Bullying, Cyberbullying, Harassment, and Hazing

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Walden School is committed to creating a school environment in which peace, harmony, social justice, and acceptance are key ingredients. Bullying is counter to this commitment and disruptive to all aspects of academic, social, and emotional development. School faculty and administration will regard any incident of bullying with seriousness by investigating and responding with utmost concern and seriousness and by providing immediate protection and support for any victim of bullying.   

I.     Purpose 

Bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, and hazing of students and employees are against federal, state and local policy, and are not tolerated by Walden School. Walden School is committed to providing all students with a safe and civil school environment in which all members of the school community are treated with dignity and respect. To that end, Walden School has in place policies, procedures, and practices that are designed to reduce and eliminate bullying, cyberbullying, harassment and hazing—including but not limited to civil rights violations—as well as processes and procedures to deal with such incidents. Bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, and hazing of students and/or employees by students and/or employees will not be tolerated at Walden. 

School officials have the authority to discipline students for off-campus speech that causes or threatens a substantial disruption on campus, including school activities, violent altercations, or a significant interference with a student’s educational performance and involvement in school activities. If after an investigation, a student is found to be in violation of this policy, the student shall be disciplined by appropriate measures up to, and including, suspension and expulsion, pursuant to Utah Code Ann. 53A-11-904 and or in accordance with the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights. If after an investigation, a school employee is found to be in violation of this policy, the employee shall be disciplined by appropriate measures up to, and including, termination.  

II.     Definitions

1.      "Bullying" means intentionally or knowingly committing an act that: 

a.     endangers the physical health or safety of a school employee or student.  This may include overt aggression (such as physical fighting or assault including punching, shoving, kicking, biting); verbal or social behavior (such as name calling, rumor spreading, intimidation, encouraging assault or intimidation); and sexual aggression or acts of a sexual nature or with sexual overtones. 

b.     involves any brutality of a physical nature such as whipping, beating, branding, calisthenics, bruising, electric shocking, placing of a harmful substance on the body, or exposure to the elements;

c.     involves consumption of any food, liquor, drug, or other substance;

d.     involves other physical activity that endangers the physical health and safety of a school employee or student; or

e.     involves physically obstructing a school employee's or student's freedom to move; and

f.      is done for the purpose of placing a school employee or student in fear of:

i.     physical harm to the school employee or student; or

ii.     harm to property of the school employee or student

2.     “Abusive conduct” means verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a parent or student directed toward a school employee that, based on its severity, nature, and frequency of occurrence, a reasonable person would determine:

a.     is intended to cause intimidation, humiliation, or unwarranted distress;

b.     results in substantial physical or psychological harm as a result of intimidation, humiliation, or unwarranted distress; or

c.     exploits a known physical or psychological disability

Note: A single act does not constitute abusive conduct, unless it is an especially severe and egregious act.

3.     The conduct described above constitutes bullying and/or abusive conduct, regardless of whether the person against whom the conduct is committed directed, consented to, or acquiesced in, the conduct.

4.      “Civil Rights Violations” means 

a.     bullying (including cyberbullying), harassing, or hazing that is targeted at a federally protected class

5.      "Cyberbullying" means using the Internet, a cell phone, or another device to send or post text, video, or an image with the intent or knowledge, or with reckless disregard, that the text, video, or image will hurt, embarrass, or threaten an individual, regardless of whether the individual directed, consented to, or acquiesced in the conduct, or voluntarily accessed the electronic communication. 

6.     “Federally protected class” means any group protected from discrimination under federal law 

a.     Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin

b.     Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex

c.     Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability

d.     Other areas included under these acts include religion, gender identity, and sexual orientation

7.      “Harassment” means repeatedly communicating to another individual, in an objectively demeaning or disparaging manner, statements that contribute to a hostile learning or work environment for the individual 

8.     “Hazing” means intentionally or knowingly committing an act that: 

a.     endangers the physical health or safety of a school employee or student; 

b.     involves any brutality of a physical nature such as whipping, beating, branding, calisthenics, bruising, electric shocking, placing of a harmful substance on the body, or exposure to the elements; 

c.     involves consumption of any food, liquor, drug, or other substance; 

d.     involves other physical activity that endangers the physical health and safety of a school employee or student; or 

e.     involves physically obstructing a school employee's or student's freedom to move; and 

f.      is done for the purpose of initiation or admission into, affiliation with, holding office in, or as a condition for, membership or acceptance, or continued membership or acceptance, in any school or school sponsored team, organization, program, or event; or 

g.     if the person committing the act against a school employee or student knew that the school employee or student is a member of, or candidate for, membership with a school, or school sponsored team, organization, program, or event to which the person committing the act belongs to or participates in 

h.     The conduct described in Subsection (5)(a) constitutes hazing, regardless of whether the person against whom the conduct is committed directed, consented to, or acquiesced in, the conduct. 

9.     “Retaliation” means an act of communication intended: 

a.     as retribution against a person for reporting bullying, cyberbullying, harassing, or hazing; or 

b.     to improperly influence the investigation of, or the response to, a report of bullying or hazing. 

10.  "School" refers to Walden School of Liberal Arts charter.

11.  "School board" means the Walden School board of trustees. 

12.  "School employee" means: 

a.     school teachers; 

b.     school staff; 

c.     school administrators; and 

d.     all others employed, directly or indirectly, by the school.

13.  Prevention

Walden is committed to providing a place for learning and working that allows for each person to be part of a caring, responsive, and safe environment free from discrimination, violence, and bullying. Our school works to ensure that all students have the opportunity and support to develop to their fullest potential and share a personal and meaningful bond with others in our school community. Specifically, the student, teacher, parent compact signed by each student applies to all, sets standards for behavior, and covers a focused set of expected positive behaviors that stipulate minimally the following:

Each student at Walden has a right to:

·       Learn in a safe and friendly place

·       Be treated with respect

·       Receive the help and support of caring adults

To assure, to the greatest extent possible, an ongoing community free from acts of bullying, cyberbullying, hazing, harassment, or harm of any sort to any member of the school community, the school will develop and update school rules and policies to keep them relevant and meaningful for students and school staff, assuring that:

a.     school rules and policies are consistent with state and federal laws and the school rules and policies.

b.     school staff, parents, and students are included when developing rules and policies. Students will be surveyed and given a role including them in setting their own climate of respect and responsibility. Parents will be involved so they can reinforce these concepts at home.

c.     school staff will be provided ongoing training on enforcing school rules and policies, giving them the tools to respond to bullying consistently and appropriately.

d.     rules and policies are incorporated in day-to-day school interactions. Teachers and students can discuss the concepts and applications in class. Students can hold each other accountable. The principal and other staff will communicate regularly with students and families regarding the “state of the school” as it aligns with the school’s mission.

e.     The school will document rule violations confidentially in the student management system so that reasonable consequences can be given to students when rules are broken. Reporting systems help track individual incidents and responses as well as trends over time.  Systems will be designed to:

·       Make it easy. People are more likely to report when it’s easy to do.

·       Maintain reports in the student management system to document emerging problems and patterns over time.

·       Keep reports confidential and private. School staff and students should be encouraged to report violations without fear of retaliation.

14.  Prohibitions 

a.     No school employee or student may engage in bullying or harassing a school employee or student: 

i.     on school property; 

ii.     at a school-related or sponsored event; or 

iii.     while the school employee or student is traveling to or from a location or event described above

b.     No school employee or student may engage in hazing or cyberbullying a school employee or student at any time or in any location

c.     No school employee or student may engage in retaliation against: 

i.     a school employee; 

ii.     a student;

iii.     a friend or family member of a student; or 

iv.     an investigator for, or witness of, an alleged incident of bullying, harassing, cyberbullying, hazing, or retaliation 

d.     No school employee or student may make a false allegation of bullying, harassing, cyberbullying, hazing, or retaliation against a school employee or student. 

e.     Any bullying, harassing, or hazing that is found to be targeted at a federally protected class is further prohibited under federal anti-discrimination laws and is subject to compliance regulations from the Office for Civil Rights. 

III. Actions Required if Prohibited Acts are Reported 

1.     Each reported complaint shall include: 

a.     name of complaining party; 

b.     name of offender (if known); 

c.     date and location of incident(s); 

d.     a statement describing the incident(s), including names of witnesses (if known). 

2.     Each reported violation of the prohibitions noted previously shall be promptly investigated by a school administrator or an individual designated by a school administrator. Formal disciplinary action is prohibited based solely on an anonymous report of bullying, hazing, or retaliation. 

3.     Verified violations of the prohibitions noted previously shall result in consequences or penalties. Consequences or penalties may include but are not limited to: 

a.     student suspension or removal from a school-sponsored team or activity including school sponsored transportation; 

b.     student suspension or expulsion from school or lesser disciplinary action; 

c.     employee suspension or termination for cause or lesser disciplinary action; 

d.     employee reassignment; or 

e.     other action against student or employee as appropriate. 

4.     Compliance with the Office for Civil Rights when Civil Rights Violations are Reported: 

a.     Once the school knows or reasonably should know of possible student-on-student bullying, cyber-bullying, harassment or hazing, the school must take immediate an appropriate action to investigate or otherwise determine what occurred. 

b.     If it is determined that the bullying, cyber-bulling, harassment or hazing did occur as a result of the student-victim’s membership in a protected class, the school shall take prompt and effective steps reasonably calculated to: 

i.     end the bullying, cyber-bullying, harassment, or hazing 

ii.     eliminate any hostile environment, and 

iii.     prevent its recurrence. 

5.     These duties are the school’s responsibilities even if the misconduct also is covered by a separate anti-bullying policy and regardless of whether the student makes a complaint, asks the school to take action, or identifies the bullying, cyberbullying, harassment or hazing as a form of discrimination. 

6.     Actions must also include, as appropriate: 

a.     procedures for protecting the victim and other involved individuals from being subjected to: 

i.     further bullying or hazing, and 

ii.     retaliation for reporting the bullying or hazing. 

b.     prompt reporting to law enforcement of all acts of bullying, hazing, or retaliation that constitute suspected criminal activity. 

c.     prompt reporting to the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) of all acts of bullying, hazing, retaliation that may be violations of student(s)’ or employee(s)’ civil rights. 

d.     prompt reporting to parents or guardians of students involved except when counter indicated by policy.

e.     procedures for a fair and timely opportunity for the accused to explain the accusations and defend his actions prior to student or employee discipline. 

f.      procedures for providing due process rights under Section 53A-8-102 (licensed staff), local employee discipline policies or Section 53A-11-903 and local policies (students) prior to long term (more than 10 day) student discipline or employee discipline.

g.     procedures for developing discipline or behavioral plans that are clearly written and consistently enforced and that include input from administration, staff, and appropriate students or parents. 

h.     procedures for addressing false accusations.  The school will consider the totality of the circumstances surrounding individuals who falsely accuse others.  Decisions about consequences and appropriate remedial actions should be consistent with existing local, state, and federal statute and policy.   

IV. Investigations

1.     The School will promptly and reasonably investigate allegations of bullying, cyberbullying, harassment and/or hazing. The School Investigators including the school principal and/or designee will be responsible for handling all complaints by students and employees alleging bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, or hazing per state and federal law and according to this policy.

2.     It is the School’s policy, in compliance with state and federal law, that students have a limited expectation of privacy on the school’s Internet system, and routine monitoring or maintenance may lead to discovery that a user has violated district policy of law. Also, individual targeted searches will be conducted if there is reasonable suspicion that a user has violated policy or law. Personal electronic devices of any student suspected of violation of the above policy will be confiscated for investigation and may be turned over to law enforcement.  

3.     Walden faculty and administration will work in concert with each other, with parents, and with the peers of the involved students to maintain and to restore the environment to a safe and supportive learning and social setting for all.

4.     All attempts will be made to resolve any behavioral concern that involves bullying with respect for all parties involved.  If the attempts of the school faculty and administration are unsuccessful in resolving a problem, the school board of trustees, local law enforcement, or other external mediators may be called on to support the school’s efforts. 

5.     A person who faces consequences or penalties shall have the right to defend or appeal the decision to the Walden School Board of Trustees, but may be removed from all school academic and non-academic activity for up to 10 days while the appeal is pending. 

V. Training

1.     The training of school employees and volunteers shall include training regarding bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, hazing, and retaliation. 

2.     The training will include training on civil rights violations and compliance when civil rights violations are reported. 

3.     To the extent possible, programs or initiatives designed to provide training and education regarding the prevention of bullying, hazing, and retaliation will be implemented. 

a.     Such programs will provide for student assessment of the prevalence of bullying, cyberbully, hazing, harassment, and prevention of self-harm. 

b.     Programs will include the building of positive social skills training for students and staff, including aides, custodians, kitchen and lunchroom workers, office personnel, paraprofessionals, and club advisors. 

4.     In addition to training for all students and school employees and volunteers, those involved in extra-curricular activities shall: 

a.     participate in bullying and hazing prevention training prior to participation; 

b.     repeat bullying and hazing prevention training at least every three years; 

c.     be informed annually of the prohibited activities list provided previously in this policy and the potential consequences for violation of this Policy. 

VI. Notifications

1.     The school principal and directors are ultimately responsible for receiving notifications of bullying, and to respond in a timely manner to such notices.  However, all school employees are responsible for identifying and reporting any observations of bullying (and related actions) and receiving any information from students and/or family members, or any other individuals. 

2.     The school will notify the parents of any student involved in an incident of bullying, cyber-bullying, harassment, hazing, or retaliation, of the incident involving a student as soon as possible.

a.     The notification will happen as soon as possible even if not all details are known.

b.     The notification will happen through means designed to reach parents rapidly.  In person, by phone, through email, and, if other options, fail, by certified postal mail.

c.     The notification will be made by the school principal or the principal’s designee.

3.     The school with notify a parent of any student who threatens to commit suicide. 

4.     If the school notifies a parent of an incident or threat described above, the school will create and maintain a record that verifies that the parent was notified of the incident or threat. 

a.     The record will be maintained in accordance with requirements of state student data protection regulations;

b.     Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act; and

c.     34 C.F.R Part 99.

5.     At the request of a parent, the school may provide information and make recommendations related to an incident or threat described above. 

6.     The school shall:

a.     Provide a student a copy of the record maintained in accordance with the section above that relates to the student if the student requests a copy of the record; and

b.     Expunge a record maintained in accordance with this section that relates to the student if the student:

i.     has graduated from high school; and

ii.    requests that the record be expunged. 

 VII. Resources and Support

1.     School staff, including but not limited to, faculty, staff, admin, and counselors will monitor student interaction in classrooms and other areas including playgrounds, hallways, bathrooms, lunch rooms, etc. to maintain appropriate social interactions. 

a.     Any bullying, cyberbullying, hazing, harassment, or indications of actual or potential self-harm will be reported immediately to the school principal or designee for timely action. 

VIII.  Additional Considerations for Extracurricular Activities

1.     Collaboration will exist with the Utah High School Activities Association, The Boys and Girls Clubs, and the Utah After-School Network to develop and provide training for related programs.

2.     Student athletes and club members are informed of prohibited activities under this policy and notified of potential consequences for violation of the prohibitions herein. 

3.     Training outlines, schedules, and participants are maintained in school records and can be accessed by USBE upon request. 

4.     All coaches and club mentors or sponsors act consistently with professional standards in all responsibilities and activities related to the school and its sponsored or related activities. 

5.     Disciplinary action is established by school administration when a coach, mentor, or volunteer fails to act consistently with expected standards of behavior toward students, colleagues and parents which may result in termination of employment or service.

Additional Notes 

1.     This policy is subject to further development with input from (1) students, (2) parents, (3) teachers, (4) school administrators, (5) school staff, (6) law enforcement agencies, and subject to change based on local, state, and federal legislation. 

2.     All information received in a complaint, names of complainants shall be treated with the utmost confidence to the extent possible. Administrators shall notify complainant before revealing the identity.