Policy JICFB: Anti-Bullying

Consistent with M.G.L. chapter 71, section 37O and 603 CMR section 49.00, the Amherst, Pelham, and Amherst-Pelham Regional School Districts have developed this anti-bullying policy.  Any and all acts of bullying, cyberbullying and retaliation based upon the reporting of bullying to the school administration are prohibited in the Amherst, Pelham, and Amherst-Pelham Regional School Districts.

Bullying is defined as the repeated use by one or more students of a written, oral, or electronic expression or a physical act or gesture or any combination thereof, directed at another individual or individuals (hereinafter target) that
 
1. causes physical or emotional harm to the target or damages the target’s property,
2. places the target in reasonable fear of harm or damage to his/her property,
3. creates a hostile environment at school for the target,
4. infringes on the rights of the target at school, or
5. substantially and materially disrupts  the education process or orderly operation of a school. 

Examples of bullying include but are not limited to:

1. Intimidation, either physical or psychological (in person or via an electronic device)
2. Threats of any kind, stated or implied (in person or via an electronic device)
3. Assaults, whether verbal, physical, psychological, or emotional
4. Attacks on student property
5. Demeaning names or phrases directed at an individual student
6. Touching another individual in a demeaning manner

Cyber-bullying is bullying through the use of technology or any electronic communication, which shall include, but shall not be limited to, any transfer of signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data, or intelligence of any nature transmitted in whole or in part by a wire, radio, electromagnetic, photo electronic or photo optical system, including, but not limited to, electronic mail, internet communications, instant messages, or facsimile communications. 

Cyber-bullying also includes:

1. the creation of a web page or blog in which the creator assumes the identity of another person
2. the knowing impersonation of another person as the author of posted content or messages, if the creation or impersonation creates any of the five conditions listed above in the definition of bullying
3. the distribution by electronic means of a communication to more than one person or the posting of material on an electronic medium that may be accessed by one or more persons, if the distribution or posting creates any of the five conditions listed above in the definition of bullying

Retaliation is any form of intimidation, reprisal, or harassment directed against a student who reports bullying, provides information during an investigation of bullying, or witnesses or has reliable information about bullying.

Prevention and Intervention Plan

The Superintendent or his/her designee shall develop and/or implement a bullying prevention plan consistent with the requirements of the M.G.L. chapter 71, section 37O, 603 CMR section 49.00 and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s guidelines. This comprehensive plan will be submitted to Department of Secondary education by December 31, 2010.

The Principal, in consultation with the school council and school faculty, will develop a bullying prevention plan, once the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education finalizes its regulations under M.G.L. chapter 71, section 37O and its model bullying prevention plan.  The school-based bullying prevention plan shall be consistent with the school districts’ district-wide plan.

The School Districts shall provide professional development to school staff addressing the prevention, identification and remedying of bullying.

The Principal of each school (or his/her designee), supported by the central office administration, will make clear to students, families and staff that bullying in the school buildings, school grounds, on the bus or school-sanctioned transportation, or at school-sponsored functions held in any location is prohibited, and will not be tolerated.

The Principal of each school (or his/her designee), supported by the central office administration, will train all staff in the prevention, identification, intervention and reporting process of bullying incidents, as stated in the school districts’ guidelines.

The Principal of each school (or his/her designee), supported by the central office administration, will oversee the implementation of the school districts’ empathy/social skills and anti-bullying developmental curriculum in their schools, as stated in the school districts’ guidelines.

The Principal of each school (or his/her designee), supported by the central office administration, will inform the parent/guardian of all reported bullying incidents involving his/her child as the target of the bullying or as the aggressor in the bullying, consistent with the requirements of 603 CMR section 23.00 and FERPA and the districts’ guidelines.

Upon receipt of a complaint, report and/or allegation of bullying, the principal (or his/her designee) will conduct an initial investigation as soon as practicable, as stated in the districts’ guidelines.  The timeliness of an investigation will depend upon such factors as the number of individuals involved, the number of witnesses to be interviewed, the availability of witnesses, the school schedule and other factors.  

When it is determined by the Principal (or his/her designee) that bullying has occurred, he/she will:

1. act promptly to provide a remedy to the target(s) as well as to take appropriate disciplinary action against the perpetrator(s)
2. address the school climate, as necessary
3. impose the necessary corrective action

The Superintendent (or his/her designee) will develop the administrative guidelines and procedures for the implementation of this policy in the school districts.  It is the responsibility of school principals (or designees) to implement the guidelines and procedures developed for the districts.
 

LEGAL REF:

MGL 71:37O, 265:43, 265:43A, 268:13B, 269:14A
603 CMR 23.00, 26.00, 49.00
MA DEPT of ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION’S MODEL BULLYING PREVENTION AND INTERVENTION PLAN
 

Region Voted to Approve: 9/27/11
Amherst Voted to Approve:
Pelham Voted to Approve: 12/1/11
Effective Date:
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