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BULLYING

Bullying is prohibited in USD #471 Dexter Schools.

Bullying Means: Any intentional gesture or any intentional written, verbal, electronic or physical act or threat that is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive that it creates an intimidating, threatening, or abusive educational environment for a student or staff member that a reasonable person, under the circumstances, knows or should know will have the effect of:

Harming a student or staff member, whether physically or mentally;

Damaging a student’s or staff member’s property:

Placing a student or staff member in reasonable fear of harm; or

Placing a student or staff member in reasonable fear of damage to the student’s or staff member’s property.

Bullying also includes cyberbullying. "Cyberbullying" means bullying by use of any electronic communication device through means including, but not limited to, e-mail, instant messaging, text messages, blogs, mobile phones, pagers, online games and websites.

Additionally, bullying means any form of intimidation or harassment prohibited by the board of education of the school district in policies concerning bullying adopted pursuant to K.S.A. 72-8256 or subsection (e) of K.S.A. 72-8205, and amendments thereto. USD #471 Dexter Schools will not tolerate these actions by students, staff, or parents.

Any act of bullying by a student, staff member, or parent is prohibited on or while using school property, in a school vehicle, or at school-sponsored functions. This policy applies to students who directly engage in an act of bullying, to students who, by their behavior, support another student’s act of bullying, and to all staff members who engage in similar behaviors.

No teacher, administrator, or school district employee shall engage in, permit, or tolerate bullying.

Retaliation against a victim, good faith reporter, or a witness to bullying is prohibited.

A person who engages in an act of bullying, reprisal, retaliation, or false reporting of bullying, shall be subject to discipline in accordance with school district policy and procedures. The school district may take into account the following factors: the ages of the parties involved; the developmental and maturity levels, special education needs of the parties involved, and the severity of the behavior.

Any student found to be in violation of any bullying policy may be punished as deemed necessary by the principal or superintendent. Offenses may result in discipline up to and including suspension and/or expulsion from school for students or suspension or termination from employment for staff.

Parents participating in prohibited bullying conduct aimed at district students and/or staff members may jeopardize their access to district facilities; district property; school sponsored activities, programs, and events; and/or district students and/or staff members through the district’s communication systems.

Students and/or staff members shall report any incidents of bullying directly to the school administration and/or the USD #471 School Board President. The date of the incident, type of incident, name of the person bullying, the victim, and any witnesses shall be documented. Appropriate personnel will then be assigned to investigate incidents of bullying. As appropriate, reports to local law enforcement will be filed to report bullying behaviors.

COMPLAINT PROCESS FOR BULLYING

Informal Process: Anyone may use informal procedures to report and resolve complaints of bullying. At the building level, programs may be established for receiving anonymous complaints. Such complaints must be appropriately investigated and handled consistent with due process requirements. Informal reports may be made to any staff member, although staff shall always inform complaints of their right to, and the process for, filing a formal complaint. Staff shall also direct potential complaints to an appropriate staff member who can explain the informal and formal complaint process and what a complaint can expect. Staff shall also inform an appropriate supervisor or designated staff person when they receive complaints of harassment, intimidation, or bullying, especially when the complaint is beyond their training to resolve or alleges serious misconduct.

Informal remedies may include an opportunity for the complainant(s) to explain to the alleged perpetrator that the conduct is unwelcome, disruptive, or inappropriate either in writing or face-to-face; a statement from a staff member to the alleged perpetrator that the alleged conduct is not appropriate and could lead to discipline if proven or repeated; or a general public statement from an administrator in a building reviewing the district harassment, intimidation and bullying policy without identifying the complainant, parent, guardian, or because the district believes the complaint needs to be more thoroughly investigated.

Formal Complaint Process: Anyone may initiate a formal complaint of bullying, even if the informal complaint process is being utilized. Complainant(s) should not be promised confidentiality at the onset of an investigation. It cannot be predicted with at will be discovered or what kind of hearing may result. Efforts should be made to increase the confidence and trust of the person making the complaint. The district will fully implement anti-retaliation provisions to protect complainant(s) and witness(es). Student complainants and witnesses may have a parent or trusted adult with them, if requested, during any district initiated investigatory activities. The administrator may conclude that the district needs to conduct an investigation based on information in their possession regardless of the complainant’s interest in filing a formal complaint.

False Reporting: USD #471 policy prohibits any person from falsely accusing another as a means of bullying. The consequences and appropriate remedial action for a person found to have falsely accused another as a means of bullying may range from a positive behavioral interventions up to and including a suspension or expulsion. Consequences and appropriate remedial action for a school employee found to have falsely accused another as a means of bullying shall be disciplined in accordance with district policies, procedures, and agreements.

FACTORS FOR DETERMINING CONSEQUENCES

Age, development, and maturity levels of the parties involved

Degree of harm

Surrounding circumstances

Nature and severity of the behavior(s)

Incidences of past or continuing pattern(s) or behavior

Relationship between the parties involved

Context in which the alleged incident(s) occurred

POSSIBLE CONSEQUENCES

Admonishment

Temporary removal from the classroom

Loss of privileges

Classroom or administrative detention

Referral to disciplinarian

In-school suspension during the school week or the weekend, for students

Out-of-school suspension

Legal action

Expulsion or termination

For parents, suspension of access to school, school activities and or communication channels with staff or students at school