Iredell-Statesville Schools Bullying Policy
As Adopted by the Iredell-Statesville Board of Education, August 8, 2005
Policy Code # 4020
The Iredell-Statesville Board of Education recognizes its responsibility to promote and maintain a healthy, safe, orderly, and caring learning environment in the public schools, an environment that is free from bullying, and is inclusive of all students and employees. This policy includes, but is not limited to, the following types of acts: bullying based on an individual’s race, color, sex, religion, creed, ethnicity, political belief, age, national origin, linguistic and language differences, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, socioeconomic status, physical characteristics, marital status, or disability.
It is possible for bullying to occur at various levels; between fellow students or co-workers, between supervisors and subordinates, between employees and students, or imposed by non-employees, including visitors, on employees and/or students. The Iredell-Statesville Board of Education prohibits acts of bullying.
Like other disruptive or violent behaviors bullying or discrimination is conduct that impedes both a student’s ability to learn and a school’s ability to educate its students in a safe environment; and since students learn by example, school administrators, faculty, staff, student leaders, and volunteers are to be commended for demonstrating appropriate behavior, treating others with civility and respect, and refusing to tolerate bullying.
Bullying is deliberately hurtful behavior repeated often over a period of time or on isolated occasions, by which somebody deliberately intimidates or harasses another. Some acts of bullying are simply one person or group of people exercising power and control over another person or group of people either in isolated incidents or through patterns of harassing or intimidating behavior. Bullying can take many forms including any combination of physical, emotional, and verbal abuse.
Specific acts of bullying may include but are not limited to name calling, teasing, physical abuse (e.g., hitting, pushing, pinching, or kicking), threats, taking of personal possessions, sending abusive text messages, instant messages, Internet e-mails, and phone messages, forcing others to hand over money, forcing others to do things against one’s will, ignoring or leaving others out, attacking others in any way.
Application of the Policy:
All persons, agencies, vendors, contractors and organizations doing business with or performing services for the school district must comply with all applicable federal and state laws and regulations regarding nondiscrimination. Visitors also are expected to comply with applicable laws, including the prohibition against harassment and bullying of students or harassment of employees.
This policy will apply, including but not limited to, the following circumstances:
1. while in any school building or on any school premises before, during or after school hours;
2. while on any bus or other vehicle as part of any school activity;
3. while waiting at any bus stop;
4. during any school function, extracurricular activity or other activity or event;
5. when subject to the authority of school personnel; and
6. any time or place when the behavior has a direct and immediate effect on maintaining order and discipline in the schools.
The principal shall oversee the development and implementation of, as part of the School Improvement Plan, to identify, to prevent, and to notify parents of acts of bullying. This school plan shall address consequences, effective interventions, reprisals, retaliations, or false accusations associated with acts of bullying. All forms of abuse are unacceptable in our schools.
Active or passive support for bullying is prohibited. All school employees are required to report and act upon alleged acts of bullying promptly. Students are encouraged to walk away from observed acts of bullying, constructively attempt to stop them, or report them to the designated authority.
Procedures for Reporting an Act of Bullying:
At the school, the principal or the principal’s designee is responsible for receiving complaints from any individual or group alleging violations of this policy. All school employees are required to report alleged violations of this policy to the principal or the principal’s designee. Since some acts of bullying may be bias-related acts and potentially hate or bias crimes, school officials must report to law enforcement officials either serious acts or a pattern of acts.
The initial report can be oral, but the formal report shall be written and include the written statement of the target individual(s) and the alleged perpetrator(s), and the time, location, and context of the incident including the names and statements of witnesses and/or those involved. Patterns of bullying, if they exist, should be included in the report.
All members of the school community, including students, parents, volunteers, and visitors, are encouraged to officially report, orally, in writing, or anonymously, any act that may be a violation of this policy to the principal or principal’s designee. All reasonable efforts shall be made to authenticate anonymous reports, but formal disciplinary action requires more than an anonymous report.
Prompt Investigation of Reports of Bullying:
The principal and/or the principal’s designee are responsible for determining whether an alleged act constitutes a violation of this policy. In so doing, the principal and/or the principal’s designee shall conduct a prompt, thorough, and complete investigation of the alleged incident.
Consequences and Remedial Actions for Students Who Commit Acts of Bullying:
In determining the appropriate response to students/employees who commit one or more acts of bullying, building level administrators shall consider the following factors: the developmental and maturity levels of the parties involved, the degree of harm, the surrounding circumstances, the nature of the behaviors, 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 the facts and surrounding circumstances. It is only after meaningful consideration of these factors that an appropriate consequence should be determined. Consequences for students and employees who commit acts of bullying may range from positive behavioral interventions up to and including suspension or expulsion.
School Response to Acts of Bullying:
Some acts of bullying may be isolated incidents requiring only that the school respond appropriately to the individuals committing the acts. Other acts may be so serious or parts of a larger pattern of bullying that they require a response either at the classroom, school building, or school district levels or by law enforcement officials. Consequences and appropriate remedial actions for students who commit an act of bullying range from positive behavioral interventions up to and including suspension or expulsion. The board recommends consequences that rise to the level of the infraction. Administrators shall report bullying data in reports to the superintendent either on a case-by-case basis (if warranted) or in the annual disciplinary data report.
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.
Any or all of the following responses may be appropriate:
Individual responses can include positive behavioral interventions (e.g., peer mentoring, short-term counseling, life skills groups and punitive actions (e.g., in-school suspension, expulsion).
Classroom responses can include class discussions about an incident of bullying, role-playing activities, research projects, observing and discussing audio-visual materials on these subjects, and skill-building lessons in courtesy, tolerance, assertiveness, and conflict management. School-wide responses can include theme days, learning-station programs, parent programs, and information disseminated to students and parents.
Institutional (i.e., classroom, school building, school district) responses may include school and community surveys, mailings, focus groups, adoption of research-based bullying prevention program models, training for certified and non-certified staff, participation of parents and other community members and organizations, small or large group presentations for fully addressing the actions and the school’s response to the actions in the context of the acceptable student behavior and the consequences of such actions, and involvement of law enforcement officers, including school resource officers.
District-wide responses may include community involvement in policy review and development, professional development programs, adoption of curricula and coordination with community-based organizations (e.g., mental health, health services, health facilities, law enforcement, faith-based). Resources (e.g., counseling) will be made available to individual victims of bullying and responding to victims will be done in a manner that does not stigmatize victim(s).
Reprisal or Retaliation:
Retaliation or reprisal against any person who reports a bullying incident(s) is strictly prohibited. Likewise, students and staff are prohibited from knowingly or willfully falsely accusing one another of bullying as a means of retaliation, or reprisal. The consequence and appropriate remedial action for a person who engages in retaliation or reprisal shall be determined by the principal or his/her designee after consideration of the nature and circumstances of the act, in accordance with case law, Federal and State statutes and regulations, and district policies and procedures.
Consequences and Remedial Actions for False Accusations:
Consequences and appropriate remedial action for a student found to have falsely accused another as a means of retaliation or reprisal range from positive behavioral interventions up to and including suspension or expulsion. Consequences and appropriate remedial action for a school employee found to have falsely accused another, as a means of retaliation or reprisal, shall be disciplined in accordance with district policies, procedures, and agreements. Consequences and appropriate remedial action, including reports to appropriate law enforcement officials, for a visitor or volunteer found to have falsely accused another, as a means of retaliation or reprisal, shall be determined by the school administrator after careful consideration of the nature and circumstances of the act.
The policy shall be disseminated annually in the Student Code of conduct to all students, parents, and school staff, along with a statement explaining that the policy applies to all acts of bullying that occur on school property, at school-sponsored functions, or on a school bus. The Principal shall develop an annual process for discussing with students the school district policy on bullying. All employees, students, and parents will sign a written statement indicating that they have received, read, and understood the policy and that they agree to abide by the provisions of the policy.
Training on the school district’s bullying policy will be provided to all school employees and volunteers who have significant contact with students.
Adopted: August 8, 2005