Epsom School District Policy

 

 

JICD-E

JICK

 

 

 

 

PUPIL SAFETY AND VIOLENCE PREVENTION

 

The School Board is committed to providing all pupils a safe, secure and peaceful school environment.  Conduct constituting bullying or cyberbullying will not be tolerated, and is prohibited by this policy in accordance with RSA 193-F.  This policy applies to, and is intended to protect all pupils. Our model for addressing bullying shall include:

 

·         Primary prevention which will focus on protection and prevention of bullying.

·         Secondary prevention strategies which will focus on targeting intervention efforts to those students who have been identified as at-risk for being a bully or victim.   

·         Tertiary prevention which will target students with severe needs, including those

who are perpetual bullies or victims, and those that have threatened violence to peers

and/or teachers and staff.  

 

This policy also applies to activities that take place off-campus if the activities cause emotional distress to an individual that substantially disrupts or interferes with the operation of a school or an individual student’s ability to receive an education.

The Superintendent is responsible for ensuring that the policy is implemented.

 

Bullying Defined

     

“Bullying” is defined as a single significant incident or a pattern of incidents involving a written, verbal, or electronic communication, or a physical act or gesture, or any combination thereof, directed at another pupil which:

 

(1) Physically harms a pupil or damages the pupil’s property;

(2) Causes emotional distress to a pupil;

(3) Interferes with a pupil’s educational opportunities;

(4) Creates a hostile educational environment; or

(5) Substantially disrupts the orderly operation of the school.

(6) “Bullying” shall include actions motivated by an imbalance of power based on a pupil’s

      actual or perceived personal characteristics, behaviors, or beliefs, or motivated by the pupil’s

      association with another person and based on the other person’s characteristics, behaviors, or

      beliefs.

 

“Cyberbullying” means any conduct defined as “bullying” in this policy that is undertaken through the

use of electronic devices which include, but are not limited to, telephones, cellular phones, computers,

pagers, electronic mail, instant messaging, text messaging, and websites.


 

 

 

The District reserves the right to address bullying and/or cyberbullying, and impose discipline for bullying and/or cyberbullying that:

 

·         occurs on, or is delivered to, school property or a school-sponsored activity or event on or off school property; or

·         occurs off of school property or outside of a school-sponsored activity or event, if the conduct interferes with a pupil’s educational opportunities or substantially disrupts the orderly operations of the school or school-sponsored activity or event.

 

 

Reporting Procedure

 

1.      Any student who believes they have been a victim of bullying may report the alleged act to the building principal.  If a student is more comfortable reporting the alleged act to a person other than the building principal, the student may contact any School District employee.

 

2.      Students or parents who have witnessed or who have reliable information that a pupil has been subjected to bullying or cyberbullying should report the same to the Principal.  If the student or parent is more comfortable reporting the alleged act to a person other than the Principal, the student or parent may tell any School District employee.

 

3.      Any school employee, or employee of a company under contract with the school or School District who has significant contact with students, who has witnessed or has reliable information that a student has been subjected to bullying shall report the incident to the student’s principal or the principal’s designee.  The report made by a school employee or employee of a company under contract with the District who witnesses, receives a report of, or has knowledge or belief that bullying or cyberbullying may have occurred shall inform the Principal as soon as possible, but no later than the end of that school day.

 

4.      Although a report may be done anonymously, disciplinary action may not be based solely on an anonymous report.  Verification of the anonymous report shall be necessary in order for any disciplinary action to be taken.

 

5.      The principal or designee shall notify by phone the parent or legal guardian of all pupils involved within 2 school days that a bullying incident has been reported. All notifications shall be consistent with the student privacy rights under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA).

 

6.      The superintendent may, within a 2 school day period, grant the principal a written waiver from the notification requirement if the superintendent deems such waiver to be in the best interest of the child.


Investigation and Remedial Action

 

1.  The principal or designee shall initiate an investigation within 5 school days of the reported incident.  The Principal and/or his/her designee shall complete the investigation within 10 school days of receiving the initial report. 

 

2.  The superintendent or designee may grant in writing an extension of the time period of the completion of  the investigation by up to an additional 7 school days. The superintendent or superintendent’s designee shall notify in writing all parties involved of the granting of an extension. 

 

3.  Within 2 school days of completing an investigation, the Principal will notify the students involved in person of the findings and the result of the investigation.

 

4.  Within 2 days of the completion of the investigation, the Principal will notify the parents of the students involved via telephone of the results of the investigation.  The Principal will also send a letter to the parents within 24 hours after the phone call, again notifying them of the result of the investigation. A meeting will be scheduled to further explain the findings and reasons for the actions at the parent’s request.

 

5.   In accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, the District will not disclose educational records of students, including any record of discipline and/or remedial action.

 

6.  The Principal and/or his/her designee is responsible for determining the scope of the investigation, which may include documented interviews with alleged victim, alleged bully, and any witnesses.  All interviews shall be conducted privately, separately and shall be confidential.  Each individual will be interviewed separately and at no time will the alleged victim and bully be interviewed together during the investigation.

 

7.   If the alleged bullying was in whole or in part cyberbullying, the Principal may ask students and/or parents to provide the District with printed copies of emails, text messages, website pages, or other similar electronic communications.

 

8.  The principal will take such disciplinary action deemed necessary and appropriate as defined in the school’s discipline code, for an actual incident of bullying or cyberbullying, or a false accusation including but not limited to detention, in-house suspension, removal from co-curricular activities, out-of-school suspension or referral to superintendent to consider long-term suspension or expulsion, and/or referral to law enforcement in order to end bullying and prevent retaliation.

 

9.   The procedures under RSA 193:13, Ed 317 and the School District discipline policies establish the due process and appeal rights for students disciplined for acts of bullying.

 

10.  Besides initiating disciplinary action, the principal may also take other remedial action deemed necessary and appropriate to end bullying/cyberbullying and prevent retaliation including but not limited to requiring participation in peer mentoring, life skills groups; and/or reassigning classes, lunch periods or transportation.

 

11. The principal or designee shall send a written report of all substantiated incidents to the Superintendent or designee.

 

 

 

Reprisal or Retaliation

 

The District shall discipline and take appropriate action against any student, teacher, administrator, volunteer, or other employee, including employees of a company under contract with the district, who retaliates (deliberately harms someone  either physically or verbally in response to an action or harm that was taken) against any person who makes a good faith report of alleged bullying or cyberbullying, or against any person who testifies, assists, or participates in a proceeding or hearing relating to such bullying or cyberbullying.  All allegations shall be investigated and any substantiated cases will be subject to disciplinary measures up to and including suspension, expulsion, termination of employment, and/or exclusion from school grounds.

 

Distribution and Notice of The Policy

 

Copies of this policy shall be given to all employees, students and parents annually by publishing it in the student handbook.  Whenever new School District employees or students begin during the school year, they shall receive a copy of the handbook before commencing work or school attendance. A summary of the policy and related responsibilities will be given to all substitute teachers and volunteers.  The bullying policy will be included in the beginning of the year packet and will require parent/student signatures, returned to the school, and kept on file in the office.  The bullying policy will be added to the “new student enrollment” packet.

 

Students will participate in an annual education program which sets out expectations for student behavior and emphasizes an understanding of harassment, intimidation, and bullying and cyberbullying of students, and the District’s prohibition of such conduct.  Students shall also be informed of the consequences of engaging in bullying and cyberbullying.

 

The policy will also be found at the school’s website in the School Board section.

 

Immunity

 

A school administrative unit employee, school employee, regular school volunteer, pupil, parent, legal guardian, or employee of a company under contract to a school, school district, school administrative unit, shall be immune from civil liability for good faith conduct arising from or pertaining to the reporting, investigation, findings, recommended response, or implementation of a recommended response under this policy.

 

 

Appeals

 

A parent or guardian who is aggrieved by the investigative determination letter of the principal or his/her designee may appeal the determination to the Superintendent for review. The appeal shall be in writing addressed to the Superintendent, shall state the reason(s) why the appealing party is aggrieved, and the nature of the relief they seek. The Superintendent shall not be required to reinvestigate the matter and shall conduct such review as he/she deems appropriate under the circumstances.

 

 

It is in the best interests of students, families, and the District that these matters be promptly resolved. Therefore, any such appeal to the Superintendent shall be made within ten (10) calendar days of the parent/guardian’s receipt of the investigative determination letter of the principal or his/her designee. The Superintendent shall issue his/her decision in writing. If the parent or guardian is aggrieved by the decision of the Superintendent, they may appeal the decision to the School Board within ten (10) calendar days of the date of the parent/guardian’s receipt of the Superintendent’s decision. An appeal to the Superintendent shall be a prerequisite to any appeal to the School Board. The appeal to the School Board shall be in writing, addressed to the School Board Chair in care of the Superintendent, shall state the reason(s) why the appealing party is aggrieved, and the nature of the relief they seek.

 

An aggrieved parent/guardian has the right to appeal the final decision of the local School Board to the State Board within thirty (30) calendar days of receipt of the written decision of the local School Board in accordance with RSA 541-A and State of New Hampshire Department of Education Regulations set forth in ED 200. The State Board may waive the thirty-day requirement for good cause shown, including, but not limited to, illness, accident, or death of a family member.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

State Standards Compliance – Ed. 306.04 (a-2), (d)