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5517.01 Policy_Bullying

The Board of Education is committed to providing a safe, positive, productive, and nurturing educational
environment for all of its students. The Board encourages the promotion of positive interpersonal relations between
members of the school community. Bullying toward a student, whether by other students, staff, or third parties is
strictly prohibited and will not be tolerated. This prohibition includes physical, verbal, and psychological abuse. The
Board will not tolerate any gestures, comments, threats, or actions which cause or threaten to cause bodily harm
or personal degradation. This policy applies to all activities in the District, including activities on school property,
including at any of the school buildings or other property used exclusively or in part, whether leased or owned by
the District, for the purpose of school-related functions or events; or while traveling to or from school or to and from
school-sponsored functions or events; in transporting vehicles arranged for by School District officials. The policy
applies as well during activities that occur off school property if the student or employee is at any school-
sponsored, school-approved or school-related activity or function, such as field trips or athletic events where
students are under the supervision of school authorities, or where an employee is engaged in school business.
 
Bullying is deliberate or intentional behavior using word or actions, intended to cause fear, intimidation, or harm.
Bullying may be a repeated behavior and involves an imbalance of power. Furthermore, it may be serious enough
to negatively impact a student's educational, physical, or emotional well being. The behavior may be motivated by
an actual or perceived distinguishing characteristic, such as, but not limited to: age; national origin; race;
ethnicity; religion; gender; gender identity; sexual orientation; physical attributes; physical or mental ability or
disability; and social, economic, or family status; however this type of bullying behavior need not be based on any
of the legally protected characteristics. It includes, but is not necessarily limited to such behaviors as stalking,
cyberbullying, intimidating, menacing, coercing, name-calling, taunting, making threats, and hazing.
 
Any student that believes s/he has been or is the victim of bullying should immediately report the situation to the
building principal or assistant principal, or the Superintendent. The student may also report concerns to a teacher
or counselor who will be responsible for notifying the appropriate administrator or Board official. Complaints against
the building principal should be filed with the Superintendent. Complaints against the District Administrator should
be filed with the Board President.
 
Every student is encouraged to report any situation that they believe to be bullying behavior directed toward a
student. Reports may be made to those identified above.
 
All school staff members and school officials who observe or become aware of acts of bullying are required to
report these acts to the building principal or assistant principal, or the Superintendent.
 
Reports of bullying may be made verbally or in writing and may be made confidentially. All such reports, whether
verbal or in writing, will be taken seriously and a clear account of the incident is to be documented. A written
record of the report, including all pertinent details, will be made by the recipient of the report.
 
All complaints about behavior that may violate this policy shall be investigated promptly by the building principal.
The staff member who is investigating the report of bullying shall interview the victim(s) of the alleged bullying and
collect whatever other information is necessary to determine the facts and the seriousness of the report.
 
Parents and/or guardians of each student involved in the bullying report will be notified prior to the conclusion of the
investigation. The District shall maintain the confidentiality of the report and any related student records to the
extent required by law.
 
If the investigation finds that bullying has occurred, it will result in prompt and appropriate remedial and/or
disciplinary action. This may include student discipline, including, but not limited to reprimand, suspension, or
possible expulsion. Further, the result of an investigation that finds that bullying has occurred may result in
discharge for employees, exclusion for parents, guests, volunteers, and contractors, and removal from any official
position and/or a request to resign for Board members. Individuals may also be referred to law enforcement
officials.
 
The complainant shall be notified of the findings of the investigation, and as appropriate, that remedial action has
been taken.
 
This policy shall not be interpreted to infringe upon the First Amendment rights of students (i.e., to prohibit a
reasoned and civil exchange of opinions, or debate, that is conducted at appropriate times and places during the
school day and is protected by State or Federal law).
 
Retaliation against any person who reports, is thought to have reported, files a complaint, or otherwise
participates in an investigation or inquiry concerning allegations of bullying is prohibited and will not be tolerated.
Such retaliation shall be considered a serious violation of Board policy and independent of whether a complaint is
substantiated. Suspected retaliation should be reported in the same manner as bullying. Making intentionally false
reports about bullying for the purpose of getting someone in trouble is similarly prohibited and will not be tolerated.
Retaliation and intentionally making a false report may result in disciplinary action as indicated above.
 
The following definitions are provided for guidance only. If a student or other individual believes there has been
bullying, regardless of whether it fits a particular definition, s/he should report it and allow the administration to
determine the appropriate course of action.
 
"Bullying" is defined on page one. Some examples of bullying are:
 
    A. Physical – hitting, kicking, spitting, pushing, pulling, taking and/or damaging personal belongings or extorting
        money, blocking or impeding student movement, unwelcome physical contact.
 
    B. Verbal – taunting, malicious teasing, insulting, name calling, making threats.
 
    C. Psychological – spreading rumors, manipulating social relationships, coercion, or engaging in social
        exclusion/shunning, extortion, or intimidation.
 
    D. “Cyberbullying" – the use of information and communication technologies such as e-mail, cell phone and
        pager text messages, instant messaging (IM), defamatory personal web sites, and defamatory online
        personal polling web sites, to support deliberate, repeated, and hostile behavior by an individual or group,
        that is intended to harm others."
 
The Board recognizes that cyberbullying can be particularly devastating to young people because:
 
    1. Cyberbullies more easily hide behind the anonymity that the Internet provides;
 
    2. Cyberbullies spread their hurtful messages to a very wide audience with remarkable speed;
 
    3. Cyberbullies do not have to own their own actions, as it is usually very difficult to identify cyberbullies
        because of screen names, so they do not fear being punished for their actions; and
 
    4. The reflection time that once existed between the planning of a prank – or a serious stunt – and its
        commission has all but been erased when it comes to cyberbullying activity.
 
Cyberbullying includes, but is not limited to the following:
 
    1. Posting slurs or rumors or other disparaging remarks about a student on a web site or on weblog;
 
    2. Sending e-mail or instant messages that are mean or threatening, or so numerous as to drive up the victim’s
        cell phone bill;
 
    3. Using a camera phone to take and send embarrassing photographs of students;
 
    4. Posting misleading or fake photographs of students on web sites.
 
"Harassment" includes, but is not limited to, any act which subjects an individual or group to unwanted, abusive
behavior of a nonverbal, verbal, written or physical nature on the basis of age, race, religion, color, national origin,
marital status or disability (sexual orientation, physical characteristic, cultural background, socioeconomic status,
or geographic location).
 
"Intimidation" includes, but is not limited to, any threat or act intended to tamper, substantially damage or
interfere with another's property, cause substantial inconvenience, subject another to offensive physical contact or
inflict serious physical injury on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin or sexual orientation.
 
"Menacing" includes, but is not limited to, any act intended to place a school employee, student, or third party in
fear of imminent serious physical injury.
 
"Harassment, intimidation, or bullying" means any act that substantially interferes with a student's educational
benefits, opportunities, or performance, that takes place on or immediately adjacent to school grounds, at any
school-sponsored activity, on school–provided transportation or at any official school bus stop, and that has the
effect of:
 
    A. Physically harming a student or damaging a student's property;
 
    B. Knowingly placing a student in reasonable fear of physical harm to the student or damage to the student's
        property; or
 
    C. Creating a hostile educational environment.
 
"Staff" includes all school employees and Board members.
 
"Third parties" include, but are not limited to, coaches, school volunteers, parents, school visitors, service
contractors, vendors, or others engaged in District business, and others not directly subject to school control at
inter-district or intra-district athletic competitions or other school events.
 
For a definition of and instances that could possibly be construed as hazing, consult Policy 5516.
 
Privacy/Confidentiality
 
The School District will respect the privacy of the complainant, the individual(s) against who the complaint is filed,
and the witnesses as much as possible, consistent with the Board’s legal obligations to investigate, to take
appropriate action, and to conform with any discovery or disclosure obligations. All records generated under this
policy and its related administrative guidelines shall be maintained as confidential to the extent permitted by law.
 
To the extent appropriate in conducting a thorough investigation and/or as legally permitted, confidentiality will be
maintained during the investigation process.
 
 
Notification
 
Notice of this policy will be annually distributed to all students enrolled in the School District, their parents and
employees. The policy will also be distributed to organizations in the community having cooperative agreements
with the schools. Additionally, the policy will be posted in conspicuous locations in all school buildings and
departments within the District and discussed with students, as well as incorporated into the teacher, student, and
parent handbooks. State and Federal rights posters on discrimination and harassment shall also be posted at
each building. All new hires will be required to review and sign off on this policy and the related complaint
procedure.
 
The School District will also provide a copy of the policy to any person who requests it.
 
 
Records and Reports
 
Records will be maintained on the number and types of reports made, and sanctions imposed for incidents found
to be in violation of the bullying policy.
 
An annual summary report shall be prepared and presented to the School Board, which includes trends in bullying
behavior and recommendations on how to further reduce bullying behavior. The annual report will be available to the
public.
 
 
Education and Training
 
In support of this policy, the Board promotes preventative educational measures to create greater awareness of
bullying behavior. The Superintendent shall provide appropriate training to all members of the School District
community related to the implementation of this policy and its accompanying administrative guidelines. All training
regarding the Board’s policy and administrative guidelines on bullying will be age and content appropriate.
 
The complaint procedure established by the District Administrator as set forth in AG 5517.01 shall be followed.
 
Wis. Stat. 118.46

Revised 8/9/10
Approved/Adopted:  July 13, 2009
ĉ
Shari Weinstock,
Aug 8, 2011, 9:14 AM