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Sequoia Union HSD |  5000 |  AR  5131.2  Students

Anti-Bullying/Anti-Harassment   

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Definition of Terms:

Bullying, harassment, cyberbullying and related terms are defined as follows:

1. Bullying means inflicting physical hurt or psychological distress on one or more students or employees. The term "bullying" is further defined as follows:

Unwanted purposeful written verbal, nonverbal, or physical behavior, including but not limited to any threatening, insulting, or dehumanizing gesture, by an adult or student, that causes an intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational environment or causes long term damage; causes discomfort or humiliation; or unreasonably interfere with the individual's school performance or participation, and is often characterized by an imbalance of power.

Bullying may involve, but is not limited to these non-verbal and verbal behaviors:

a. Unwanted teasing

b. Threatening

c. Intimidating

d. Stalking

e. Cyberstalking

f. Cyberbullying

g. Disseminating inappropriate images

h. Physical violence

i. Theft

j. Sexual, religious, or racial harassment

k. Public humiliation

l. Destruction of school or personal property

m. Social exclusion, including incitement and/or coercion

n. Rumor or spreading of falsehoods

2. Harassment means any threatening, insulting, or dehumanizing gesture or written, verbal or physical conduct directed against a student that does the following:

a. Places a student in reasonable fear of harm to his or her person or damage to his or her property;

b. Has the effect of substantially interfering with a student's educational performance, or either's opportunities, or benefits;

c. Has the effect of substantially negatively impacting a student's emotional or mental well- being; or

d. Has the effect of substantially disrupting the orderly operation of a school and/or school district work environment.

3. Cyberbullying is defined as the willful bullying, harassment, discrimination, or intimidation of a person through the use of digital technologies, including, but not limited to these: email, blogs, texting on cell phones, social websites (e.g., MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, etc.), chat rooms, sexting, images, instant messaging, or video voyeurism.

4. Cyberstalking means to engage in a course of conduct to communicate or to cause to be communicated the following: words, images, or language by or through the use of electronic communication, directed at or about a specific person, causing substantial emotional distress to that person and serving no legitimate purpose.

5. Bullying, Harassment and/or Cyberbullying also encompass:

a. Retaliation against a student by another student or school employee for asserting or alleging an act of bullying, harassment, discrimination or intimidation.

b. Retaliation also includes reporting a baseless act of bullying, harassment, discrimination or intimidation that is not made in good faith.

c. Perpetuation of conduct listed in the definition of bullying, harassment, discrimination and/or intimidation by an individual or group with intent to demean, dehumanize, embarrass, or cause emotional or physical harm to a student by:

(1) incitement or coercion;

(2) accessing or reading other users mail or files or attempting to interfere with other users' ability to send or receive electronic mail; or

(3) acting in a manner that has an effect substantially similar to the effect of bullying, harassment, or discrimination.

6. Bullying, Harassment, Cyberbullying, Discrimination, and Intimidation also encompass, but are not limited to, unwanted harm towards a student or employee in regard to their actual or perceived: sex, race, color, religion, national origin, age, disability (physical, mental, or educational), marital status, socio-economic background, physical appearance, ancestry, ethnicity, gender, gender identity or expression, linguistic preference, political beliefs, sexual orientation, or social/family background or being viewed as different in its education programs or admissions to education programs.

7. Accused is defined as any district employee, student, or other person in the school or outside the school at school sponsored events or on school buses who is reported to have committed an act of bullying or harassment, whether formally or informally, verbally or in writing.

8 Complainant is defined as any district employee, student, or other person who formally or informally makes a report of bullying or harassment orally or in writing.

9. Victim is defined as any district employee, student, or other person in the school or outside the school at school sponsored events or on school bus who is reported to have been the target of an act of bullying or harassment during any educational program or activity conducted by the District.

The Sequoia Union High School District prohibits bullying, harassment, discrimination, intimidation, cyberbullying and cyberstalking, of or toward any student or employee by any employee, student, parent, contractor, vendor, or any school visitor, regardless of whether such behavior occurs on school district sites, school buses, or outside of school at school-sponsored events.

These administrative regulations constitute a focused, coordinated effort designed to support school staff in their efforts to provide awareness, training, and intervention steps when bullying and harassment incidents are reported and/or occur.

Because acts of bullying, harassment, discrimination, intimidation or cyberbullying are not tolerated on any SUHSD school campus, students and/or staff are expected to immediately report incidents to the principal or designee. Each complaint will be promptly investigated.

The Principal or administrative designee will respond and intervene to reports of bullying, harassment, discrimination, intimidation, and cyberbullying and follow procedures established at each school site.

This policy applies to incidents occurring on school grounds, on transportation provided by the district while traveling to and from school, or during a school-sponsored activity on or off campus.

The District will not tolerate any act of bullying or harassment behavior including gestures, comments, threats or actions, either written, verbal, electronic or physical, which cause, threaten to cause or are likely to cause bodily harm or personal degradation on any District campus, on district provided transportation, via district or privately owned digital technology, or at any school activity whether on or off campus. If behavior occurs off campus but affects the student or staff's ability to function at school, the accused may be subject to disciplinary actions.

The consequences of these actions may include a broad range of disciplinary measures but can include suspension/ and recommendation for expulsion.

Initial Response and Reporting Expectations

The District requires all employees, if they observe or become aware of an act of bullying, harassment, discrimination, or intimidation to take immediate, appropriate steps to intervene when safe to do so.

The situation must be reported to an administrator for further investigation in writing within (2) two working days.

Investigation and Response

Investigations of discrimination complaints shall follow Uniform Complaint Procedures.

(cf. 1312.3 - Uniform Complaint Procedures)

Any incident reported to administration, which may constitute an act of bullying, harassment, discrimination, intimidation or any other behavior under this policy, shall be thoroughly investigated.

As part of the investigation process the parent/guardians of all students involved in any incident shall be contacted and may be asked to attend a conference with school officials. Staff will develop a supervision plan with the parents as appropriate. If a parent/guardian does not attend the conference, the site administrator shall send a letter informing the parent/guardian of the action under consideration and notifying parent/guardian of all data pertinent to the action.

Investigations of alleged bullying, harassment, intimidation, cyberbullying, and cyberstalking shall be conducted by the school site administration. Verbal and written communications with parents/guardians, complainant, victim and accused shall be in the person's primary language as needed. Investigations shall be conducted in a manner that protects confidentiality of the parties and the facts as appropriate. The Principal or designee will discuss the incident with the parent/guardian, complainant, victim, accused, witnesses, and other persons who may be mentioned as possessing information within five (5)working days of written notification of the alleged incident. The Principal or designee shall document all investigations and shall inform the parent/guardian, complainant, victim and accused of the decision regarding the allegation immediately after concluding the investigation if the investigation determines that bullying, harassment, intimidation, or cyberbullying has occurred. The complainant or victim may appeal the principal's decision to the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources. The Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources will review the case and inform the complainant and victim in writing of the decision after concluding the investigation.

If the complainant or victim is dissatisfied with the decision of the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources, he/she may, within five (5) working days, file his/her complaint with the Board of Trustees. Uniform Complaint Procedures will then be followed. The Board may consider the matter at its next regular board meeting or at a special board meeting convened in order to meet the sixty (60) day time limit within which the complaint must be answered. The Board may decide not to hear the complaint, in which case the decision of the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources is final. If the Board hears the complaint, the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources shall send the Board's decision to the complainant/victim within sixty (60) days of the district's initially receiving the complaint or within the time period that has been specified in a written agreement with the complainant. If dissatisfied with the decision of the District, the complainant/victim may appeal to the California Department of Education within fifteen (15) days of receiving the District's decision.

Consequences shall be commensurate with the results of the investigation. This may include, but is not limited to, counseling, parent conference, detention, the involvement of law enforcement, involuntary transfer, a formal suspension and/or expulsion. Students may also be required to attend a site program designed to teach anti-bullying behavior or other appropriate intervention.

If the act of bullying, harassment, discrimination, or intimidation is deemed serious enough to warrant a suspension, expulsion, or involuntary transfer to another school, then the matter will be processed in accordance with Education Code 48900, et.seq.

Depending on the severity of the incident, the administrator shall take appropriate steps to ensure campus safety.

The Board prohibits any form of retaliation against any complainant or victim in the complaint process.

The Principal's office or designee will maintain documentation of complaints and their resolution for a minimum of one year.

The school site administration will ensure that appropriate resources will be offered to the victim and victim's family who have been subjected to bullying, harassment discrimination, intimidation, cyberbullying and cyberstalking . These resources may include but are not limited to on-site counseling or therapeutic services if available, peer mediation and referrals to San Mateo County Victim's Service.

Education and Prevention

To ensure harassment and bullying behavior does not occur on school campuses, on district provided transportation, or during school events whether on or off campus, the District and school sites shall offer training and intervention programs for students and staff, which will enhance self-esteem, raise student awareness and sensitivity, and foster respect for individuals and their unique qualities. These programs reinforce the school's capacity to maintain a safe and healthy learning environment.

Teachers should discuss this policy with their students and should assure them that they need not endure any form of harassment.

Each school will adhere to the anti -bullying/anti-harassment procedures to be followed by every student and staff while on school grounds, or when traveling to and from school or a school-sponsored activity, and during lunch period, whether on or off campus.

Notification

The board policy and administrative regulations shall be posted in English and Spanish in all schools and offices, including staff lounges and pupil government meeting rooms.

At the beginning of each school year, all students and their parents will be notified of this policy and administrative regulation annually through the school site student handbook.

The Assistant Superintendent Human Resources oversees district compliance with this policy.

Regulation SEQUOIA UNION HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT

approved: May 2, 2012 Redwood City, California