Policy JICFB: Anti-Bullying

Consistent with M.G.L. chapter 71, section 37O and 603 CMR section49.00, the Amherst, Pelham, and Amherst-Pelham Regional School Districtshave developed this anti-bullying policy.  Any and all acts ofbullying, cyberbullying and retaliation based upon the reporting ofbullying 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 awritten, oral, or electronic expression or a physical act or gesture orany 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 anyelectronic communication, which shall include, but shall not be limitedto, any transfer of signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data, orintelligence 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 postedcontent or messages, if the creation or impersonation creates any of thefive conditions listed above in the definition of bullying
3. the distribution by electronic means of a communication to more thanone person or the posting of material on an electronic medium that maybe accessed by one or more persons, if the distribution or postingcreates any of the five conditions listed above in the definition ofbullying

Retaliation is any form of intimidation, reprisal, or harassmentdirected against a student who reports bullying, provides informationduring an investigation of bullying, or witnesses or has reliableinformation about bullying.

Prevention and Intervention Plan

The Superintendent or his/her designee shall develop and/or implementa bullying prevention plan consistent with the requirements of theM.G.L. chapter 71, section 37O, 603 CMR section 49.00 and the Departmentof Elementary and Secondary Education’s guidelines. This comprehensiveplan will be submitted to Department of Secondary education by December31, 2010.

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

The School Districts shall provide professional development to schoolstaff addressing the prevention, identification and remedying ofbullying.

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

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

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

The Principal of each school (or his/her designee), supported by thecentral office administration, will inform the parent/guardian of allreported bullying incidents involving his/her child as the target of thebullying or as the aggressor in the bullying, consistent with therequirements 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 initialinvestigation as soon as practicable, as stated in the districts’guidelines.  The timeliness of an investigation will depend upon suchfactors as the number of individuals involved, the number of witnessesto be interviewed, the availability of witnesses, the school scheduleand 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 totake 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 theadministrative guidelines and procedures for the implementation of thispolicy in the school districts.  It is the responsibility of schoolprincipals (or designees) to implement the guidelines and proceduresdeveloped 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: