POLICY REVISION – 6.304
GENERAL STATEMENTS AND DEFINITIONS
The Board has determined that a safe, civil, and supportive environment is necessary for students to learn and achieve high academic standards, and therefore prohibits acts of harassment, bullying, or intimidation.
Harassment or bullying, like other disruptive or violent behavior is conduct that disrupts both a student’s ability to learn and a school’s ability to educate students in a safe environment.
Harassment or bullying is any gesture or written, verbal, graphic, or physical act (including electronically transmitted acts) that may be reasonably perceived as being motivated either by any actual or perceived characteristic including, but not limited to race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression; or a mental, physical, or sensory disability or impairment; or by any other distinguishing characteristic. Nothing in this policy shall prevent the school system from responding to an incident due to a lack of an identifiable motivation. Such behavior is considered harassment or bullying whether it takes place on school property, at any school-sponsored function, or in a school vehicle. Behaviors off school property, including designated bus stops or through electronic media may be subject to this policy to the extent that such behavior disrupts the learning environment of the school.
Bullying is conduct that meets one or more of the following criteria:
Bullying behavior has the potential to:
- Is an act directed at one or more students that is intended to harm or embarrass;
- Is repeated over time; and
- Involves an imbalance of physical, emotional, or social power.
- Interfere with educational opportunities, benefits, or programs;
- Adversely affect the ability of a student to participate in or benefit from programs or activities by placing the student in reasonable fear of physical harm or emotional distress; and
- Be based on a student’s actual or perceived distinguishing characteristic.
Harassment is conduct that meets one or more of the following criteria:
- Is an act directed at one or more students that is received as harmful or embarrassing;
- Substantially interferes with educational opportunities, benefits, or programs;
- Substantially affects the ability of a student to participate in or benefit from programs or activities by placing the student in reasonable fear of physical harm or emotional distress;
- Is based on a student’s actual or perceived distinguishing characteristic;
- Is repeated over time, is severe, persistent, and pervasive;
- Causes mental duress, or psychological trauma to the victim; or
- May constitute violations of Title VI, Title IX, or Section 504.
Violations of Title VI, IX or 504 should be reported to the appropriate officials at the Central Office.
This policy does not deny the right of any individual to pursue other avenues of recourse which may include filing a complaint with the OCR of TN or USDE or initiating a civil action in court.
The Board deems intimidation as a possible form or expression of harassment or bullying.
Cyberbullying is defined as the use of information and communication technologies (e-mail, text or picture messages, defamatory web sites, social networking, etc.) to support deliberate, hostile behavior intended to frighten or harm others.
Hazing includes, but is not limited to, any act that recklessly or intentionally endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student for the purpose of initiation or as a condition or precondition of attaining membership in, or affiliation with, any district-sponsored activity or grade level attainment.
The Board prohibits any behavior aimed at defining a student in a sexual manner or conduct impugning the character of a student based on allegations of sexual promiscuity.
The Board expects all employees, volunteers, and students to conduct themselves in a manner in keeping with their levels of development, maturity, and demonstrated capabilities with a proper regard for the rights and welfare of others. Appropriate behavior includes treating others with civility and respect, and rebutting to tolerate harassment or bullying.
PREVENTION AND INTERVENTION RESPONSE
Consequences and appropriate remedial actions for bullying or harassment may range from positive behavioral interventions up to and including suspension or expulsion.
School administrators shall consider the nature and circumstances of the incident, age and maturity, degree of harm, previous incidences or patterns of behavior, and other factors as appropriate to properly respond to each situation. Consequences for a student who commits such acts shall be unique to the individual incident and will vary in method and severity according to the nature of the behavior and must be consistent with the approved code of student conduct.
Remedial measures shall be designed to correct the problem behavior, prevent another occurrence of the behavior, and protect the victim of the act.
Since bystander support of harassment or bullying can promote these behaviors, the district encourages all witnesses to respond appropriately (safe intervention and reporting) when these behaviors are observed.
REPORTING AND INVESTIGATION
The principal/designee shall be responsible for receiving complaints alleging violations of this policy. The principal is responsible for determining whether an alleged act constitutes a violation of this policy. In doing so, a prompt, thorough and complete investigation of each alleged incident shall be conducted. Within the parameters of FERPA, a report on the investigation will be delivered to the parents of the complainant and accused students and to the Director/Designee within ten (10) school days of the allegation.
REPRISAL, RETALIATION, OR FALSE ACCUSATIONS
The Board prohibits reprisal or retaliation against any person who reports an act of harassment or bullying.
The Board prohibits any person from falsely accusing another of having committed an act of harassment or bullying as means of reprisal or retaliation or of harassment or bullying.
Consequences for a student who commits such acts shall be unique to the individual incident and will vary in method and severity according to the nature of the behavior and must be consistent with the approved code of student conduct.