Public involvement in developing the Plan: In accordance with M.G.L. c. 71 § 37O, the New Heights Charter School Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plans were developed in consultation with teachers, school staff, and professional support personnel. New Heights will post the Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plans on our website and provide copies for New Heights’ families which allow for members of the public to provide comment. The plans shall be updated biennially or more frequently as needed by the school and will be overseen by the Head of School or designee.
Assessing Needs and Resources. At least once every four years beginning with 2015/16 school year, the district will administer a Department of Elementary and Secondary-developed student survey to assess school climate and the prevalence, nature, and severity of bullying in our schools. Additionally, the school or district will annually report bullying incident data to the Department. Initial and periodic needs assessments will include: 1) surveying students, on school climate and school safety issues; and 2) collecting and analyzing building-specific data on the prevalence and characteristics of bullying (e.g., focusing on identifying vulnerable populations and “hot spots” in school buildings, on school grounds, or on school buses). Similar tools to the student survey can be used with faculty, staff, and parents/guardians to assist in determining school climate needs. This information will help to identify patterns of behaviors and areas of concern, and will inform decision-making for prevention strategies including, but not limited to, adult supervision, professional development, age-appropriate curricula, and in-school support services.
At least once every four years beginning with 2016/17 school year, NHCSB will administer a Department of Elementary and Secondary-developed student survey to assess school climate and the prevalence, nature, and severity of bullying in our schools. Additionally, the school or district will annually report bullying incident data to the Department. Similar tools to the student survey can be used with faculty, staff, and parents/guardians to assist in determining school climate needs.
Planning and Oversight:The NHCSB Head of School or designee is responsible for the following tasks under the Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plans:
1) Receiving reports on bullying;
2) Collecting and analyzing building- and/or school-wide data on bullying to assess the present problem and to measure improved outcomes;
3) Creating a process for recording and tracking incident reports, and for accessing information related to targets and aggressors;
4) Planning for the ongoing professional development that is required by the law;
5) Planning supports that respond to the needs of targets and aggressors;
6) Choosing and implementing the curricula that the school or district will use;
7) Developing new or revising current policies and protocols under the Plan, including an Internet safety policy, and designating key staff to be in charge of implementation of them;
8) Amending student and staff handbooks and codes of conduct to, among other things, make clear that bullying of students by school staff or other students will not be tolerated; 9) Leading the parent or family engagement efforts and drafting parent information materials; and
10) Reviewing and updating the Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan each year, or more frequently.
New Heights Charter School of Brockton’s bullying and intervention plan is founded upon our core principles to create an environment that is conducive to preparing all of our students for college, to support our staff through regular and rigorous professional development, and to galvanize a school KTECH culture that strives to: Knowing our students better;Trusting our students more; Empowering our students in authentic ways; Connecting our students in meaningful ways; Honoring all students in varied systems of recognition and reward. Together, these five components form the “KTECH” culture that will be the bedrock of NHCS. In addition to these core principles, NHCSB has seven Core Values that correspond thematically to every grade at our school. Our school advisory program will work with the students on a grade-specific value each year:
Core Values: H.E.I.G.H.T.S.
Honesty (6thgrade); Empathy (7th); Ingenuity (8thgrade); Grit (9thgrade); Humility (10thgrade); Teamwork (11thgrade); Service (12thgrade)
NHCSB will not tolerate any unlawful or disruptive behavior, including any form of bullying, cyberbullying, or retaliation, in our school buildings, on school grounds, or in school-related activities. We will investigate promptly all reports and complaints of bullying, cyberbullying, and retaliation, and take prompt action to end that behavior and restore the target’s sense of safety. We will support this commitment in all aspects of our school community, including curricula, instructional programs, staff development, extracurricular activities, and parent or guardian involvement.
The Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan (“Plan”) is a comprehensive approach to addressing bullying and cyberbullying, and the school or district is committed to working with students, staff, families, law enforcement agencies, and the community to prevent issues of violence. In consultation with these constituencies, we have established this Plan for preventing, intervening, and responding to incidents of bullying, cyberbullying, and retaliation. The Head of School is responsible for the implementation and oversight of the Plan except when a reported bullying incident involves the Head of School or the Dean of Students as the alleged aggressor. In such cases, the Executive Director or designee shall be responsible for investigating the report, and other steps necessary to implement the Plan, including addressing the safety of the alleged target. If the Executive Director is the alleged aggressor, the Board of Trustees, or its designee shall be responsible for investigating the report, and other steps necessary to implement the Plan, including addressing the safety of the alleged victim.
NHCSB is committed to fostering a climate of inclusion and as such our policy reflects our commitment not to discriminate based on race, gender, color, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity/national origin, age, or handicap/disability in accordance with state and federal law. In order to foster an inclusive climate that is free of bullying, cyberbullying, or retaliation NHCSB recognizes the need to recognize behavior that is not conducive to an inclusion environment and will take steps to stop them.
The school or district expects that all members of the school community will treat each other in a civil manner and with respect for differences.
The school or district is committed to providing all students with a safe learning environment that is free from bullying and cyberbullying. This commitment is an integral part of our comprehensive efforts to promote learning, and to prevent and eliminate all forms of bullying and other harmful and disruptive behaviorhat can impede the learning process.
NHCSB recognizes that certain students may be more vulnerable to become targets of bullying, harassment, or teasing based on actual or perceived characteristics, including race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, sex, socioeconomic, status, homelessness, academic status, gender identity or expression, physical appearance, or sensory, disability, or by association with a person who has or is perceived to have one or more of these characteristics. The school or district will identify specific steps it will take to create a safe, supportive environment for vulnerable populations in the school community, and provide all students with the skills, knowledge, and strategies to prevent or respond to bullying, harassment, or teasing.
- TRAINING AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
NHCSB values the role of ongoing professional development activities for our staff including, but not limited to, educators, administrators, school nurses, cafeteria workers, custodians, bus drivers, athletic coaches, advisors to extracurricular activities and paraprofessionals, to prevent, identify and respond to bullying. The content of such professional development shall include, but not be limited to:
- Developmentally appropriate strategies to prevent bullying incidents;
- Developmentally appropriate strategies for immediate, effective interventions to stop bullying incidents;
- Information regarding the complex interaction and power differential that can take place between and among a aggressor, target and witnesses to the bullying;
- Research findings on bullying, including information about specific categories of students who have been shown to be particularly at risk for bullying in the school environment;
- Information on the incidence and nature of cyber-bullying; and
- Internet safety issues as they relate to cyber-bullying.
Additional topics for professional development opportunities may include:
- Promoting and modeling the use of respectful language;
- Fostering an understanding of and respect for diversity and difference;
- Building relationships and communicating with families;
- Constructively managing classroom behaviors;
- Using positive behavioral intervention strategies;
- Applying constructive disciplinary practices;
- Teaching students skills including positive communication, anger management, and empathy for others;
- Engaging students in school or classroom planning and decision-making;
- Maintaining a safe and caring classroom for all students; and
- Engaging staff and those responsible for the implementation and oversight of the Plan to distinguish between acceptable managerial behaviors designed to correct misconduct, instill accountability in the school setting, etc. and bullying behaviors
Written Notice to Staff:The school or district will provide all staff with an annual written notice of the Plan by publishing information about it, including sections related to staff duties and bullying of students by school staff, in the school or district employee handbook and the code of conduct.
III. ACCESS TO RESOURCES AND SERVICES
In order to enhance NHCSB’s capacity to prevent, intervene early, and respond effectively to bullying, available services should reflect an understanding of the dynamics of bullying and provide approaches to address the needs of targets and student aggressors. The following strategies for providing counseling or referrals to appropriate services for student aggressors, targets, and family members of those students are essential to the success of our students.
Identifying resources: NHCSB’s Head of School, along with the Dean of Student Services and the Parent and Family Outreach Coordinator, will conduct a “mapping” of current staffing and programs that support the creation of positive school environments by focusing on early interventions and intensive services. The result of the mapping process will result in recommendations and action steps to fill resource and service gaps. Examples of these recommendations and action steps may include adopting new curricula, reorganizing staff, establishing safety planning teams, and identifying other agencies that can provide services. The NHCSB School Leadership Team will identify existing and needed resources through school climate surveys of staff, students and families in addition to the outcomes of weekly, quarterly, and annual professional development seminars and parent outreach meetings.
Counseling and Other Services:Culturally and linguistically appropriate resources within NHCSB will be made available to students and staff, as necessary. If resources need to be developed, NHCSB will reach out to community-based organizations, including Community Service Agencies (CSAs) for Medicaid eligible students. The Parent and Family Outreach Coordinator, the school social worker, and the Dean of Student Services will identify and work with service providers who assist schools in developing safety plans for students who have been targets of bullying or retaliation, providing social skills programs to prevent bullying, and offering education and/or intervention services for students exhibiting bullying behaviors. NHCSB will employ current tools including, but not limited to, behavioral intervention plans, social skills groups, and individually focused curricula.
The NHCSB website hosts a Parent/Guardian Page to keep families informed about the work happening at the school. All work related to bullying prevention, including information about the NHCSB bullying prevention curriculum. In addition, our Parent and Family Outreach Coordinator will structure parent meetings at the start of school around how parents/guardians can reinforce the curriculum at home to support NHCSB’s bullying prevention and intervention policies. In addition, the Parent Outreach Coordinator will collaborate with the school social worker and IT Director to create presentations around the dynamics of bullying and online safety and cyber-bullying.
Students with Disabilities:As required by M.G.L. c. 71B, § 3, as amended by Chapter 92 of the Acts of 2010, when the Student Leadership Team determines the student has a disability that affects social skills development or the student may participate in or is vulnerable to bullying, harassment, or teasing because of disability, the Team will consider what should be included in the IEP to develop the student’s skills and proficiencies to avoid and respond to bullying, harassment, or teasing.
Referral to Outside Services: NHCSB will use an Outside Services Referral process that will be facilitated by the office of the Dean of Student Services in consultation with the social worker, Parent and Family Outreach Coordinator, and the Head of School. Clear protocols will help students and families access appropriate and timely services. All referrals will comply with relevant laws and policies. Current local referral protocols will be evaluated annually to assess their relevance to the Bully Prevention and Intervention Plan, and revised as needed.
- ACADEMIC AND NON-ACADEMIC ACTIVITIES
NHCSB will provide age-appropriate instruction on bullying prevention in each grade that will be incorporated into evidence-based curricula. NHCSB recognizes that effective instruction will include classroom approaches, whole school initiatives, and focused strategies for bullying prevention and social skills development.
Specific Bullying Prevention Approaches: Bullying prevention curricula will be informed by current research, which, among other things, emphasizes the following approaches:
- Using scripts and role plays to develop skills;
- Empowering students to take action by knowing what to do when they witness other students or school staff engaged in acts of bullying or retaliation, including seeking adult assistance;
- Helping students understand the dynamics of bullying and cyber bullying, including the underlying power imbalance;
- Emphasizing cyber safety, including safe and appropriate use of electronic communication technologies;
- Enhancing students’ skills for engaging in healthy relationships and respectful communications; and
- Engaging students in a safe, supportive school environment that is respectful of diversity and difference.
Initiatives will also teach students about the student-related sections of the Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan, which will be given to students at the start of every school year.
General Teaching Approaches That Support Bullying Prevention Efforts:The following approaches are integral to establishing a safe and supportive school environment. These underscore the importance of our bullying intervention and prevention initiatives:
- Setting clear expectations for students and establishing school and classroom routines;
- Creating safe school and classroom environments for all students, including for students with disabilities, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender students, and homeless students;
- Using appropriate and positive responses and reinforcement, even when students require discipline;
- Using positive behavioral supports;
- Encouraging adults to develop positive relationships with students;
- Modeling, teaching, and rewarding pro-social, healthy, and respectful behaviors;
- Using positive approaches to behavioral health, including collaborative problem-solving, conflict resolution training, teamwork, and positive behavioral supports that aid in social and emotional development;
- Using the Internet safely; and
- Supporting students’ interest and participation in non-academic and extracurricular activities, particularly in their areas of strength.
- POLICIES AND PROCEDURES FOR REPORTING AND RESPONDING TO BULLYING AND RETALIATION
In order to support efforts to respond promptly and effectively to bullying and retaliation, NHCSB shall put in place policies and procedures for receiving and responding to reports of bullying or retaliation. These policies and procedures will ensure that members of the school community – students, parents, and school staff – know what will happen when incidents of bullying occur. Below are detailed procedures for staff reporting of incidents, processes for communicating to students and families how reports can be made (including anonymous reports), and procedures to be followed by the Head of School or designee, or the Executive Director or designee when the Head of School or Dean of Students is the alleged aggressor, or the Board of Trustees or designee when the Executive Director is the alleged aggressor once a report is made.
Reporting bullying or retaliation. Reports of bullying or retaliation may be made by staff, students, parents or guardians, or others, and may be oral or written. Oral reports made by or to a staff member shall be recorded in writing. A school or district staff member is required to report immediately to the Head of School or designee or to the Executive Director or designee when the Head of School or Dean of Students is the alleged aggressor or to the school committee or designee when the Executive Director is the alleged aggressor, any instance of bullying or retaliation the staff member becomes aware of or witnesses. Reports made by students, parents or guardians, or other individuals who are not school or district staff members, may be made anonymously. The school or district will make a variety of reporting resources available to the school community including, but not limited to, an Incident Reporting Form,a voicemail box, a dedicated mailing address, and an email address.
Use of an Incident Reporting Form is not required as a condition of making a report. NHCSB will: 1) include a copy of the Incident Reporting Form inthe beginning of the year packets for students and parents or guardians; 2) make it available in the school’s main office, the counseling office, the school nurse’s office, and other locations determined by the Head of School or designee; and 3) post it on the school’s website. The Incident Reporting Form will be made available in the most prevalent language(s) of origin of students and parents or guardians.
At the beginning of each school year, NHCSB will provide the school community, including, but not limited to, educators, administrators, school nurses, cafeteria workers, custodians, bus drivers, athletic coaches, advisors to extracurricular activities, paraprofessionals, students, and parents or guardians, with written notice of its policies for reporting acts of bullying and retaliation. A description of the reporting procedures and resources, including the name and contact information of the Head of School or designee, and the Executive Director or designee when the Head of School or the Dean of Students is the alleged aggressor, will be incorporated in student and staff handbooks, on the school or district website, and in information about the Plan that is made available to parents or guardians.
Reporting by Staff: A staff member will report immediately to the Head of School or designee, or to the Executive Director or designee when the Head of School or the Dean of Students is the alleged aggressor, or to the school committee or designee when the Executive Director is the alleged aggressorwhen he/she witnesses or becomes aware of conduct that may be bullying or retaliation. The requirement to report as provided does not limit the authority of the staff member to respond to behavioral or disciplinary incidents consistent with school or district policies and procedures for behavior management and discipline.
Reporting by Students, Parents or Guardians, and Others:The school or districtexpects students, parents or guardians, and others who witness or become aware of an instance of bullying or retaliation involving a student to report it to the Head of School or designee, or Executive Director or designee when the Head of School or Dean of Students is the alleged aggressor. Reports may be made anonymously, but no disciplinary action will be taken against an alleged aggressor solely on the basis of an anonymous report. Students, parents or guardians, and others may request assistance from a staff member to complete a written report. Studentswillbe provided practical, safe, private, and age-appropriate ways to report and discuss an incident of bullying with a staff member, or with the Head of School or designee, or Executive Director or designee when the Head of School or Dean of Students is the alleged aggressor.
Responding to A Report of Bullying or Retaliation – Allegations of Bullying by a Student:
Safety:Before fully investigating the allegations of bullying or retaliation, the Head of School or designee will take steps to assess the need to restore a sense of safety to the alleged target and/or to protect the alleged target from possible further incidents. Responses to promote safety may include, but not be limited to, creating a personal safety plan; pre-determining seating arrangements for the target and/or the aggressor in the classroom, at lunch, or on the bus; identifying a staff member who will act as a “safe person” for the target; and altering the aggressor’s schedule and access to the target. The Head of School or designee will take additional steps to promote safety during the course of and after the investigation, as necessary.
The Head of School or designee will implement appropriate strategies for protecting from bullying or retaliation a student who has reported bullying or retaliation, a student who has witnessed bullying or retaliation, a student who provides information during an investigation, or a student who has reliable information about a reported act of bullying or retaliation. Student safety planning policies and procedures here include the following excepted from www.stopbullying.gov:
- Establish a culture of inclusion and respect that welcomes all students. Reward students when they show thoughtfulness and respect for peers, adults, and the school.
- Make sure students interact safely. Monitor bullying “hot spots” in and around the building including bathrooms, playgrounds, and the cafeteria.
- Enlist the help of all school staff. All staff can keep an eye out for bullying. They also help set the tone at school. Teachers, bus drivers, cafeteria staff, office staff, librarians, school nurses, and others see and influence students every day. Messages reach kids best when they come from many different adults who talk about and show respect and inclusion.
- Train school staff to prevent bullying.
- Set a tone of respect in the classroom. This means managing student behavior in the classroom well. Well-managed classrooms are the least likely to have bullying. Teachers can consider these ways to promote the respect, positive relations, and order that helps prevent bullying in the classroom:
- Create ground rules.
- Develop rules with students so they set their own climate of respect and responsibility.
- Use positive terms, like what to do, rather than what not to do.
- Support school-wide rules.
- Reinforce the rules.
- Be a role model and follow the rules yourself. Show students respect and encourage them to be successful.
- Make expectations clear. Keep your requests simple, direct, and specific.
- Reward good behavior. Try to affirm good behavior four to five times for every one criticism of bad behavior.
- Use one-on-one feedback, and do not publicly reprimand.
- Help students correct their behaviors. Help them understand violating the rules results in consequences: “I know you can stop [negative action] and go back to [positive action]. If you choose to continue, then [consequence].”
- Create ground rules.
Obligations to Notify Others:
Notice to Parents or Guardians: Upon determining that bullying or retaliation has occurred, the Head of School or designee will promptly notify the parents or guardians of the target and the student aggressor of this, and of the procedures forresponding to it. There may be circumstances in which the Head of School or designee contacts parents or guardians prior to any investigation. Notice will be consistent with state regulations at 603 CMR 49.00.
Notice to Another School or District:If the reported incident involves students from more than one school district, charter school, non-public school, approved private special education day or residential school, or collaborative school, the Head of School or designee first informed of the incident will promptly notify by telephone the Head of School or designee of the other school(s) of the incident so that each school may take appropriate action. All communications will be in accordance with state and federal privacy laws and regulations, and 603 CMR 49.00.
Notice to Law Enforcement:At any point after receiving a report of bullying or retaliation, including after an investigation, if the Head of School or designee has a reasonable basis to believe that criminal charges may be pursued against the aggressor, the Head of School will notify the local law enforcement agency. Notice will be consistent with the requirements of 603 CMR 49.00 and locally established agreements with the local law enforcement agency. Also, if an incident occurs on school grounds and involves a former student under the age of 21 who is no longer enrolled in school, the Head of School or designee shall contact the local law enforcement agency if he or she has a reasonable basis to believe that criminal charges may be pursued against the student aggressor.
In making this determination, the Head of School will, consistent with the Plan and with applicable school or district policies and procedures, consult with the school resource officer, if any, and other individuals the Head of School or designee deems appropriate.
Investigation: The Head of School or designee will investigate promptly all reports of bullying or retaliation and, in doing so, will consider all available information known, including the nature of the allegation(s) and the ages of the students involved.
During the investigation the Head of School or designee will, among other things, interview students, staff, witnesses, parents or guardians, and others as necessary. The Head of School or designee (or whoever is conducting the investigation) will remind the alleged student aggressor, target, and witnesses of the importance of the investigation, their obligation to be truthful and that retaliation against someone who reports bullying or provides information during a bullying investigation is strictly prohibited and will result in disciplinary action.
The Head of School or designee, other staff members as determined by the Head of School or designee, and in consultation with the school counselor, as appropriate, may conduct interviews. To the extent practicable, and given obligation to investigate and address the matter, the Head of School or designee will maintain confidentiality during the investigative process. The Head of School or designee will maintain a written record of the investigation.
Procedures for investigating reports of bullying and retaliation will be consistent with school or district policies and procedures for investigations. If necessary, the Head of School or designee, in consultation with the Executive Director, will seek the advice of legal counsel concerning the investigation.
Determinations:The Head of School or designee will make a determination based upon all of the facts and circumstances. If, after investigation, bullying or retaliation is substantiated, the Head of School or designee will take steps reasonably calculated to prevent recurrence and to ensure that the target is not restricted in participating in school or in benefiting from school activities. The Head of School or designee will: 1) determine what remedial action is required, if any, and 2) determine what responsive actions and/or disciplinary action are necessary.
Depending upon the circumstances, the Head of School or designee may choose to consult with the students’ teacher(s) and/or school counselor, and the target’s or student aggressor’s parents or guardians, to identify any underlying social or emotional issue(s) that may have contributed to the bullying behavior and to assess the level of need for additional social skills development.
The Head of School or designee will promptly notify the parents or guardians of the target and the aggressor about the results of the investigation and, if bullying or retaliation is found, what action is being taken to prevent further acts of bullying or retaliation. All notice to parents must comply with applicable state and federal privacy laws and regulations. Because of the legal requirements regarding the confidentiality of student records, the Head of School or designee cannot report specific information to the target’s parent or guardian about the disciplinary action taken unless it involves a “stay away” order or other directive that the target must be aware of in order to report violations.
In accordance with Chapter 86 of the Acts of 2014 amended Section 37O of chapter 71 of the General Laws to include (g) (v), NHCSB shall inform parents or guardians of the target about the Department’s problem resolution system and the process for seeking assistance or filing a claim through the problem resolution system. This information will be made available in both hard copy and electronic formats. Any parent wishing to file a claim/concern or seeking assistance outside of the district may do so with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Program Resolution System (PRS). That information can be found at: http://www.doe.mass.edu/pqa, emails can be sent to email@example.com or individuals can call 781-338-3700. Hard copies of this information is also available at the Executive Director’s office.
Responses to Bullying:In the event that bullying has occurred, NHCSB shall incorporate several strategies for building students’ skills in addition to other individualized interventions that the school or district may take in response to remediate or prevent further bullying and retaliation.
Teaching Appropriate Behavior Through Skills-Building: Upon the Head of School or designee determining that bullying or retaliation has occurred, the law requires that the school or district use a range of responses that balance the need for accountability with the need to teach appropriate behavior. M.G.L. c. 71, § 37O (d) (v). Skill-building approaches that the Head of School or designee may consider include:
▪ offering individualized skill-building sessions based on the school’s/district’s anti-bullying curricula;
▪ providing relevant educational activities for individual students or groups of students, in consultation with guidance counselors and other appropriate school personnel;
▪ implementing a range of academic and nonacademic positive behavioral supports to help students understand pro-social ways to achieve their goals;
▪ meeting with parents and guardians to engage parental support and to reinforce the anti-bullying curricula and social skills building activities at home;
▪ adopting behavioral plans to include a focus on developing specific social skills; and
▪ making a referral for evaluation.
Taking Disciplinary Action: If the Head of School or designee decides that disciplinary action is appropriate, the disciplinary action will be determined on the basis of facts found by the Head of School or designee, including the nature of the conduct, the age of the student(s) involved, and the need to balance accountability with the teaching of appropriate behavior. Discipline will be consistent with the Plan and with the school’s or district’s code of conduct.
Discipline procedures for students with disabilities are governed by the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA), which should be read in cooperation with state laws regarding student discipline.
If the Head of School or designee determines that a student knowingly made a false allegation of bullying or retaliation, that student may be subject to disciplinary action.
Promoting Safety for the Target and Others:The Head of School or designee will consider what adjustments, if any, are needed in the school environment to enhance the target’s sense of safety and that of others as well. One strategy that the Head of School or designee may use is to increase adult supervision at transition times and in locations where bullying is known to have occurred or is likely to occur.
Within a reasonable period of time following the determination and the ordering of remedial and/or disciplinary action, the Head of School or designee will contact the target to determine whether there has been a recurrence of the prohibited conduct and whether additional supportive measures are needed. If so, the Head of School or designee will work with appropriate school staff to implement them immediately.
Responding to a Report of Bullying by School Staff: The NHCSB administration will respond to and resolve a report of bullying of a student by school staff utilizing the following policies and procedures: safety planning, notification to parent or guardians and others, investigation, and response – areas that are addressed when a student is alleged to have bullied another student. It is very important the need for a thoughtful, evidence-based investigation, the need for the aggressor, target, and witnesses to be truthful, and that retaliation against someone who reports bullying or provides information during a bullying investigation is strictly prohibited and will result in disciplinary action.
- COLLABORATION WITH FAMILIES
Resources for families and communication with them are essential aspects of effective collaboration between a student’s home and NHCSB. NHCSB Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan includes provisions for informing parents or guardians about the bullying prevention and intervention curricula used by NHCSB including: (i) how parents and guardians can reinforce the curricula at home and support the school or district plan; (ii) the dynamics of bullying; and (iii) online safety and cyberbullying. Parents and guardians will also be notified in writing each year about the student-related sections of the Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan, in the language(s) most prevalent among the parents or guardians. School- or district-specific approaches to collaboration should take into account age, climate, socio-economic factors, linguistic, and cultural make-up of students and the parents. The Parent and Family Outreach Coordinator will work with the Parent/Guardian Advisory Group to provide resources and information to NHCSB families regarding the Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan. In addition, she or he will work with the IT Director and the Social Worker to conduct parent meetings on issues related to bullying, cyberbullying and retaliation.
Parent Education and Resources: The school or district will offer education programs for parents and guardians that are focused on the parental components of the anti-bullying curricula and any social competency curricula used by the district or school. The programs will be offered in collaboration with the PTO, PTA, School Councils, Special Education Parent Advisory Council, or similar organizations.
Notification Requirements:Each year the school or district will inform parents or guardians of enrolled students about the anti-bullying curricula that are being used. This notice will include information about the dynamics of bullying, including cyberbullying and online safety. The school or district will send parents written notice each year about the student-related sections of the Plan and the school’s or district’s Internet safety policy. All notices and information made available to parents or guardians will be in hard copy and electronic formats, and will be available in the language(s) most prevalent among parents or guardians. The school or district will post the Plan and related information on its website.
VII. PROHIBITION AGAINST BULLYING AND RETALIATION
NHCSB prohibits bullying, cyberbullying, and retaliation (see Part I). The following statement is included in the student and staff handbooks as well as the student code of conduct. Acts of bullying, which include cyberbullying, are prohibited:
(i) on school grounds and property immediately adjacent to school grounds, at a school-sponsored or school-related activity, function, or program whether on or off school grounds, at a school bus stop, on a school bus or other vehicle owned, leased, or used by a school district or school; or through the use of technology or an electronic device owned, leased, or used by a school district or school, and
(ii) at a location, activity, function, or program that is not school-related through the use of technology or an electronic device that is not owned, leased, or used by a school district or school, if the acts create a hostile environment at school for the target or witnesses, infringe on their rights at school, or materially and substantially disrupt the education process or the orderly operation of a school.
Retaliation against a person who reports bullying, provides information during an investigation of bullying, or witnesses or has reliable information about bullying is also prohibited. As stated in M.G.L. c. 71, § 37O, nothing in this Plan requires the district or school to staff any non-school related activities, functions, or programs.
- Problem Resolution System:
Any parent wishing to file a claim/concern or seeking assistance outside of the district may do so with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Program Resolution System (PRS). That information can be found at: http://www.doe.mass.edu/pqa, emails can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org individuals can call 781-338-3700. Hard copies of this information are also available at the Executive Director’s office.
Aggressoris a student or a member of a school staffwho engages in bullying, cyberbullying, or retaliation towards a student.
Bullying, as defined in M.G.L. c. 71, § 37O, is the repeated use by one or more students or a member of a school staff of a written, verbal, or electronic expression or a physical act or gesture or any combination thereof, directed at a target that:
- Causes physical or emotional harm to the target or damage to the target’s property;
- Places the target in reasonable fear of harm to himself or herself or of damage to his or her property;
- Creates a hostile environment at school for the target;
- Infringes on the rights of the target at school; Or
- Materially and substantially disrupts the education process or the orderly operation of a school.
Cyberbullyingis bullying through the use of technology or electronic devices such as telephones, cell phones, computers, and the Internet. It includes, but is not limited to, email, instant messages, text messages, and Internet postings. See M.G.L. c. 71, § 37O for the legal definition of cyberbullying.
Hostile environment, as defined in M.G.L. c. 71, § 37O, is a situation in which bullying causes the school environment to be permeated with intimidation, ridicule, or insult that is sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of a student’s education.
Retaliationis any form of intimidation, reprisal, or harassment directed against a studentho reports bullying, provides information during an investigation of bullying, or witnesses or has reliable information about bullying.
School Staffincludes, but is not limited to, educators, administrators, counselors, school nurses, cafeteria workers, custodians, bus drivers, athletic coaches, advisors to extracurricular activities, support staff, or paraprofessionals.
Targetis a student against whom bullying, cyberbullying, or retaliation has been perpetrated.
- RELATIONSHIP TO OTHER LAWS
Consistent with state and federal laws, and the policies of NHCSB, no person shall be discriminated against in admission to a public school of any town or in obtaining the advantages, privilege and courses of study of such public school on account of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, sex, socioeconomic status, academic status, gender identity or expression, physical appearance, sexual orientation, or mental, physical, developmental, or sensory disability, or by association with a person who has or is perceived to have one or more of these characteristics. Nothing in the Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan prevents the school or district from taking action to remediate discrimination or harassment based on a person’s membership in a legally protected category under local, state, or federal law, or school or district policies.
In addition, nothing in this plan is designed or intended to limit the authority of NHCSB to take disciplinary action or other action under M.G.L. c. 71, §§ 37H or 37H½, M.G.L. c. 71, §§41 and 42, M.G.L.c 76 § 5, or other applicable laws, or local school or district policies, or collective bargaining agreements, in response to violent, harmful, or disruptive behavior, regardless of whether the Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan covers the behavior.
BULLYING PREVENTION AND INTERVENTION INCIDENT REPORTING FORM
- Name of Reporter/Person Filing the Report: This line may be left blank if an anonymous report is being made
(Note: Reports may be made anonymously, but no disciplinary action will be taken against an alleged aggressor solely on the basis of an anonymous report.)
2. Check whether you are the: Target of the behavior Reporter (not the target)
3. Check whether you are a: Student Staff member (specify role) _________________
Parent Administrator _____________________________
Other (specify) ________________________________________
Your contact information/telephone number:__________________________________________
- If student, state your grade: _____________
- If staff member, state your content area and primary grade of instruction:
- Information about the Incident:
Name of Target (of behavior): __________________________________________________________
Name of Aggressor
(Person who engaged in the behavior):_____________________________________________________
Date(s) of Incident(s): ________________________________________________________________
Time When Incident(s) Occurred:___________________________________________________________________________
Location of Incident(s)
Please be as specific as possible: ________________________________________________________
- Witnesses (List people who saw the incident or have information about it):
Name: _________________________________________ Student Staff Other
Name: _________________________________________ Student Staff Other
Name: _________________________________________ Student Staff Other
If you identified “other” above, please share the individual’s role at the school:
- Describe the details of the incident (including names of people involved, what occurred, and what each person did and said, including specific words used).Please use additional space on back if necessary.
FOR ADMINISTRATIVE USE ONLY
- Signature of Person Filing this Report: ____________________________________Date: _______
(Note: Reports may be filed anonymously.)
10: Form Given to: __________________________________ Position: ______________________ Date: __________
Signature: _______________________________________________ Date Received: _____________
□ Interviewed aggressor Name: ___________________________________Date: ____________
□ Interviewed target Name: ___________________________________Date:____________
□ Interviewed witnesses Name: ___________________________________Date: ____________
Name: ___________________________________Date: ____________
- Any prior documented Incidents by the aggressor? □ Yes □ No
- If yes, have incidents involved target or target group previously? □ Yes □ No
- Any previous incidents with findings of BULLYING, RETALIATION □ Yes □ No
Summary of Investigation:
(Please use additional paper and attach to this document as needed)
III. CONCLUSIONS FROM THE INVESTIGATION
- Finding of bullying or retaliation:
□ YES □ NO
□ Bullying □ Incident documented as ___________________________
□ Retaliation □ Discipline referral only_____________________________
□ Target’s parent/guardian Date:______________□ Aggressor’s parent/guardian Date: ______________
□ District Equity Coordinator (DEC) Date: ______________ □ Law Enforcement Date:___________________
- Action Taken:
□ Loss of Privileges □ Detention □ STEP referral □ Suspension
□ Community Service □ Education □ Other ________________________________
- Describe Safety Planning:_____________________________________________________________________________
Follow-up with Target: scheduled for__________________________ Initial and date when completed: _________
Follow-up with Aggressor: scheduled for_______________________ Initial and date when completed: _________
Report forwarded to Head of School: Date__________________ Report forwarded to Executive Director: Date_________________
(If Head of School was not the investigator)
Signature and Title: ___________________________________________________________ Date: ____________
See Appendix A for Sample Incident Reporting Form.