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3510 Bullying and Hazing

3510 BULLYING AND HAZING

General Administration Washington County School District - Approved 12-8-09; Revised 11-9-10; Revised 8-9-16.

1. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to eliminate all types of bullying and hazing by and against students and employees of the Washington County School District.  This will be accomplished through awareness efforts, training, identification, and disciplinary action (both students and employees) against those who violate this Policy.  A secondary purpose is to provide clear standards and a safe and accessible reporting process for victims of bullying and hazing.

Students who believe they are subjects of sexual harassment should follow the procedures outlined in District Policy 1420 Prevention of Sexual Harassment.

Employees who believe they are subjects of bullying or hazing, if sexual in nature, should follow the procedures outlined in District Policy 1420 Prevention of Sexual Harassment.   Any other alleged bullying that is believed to be a violation of this policy must be remedied by following District Policy 1720 Employee Grievance Procedure.

Individuals who believe civil rights have been violated should follow the procedures outlined in District Policy 1710 Non-discrimination.

2. Policy

The Washington County School Board is committed to protecting its students, employees and school guests from bullying or harassment of any type, for any reason.  The School Board believes that all students, employees or guests are entitled to a safe, equitable and harassment-free school experience.  Bullying or harassment in any form will not be tolerated and shall be just cause for disciplinary action.  Conduct that constitutes bullying or harassment as defined herein will be dealt with immediately and consistently.

It is essential that a comprehensive and uniform prevention curriculum be in place so that every school will acquire a foundation of prevention upon which to build a culture of safety and mutual respect.  Such a culture is necessary for the creation of an effective learning environment.

3. Procedure

3.1.  Definitions

3.1.1.  Bullying is aggressive behavior that is intentional and involves an imbalance of power or strength.  A person is bullied or victimized when he/she is exposed repeatedly and over time to negative actions on the part of one or more persons.  "Bullying" means intentionally or knowingly committing an act that:

3.1.1.1.  endangers the physical, and/or emotional health or safety of a School District employee or student;

  • involves any threat or brutality of a physical nature such as whipping, beating, branding, calisthenics, bruising, electric shocking, placing of a harmful substance on the body, or exposure to the elements; or
  • involves threat or actual forced or involuntary consumption of any food, liquor, drug, or other substance; or
  • involves other physical activity that endangers the physical health and safety of a School District employee or student; or
  • involves physically obstructing a school district employee's or student's freedom to move; or
  • involves verbal intimidation; or
  • involves social bullying, sometimes referred to as relational bullying, such as: hurting someone's reputation or relationships, telling others to not be friends with someone, spreading rumors about someone, or embarrassing someone in public.

3.1.1.2.  is done for the purpose of placing a School District employee/student in fear of physical harm, emotional harm, or harm to their property. 

3.1.1.3.  The conduct described above constitutes bullying, regardless of whether the person against whom the conduct is committed directed, consented to, or acquiesced in, the conduct.

3.1.2.  "Hazing" means intentionally or knowingly committing an act that:

3.1.2.1.  endangers the physical health or safety of a School District employee or student;

3.1.2.1.1. involves any brutality of a physical nature such as whipping, beating, branding, calisthenics, bruising, electric shocking, placing of a harmful substance on the body, or exposure to the elements;

3.1.2.1.2.  involves forced or involuntary consumption of any food, liquor, drug, or other substance;

3.1.2.1.3.  involves other physical activity that endangers the physical health and safety of a School District employee or student; or

3.1.2.1.4.  involves physically obstructing a School District employee's or student's freedom to move; and

3.1.2.2.  is done for the purpose of initiation or admission into, affiliation with, holding office in, or as a condition for, membership or acceptance, or continued membership or acceptance, in any school or school sponsored team, organization, program, or event; or

3.1.2.3.  if the person committing the act against a School District employee or student knew that the School District employee or student is a member of, or candidate for, membership with a school, or school sponsored team, organization, program, or event to which the person committing the act belongs to or participates in.

3.1.2.4.  The conduct described above constitutes hazing, regardless of whether the person against whom the conduct is committed directed, consented to, or acquiesced in, the conduct.

3.1.3.  "Cyberbullying" means the use of email, instant messaging, chat rooms, cell phones, or other forms of information technology to deliberately harass, threaten, or intimidate someone for the purpose of placing a School District employee or student in fear of physical harm or harm to personal property. 

3.1.4.  "Retaliate" means an act or communication intended:

3.1.4.1.  as retribution against a person for reporting bullying or hazing; or

3.1.4.2.  to improperly influence the investigation of, or the response to, a report of bullying or hazing.

3.1.5.  "School" means any public elementary or secondary school in Washington County.

3.1.6.  "School Board" means:  Washington County School Board;

3.1.7.  "School District employee" means:

3.1.7.1.  school teachers;

3.1.7.2.  school staff;

3.1.7.3.  school administrators; and

3.1.7.4.  all others employed or authorized as volunteers, directly or indirectly, by a school, the School Board, or the School District.

3.2.  Publication

3.2.1.  As appropriate, a copy of this policy shall be included in student conduct handbooks, employee handbooks, and available on the Washington County School District website.

3.3.  Prohibitions

3.3.1.  No School District employee or student may engage in bullying or cyberbullying a School District employee or student;

3.3.1.1.  on school property;

3.3.1.2.  at a school related or sponsored event

3.3.1.3.  on a school bus

3.3.1.4.  at a school bus stop; or

3.3.1.5.  while the School District employee or student is traveling to or from a location or event described above.

3.3.2.  No School District employee or student may engage in hazing a School District employee or student at any time or in any location.

3.3.3.  No School District employee or student may engage in retaliation against:

3.3.3.1.  a School District employee;

3.3.3.2.  a student; or

3.3.3.3.  an investigator for, or witness of, an alleged incident of bullying, cyberbullying, hazing, or retaliation.

3.3.4.  No School District employee or student may make a false allegation of bullying, cyberbullying, hazing, or retaliation against a School District employee or student.

3.4.  Actions Required of Each School

3.4.1.  Each school shall establish and publish in a handbook or other readily available format:

3.4.1.1.  procedures allowing for anonymous reporting of bullying, hazing, or retaliation; (Such as reporting through the tip-line located on the school or district websites.)

3.4.1.2.  names and positions of persons responsible for taking, investigating, and responding to reports of bullying, hazing, or retaliation.  At least two school employees (preferably one male and one female) in appropriate positions of authority shall be identified to receive reports.

3.4.2.  In addition to the published procedures and notification above, each school shall establish procedures and plans for:

3.4.2.1.  involving parents or guardians of a perpetrator or victim of bullying, hazing, or retaliation in the process of responding to, and resolving, conduct prohibited in this Policy;

3.4.2.2.  referring a victim of bullying or hazing to school counseling following parental notice and consent;

3.4.2.3.  to the extent permitted by federal and state law, including the federal Family Educational Privacy Right Act of 1974, as amended, informing the parents or guardians of a student who is a victim of bullying or hazing of the actions taken against the perpetrators of the bullying or hazing;

3.4.2.4.  publicizing this policy, preferably including electronic publication and availability, to School District employees, to student, and parents or guardians of students; and

3.4.2.5.  training School District employees and students to recognize and prevent bullying, hazing, or retaliation.

3.5.  Actions Required if Prohibited Acts are Reported

3.5.1.  Each reported complaint shall include: (1) name of complaining party; (2) name of offender (if known); (3) date and location of incident(s); (4) a statement describing the incident(s), including names of witnesses (if known).

3.5.2.  Each reported violation of the prohibitions noted previously shall be promptly investigated by a school administrator or an individual designated by a school administrator.  Formal disciplinary action is prohibited based solely on an anonymous report of bullying, hazing, or retaliation.

3.5.3.  The District will act on student misconduct or violations of this policy following District Policy 2110 Safe Schools Policy.

3.5.4.  In addition to those corrective actions outlined in District Policy 2110 Safe Schools Policy, the remedy should also include:

3.5.4.1.  procedures for protecting the victim and other involved individuals from being subjected to:

3.5.4.1.1.  further bullying or

3.5.4.1.2.  retaliation for reporting the bullying or hazing.

3.5.4.2.  prompt reporting to law enforcement of all acts of bullying, hazing, or retaliation that constitute suspected criminal activity.

3.5.4.3.  The District will act on employee misconduct or violations of this policy following District Policy 1450 Discipline and Termination, and Non-renewal of Contract.

3.5.4.4.  The District will consider additional reasonable remedial actions such as the completion of a threat assessment or requiring the perpetrator to participate in beneficial remedial programs.

3.6.  Training

3.6.1.  The training of School District employees shall include training regarding bullying, hazing, and retaliation.

3.6.2.  To the extent possible, programs or initiatives designed to provide training and education regarding the prevention of bullying, hazing, and retaliation should be implemented.

3.6.3.  In addition to training for all students and School District employees, volunteer coaches involved in any extra-curricular activity shall:

3.6.3.1.  participate in bullying and hazing prevention training prior to participation;

3.6.3.2.  repeat bullying and hazing prevention training at least every three years;

3.6.3.3. be informed annually of the prohibited activities list provided previously in this Policy and the potential consequences for violation of this Policy.