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Bullying Prevention

Bullying Incident Reporting Form

If you would like to report an allegation of bullying, please download the form or you may use the contact information below.

Bullying Incident Reporting Form

Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan

The Monson Public Schools District has developed a bullying prevention and intervention plan in accordance with the guidance issued by the Mass. DESE on September 2013


IMPORTANT DEFINITIONS:

  • Bullying for the purposes of requirements related M.G.L. c. 71 § 37O is defined as the following: The repeated use by one or more students or by a member of a school staff including, but not limited to, an educator, administrator, school nurse, cafeteria worker, custodian, bus driver, athletic coach, advisor to an extracurricular activity or paraprofessional of a written, verbal or electronic expression or a physical act or gesture or any combination thereof, directed at a victim that: (i) causes physical or emotional harm to the victim or damage to the victim's property; (ii) places the victim in reasonable fear of harm to himself or of damage to his property; (iii) creates a hostile environment at school for the victim; (iv) infringes on the rights of the victim at school; or (v) materially and substantially disrupts the education process or the orderly operation of a school. For the purposes of this section, bullying shall include cyber-bullying.
  • Perpetrator – a student or a member of a school staff including, but not limited to, an educator, administrator, school nurse, cafeteria worker, custodian, bus driver, athletic coach, advisor to an extracurricular activity or paraprofessional who engages in bullying or retaliation.

Priority Statement: Monson Public Schools District will investigate promptly all reports and complaints of bullying, cyber-bullying, and retaliation, and take prompt action to end that behavior and restore a sense of safety.

The principal is responsible for implementing the Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan, which includes the following provisions:

  • Strategies for protecting those who report bullying.
  • Notice to the parents or guardians of students involved in bullying, including perpetrators and victims.
  • Appropriate services for students who have been bullied or who are bullies.
  • Age-appropriate review of the student-related sections of the Bullying Prevention Plan in the Student Handbook.
  • Annual review of available data on bullying and behavioral incidents and assessment of available resources including curricula, training programs, and behavioral health services.
  • Any retaliatory action of any kind taken by an employee or student of the Monson Public School District against anyone as a result of that person’s advocacy for rights protected under Monson Public School District’s applicable policy and applicable Federal laws, seeking help, cooperating in an investigation, or otherwise participating in any proceeding is prohibited.

 

  1. It is a violation of the Bullying Policy for any administrator, teacher or other employee, or any student to engage in or condone bullying in school or to fail to report or otherwise take reasonable corrective measures when they become aware of an incident of bullying.
  2. This policy is not designed or intended to limit the school’s authority to take disciplinary action or take remedial action when such bullying occurs out of school but has a connection to school, or is disruptive to an employee’s or student’s work or participation in school related activities.
  3. It is the responsibility of every employee, student and parent to recognize and report acts of bullying and take every action necessary to ensure that the applicable policies and procedures of this school district are implemented.
  4. Any employee or student who believes that he or she has been subjected to bullying has the right to file a complaint and to receive prompt and appropriate handling of the complaint. Further, all reasonable efforts shall be made to maintain the confidentiality and protect the privacy of all parties, but proper enforcement of this policy may require disclosure of any or all information received.
  5. The building principal or designee shall be responsible for assisting employees and students seeking counseling or support in addressing matters relating to any form of bullying.
  6. Retaliation in any form against any person who has made or filed a complaint relating to bullying is forbidden. If it occurs, it could be considered grounds for dismissal of staff personnel and/or removal from the educational setting for a student. A referral to law enforcement may be made.
  7. Reports of bullying should be confidential, consistent with necessary investigation procedures, with the goal of protecting the victim and stopping the behavior.
  8. Preventing bullying to create a more positive school climate and to prevent as much bullying as possible, age-appropriate instruction on bullying prevention, for students in each grade must be incorporated in a school’s curriculum. Professional development is required for teachers and other staff to help them prevent and stop bullying. In addition, schools must offer education to parents about bullying prevention.
  9. Children on the Autism Spectrum must have provisions in their Individualized Educational Programs (IEPs) to ensure they obtain the skills to avoid and respond to bullying, an especially challenging task for Autistic children.
  10. Reporting and Stopping Bullying - To stop bullying as soon as it occurs, all school staff are required to promptly report bullying when they witness or become aware of it. A school principal or his designee must immediately investigate and take appropriate disciplinary action.


Procedures for Reporting and Investigating Bullying, Hazing, and Intimidation Claims

In school systems, bullying may take many forms and cross many lines. The situation may be an instance of staff member to staff member, staff member to student, student to staff member, or student to student. Guidelines for dealing with any charge of bullying are as follows:

  1. (Student and Adults) By law, bullying is defined by the victim’s perception in combination with objective standards or expectations. What one person may consider acceptable behavior may be viewed as bullying by another person. Therefore, in order to protect the rights of both parties, it is important that the victim make it clear to the bully that the behavior is objectionable.
  2. (Students and Adults) In all charges of bullying, the victim should report the specifics of the complaint to ensure that the subsequent investigation is focused on the relevant facts. Oral and anonymous complaints will be reviewed but are inherently difficult to investigate and may not be procedurally fair; as a result no disciplinary action shall be taken on anonymous complaints unless verified by clear and convincing evidence. All other complaints will be reviewed based on a preponderance of evidence standard.
  3. (Students and Adults) Any school employee that has reliable information that would lead a reasonable person to suspect that a person is a target of bullying, hazing, or intimidation shall immediately report it to the administration; each school shall document any prohibited incident that is reported and confirmed, and report all incidents of hazing, intimidation, bullying or cyber-bullying and the resulting consequences, including discipline and referrals, in accordance with state laws and regulations.
  4. (Students) A good faith report from a staff member renders the staff member immune from discipline for making a report and is considered to have been made in the course of the staff member’s employment for purposes of M.G.L. c. 258. School staff will be indemnified from any cause of action arising out of a good faith report of bullying or the district’s subsequent actions or inaction in connection thereto.
  5. (Students) If an instance of student to student bullying is reported to a staff member other than an administrator, the staff member must inform the dean of students or the building principal.
  6. (Adults) If the alleged bully is responsible for conducting an investigation, the Superintendent or Committee shall designate an alternative Coordinator, who is immediate Supervisor of the alleged bully.
  7. (Adults) If a situation involving a charge of staff member to student bullying is brought to the attention of any staff member, the staff member should notify the building principal or Director of Student Services immediately.
  8. (Students) In a situation involving a charge of student to staff member bullying the staff member should notify the building principal or Director of Student Services.
  9. (Adults) In a situation involving a charge of staff member to staff member bullying the staff member should notify the building principal or the Director of Student Services.
  10. (Students and Adults) Once a charge of bullying has been made, including charges of mental, emotional or physical bullying as well as threats to a person's safety or position in the school or work environment, the following course of action should be taken:
    1. The building principal should investigate the charge through discussions with the individuals involved.
    2. In situations involving allegations against a staff member, he/she should be informed of his/her rights to have a third party present at the time of the discussion.
    3. In situations involving students the principal should engage the appropriate classroom or special subject area teacher. Parents will be informed of the situation in incidences involving students.
    4. It is important that the situation be resolved as confidentially and as quickly as the circumstances permit.
    5. After an investigation with the involved parties, if the building principal determines that disciplinary action must be taken, the following could occur:
    6. (Students and Adults) In instances involving student to student or student to staff member bullying, the student may be subject to discipline including but not limited to counseling, suspension, and in appropriate cases expulsion.
    7. (Adults) In instances involving staff member to student and staff member to staff member bullying, findings will be reported to the Superintendent of Schools for further action. Personnel action may also be initiated at this point, consistent with the applicable law and collective bargaining agreement.
    8. (Students and Adults) In all cases, a referral to law enforcement will be considered by the Principal or Superintendent based on the circumstances. School officials will coordinate with the Police Department to identify a police liaison for bullying cases.

Education and Skill Building

In determining the appropriate response to an incident of bullying, cyberbullying or retaliation, the principal shall consider a range of responses that balance the need for accountability with the need to teach appropriate behavior. M.G.L. c.71, 8370(d) (v)2 Skill-building approaches that the principal or designee may consider include, but are not limited to:

  • Offering individualized skill-building sessions based school's/district's anti-bullying curricula;
  • Providing relevant educational activities for individual students or groups of students, in consultation with guidance counselors and other appropriate school personnel;
  • Implementing a range of academic and nonacademic positive behavioral supports to help students understand pro-social ways to achieve their goals;
  • Meeting with parents/guardians to engage parental support and to reinforce the anti-bullying curricula and social skills building activities at home.

We recognize that certain students may be more vulnerable to become targets of bullying, harassment, or teasing based on actual or perceived characteristics, including race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, sex, socioeconomic, status, homelessness, academic status, gender identity or expression, physical appearance, or sensory, disability, or by association with a person who has or is perceived to have one or more of these characteristics. The school or district will identify specific steps it will take to create a safe, supportive environment for vulnerable populations in the school community, and provide all students with the skills, knowledge, and strategies to prevent or respond to bullying, harassment, or teasing.

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