BULLYING PREVENTION & INTERVENTION PLAN
South Shore Charter Public School does not tolerate bullying in any form. This page discusses at length the definition of bullying, reporting and responding procedures, disciplinary actions, counseling services, and more.
PROHIBITION OF BULLYING AND CYBERBULLYING
Bullying is prohibited on school grounds, property immediately adjacent to school grounds, at a school-sponsored or school-related activity, function or program whether on or off school grounds, on a vehicle owned, leased or used by the school, or through the use of technology or an electronic device owned, leased or used by a school district or school and at a location, activity, function or program that is not school-related, or through the use of technology or an electronic device that is not owned, leased or used by a school district or school, if the bullying 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.
Retaliation against a person who reports bullying, provides information during an investigation of bullying, or witnesses or has reliable information about bullying shall be prohibited.
DEFINITION OF BULLYING AND CYBERBULLYING
Bullying is the repeated use 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 of damage to his 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. Bullying includes cyber-bullying. Targets and aggressors can be students or adults, including faculty and staff. The definition of faculty and staff includes but is not limited to teachers, administrators, the school nurse, counselors, school lunch staff, maintenance staff, bus drivers, coaches, advisors, tutors, and paraprofessionals.
Cyber-bullying is bullying through the use of technology or any electronic communication, including: 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 the creation of a web page or blog in which the creator assumes the identity of another person or the knowing impersonation of another person as the author of posted content or messages, if the creation or impersonation creates a hostile environment. Cyber-bullying also includes 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 a hostile environment.
SSCPS recognizes that certain students may be more vulnerable to becoming a target of bullying or harassment based on actual or perceived differentiating characteristics, including race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, sex, socioeconomic status, homelessness, academic status, gender identity or expression, physical appearance, pregnant or parenting status, sexual orientation, mental, physical, developmental or sensory disability or by association with a person who has or is perceived to have 1 or more of these characteristics. SSCPS has taken steps to support vulnerable students and to provide all students with the skills, knowledge and strategies needed to prevent or respond to bullying or harassment. These supports include, but are not limited to adoption of bullying prevention curricula, the implementation of social-emotional learning, social skills training, and counseling services.
PROCEDURES TO REPORT BULLYING OR RETALIATION
To report an incident of bullying or retaliation the reporter must fill out a Report of Alleged Bullying Form and give it to the Principal or Assistant Principal. The reporter’s name may be left off of the form to allow for anonymous reporting.
PROCEDURES FOR RESPONDING TO AND INVESTIGATING BULLYING
Following receipt of a Report of Alleged Bullying Form the Principal or Assistant Principal will promptly conduct an investigation and complete a Bullying Investigation and Determination Form.
RANGE OF STUDENT DISCIPLINARY ACTIONS
In cases where bullying is found to have occurred, the following disciplinary actions may be taken following a hearing:
Disciplinary Action For Knowingly Making False Accusations
Knowingly making a false accusation of bullying will be treated as a Group C offense as stated in the SSCPS Code of Conduct and may result in the following disciplinary action following a hearing:
PROCEDURES FOR RESTORING A SENSE OF SAFETY FOR A TARGET AND ASSESSING THAT TARGET'S NEEDS FOR PROTECTION
The physical and emotional safety of the target of bullying is the primary concern of SSCPS. To ensure the target’s safety, the school Administration of SSCPS may implement any or all of the following actions:
- When there has been a report of bullying, the school will take immediate action to monitor the situation to prevent a recurrence.
- Counseling from the school’s psychologist or adjustment counselor will be recommended to the target (with the parent/guardian’s consent). Regardless of the finding of the investigation, continued counseling will be offered.
- All appropriate staff will be informed of the nature of the report including the identity of target(s) and aggressor(s).
- Additional staff may be placed as needed particularly during less structured times.
- The physical locations of desks, lockers, seating, and/or dismissal will be changed whenever possible to minimize contact between target and aggressor.
- If necessary a period of separation between target and aggressor will be instituted. The length of this time period will depend on the emotional needs of the target.
- Parents will be encouraged to inform after-school programs, town sports, bus drivers, etc., where the target and aggressor may come in contact outside of school.
- A concrete safety plan will be developed for the target.
PROCEDURES FOR PARENT/GUARDIAN NOTIFICATION
If the Principal or designee determines that bullying or retaliation has occurred, the Principal or designee will contact:
- The target’s parents/guardians.
- The aggressor’s parents/guardians.
- Law enforcement in cases where criminal charges may be pursued against an aggressor.
An SSCPS Referral Form for Counseling Services will be completed and attached to the Bullying Investigation and Determination Form and submitted to the adjustment counselor. The adjustment counselor, or school psychologist, will meet individually with the target and individually with the aggressor to determine the need for counseling services at school and/or counseling services outside of school. The adjustment counselor, or school psychologist, will seek written permission from a parent or guardian in order to provide further counseling services. Referrals for outside counseling services for the student and/or family will be made by the adjustment counselor or school psychologist, as needed.
SSCPS uses Open Circle in grades K-4 to provide students with social competency training. In grades 5-12 a comprehensive advisory system addresses the social and emotional needs of students.
All SSCPS faculty and staff receive training in this policy at the start of the school year. School lunch personnel, bus drivers, custodians, coaches, tutors, and paraprofessionals are included in this training. Additionally, SSCPS provides training for teachers to help them address bullying in school. Teachers in grades K-4 are trained in the implementation of Open Circle while 5-12 teachers work collaboratively by Level to implement and improve the advisory curriculum.