Harassment and Bullying

The Board of Education prohibits all acts of harassment and bullying (including “cyber-bullying”) of students as well as retaliation by other students, school officers/employees, volunteers, vendors or visitors on school property or at
school functions/activities. The same actions occurring off-campus are also prohibited if the action or actions adversely affect the educative process and/or endangers the health, safety or morals of students.

“Harassment” is inappropriate conduct or speech, including but not limited to, verbal threats, intimidation or abuse that can interfere with a student’s educational performance and/or deny or limit a student’s ability to participate in or to receive benefits, services or opportunities in the school’s programs. It includes such inappropriate conduct or speech based on a person’s actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender or gender expression, as well as any other characteristic protected by applicable federal, state and/or local law. It also includes inappropriate conduct or speech that reasonably causes or would reasonably be expected to cause a student to fear for his or her physical safety.

“Bullying” is a form of harassment that consists of inappropriate persistent behavior including, but not limited to:

threats of intimidation of others, treating others cruelly, terrorizing, coercing, stalking or habitual put-downs and/or badgering of others, whether done directly, indirectly, face-to-face or remotely through electronic communication (i.e., “cyber-bullying”).

Bullying can include:

Physical: Physical bullying involves harmful actions against another person’s body. Examples include, but are not limited to: biting, kicking, pushing, pinching, hitting, tripping, pulling hair, and any form of violence or intimidation. Physical bullying may also involve the interference with another person’s property. Examples include, but are not limited to: causing another student to drop items s/he is carrying (such as books, cafeteria trays, etc.); damaging, hiding, withholding or stealing another student’s property.

Verbal: Verbal bullying involves speaking to a person or about a person in an unkind or hurtful way. Examples include, but are not limited to: sarcasm, teasing, put-downs, name calling, phone calls, spreading rumors or
hurtful gossip.

Emotional: Emotional bullying involves behaviors that upset, exclude, or embarrass a person. Examples include, but are not limited to: nasty notes, saying mean thing, tormenting, threatening, humiliating, or socially
embarrassing another.

Cyber-bullying is online social cruelty or electronic bullying. Cyber-bullying includes, but is not limited to, the following misuses of technology: harassing, teasing, intimidating, threatening, or terrorizing another student or staff member by way of any technological tool, such as sending or posting inappropriate or derogatory email messages, instant messages, text messages, digital pictures or images, or website postings (including blogs) which either has or could have the effect of:

• Physically, emotionally or mentally harming a student;
• Placing a student in reasonable fear of physical, emotional or mental harm;
• Placing a student in reasonable fear of damage to or loss of personal property; or
• Interfering with a student’s educational performance and/or denying or limiting a student’s ability to participate in or to receive benefits, services or opportunities in the school’s programs.

“Staff” includes, but is not limited to, educators, administrators, counselors, school nurses, cafeteria workers, custodians, bus drivers, athletic coaches, advisors to extracurricular activities, support staff, and/or paraprofessionals.

“Retaliation” is a separate and distinct violation of this policy in which any member of the school community retaliates against any person who reports alleged harassment or against any person who testifies, assists or participates
in an investigation, proceeding or hearing relating to such harassment. It is possible that an alleged harasser may be found to have violated this anti-retaliation provision even if the underlying complaint of harassment is not found to be a violation of this policy. Retaliation includes, but is not limited to any form of intimidation, reprisal or harassment and may be redressed through application of the same reporting, investigation, and enforcement procedures as for harassment.