Bullying Prevention Policy

BULLYING PREVENTION POLICY

I. PURPOSE

To recognize that safe learning environments are necessary for students to learn and achieve high academic standards. This policy sets forth process to provide safe learning environments for all students and all employees.

II. DEFINITIONS

Bullying – the intentional written, electronic, verbal or physical act or actions against a student, school volunteer or school employee that a reasonable person, under the circumstances, should know will have the effect of:

    1. Placing a student, school volunteer or school employee in reasonable fear of substantial harm to his or her emotional or physical well-being or substantial damage to his or her property; or
    2. Creating a hostile, threatening, humiliating or abusive educational environment due to the pervasiveness or persistence of actions or due to a power differential between the bully and the target; or
    3. Interfering with a student having a safe school environment that is necessary to facilitate educational performance, opportunities or benefits; or
    4. Perpetuating bullying by inciting, soliciting or coercing an individual or group to demean, dehumanize, embarrass or cause emotional, psychological, or physical harm to another student, school volunteer or school

Cyberbullying – the use of uninvited and unwelcome electronic communication directed at an identifiable student or group of students, through means other than face-to-face interaction which:

    1. Interferes with a student’s physical well-being;
    2. Is threatening or intimidating;
    3. Is so severe, persistent, or pervasive that it is reasonably likely to limit a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the educational Communication shall be considered to be directed at an identifiable student or group of students if it is sent directly to that student or group, or posted in a medium that the speaker knows is likely to be available to a broad audience within the school community.
    4. Whether speech constitutes cyberbullying will be determined from the standpoint of a reasonable student of the same grade and other circumstances as the
    5. The place of origin of speech otherwise constituting cyberbullying is not material to whether it is considered cyberbullying under this policy, nor is the use of school or district

Explanation: Bullying is usually defined as involving repeated acts of aggression that aim to dominate another person by causing pain, fear or embarrassment. However, one act alone may constitute bullying if the requisite intent and effect set forth in the definition are met. Bullying may be perpetuated by an individual or a group. It may be direct or indirect. Although a person may be repeatedly bullied, a different person might be doing the bullying each time, which may make it difficult to recognize that bullying is occurring. An act is intentional if it is the person’s conscious objective to engage in conduct of that nature. The actions listed below are some examples of intentional actions which may become bullying depending on their reasonably foreseeable effect:

Physical bullying: Pushing, shoving, kicking, destroying of property, tripping, punching, tearing clothes, pushing books from someone’s hands, shooting/throwing objects at someone, gesturing, etc.

Verbal bullying: Name calling, insulting, making offensive comments, using offensive language, mimicking, imitating, teasing, laughing at someone’s mistakes, using unwelcome nicknames, or threatening behavior.

Relational Bullying: Isolation of an individual from his or her peer group.

Cyberbullying: Bullying by using information and communication technologies. Cyber- bullying may include but is not limited to:

    • Denigration: spreading information or pictures to embarrass an individual or individuals;
    • Flaming: heated unequal argument online that includes making rude, insulting or vulgar remarks;
    • Exclusion: isolating an individual from his or her peer group;
    • Impersonation: using someone else’s screen name and pretending to be them; or
    • Outing or Trickery: forwarding information or pictures meant to be

Sexual Bullying: Unwanted touch of a sexual nature, unwanted talking about private parts, unwanted comments about target’s sexuality or sexual activities.

This list should be used by way of example only, and is by no means exhaustive. These actions become bullying if they meet the definition with regard to intent and reasonably foreseeable effect. This policy is not intended to prohibit expression of religious, philosophical or political views, provided that the expression does not substantially disrupt the education environment. Similar behaviors that do not rise to the level of bullying may still be prohibited by other school policies or building, classroom or program rules.

III. POLICY STATEMENT

The Sussex Board of Education is committed to support the school-wide bully prevention program. Therefore, the high school, based on best practices, will strive to reduce existing bullying problems among students, prevent development of new bullying problems, and achieve positive peer relations and staff-student connections at school.

All school staff will to strive to treat others with warmth, positive interest and involvement, set firm limits for unacceptable behavior, apply nonphysical, non-hostile negative consequences when rules are broken, act as authorities and positive role models, and solve bullying problems in a consistent manner across all grade levels and all school locations.

The following principles will apply to everyone on school property or at a school function:

    • I will not bully others.
    • I will try to help anyone that I suspect is being bullied.
    • I will try to include students who are left out.
    • If someone is being bullied, I will tell an adult.

Classroom teachers shall enforce principles against bullying, hold ongoing class meetings, discussions, or role- playing activities, involve parents in bullying prevention, and find creative ways to incorporate issues involving bullying into the regular curriculum.

Staff shall supervise students and intervene appropriately on the spot when suspected bullying occurs, discuss bullying behavior with students who bully and (separately) with targets of bullying, and with their parents, develop Behavioral Intervention Plans for involved students with a graduated response, and address bystander involvement

The District shall develop partnerships with community members to support the program and help spread anti- bullying message in the community. Staff should avoid one-time speakers, group treatment or self-esteem programs, anger control management program, mediation/conflict resolution, or exposing a specific victim’s feelings to the bully or class. These programs have not been effective in reducing bullying behavior.

IV. EXCEPTIONS

None

V. GUIDELINES

Implementation of this policy shall comply with all rules and regulations the Delaware Department of Education may promulgate to implement Title 14 Section 4112D of the Delaware Code.

VI. REPORTS

If a staff member receives a report of a bullying matter, or if a staff member observes a bullying incident, they must inform the principal or designated person immediately and in writing within 24 hours.

The written report shall be reasonably specific as to actions giving rise to the suspicion of bullying and shall include: Persons involved, designating bully, target, and bystanders’ roles, time and place of the conduct and alleged, number of incidents, Potential student or staff witnesses, and any actions taken.

Bullying is unacceptable and a culture of openness is the best way to counter such behavior. It is the responsibility of each member of the school community: pupils, staff and parents to report instances of bullying or suspicions of bullying, with the understanding that all such reports will be listened to and taken seriously. Any school employee that has reliable information that would lead a reasonable person to suspect that a person is a target of bullying shall immediately report it to the administration.

Staff members are encouraged to watch for early signs of bullying and stop them before they worsen. Even though there has been no report of bullying to a staff member, each staff member is encouraged to be vigilant and look for students who appear to be isolated from other students whom inappropriate comments are made by other students, or who show signs of peer victimization

To confirm their concerns the staff member may intensify observations of student in question by conferring with colleagues about that student, consulting the school’s bullying database, taking an informal survey of students about class climate, engaging in short personal interviews with some students, conducting a brief sociometric survey, contacting the parent to see how student likes school, or speaking privately with the victim.