Please see the Bullying Prevention and Intervention Policy below. For access to the Bullying Incident Report, please click here for the link.
File: JICFB - Bullying Prevention and Intervention Policy
The Walpole Public Schools is committed to providing our students equal educational opportunities, and a safe learning environment free from bullying. This will be possible when all members of the Walpole school community treat each other with respect, appreciating the rich diversity in our schools. This policy is an integral part of the Walpole Public Schools’ comprehensive effort to promote learning and eliminate all forms of violent, harmful and disruptive behavior. All students have the right to this support to achieve their personal and academic potential.
The Walpole Public Schools will not tolerate any unlawful or disruptive behavior, including bullying, cyber-bullying, harassment, or intimidation in our schools or during school-related activities. All reports of bullying will be promptly investigated by the Walpole Public Schools.
Bullying is defined as the repeated use by one or more students or school staff member of a written, verbal, or electronic expression or a physical act or gesture or any combination thereof, directed at a target that: (i) causes physical or emotional harm to the target or damage to the target’s property; (ii) places the target in reasonable fear of harm to himself or of damage to his/her property; (iii) creates a hostile environment at school for the target; (iv) infringes on the rights of the target at school; or (v) materially and substantially disrupts the education process or the orderly operation of a school.
Cyber-bullying is defined as bullying through the use of technology or any electronic communication which shall include, but shall not be limited to, any transfer of signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data or intelligence of any nature transmitted in whole or in part by a wire, radio, electromagnetic, photo electronic or photo optical system, including, but not limited to, electronic mail, internet communications, social networking sites, instant messages, or facsimile communications. Cyber-bullying shall also include (i) the creation of a web page or blog in which the creator assumes the identity of another person or (ii) the knowing impersonation of another person as the author of posted content or messages, if the creation or impersonation creates any of the conditions enumerated in clauses (i) to (v), inclusive, of the definition of bullying. Cyber-bullying shall also include the distribution by electronic means of a communication to more than one person or the posting of material on an electronic medium that may be accessed by one or more persons, if the distribution or posting creates any of the conditions enumerated in clauses (i) to (v), inclusive, of the definition of bullying.
Hostile environment is defined as a situation in which bullying causes the school environment to be permeated with intimidation, ridicule or insult that is sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of the student’s education.
For the purposes of this policy, whenever the term bullying is used it is to denote either bullying or cyber-bullying.
Bullying is prohibited:
on school grounds; on property immediately adjacent to school grounds;
at school sponsored or school-related activities;
at functions or programs whether on or off school grounds;
at school bus stops; on school buses or other vehicles owned, leased or used by the school district; or through the use of technology or an electronic device owned, leased or used by the Walpole Public Schools.
Bullying and cyber-bullying are prohibited at a location, activity, function or program that is not school-related or through the use of technology or electronic device that is not owned, leased or used by the Walpole Public Schools if the act or acts in question:
create a hostile environment at school for the target;
infringe on the rights of the target at school; and/or
materially and substantially disrupt the education process or the orderly operation of a school.
Bullying and cyber-bullying may occur in and out of school, during and after school hours, at home and in locations outside of the home. When bullying and cyber-bullying are alleged, the full cooperation and assistance of parents and families are expected.
PREVENTION AND INTERVENTION PLAN
The Superintendent and/or his designee shall oversee the development of a prevention and intervention plan, in consultation with all district stakeholders, which may include teachers, school staff, professional support personnel, school volunteers, administrators, community representatives, local law enforcement agencies, students, parents and guardians, consistent with the requirements of this policy as well as state and federal laws. The bullying prevention and intervention plan shall be reviewed and updated at least biennially.
The Principal is responsible for the implementation and oversight of the bullying prevention and intervention plan within his or her school.
Students who believe that they are a target of bullying, observe an act of bullying, or who have reasonable grounds to believe that these behaviors are taking place, are obligated to report incidents to a member of the school staff. The target shall, however, not be subject to discipline for failure to report bullying.
Each school shall have a means for anonymous reporting by students of incidents of bullying. No formal disciplinary action shall be taken solely on the basis of an anonymous report.
Any student who knowingly makes a false accusation of bullying shall be subject to disciplinary action.
Parents or guardians, volunteers, or members of the community, are encouraged to report an incident of bullying as soon as possible.
A member of a school staff or an individual contracted by the Walpole Public Schools shall immediately report any instance of bullying that he/she has witnessed or become aware of to the school principal or designee.
The principal or designee, upon receipt of a viable report, shall promptly contact the parents or guardians of a student who has been the alleged target or alleged aggressor. The actions taken to prevent further acts of bullying shall be discussed.
The school principal or designee shall promptly investigate the report of bullying, using a designated Bullying/Cyber-bullying Report Form, which may include interviewing the alleged target, alleged aggressor, staff members, students and /or witnesses.
Staff members shall assess an alleged target’s immediate safety needs and implement a plan to ensure safety.
Confidentiality in all matters is essential in order to protect a person who reports bullying, provides information during an investigation, or is a witness to or has reliable information about an act of bullying. Information may be discussed only with the respective parent/guardian of the student(s) involved.
If the school principal or designee determines that bullying has occurred, he/she shall initiate appropriate disciplinary action. If criminal charges may be pursued, the principal shall consult with law enforcement officials and the Superintendent to determine if criminal charges are warranted.
The investigation shall be completed within fourteen (14) school days from the date of the report. The parents or guardians of targets and aggressors shall be contacted upon completion of the investigation and informed of the results, including whether the allegations were determined to be factual, whether a violation of this policy was found, and whether disciplinary action has or shall be taken. At a minimum, the principal or designee shall contact the parents or guardians regarding the status of the investigation on a weekly basis.
DISCIPLINARY AND CORRECTIVE ACTION
Violation of this policy is a serious offense. Violators may be subject to appropriate disciplinary and/or corrective action in accordance with district disciplinary policies, which are described in each school’s Code of Conduct, to stop the conduct and prevent its reoccurrence. The Walpole Public Schools is committed to protecting a complainant, and other similarly-situated individuals, from bullying in the future. Any student who knowingly makes a false accusation of bullying shall be subject to disciplinary action.
The Walpole Public Schools’ response to bullying actions will include, when appropriate, referral to a law enforcement agency. The Walpole Public Schools will support this policy in all aspects of its activities, including its curricula, instructional programs, staff development, extracurricular activities and parental involvement.
Each school shall document any incident of bullying that is reported per this policy and a file shall be maintained by the Principal or designee. A monthly report shall be provided to the Superintendent.
Confidentiality shall be maintained to the extent consistent with the school's obligations under the law.
Retaliation against a person who reports bullying, provides information during an investigation of bullying, or witnesses or has reliable information about bullying shall be prohibited.
The Walpole Public Schools shall provide counseling or referral to appropriate services, including guidance, academic intervention, and protection to students, both targets and aggressors, affected by bullying, as necessary.
Training and Assessment
Annual training shall be provided for school employees and volunteers who have significant contact with students in preventing, identifying, responding to, and reporting incidents of bullying.
Age-appropriate, evidence-based instruction on bullying prevention shall be incorporated into the curriculum for all PreK to grade 12 students.
Publication and Notice
Annual written notice of the relevant sections of the bullying prevention and intervention plan shall be provided to students and their parents or guardians, in age-appropriate terms.
Annual written notice of the bullying prevention and intervention plan shall be provided to all school staff. The faculty, staff, and contracted service providers at each school shall be trained annually on the bullying prevention and intervention plan applicable to the school.
Procedural manuals containing responsibilities of staff and students, reporting procedures, complaint process, resolution, and protection against retaliation shall be in place at each level. This policy shall be printed in each school handbook.
The Walpole Public Schools Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan shall be posted on the Walpole Public Schools website as well as on each school’s website.
REFERENCES: Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Model Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan
Title VII, Section 703, Civil Rights Act of 1964 as amended
Federal Regulation 74676 issued by EEO Commission
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972
603 CMR 26.00
MGL 265:43, 43A
ACAB, Sexual Harassment
JBA, Student-to-Student Harassment
JICFA, Prohibition of Hazing
JK, Student Discipline Regulations