social relationships;

·   Community activities;

·   Neighborhood situation; and,

·   Family situation.

 

Consequences for a student who commits an act of harassment, intimidation or bullying shall be varied and graded according to the nature of the behavior, the developmental age of the student and the student's history of problem behaviors and performance, and must be consistent with Quinton Township School District Student Expectations and Discipline Handbook and NJAC 6A:16-7, Student Conduct.  Remedial measures shall be designed to correct the problem behavior, prevent another occurrence of the problem and protect the victim of the act.  The consequences and remedial measures may include, but are not limited to, the following examples:

 

Examples of Consequences

·   Admonishment;

·   Temporary removal from the classroom;

·   Deprivation of privileges;

·   Classroom or administrative detention;

·   Referral to the Principal;

·   In-school suspension;

·   After-school programs;

·   External suspension;

·   Legal action; and,  

·   Expulsion

 

Examples of Remedial Measures

·   Restitution and restoration;

·   Mediation;

·   Corrective instruction or other relevant learning or service experience;

·   Supportive student interventions, including participation of the Pupil Assistance

Committee pursuant to NJAC 6A:16-8;

·   Behavioral assessment or evaluation including, but not limited to, a referral to the

Child Study Team, as appropriate;

·   Behavioral management plan, with benchmarks that are closely monitored;

·   Assignment of leadership responsibilities (e.g., hallway or bus monitor);

·   Involvement of School Principal;

·   Student counseling; or,

·   Parent Conferences

 

Environmental (Classroom, School Building)

·   School and community surveys or other strategies for determining the conditions

contributing to harassment, intimidation or bullying;

·   School culture change;

·   School climate improvement;

·   Adoption of research-based, systemic bullying prevention programs;

·   School policy and procedures revisions;

 

·   Modifications of schedules;

·   Adjustments in hallway traffic;

·   Modifications in student routes or patterns traveling to and from school;

·   Targeted use of monitors (e.g., hallway, cafeteria, bus);

·  Small or large group presentations for fully addressing the behaviors and the responses to the behaviors;

·   General professional development programs for certificated and non-certificated

staff;

·   Classroom responses of discussions, role plays, research projects and skill building

lessons;

·   School responses to theme days;

·   Information dissemination to parents/guardians and students;

·   Professional development plans for involved staff;

·   Disciplinary action for school staff who contributed to the problem;

·   Supportive institutional interventions, including participation of the

·   Pupil Assistance Committee pursuant to NJAC 6A:16-8; 

·   Parent conferences;

·   Family counseling;

·   Development of a general bullying response plan;

·   Recommendation of the School Improvement Team; and,

·   Law enforcement involvement.

 

In considering whether a response beyond the individual level is appropriate, the administrator should consider the nature and circumstances of the act, the level of harm, the nature of the behavior, past incidences or past or continuing patterns of behavior, and the context in which the alleged incident(s) occurred. Institutional (i.e., classroom, school building, school district) responses can range from school and community surveys, to mailings, to focus groups, to adoption of research-based bullying prevention program models, to training for certificated and non-certificated staff, to participation of parents and other community members and organizations, to small or large group presentations for fully addressing the actions and the school's response to the actions, in the context of the acceptable pupil behavior and the consequences of such actions and to involvement of law enforcement officers.

 

The school district prohibits reprisal or retaliation against any person who reports an act of harassment, intimidation or bullying. The consequences and appropriate remedial action for a person who engages in reprisal or retaliation shall be determined by the administrator after consideration of the nature, severity and circumstances of the act, in accordance with case law, Federal and State statutes and regulations, and district policies and procedures.  A school employee who promptly reports an incident of harassment, intimidation or bullying to the Principal, and who makes the report in compliance with this policy, is immune from a cause of action for damages arising from any failure to remedy the reported incident as set forth in NJSA 18A:37-16(4)c.

 

Consequences and appropriate remedial action for a student found to have falsely accused another as a means of harassment, intimidation or bullying range from positive behavioral interventions up to and including suspension or expulsion, as permitted under NJSA 18A:37-1, Discipline of Pupils.

 

Consequences and appropriate remedial action for a school employee found to have falsely accused another as a means of harassment, intimidation or bullying shall be disciplined in accordance with district policies, procedures and agreements. 

 

Consequences and appropriate remedial action for a parent, visitor or volunteer, found to have falsely accused another as a means of harassment, intimidation or bullying shall be determined by the school administrator after consideration of the nature, severity and circumstances of the act, including reports to appropriate law enforcement officials.

 

This policy shall be disseminated annually to all school staff, pupils and parents, along with a statement explaining that it applies to all acts of harassment, intimidation and bullying that occur on school property, at school-sponsored functions or on a school bus.  The Superintendent of Schools shall develop a process for discussing the school district policy on harassment, intimidation and bullying with pupils on an annual basis.

 

The Superintendent of Schools/designee shall post this policy on the district's website as well as annually notifying students and parents/guardians that the policy is available on the district's website.

 

Annually in conjunction with a review and update of the code of student conduct, the School Improvement Team will review the extent and characteristics of harassment, intimidation and bullying behavior in the school.  Programmatic or other responses will be implemented if determined to by appropriate by the Board of Education.  Training needs of the district staff for the effective implementation of the harassment, intimidation and bullying policy, procedures and programs will be reviewed annually.  The Principal will develop a process for annually discussing Policy 5131.9 with the students.

 

Legal References :

N.J.S.A. 18A:37-1 et seq., 18A:37-14, et seq, 18A:37-15 et seq 18A:37-17 et seq,

18A:40A-10, 18A:40A-11, 18A:54-20, 2A:4A-60, 2C:12-1 N.J.A.C. 6A:16-1.4(a)13, 6A:16-1.4(a)15 -18, 6A:16-4.1, 6A:16-6.1,  6:8-2.1, 6A:14-2.8, 6A:16-1.1et seq.,

 

Possible Cross References :    

1120, 1410, 3517, 3541.33, 4131, 4131.1, 4148, 4231.1, 4248, 5010, 5020, 5113, 5114, 5124, 5131.7, 5132, 5145, 5145.4, 5145.6, 5145.11, 514