Reporting bullying or retaliation
Reports of bullying or retaliation may be made by staff, students, parents, guardians, or others and may be oral or written. Oral reports made by or to a staff member shall be recorded in writing. A staff member is required to report immediately to the Administrator any instance of bullying or retaliation the staff member becomes aware of or witnesses. Reports made by students, parents, guardians, or other individuals who are not school or district staff members may be made anonymously. Clearway School will make a variety of reporting resources available to the school community including, but not limited to, an Incident Reporting Form and an email address.
Use of an Incident Reporting Form is not required as a condition of making a report however,Clearway school will:
- Include a copy of the Incident Reporting Form in the beginning of the year packets for students and parents or guardians;
- Make the Incident Reporting Form available in the school’s main office,
- Make the Incident Reporting Form available in the most prevalent language(s) of origin of students and parents or guardians.
A. Reporting by Staff
A staff member will report immediately to the Administrator when he/she witnesses or becomes aware of conduct that may be bullying or retaliation. The requirement to report to the Administrator does not limit the authority of the staff member to respond to behavioral or disciplinary incidents consistent with Clearway School’s policies and procedures for behavior management.
B. Reporting by Students, Parents or Guardians, and Others
Clearway School expects students, parents or guardians, and others who witness or become aware of an instance of bullying or retaliation involving a student to report it to the Administrator. Reports may be made anonymously, but no disciplinary action will be taken against an alleged aggressor solely on the basis of an anonymous report. Students, parents or guardians, and others may request assistance from a staff member to complete a written report. Students will be provided practical, safe, private, and age-appropriate ways to report and discuss an incident of bullying with a staff member or with the Administrator.
C. Responding to a Report of Bullying or Retaliation
Before fully investigating the allegations of bullying or retaliation, the Administrator will take steps to assess the need to restore a sense of safety to the alleged target and/or to protect the alleged target from possible further incidents. Responses to promote safety may include, but not be limited to, creating a personal safety plan; pre-determining seating arrangements for the target and/or the aggressor in the classroom, at lunch, on transportation; identifying a staff member who will act as a “safe person” for the target. The Administrator will take additional steps to promote safety during the course of and after the investigation, as necessary.
The Administrator will implement appropriate strategies for protecting from bullying or retaliation a student who has reported bullying or retaliation, a student who has witnessed bullying or retaliation, a student who provides information during an investigation, or a student who has reliable information about a reported act of bullying or retaliation.
Obligations to Notify Others
- Notice to Parents or Guardians: Upon determining that bullying or retaliation has occurred, the Administrator will promptly notify the parents or guardians of the target(s) and the aggressor(s) of the occurrence and of the procedures for responding to it. There may be circumstances in which the Administrator contacts parents or guardians prior to any investigation.
- Notice to Another School or District: If the reported incident involves students from more than one school, the Administrator will promptly notify by telephone the principal or designee of the other school(s) of the incident so that each school may take appropriate action.
- Notice to Law Enforcement: At any point after receiving a report of bullying or retaliation, including after an investigation, if the Administrator has a reasonable basis to believe that criminal charges may be pursued against the aggressor(s), the Administrator will notify the local law enforcement agency. Notice will be consistent with the requirements of 603 CMR 49.00 and locally established agreements with the local law enforcement agency. Also, if an incident occurs on school grounds and involves a former student under the age of 21 who is no longer enrolled in school, the Administrator shall contact the local law enforcement agency if he or she has a reasonable basis to believe that criminal charges may be pursued against the aggressor.
The Administrator will investigate promptly all reports of bullying or retaliation and, in doing so, will consider all available information known, including the nature of the allegation(s) and the ages of the students involved.
During the investigation the Administrator, among other things, interview students, staff, witnesses, parents or guardians, and others as necessary. The Administrator will remind the alleged aggressor, target, and witnesses that retaliation is strictly prohibited and will result in disciplinary action.
Interviews may be conducted by the Administrator or other staff members as determined by the Administrator. To the extent practicable and given his/her obligation to investigate and address the matter, the Administrator will maintain confidentiality during the investigative process. The Administrator will maintain a written record of the investigation.
Procedures for investigating reports of bullying and retaliation will be consistent with Clearway School’s policies and procedures for investigations. If necessary, the Administrator will consult with legal counsel about the investigation.
The Administrator will make a determination based upon all of the facts and circumstances. If, after investigation, bullying or retaliation is substantiated, the Administrator will take reasonably calculated steps to prevent recurrence and to ensure that the target is not restricted in participating in school or in benefiting from school activities. The Administrator will:
- Determine what remedial action is required, if any;
- Determine what responsive actions and/or disciplinary actions are necessary; and
- Promptly notify the parents or guardians of the target and the aggressor about the results of the investigation and, if bullying or retaliation is found, what action is being taken to prevent further acts of bullying or retaliation
Because of the legal requirements regarding the confidentiality of student records, the Administrator cannot report specific information to the target’s parent or guardian about the disciplinary action taken unless it involves a “stay away” order or other directive that the target and/or the target’s family must be aware of in order to report violations.
F. Responses to Bullying
Teaching Appropriate Behavior through Skills-building by
- Offering individualized skill-building sessions based on anti-bullying curricula;
- Providing relevant educational activities for individual students or groups of students;
- Implementing a range of academic and nonacademic positive behavioral supports to help students understand pro-social ways to achieve their goals;
- Meeting with parents and guardians to engage parental support and to reinforce the anti-bullying curricula and social skills building activities at home.
- Adopting behavioral plans to include focus on developing specific social skills
- Making a referral for evaluation.
Taking Disciplinary Action
If the Administrator decides that disciplinary action is appropriate, the disciplinary action will be determined on the basis of facts found by the Administrator, including the nature of the conduct, the age of the student(s) involved, and the need to balance accountability with the teaching of appropriate behavior. Discipline will be consistent with the Plan and Clearway School’s code of conduct.
If the Administrator determines that a student knowingly made a false allegation of bullying or retaliation, that student may be subject to disciplinary action.
Promoting Safety for the Target and Others
The Administrator will consider what adjustments, if any, are needed in the school environment to enhance the target’s sense of safety and that of others as well. One strategy that the Administrator may use is to increase adult supervision at transition times and in locations where bullying is known to have occurred or is likely to occur.
Within a reasonable period of time following the determination and the ordering of remedial and/or disciplinary action, the Administrator may contact the target to determine whether there has been a recurrence of the prohibited conduct and whether additional supportive measures are needed. If so, the administrator or designee will work with appropriate school staff to implement them immediately
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