HAZING AND BULLYING
(Harassment, Intimidation and Dating Violence)
Hazing means doing any act or coercing another, including the victim, to do any act of initiation into anystudent or other organization that causes or creates a substantial risk of causing mental or physical harm to any person.
Throughout this policy the term bullying is used in place of harassment, intimidation and bullying.
Bullying, harassment and intimidation is an intentional written, verbal, electronic or physical act that a studenthas exhibited toward another particular student more than once.The intentional act also includes violencewithin a dating relationship. The behavior causes mental or physical harm to the other student and issufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive that it creates an intimidating, threatening or abusive educationalenvironment for the other student. This behavior is prohibited on school property, on a school bus or at aschool-sponsored activity. Students found responsible for harassment, intimidation or bullying by anelectronic act may be suspended.
Permission, consent or assumption of risk by an individual subjected to hazing, bullying and/or datingviolence does not lessen the prohibition contained in this policy.
The District includes, within the health curriculum, age - appropriate instruction in dating violence preventioneducation in grades 7 to 12. This instruction includes recognizingwarning signs of dating violence and thecharacteristics of healthy relationships.
Prohibited activities of any type, including those activities engaged in via computer and/or electroniccommunications devices or electronic means, are inconsistent with the educational process and areprohibited at all times. The District educates minors about appropriate online behavior, including interactingwith other individuals on social networking websites and in chat rooms and cyberbullying awareness and response.
No administrator, teacher or other employee of the District shall encourage, permit, condone or tolerate anyhazing and/or bullying activities. No students, including leaders ofstudent organizations, are permitted to plan, encourage or engage in any hazing and/or bullying.
Administrators, teachers and all other District employees are particularly alert to possible conditions,circumstances or events that might include hazing, bullying and/or dating
violence. If any of the prohibitedbehaviors are planned or discovered, involved students are informed by the discovering District employee ofthe prohibition contained in this
policy and are required to end all such activities immediately. All hazing,bullying and/or dating violence incidents are Reported immediately to the Superintendent/designee
and appropriate discipline is administered.
The Superintendent/designee must provide the Board President with a semiannual written summary of allreported incidents and post the summary on the District’s website, to the extent permitted by law.
The administration provides training on the District's hazing and bullying policy to District employees andvolunteers who have direct contact with students. Additional training is provided to elementary employees inviolence and substance abuse prevention and positive youth development.District employees, students and volunteers have qualified civil immunity for damages arising from reportingan incident of hazing and/or bullying. Administrators, teachers, other employees and students who fail toabide by this policy may be subject to disciplinary action and may be liable for civil and criminal penalties incompliance with State and Federal law. No one is permitted to retaliate against an employee or student because he/she files a grievance or assists or participates in an investigation, proceeding or hearing regarding the charge of hazing and/orbullying of an individual.
[Adoption date: February 18, 2003] [Re-adoption date: May 17, 2007] [Re-adoption date: January 8, 2008] [Re-adoption date: April21, 2010] [Re-adoption date: April18, 2012] [Re-adoption date: July 18, 2012]
LEGAL REFS.: Children's Internet Protection Act; 47 USC 254 (h)(5)(b)(iii); (P.L. 106-554, HR 4577,2000,114 Stat 2763)
CROSS REFS.: AC, Nondiscrimination
EDE, Computer/Online Services (Acceptable Use and Internet Safety) IGAE, Health Education
IIBH, District Websites
JFC, Student Conduct (Zero Tolerance) JFCEA, Gangs
JFCK, Use of Electronic Communications Equipment by Students
JG, Student Discipline
JHG, Reporting Child Abuse
JO, Student Records
Alexander Local School District, Albany, Ohio
The prohibition against hazing, dating violence, harassment, intimidation or bullying is publicized in student handbooks and in the publications that set the standard of conduct for schools and students in the District. In addition, information regarding the policy is incorporated into employee handbooks and training materials.
School Personnel Responsibilities and Complaint Procedures
Hazing, bullying behavior and/or dating violence by any student/school personnel in the District is strictly prohibited, and such conduct may result in disciplinary action, including suspension and/or expulsion from school. Hazing bullying and/or dating violence means any intentional written, verbal, graphic or physical acts, including electronically transmitted acts, either overt or covert, by a student or group of students toward other students/school personnel with the intent to haze, harass,intimidate, injure, threaten, ridicule or humiliate. Such behaviors are prohibited on or immediately adjacent to school grounds, at any school-sponsored activity; in any District publication; through the use of any District-owned or operated communication tools, including but not limited to District e-mail accounts and/or computers; on school-provided transportation or at any officialschool bus stop.
Hazing, bullying and/or dating violence can include many different behaviors. Examples of conduct that could constitute prohibited behaviors include, but are not limited to:
- Physical violence and/or attacks;
- Threats, taunts and intimidation through words and/or gestures;
- Extortion, damage or stealing of money and/or possessions;
- Exclusion from the peer group or spreading rumors;
- Repetitive and hostile behavior with the intent to harm others through the use of information and communicationtechnologies and other web-based/online sites (also known as "cyber bullying"), such as the following:
- posting slurs on websites, social networking sites, blogs or personal online journals;
- sending abusive or threatening e-mails, web site postings or comments and instant messages;
- using camera phones to take embarrassing photographs or videos of students and/or distributing orposting the photos or videos online and
- using web sites, social networking sites, blogs or personal online journals,
- e-mails or instant messagesto circulate gossip and rumors to other students.
- Excluding others from an online group by falsely reporting them for inappropriate language to Internetservice providers
In evaluating whether conduct constitutes hazing or bullying, special attention is paid to the words chosen orthe actions taken, whether such conduct occurred in front of others or was communicated to others, how theperpetrator interacted with the victim and the motivation, either admitted or appropriately inferred. Teachers and Other School Staff who witness acts of hazing, bullying and/or dating violence as definedabove, promptly notify the building principal/designee of the event observed, and promptly file a written incident report concerning the events witnessed.
Teachers and other school staff who receive student or parent reports of suspected hazing, bullying and/ordating violence promptly notify the building principal/designee of such report(s). If the report is a formal,written complaint, the complaint is forwarded to the building principal/designee no later than the next schoolday. If the report is an informal complaint by a student that is received by a teacher or other professionalemployee, he/she prepares a written report of the informal complaint that is forwarded to the buildingprincipal/designee no later than the next school day.
1. Formal Complaints
Students and/or their parents or guardians may file reports regarding suspected hazing, harassment,intimidation, and bullying and/or dating violence. The reports should be written. Such written reports mustbe reasonably specific including person(s) involved; number of times and places of the alleged conduct; thetarget of suspected harassment, intimidation and/or bullying and the names of any potential student or staffwitnesses. Such reports may be filed with any school staff member or administrator. They are promptlyforwarded to the building principal/designee for review and action.
2. Informal Complaints
Students, parents or guardians and school personnel may make informal complaints of conduct that theyconsider to be harassment, intimidation and/or bullying by verbal report to a teacher, school administrator orother school personnel. Such informal complaints must be reasonably specific as to the actions giving riseto the suspicion of hazing, harassment, intimidation and/or bullying, including person(s) involved, number oftimes and places of the alleged conduct, the target of the prohibited behavior(s) and the names of anypotential student or staff witness. The school staff member or administrator who receives the informalcomplaint promptly documents the complaint in writing, including the above information. This written reportby the school staff member and/or administrator is promptly forwarded to the building principal/designee forreview and action.
3. Anonymous Complaints
Students who make informal complaints as set forth above may request that their name be maintained inconfidence by the school staff member(s) and administrator(s) who receive the complaint. The anonymouscomplaint is reviewed and reasonable action is taken to address the situation, to the extent such action (I)does not disclose the source of the complaint, and (2) is consistent with the due process rights of the student(s) alleged to have committed acts of hazing, bullying and/or dating violence.
4. False Complaints
Students are prohibited from deliberately making false complaints of harassment, intimidation or bullying. Students found responsible for deliberately making false reports of harassment, intimidation or bullying maybe subject to a full range of disciplinary consequences.
1. Teachers and Other School Staff
In addition to addressing both informal and formal complaints, school personnel are encouraged to addressthe issue of hazing, bullying and/or dating violence in other interactions with students. School personnel may find opportunities to educate students about harassment, hazing, intimidation andbullying and help eliminate such prohibited behaviors through class discussions, counseling andreinforcement of socially appropriate behavior. School personnel should intervene promptly whenever they observe student conduct that has the purposeor effect of ridiculing, humiliating or intimidating another student/school personnel, even if such conduct doesnot meet the formal definition of harassment, hazing, intimidation or bullying.
2. Administrator Responsibilities
- The principal/designee is notified of any formal or informal complaint of suspected harassment, hazing, and intimidation or bullying. Under the direction of the buildingprincipal/designee, all such complaints are investigated promptly. A written report of the investigation isprepared when the investigation is complete. The report includes findings of fact, a determination of whether acts of hazing, bullying and/or dating violence were verified, and when prohibited acts are verified, are commendation for intervention, including disciplinary action, is included in the report. Where appropriate,written witness statements are attached to the report.
- Notwithstanding the foregoing, when a student making an informal complaint has requested anonymity, the investigation of such complaint is limited as is appropriate in view of the anonymity of the complaint. Such limitation of the investigation may include restricting action to a simple review of the complaint (with or withoutdiscussing it with the alleged perpetrator), subject to receipt of further information and/or the withdrawal bythe complaining student of the condition that his/her report be anonymous.
- Nondisciplinary Interventions
- When verified acts of hazing, bullying and/or dating violence are identified early and/or when such verifiedacts do not reasonably require a disciplinary response, students may be counseled as to the definition of thebehavior, its prohibition and their duty to avoid any conduct that could be considered harassing, hazing,intimidating and/or bullying. If a complaint arises out of conflict between students or groups of students, peer mediation may beconsidered. Special care, however, is warranted in referring some cases to peer mediation. A powerimbalance may make the process intimidating for the victim and therefore inappropriate. The victim's communication and assertiveness skills may be low and could be further eroded by fear resulting from pastintimidation and fear of future intimidation. In such cases, the victim should be given additional support. Alternatively, peer mediation may be deemed inappropriate to address the concern.
- Disciplinary Interventions
- When acts of harassment, intimidation and bullying are verified and a disciplinary response is warranted,students are subject to the full range of disciplinary consequences. Anonymous complaints that are nototherwise verified, however, cannot provide the basis for disciplinary action. In and out-of-school suspension may be imposed only after informing the accused perpetrator of thereasons for the proposed suspension and giving him/her an opportunity to explain the situation. Expulsion may be imposed only after a hearing before the Board of Education, a committee of the Board oran impartial hearing officer designated by the Board of Education in accordance with Board policy. Thisconsequence is reserved for serious incidents of harassment, intimidation or bullying and/or when pastinterventions have not been successful in eliminating prohibited behaviors. Allegations of criminal misconduct are reported to law enforcement, and suspected child abuse is repeated to Child Protective Services, per required timelines.
Report to the Custodial Parent or Guardian of the Perpetrator
If, after investigation, acts of harassment, intimidation and bullying by a specific student are verified, thebuilding principal/designee notifies the custodial parent or guardian of the perpetrator, in writing, of thatfinding. If disciplinary consequences are imposed against such student, a description of such discipline isincluded in such notification.Strategies are developed and implemented to protect students from new or additional harassment,intimidation or bullying, and from retaliation following reporting of incidents.
Reports to the Victim and His/Her Custodial Parent or Guardian
If, after investigation, acts of bullying or hazing against a specific student are verified, the buildingprincipal/designee notifies the custodial parent/guardian of the victim of the finding. In providing suchnotification, care must be taken to respect the statutory privacy rights of the perpetrator. Bullying matters, including the identity of both the charging party and the accused, are kept confidential tothe extent possible. Although discipline may be imposed against the accused upon a finding of guilt,retaliation is prohibited. School administrators shall notify both the custodial parents or guardians of a student who commits acts ofharassment, intimidation, bullying and/or dating violence and the custodial parents or guardians of studentsagainst whom such acts were committed, and shall allow access to any written reports pertaining to theincident, to the extent permitted by law.
Police and Child Protective Services
In addition to, or instead of, filing a complaint through this policy, a complainant may choose to exerciseother options including, but not limited to, filing a complaint with outside agencies or filing a private lawsuit. Nothing prohibits a complainant from seeking redress under any other provision of the Ohio Revised Codeor common law that may apply. The District must also investigate incidents of hazing, bullying and/or dating violence for the purpose ofdetermining whether there has been a violation of District policy or regulations, even if law enforcementand/or the public children’s services are also investigating. All District personnel must cooperate with investigations by outside agencies.
(Approval date: January 8, 2008) (Re-approval date: April 21, 2010) (Re-approval date: July 18, 2012)
Submit Bullying Complaint
Students and/or their parents or guardians may file reports regarding suspected hazing, harassment, intimidation, bullying and/or dating violence. The reports should be written in the space below. The written reports must be reasonably specific including person(s) involved; number of times and places of the alleged conduct; the target of suspected harassment, intimidation and/or bullying and the names of any potential student or staff witnesses. This report will be immediately forwarded to the building principal/designee for review and action.
Incident Report *
There were 2 incidents where students bullied during the 1st semester of the 2013 - 2014 school year.
There were 5 incidents where students bullied during the 2nd semester of the 2013 - 2014 school year.