Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying

HARASSMENT, INTIMIDATION, AND BULLYING

Policy Statement

 

The Board of Education prohibits acts of harassment, intimidation, or bullying of a

student.  A safe and civil environment in school is necessary for students to learn and

achieve high academic standards.  Harassment, intimidation, or bullying, like other

disruptive or violent behaviors, is conduct that disrupts both a student’s ability to learn

and a school’s ability to educate its students in a safe and disciplined environment. 

Harassment, intimidation, or bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior that may

involve a real or perceived power imbalance.  Since students 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.

 

For the purposes of this Policy, the term "parent," pursuant to N.J.A.C. 6A:16-1.3, means

the natural parent(s) or adoptive parent(s), legal guardian(s), foster parent(s), or parent

surrogate(s) of a student.  Where parents are separated or divorced, "parent" means the

person or agency which has legal custody of the student, as well as the natural or adoptive

parent(s) of the student, provided such parental rights have not been terminated by a court

of appropriate jurisdiction.

 

Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying Definition

“Harassment, intimidation, or bullying” means any gesture, any written, verbal, or physical

act, or any electronic communication, as defined in N.J.S.A. 18A:37-14, whether it be a

single incident or a series of incidents that:

 

  1. Is reasonably perceived as being motivated by either 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;

 

  1. Takes place on school property, at any school-sponsored function, on a school bus, or off school grounds, as provided for in N.J.S.A. 18A:37-15.3;

 

  1. Substantially disrupts or interferes with the orderly operation of the school or the rights of other students; and that

 

  1. A reasonable person should know, under the circumstances, that the act(s) will have the effect of physically or emotionally harming a student or damaging the student’s property, or placing a student in reasonable fear of physical or emotional harm to his/her person or damage to his/her property;
  2. Has the effect of insulting or demeaning any student or group of students;
  3. Creates a hostile educational environment for the student by interfering with a student’s education or by severely or pervasively causing physical or emotional harm to the student.

 

Schools are required to address harassment, intimidation, and bullying occurring off school grounds, when there is a nexus between the harassment, intimidation, and bullying and the school (e.g., the harassment, intimidation, or bullying substantially disrupts or interferes with the orderly operation of the school or the rights of other students).

“Electronic communication” means a communication transmitted by means of an electronic device, including, but not limited to a telephone, cellular phone, computer, or pager.

 

Student Expectations

The Board expects students to conduct themselves in keeping with their levels of

development, maturity and demonstrated capabilities with proper regard for the rights and

welfare of other students and school staff, the educational purpose underlying all school

activities and the care of school facilities and equipment consistent with the Code of

Student Conduct.

 

The Board believes that standards for student behavior must be set cooperatively through interaction among the students, parents, school employees, school administrators, school volunteers, and community representatives, producing an atmosphere that encourages students to grow in self-discipline.  The development of this atmosphere requires respect for self and others, as well as for school district and community property on the part of students, staff, and community members.

Students are expected to behave in a way that creates a supportive learning environment.  The Board believes the best discipline is self-imposed, and it is the responsibility of staff to use instances of violations of the Code of Student Conduct as opportunities to help students learn to assume and accept responsibility for their behavior and the consequences of their behavior.  Staff members who interact with students shall apply best practices designed to prevent student conduct problems and foster students’ abilities to grow in self-discipline.

 The Board expects that students will act in accordance with the student behavioral expectations and standards regarding harassment, intimidation, and bullying, including:

1.         Student responsibilities (e.g., requirements for students to conform to reasonable standards of socially accepted behavior; respect the person, property and rights of others; obey constituted authority; and respond to those who hold that authority).

2.         Appropriate recognition for positive reinforcement for good conduct, self-discipline, and good citizenship;

3.         Student rights; and

4.         Sanctions and due process for violations of the Code of Student Conduct.

 

Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:37-15(a) and N.J.A.C. 6A:16-7.1(a)1, the district has involved a broad-base of school and community members, including parents, students, instructional staff, student support services staff, school administrators, and school volunteers, as well as community organizations, such as faith-based, health and human service, business and law enforcement, in the development of this Policy.  Based on locally determined and accepted core ethical values adopted by the Board, pursuant to N.J.A.C. 6A:16-7.1(a)2, the Board must develop guidelines for student conduct pursuant to N.J.A.C. 6A:16-7.1.  These guidelines for student conduct will take into consideration the developmental ages of students, the severity of the offenses and students’ histories of inappropriate behaviors, and the mission and physical facilities of the individual school(s) in the district.  This Policy requires all students in the district to adhere to the rules established by the school district and to submit to the remedial and consequential measures that are appropriately assigned for infractions of these rules. 

 

Pursuant to N.J.A.C. 6A:16-7.1, the Superintendent must annually provide to students and their parents the rules of the district regarding student conduct.  Provisions shall be made for informing parents whose primary language is other than English.

The district prohibits active or passive support for acts of harassment, intimidation, or bullying.  Students are encouraged to support other students who:

 

  1. Walk away from acts of harassment, intimidation, and bullying when they see them;
  2. Constructively attempt to stop acts of harassment, intimidation, or bullying;
  3. Provide support to students who have been subjected to harassment, intimidation, or bullying; and
  4. Report acts of harassment, intimidation, and bullying to the designated school staff member.

 

Consequences and Appropriate Remedial Actions

Consequences and Appropriate Remedial Actions – Students

 

The Board of Education requires its school administrators to implement procedures that ensure both the appropriate consequences and remedial responses for students who commit one or more acts of harassment, intimidation, or bullying, consistent with the Code of Student Conduct.  The following factors, at a minimum, shall be given full consideration by school administrators in the implementation of appropriate consequences and remedial measures for each act of harassment, intimidation, or bullying by students. 

 

Appropriate remedial action for a student who commits an act of harassment, intimidation, or bullying that takes into account the nature of the behavior; the nature of the student’s disability, if any, and to the extent relevant; the developmental age of the student; and the student’s history of problem behaviors and performance.  The appropriate remedial action may also include a behavioral assessment or evaluation including, but not limited to, a referral to the Child Study Team as appropriate; and supportive interventions and referral services, including those at N.J.A.C. 6A:16-8.

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