File JICK: Student Protection From Bullying

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I.          Introduction

It is our goal for our schools to be a safe and secure learning environment for all students.  It is the intent of the M.S.A.D. No. 75 Board to provide all students with an equitable opportunity to learn.  To that end, the Board has a significant interest in providing a safe, orderly, and respectful school environment that is conducive to teaching and learning.


Bullying and other forms of mistreatment are detrimental to the school environment as well as student learning, achievement and well-being.  Mistreatment interferes with the mission of the schools to educate their students and disrupts the operations of the schools.  Bullying and other forms of mistreatment affect not only students who are targets but also those who participate in and witness such behavior.  These behaviors must be addressed to insure student safety and an inclusive learning environment.

It is not the Board’s intent to prohibit students from expressing their ideas, including ideas that may offend the sensibilities of others, or from engaging in civil debate.  However, the Board does not condone and will take action in response to conduct that interferes with students’ well-being, the educational mission of the M.S.A.D. No. 75 schools, or the operation of the schools.

 II.        Prohibited Behavior

 The following behaviors are prohibited:

1.         Bullying;

2.         Cyberbullying;

3.         Harassment and Sexual Harassment (as defined in Board Policy ACAA Student Protection from Harassment and Sexual Harassment);

4.         Retaliation against those reporting such defined behaviors; and

5.         Making knowingly false accusations of bullying behavior.

 Any person who engages in any of these prohibited behaviors that constitutes bullying shall be subject to appropriate disciplinary actions.

 III.       Bullying and Cyberbullying Defined

“Bullying” and “Cyberbullying” have the same meaning in this policy as in Maine Law.

 A.        Bullying” includes, but is not limited to, a written, oral or electronic expression or a           physical act or gesture or any combination thereof directed at a student or students that:

 (1)       Has, or a reasonable person would expect it to have, the effect of:

 (a)        Physically harming a student or damaging a student’s property; or

 (b)       Placing a student in reasonable fear of physical harm or damage to the student’s property;

 OR

 (2)       Interferes with the rights of a student by:

 (a)        Creating an intimidating or hostile educational environment for the student; or

 (b)       Interfering with the student’s academic performance or ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities or privileges provided by a school;

 OR

 (3)       Is based on a student’s actual or perceived race, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, physical or mental disability, gender (included identity of expression), sex, sexual orientation, or any other distinguishing characteristic, or is based on a student’s association with a person with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics, and that has the effect described in subparagraph (1) or (2) above.  (These behaviors might also meet the criteria for harassment as defined in Board Policy ACAA Student Protection from Harassment and Sexual Harassment.)


Examples of conduct that may constitute bullying include, but are not limited to:

1.         Repeated or pervasive taunting, name-calling, belittling, mocking, put-downs, or demeaning humor;

2.         Behavior that is likely to harm someone by damaging or manipulating his or her relationships with others, including but not limited to gossip, spreading rumors, and social exclusion;

3.         Non-verbal threats and/or intimidations such as use of aggressive, menacing, or disrespectful gestures;

4.         Threats of harm to a student, to his/her possessions, or to other individuals, whether transmitted verbally or in writing;

5.         Blackmail, extortion, demands for protections money, or involuntary loans or donations;

6.         Blocking access to school properties or facilities;

7.         Stealing or hiding books, backpacks, electronic devices, or other possessions;

8.         Stalking; and

9.         Physical contact or injury to another person or his/her property.

 
B.        “Cyberbullying” means bullying through the use of technology or any electronic communication, including, but not limited to, a transfer of signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data or intelligence of any nature transmitted by the use of any electronic device, including, but not limited to, a computer, telephone, cellular telephone, text messaging device and personal digital assistant.

 Examples of conduct that may constitute cyberbullying include, but are not limited to the following actions on any electronic medium:

1.         Posting slurs or rumors or displaying any defamatory, inaccurate, disparaging, violent, abusive, profane, or sexually-oriented material about an individual on a website, an app, in social media, or any other electronic platform;

2.         Posting misleading, altered, or fake image(s) or digital video footage on websites or creating fake websites or social networking profiles in the guise of posting as the targeted individual;

3.         Impersonating or representing another individual through the use of that other individual’s electronic device or account to send e-mail, text messages, instant messages (IM), phone calls or other messages on a social media website;

4.         Sending e-mail, text messages, “sexting,” IM, or leaving voice mail messages that are mean or threatening, or so numerous as to bombard the target’s e-mail account, IM account, or cell phone; and

5.         Using a camera phone, digital video camera, or other electronic device to take and/or send unauthorized or sexually explicit photographs.

           

C.        “Retaliation” means an act or gesture against a student for asserting or alleging an act of bullying.  “Retaliation” also includes knowingly falsely reporting an act of bullying.

 
D.        “Substantiated” means that the outcomes of the investigation on the Responding Form (JICK-E2) provide clear evidence to prove that bullying or cyberbullying, as defined in policy, did occur.

 
E.         “Alternative discipline” means disciplinary action other than suspension or expulsion from school that is designed to correct and address the root causes of a student’s specific misbehavior while retaining the student in class or school, or restorative school practices (see VII B below) to repair the harm done to relationships and persons from the student’s misbehavior.


IV.       Application of Policy

 
A.        This policy applies to any student, school employee, contractor, visitor or volunteer who            engages in conduct that constitutes bullying or retaliation, all of whom have the         responsibility to comply with this policy.

B.        This policy applies to bullying that:

 
1.         Takes place at school or on school grounds, meaning: a school building; property on which a school building or facility is located; and property that is owned, leased or used by a school for a school-sponsored activity, function, program, instruction or training.  “School grounds” also includes school-related transportation vehicles.

2.         Takes place while students are being transported to or from schools or school-sponsored events;

3.         Takes place at any school-sponsored event, activity, function, program, instruction or      training; or

4.         Takes place elsewhere (such as through the use of technology), but only if the bullying also infringes on the rights of the student at school as set forth in this policy’s definition of bullying.

 

IX.       Assignment of Responsibility

A.        The School Board is responsible for:

1.         Annually providing written versions of this policy and related procedures to students,      parent(s) and guardian(s), volunteers, administrators, teachers and school staff;

2.         Posting this policy and related procedures on the School District’s publicly-accessible website; and

3.         Including in student handbooks a section that addresses in detail this policy and related     procedures.

B.        The Superintendent is responsible for:

1.         Oversight, implementation, and enforcement of this policy and its procedures;

2.         Designating a school principal or other school personnel to administer the policies at the school level;

3.         The Superintendent’s designee or designees for administering this policy at the school       level is identified in each school handbook.

4.         Ensuring that the prohibition on bullying and retaliation and the attendant consequences apply to any student, school employee, contractor, visitor or volunteer who engages in conduct that constitutes bullying or retaliation;

5.         Ensuring that any organization affiliated with the school that authorizes or engages in        bullying or retaliation forfeits permission for that organization to operate on school       grounds or receive any other benefit of affiliation with the school;

6.         Providing professional development and staff training in the best practices in prevention   of bullying and harassment and implementation of this policy;

7.         Filing the District policy that addresses bullying and cyberbullying with the Maine           Department of Education; and

8.         Ensuring that substantiated incidents of bullying and cyberbullying are reported to the      Maine Department of Education on at least an annual basis.

 

Legal Reference:        20-A M.R.S.A. § 254 (11-A)

                                    20-A M.R.S.A. § 1001 (15), 6554

                                    Maine Public Law, Chapter 659

 

Cross Reference:         AC – Affirmative Action

                                    ACAA – Student Protection from Harassment and Sexual Harassment

                                    AD – Educational Philosophy/Mission

                                    IJNDB – Student Computer and Internet Use

                                    IJNDB-R – Student Computer and Internet Use Rules

                                    JK – Student Discipline

                                    JKD – Suspension of Students

                                    JKE – Expulsion of Students

 

FIRST READING:                May 10, 2018

 

SECOND READING:          June 14, 2018

 

ADOPTION:                         June 14, 2018

 

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