Policy JBB - Bullying, Cyber-Bullying and Hazing


I. The School District of Altoona is committed to providing a safe, positive and respectful learning environment for all students to learn and attain high academic standards and to promote healthy human relationships. Bullying, like other disruptive behavior, is conduct that interferes with students’ ability to learn and teachers’ ability to educate students in a safe environment. Therefore, all types of bullying, cyber-bullying, and hazing are prohibited and will not be tolerated. The purpose of this policy is to assist the school district in its goal of preventing and responding to acts of bullying, intimidation, violence, and other similar disruptive behavior.

II. Definitions & Conditions

A. “Bullying” is defined as systematically or persistently inflicting physical hurt or psychological distress on one or more students. “Bullying” can include, but is not limited to:

• Intimidation and/or harassment such as teasing, put-downs, cruel rumors, false accusations, name-calling or making threats;
• Social alienation, exclusion and isolation such as shunning or spreading rumors;
• Extortion;
• Written notes, phone calls or electronic messages that are offensive, hurtful, slanderous, threatening, embarrassing intimidating, insulting, degrading, stereotyping;
• Verbal aggression or verbal assaults which are offensive, hurtful, slanderous, threatening, embarrassing, intimidating, insulting, degrading, stereotyping;
• Nonverbal or emotional threats or intimidation;
• Any act, attempted act or threat of physical aggression such as assault on a student or attacks on a student’s property.
• Any act which threatens or intimidates any person or group because of sex, race, religion, national origin, color, disability, sexual orientation, age or other protected status.
“Bullying” includes aggressive or hostile behavior that is intentional and involves an imbalance of power between the bully and bullied. The behavior is typically repeated over time.

B. “Cyber-bullying” is defined as bullying that involves the use of digital technologies, including but not limited to, e-mail, cell phones, text messages, instant messages, chat rooms and social websites (e.g. My Space or Facebook). Cyber-bullying is prohibited and treated the same as all other types of bullying.

C. “Hazing” is defined as any intentional or reckless act which endangers the physical health or safety of a student, or is meant to induce pain or humiliation, or that results in property damage or theft and is directed against another student or students, for the purpose of being initiated into , affiliating with, holding office in, or maintaining membership in any organization, class, club or team sponsored or supported by a school or the school district regardless of students’ willingness to participate.

D. “Discriminatory Harassment” occurs when acts of bullying or hazing are related to , or motivated by a student’s sex , color, religion, profession or demonstration of belief or non-belief, race, national origin, ancestry, creed, pregnancy, marital or parental status, homelessness status, sexual orientation or physical, mental, emotional or learning disability or any other basis protected by state or federal law. Such incidents shall be handled in accordance with Policy JB, Student Discrimination and Harassment.

III. Prohibition

Bullying is prohibited at school, on school premises, during school-sponsored activities, on school buses and at bus stops, or through the use of electronic, computer, and telecommunications messaging devices (cyber-bullying). Bullying, cyber-bullying, hazing, and/or harassment of any student are expressly prohibited in the following settings and/or circumstances:

A. During any educational program or activity conducted by or sponsored in whole or in part by the school or school district.

B. While being transported on a district provided bus or any other district vehicle.

C. Accessed, created, expressed, or communicated using any districted-owned computer, digital technology, or system network.

D. Sent or passed on through any type of non-district owned technology or personal electronic device while on school grounds, at any school related or sponsored activity, or on district provided transportation.

E. Any type of threat indicated to be carried out in a school setting. This includes threats made outside of school hours that communicate intent to be carried out during any school-related or school-sponsored program or activity, or on district provided transportation.

F. While the District cannot assume liability for incidents that occur at times or locations not defined above, a student or witness may file a complaint against a student and the school will provide assistance and intervention as deemed appropriate, which may include parent contact and/or referral to law enforcement.

IV. Reporting Procedure

All staff members are required to watch for bullying behavior and take appropriate corrective measures when they witness bullying or have reason to suspect that bullying has taken place.

Students are encouraged and expected to report incidents of bullying to any staff member at his or her school, preferably within 24 hours, for proper investigation.

A. Any person who believes he or she has been the victim of bullying or any person with knowledge or belief of conduct that may constitute bullying shall report the alleged acts immediately to the building employee most closely connected to the student or the incident. This reporting procedure is not intended to prevent any person from reporting bullying directly to the building principal or school district human resource or human rights officer.

B. Any employee that receives a report of, observes, or has other knowledge or belief of conduct that may constitute bullying, is required to report to the building principal or principal’s designee in a timely manner.

C. Bullying incidents will be reported using the same referral process as any disciplinary infraction. However, oral reports shall be considered complaints as well and will be documented. Anonymous reports will be investigated but the school district’s ability to take action on such reports may be limited.

D. Reports of bullying are classified as private educational and/or personnel data and/or confidential investigative data and will not be disclosed except as permitted by law.

E. The school district will respect the privacy of the complainant(s), the individual(s) against whom the complaint is filed, and the witnesses as much as possible, consistent with the school district’s obligation to investigate, take appropriate action, and comply with any legal disclosure obligations.

F. Submission of good faith complaint or report of bullying will not affect the complainant’s or reporter’s future employment, grades, or work assignments or educational or work environment.

V. Retaliation for Reporting Bullying

Any student who engages in retaliatory behavior against another individuals because that individual made a report of bullying or participated in an investigation of a claim of bullying or similar unacceptable behavior, is subject to immediate discipline, up to, and including, expulsion. Any employee who is associated with a bullying claim and engages in retaliatory behavior against another individual because that individual made a report of bullying or participated in an investigation of a claim of bullying or similar unacceptable behavior, is subject to immediate discipline, up to, and including discharge.

VI. School District Action/Investigation

An investigation shall start as soon as possible after an administrator receives a report of bullying.
Goals of the investigation are:
• To establish, if possible, whether the allegations are true. (It may not be possible to establish absolutely the truth or falsity of each allegation.)
• To determine whether the alleged conduct constitutes bullying.
• To determine if remedial action and consequences are needed, and if so, to act promptly.
• To maintain confidentiality to the greatest extent possible but give no guarantee of strict confidentiality. Only those who need to know must be informed throughout the investigation process.

VII. Consequences

Consequences for students who commit acts of bullying, and where it has been determined that students participated in bullying behavior in violation of the policy, the school may take disciplinary actions that may range from positive behavioral interventions up to and including suspension and/or expulsion and referral to law enforcement for legal action when deemed appropriate.

Consequences for employees who permit, condone, tolerate or engage in bullying which includes having become aware that bullying was taking place and failed to take action or to report the behavior, are considered in violation of the prohibition expressed by the policy and, therefore, subject to disciplinary action that may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination and discharge.

Consequences for other individuals engaging in acts of bullying may include, but not limited to, exclusion from school district property and events.

Wisconsin Statutes give the Board authority to establish rules that pertain to the conduct of students to maintain a safe, caring and academic environment. Therefore, any form of bullying will be taken seriously and appropriate remedial actions will be enforced. Examples of remedial measures include:

• Restitution and restoration
• Meetings involving school staff and/or School Police Liaison Officer
• Peer Support Groups
• Corrective instruction or other relevant learning or service experience, as appropriate
• Behavioral assessment or evaluation, including, but not limited to, a referral to site based assistance/intervention teams, as appropriate
• Behavioral management plan
• Involvement of School Administration
• Student counseling with guidance or other pupil services staff
• Parent conferences

VIII. Disclosure and Public Reporting

This policy will be distributed annually to all students, their parents and/or guardians, and employees. It will also be distributed to organizations in the community that have cooperative agreements with the schools.

Records will be maintained on the number and types of reports made, and sanctions imposed for incidents found to be in violation of the bullying policy.

An annual summary report shall be prepared and presented to the school board. The report shall include trends in bullying behavior and recommendations on how to further reduce bullying behavior.

Initial Adoption: 07/19/10
Final Adoption: 08/02/10

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