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Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan

Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan

A PDF of the plan can also be found here. 

Bullying Prevention Incident Reporting Form


The Collegiate Charter School of Lowell Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan is a requirement under M.G.L. c. 71, § 37O. The Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan (“Plan”) is a comprehensive approach to addressing bullying and cyber‐bullying, and the district is committed to working with students, staff, families, law enforcement agencies, and the community to prevent issues of violence.

In consultation with these constituencies, we have established this Plan for preventing, intervening, and responding to incidents of bullying, cyber‐bullying, and retaliation. Our principal is responsible for the overall implementation and oversight of the Plan. The Plan shall be reviewed and updated biennially.

 

I.     LEADERSHIP

Leadership at all levels of our educational community plays a critical role in implementing and supporting the Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan in the context of other whole school and community efforts to promote positive school climate. Adult members of the educational community have a primary role in teaching students to be civil to one another and promoting understanding of and respect for diversity and difference.3

  1. Public involvement in developing the Plan. As required by M.G.L. c. 71, § 37O, the Plan has been developed in consultation with teachers, school staff, professional support personnel, school volunteers, administrators, community representatives, local law enforcement agencies, students, parents, and guardians. Consultation included discussions at a variety of public meetings, and a public comment period before adoption of the Plan is by the Collegiate Board of Trustees.

 

  1. Assessing needs and resources. The Plan is the district’s blueprint for enhancing capacity to prevent and respond to issues of bullying within the context of other healthy school climate initiatives. As part of the planning process, school leaders, with input from various constituencies and staff, have assessed the adequacy of current programs; reviewed current policies and procedures; reviewed available data on bullying and behavioral incidents; and assessed available resources including curricula, training programs, and behavioral health services. Through this “mapping” process we identified the need to revise and develop policies and procedures; and to renew partnerships with community agencies, including law enforcement.

 

  1. Planning and oversight. The Collegiate Charter School of Lowell leadership is responsible for the following tasks under the Plan:

 

  1. Receiving reports on bullying;
  2. Collecting and analyzing building- and/or school-wide data on bullying to assess the present problem and to measure improved outcomes;
  3. Creating a process for recording and tracking incident reports, and for accessing information related to targets/victims and
  4. aggressors/perpetrators;
  5. Planning for the ongoing professional development that is required by the law;
  6. Planning supports that respond to the needs of targets/victims and aggressors/perpetrators;
  7. Choosing and implementing the curricula that the Collegiate Charter School will use;
  8. Developing new or revising current policies and protocols under the Plan, including an Internet safety policy, and designating key staff to be in charge of implementation of them;
  9. Amending student and staff handbooks and codes of conduct to, among other things, make clear that bullying of students by school staff or other students will not be tolerated;
  10. Leading the parent or family engagement efforts and drafting parent information materials;
  11. Reviewing and updating the Plan each year, or more frequently.

 

The following school leaders are responsible for the listed tasks under the Plan:

1) Principals or their designees will receive reports on bullying; 2) Principals or their designees  will collect and analyze building data on bullying to assess the present problem and to measure improved outcomes;

3) Principals will create a process for recording and tracking incident reports, and for accessing information related to targets and aggressors; 4) Leadership Team (Executive Director, Director of Pupil Personnel Services, Principals and Chief Finance Officer) will plan for the ongoing professional development that is required by the law; 5) Academic Quality Controllers in collaboration with the Director of Pupil Personnel Services will plan for supports that respond to the needs of targets and aggressors; 6) Members of the Advisory Council (Director of Pupil Personnel Services, Principals, Assistant Principals and Department Heads) will choose and implement the curricula that the school or district will use; 7) Executive Director in conjunction with appropriate staff will develop new or revised policies and protocols under the Plan, including an Internet safety policy, and designate key staff to be in charge of implementation of them; 8) Principals will amend student and staff handbooks and codes of conduct where appropriate; 9) Principals in collaboration with the Director of Pupil Personnel Services will lead the parent or family engagement efforts and drafting of parent information materials; and 10) Leadership Team will review and update the Plan each year, or more frequently as needed.

 

D.  Our Commitment.

Collegiate Charter School of Lowell expects that all members of the school community will treat each other in a civil manner and with respect for differences. We are committed to providing all students with a safe learning environment that is free from bullying and cyber‐bullying. This commitment is an integral part of our comprehensive efforts to promote learning, and to prevent and eliminate all forms of bullying and other harmful and disruptive behavior that can impede the learning process and/or isolate students.

We understand that members of certain groups, such as youngsters with disabilities, youngsters who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender, including race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, sex, socio-economic status, academic status, gender identity or expression, physical appearance, pregnant or parenting status, sexual orientation, homeless, or by association with a person who has or is perceived to have one or more of these characteristics may be more vulnerable to becoming targets of bullying, harassment, or teasing. The district will take specific steps to create a safe, supportive environment for vulnerable populations in the school community, and provide all students with opportunities to learn the skills, knowledge, and strategies to prevent or respond to bullying, harassment, or teasing. . The principal is responsible for the implementation and oversight of the Plan except when a reported bullying incident involves the principal or the Assistant Principal as the alleged aggressor/perpetrator. In such cases, the Director or designee shall be responsible for investigating the report, and other steps necessary to implement the Plan, including addressing the safety of the alleged target/victim. If the Director is the alleged aggressor/perpetrator, the Collegiate Board of Trustees, or its designee shall be responsible for investigating the report, and other steps necessary to implement the Plan, including addressing the safety of the alleged victim.

 

We will not tolerate any unlawful or disruptive behavior, including any form of bullying, cyber‐bullying, or retaliation, in our school buildings, on school grounds, or in school‐related activities, function or program whether on or off school grounds, at a school bus stop, on a school bus or other vehicle owned, leased or used by Collegiate, or through the use of technology or an electronic device owned, leased, or used by Collegiate and at a location, activity, function or program that is not school-related that creates a hostile environment at school for the victim, infringes on the rights of the victim at school or disrupts the education process or the orderly operation of the school. We will investigate promptly all reports and complaints of bullying, cyber‐bullying, and retaliation, and take prompt action to end that behavior and restore the target’s sense of safety. We will support this commitment in all aspects of our school community, including curricula, instructional programs, staff development, extracurricular activities, and parent or guardian involvement.

 

II.        TRAINING AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

 

M.G.L. c. 71, § 37O requires the district to provide ongoing professional development for all staff, including but not limited to, educators, administrators, counselors, school nurses, cafeteria workers, custodians, bus drivers, athletic coaches, advisors to extracurricular activities, and paraprofessionals.

 

A.  Annual staff training on the Plan. Annual training for all school staff on the Plan will include staff duties under the Plan, an overview of the steps that the principal or designee will follow upon receipt of a report of bullying or retaliation, and an overview of the bullying prevention strategies to be offered at all grades throughout the district. Staff members hired after the start of the school year will be required to participate in school‐based training during the school year in which they are hired.  Relevant sections of the plan relating to the duties of faculty and staff shall be included in the school employee handbook.

 

B.  Ongoing professional development. The goal of professional development is to establish a common understanding of tools necessary for staff to create a school climate that promotes safety, civil communication, and respect for differences. Professional development will build the skills of staff members to prevent, identify, and respond to bullying. As required by M.G.L. c. 71, § 37O, the content of district‐ wide professional development will be informed by research and will include information on:

 

(i)  developmentally (or age‐) appropriate strategies to prevent bullying;

(ii)  developmentally (or age‐) appropriate strategies for immediate, effective interventions to stop bullying incidents;

(iii) information regarding the complex interaction and power differential that can take place between and among an aggressor, target, and witnesses to the bullying;

(iv) research findings on bullying, including information about specific categories of students who have been

shown to be particularly at risk for bullying in the school environment;

(v) information on the incidence and nature of cyber‐bullying; and

(vi) Internet safety issues as they relate to cyber‐bullying.

 

 

Professional development will also address ways to prevent and respond to bullying or retaliation for students with disabilities that must be considered when developing students’ Individualized Education Programs (IEPs). This will include a particular focus on the needs of students with autism or students whose disability affects social skills development.

Additional areas identified by the school or district for professional development include:

•   promoting and modeling the use of respectful language;

•   fostering an understanding of and respect for diversity and difference;

•   building relationships and communicating with families;

•   constructively managing classroom behaviors;

•   using positive behavioral intervention strategies;

•   applying constructive disciplinary practices;

•   teaching students skills including positive communication, anger management, and empathy for others;

•   engaging students in school or classroom planning and decision‐making; and

•   maintaining a safe and caring classroom for all students.

 

C.  Written notice to staff. The district will provide all staff with an annual written notice of the Plan by publishing information about it, including sections related to staff duties, and will incorporate appropriate related topics into staff meetings.

 

III. ACCESS TO RESOURCES AND SERVICES

A. Identifying resources:

   Currently Collegiate offers staff and programs that support a positive school environment by focusing on early intervention and intensive services.

Current staff include the following:

  • Administration
  • Guidance Counselors
  • Adjustment Counselors
  • School Psychologists     
  • Behavior Specialists
  • Behavioral and Autism Specialists 
  • School Nurse
  • Teachers
  • School Security Coordinator
  • Title IX Coordinator

The current programs include the following:

  • Student Life
  • The District has enrolled in using “The Power of One” The Safe School Hotline.
  • Pairing with Lowell Council to address this issue in ways such as:
  • distributing the YRBS and incorporating questions re: bullying and school safety into the YRBS
  • Contracting with outside speakers and offering parent programs on bullying.
  • Offering social skills groups within the school setting through Adjustment Counselors and Behavior Specialists
  • Health Curriculum at the middle school level addresses Standard 11: Violence Prevention of the Massachusetts Comprehensive Health Frameworks. As part of meeting this standard, students are instructed on the following topics:

Cyber‐bullying

Internet Safety Communication Skills Conflict Resolution

Intolerance, Tolerance, Prejudice and Discrimination

Sexual Harassment

Abusive Relationships

Although Collegiate has current services in place, the District is dedicated to developing more extensive and comprehensive, research based instruction and services for our students. The instruction and services will focus on both bullying prevention and response to identified incidents of bullying. These are described more fully in the next section.

 

B. Counseling and other services:        

There are many resources at Collegiate that promote a positive school climate. Whenever there are any incidents of bullying at Collegiate the incidents are taken seriously and the aggressors, bystanders and targets are all offered services.

 The current services at the Elementary, Middle School and High School include but are not limited to the following:

  • Seventh Grade Orientation
  • School Guidance Services at both Middle School and High School
  • Middle School “Culture of Kindness” year‐round program on respect and embracing differences
  • School Health Advisory Council (SHAC) K‐12 team meet monthly
  • Security Coordinator (on campus full time)
  • Freshmen Orientation 
  • Middle School students and High School students are educated separately
  • HOUSE SYSTEM –its goal is to promote emotional and physical safety as students are clustered by grade and age appropriate developmental stages
  • Lower school (Grs. K – 8) and upper school (Grs. 9 - 12) Lunches: this minimizes the contact between lower school and upper school students, hence providing a safe emotional environment for students
  • Access to the In‐School Suspension Program for both aggressors and, when appropriate, for bystanders
  • Participation in a “Character Building Group”, facilitated by the Behavior Specialist, for aggressors and, when appropriate, for bystanders.
  • Access to Adjustment Counselors for aggressors, bystanders and targets.
  • An identified safe place to go to if incidents continue to occur.
  • Social skills groups offered to students who have been either aggressors, bystanders or targets

Collegiate Charter School of Lowell is in the process of either implementing or planning for the following:

Bullying Prevention:

  • Having Peer Leaders play a more extensive role in prevention, education and mediation.
  • Professional Development for teachers and staff on the issues of bullying, cyber‐bullying, identification, early intervention, strategies for preventing and responding to incidents of bullying, for teachers and staff.
  • Developing presentations for students around bullying prevention.
  • Researching and implementing research based instruction within existing classes on prevention of bullying within the school community.

Response to identified Incidents of Bullying:

  • Permitting Peer Leaders to have a more extensive role in addressing aggressors and bystanders.
  • Researching and implementing research based instruction within existing classes on responses to incidents of perceived bullying or harassment of students within the school community.
  • Professional development for identified staff such as guidance counselors, behavior specialists, mental health counselors, guidance director and teachers and other staff to learn more about researched based and effective interventions for all involved: aggressors, bystanders and targets.

C. Students with disabilities. As required by M.G.L. c. 71, § 37O, during IEP meetings, once the IEP Team has determined that: the student has a disability that affects social skills development, or the student may participate in or is vulnerable to bullying, harassment, or teasing because of his/her disability, the Team will consider what should be included in the IEP to develop the student's skills and proficiencies to avoid and respond to bullying, harassment, or teasing.

  • Social/emotional services will be available for the purpose of developing skills to avoid and respond to bullying, harassment, anger and/or teasing.
  • The needs of students with Autistic Spectrum Disorders and emotional disabilities will be addressed, as well as all students with disabilities, who may be potential targets/victims or aggressors/perpetrators.
    • Education regarding specific social competency skills and learning how to read social cues will be emphasized with students with special needs.

D: Referral to outside services:

   The school district is currently aware of local counseling services that students and parents can use as resources when issues arise. The school district will create a more extensive list of local resources and provide a list of resources to parents and students anytime bullying issues arise. These resources will be provided to aggressors, bystanders and targets; students and parents will be given information about outside resources in addition to the resources within the school.

 

IV.         ACADEMIC AND NON‐ACADEMIC ACTIVITIES

The law requires each school or district to provide age‐appropriate instruction on bullying prevention in each grade that is incorporated into the school’s or district’s curricula. Curricula must be evidence‐based. Effective instruction will include classroom approaches, whole school initiatives, and focused strategies for bullying prevention and social skills development.

 

A.  Specific bullying prevention approaches. Our bullying prevention strategies will be informed by current research which, among other things, emphasizes the following approaches:

  • using scripts and role plays to develop skills;
  • empowering students to take action by knowing what to do when they witness other students engaged in acts of bullying or retaliation, including seeking adult assistance;
  • helping students understand the dynamics of bullying and cyber‐bullying, including the underlying power imbalance;
  • emphasizing cyber‐safety, including safe and appropriate use of electronic communication technologies;
  • enhancing students’ skills for engaging in healthy relationships and respectful communications; and
  • engaging students in a safe, supportive school environment that is respectful of diversity and difference.

Initiatives will also teach students about the student‐related sections of the Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan. The district will annually review the Plan with students in the fall of the school year.

 

B.  General teaching approaches that support bullying prevention efforts. The following approaches are integral to establishing a safe and supportive school environment. These underscore the importance of our bullying intervention and prevention initiatives:

 

  • setting clear expectations for students and establishing school and classroom routines;
  • creating safe school and classroom environments for all students, including for students with disabilities, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender students, and homeless students;
  • using appropriate and positive responses and reinforcement, even when students require discipline;
  • using positive behavioral supports;
  • encouraging adults to develop positive relationships with students;
  • modeling, teaching, and rewarding pro‐social, healthy, and respectful behaviors;
  • using positive approaches to behavioral health, including collaborative problem‐solving, conflict
  • resolution training, teamwork, and positive behavioral supports that aid in social and emotional development;
  • using the Internet safely; and
  • supporting students’ interest and participation in non‐academic and extracurricular activities, particularly in their areas of strength.

 

V.  PROCEDURES FOR REPORTING AND RESPONDING TO BULLYING AND RETALIATION

 

A. Reporting bullying or retaliation. Reports of bullying or retaliation may be made by staff, students, parents or guardians, or others, and may be oral or written. Oral reports made by or to a staff member shall be recorded in writing. A district staff member is required to report immediately to the principal or designee any instance of bullying or retaliation the staff member becomes aware of or witnesses to the principal or Director. Reports made by students, parents or guardians, or other individuals who are not school or district staff members, may be made anonymously. The school or district will make a variety of reporting resources available to the school community including, but not limited to, an Incident Reporting Form,1 a voicemail box, a dedicated mailing address, and an email address.

Use of an Incident Reporting Form is not required as a condition of making a report. The school or district will: 1) include a copy of the Incident Reporting Form in the beginning of the year packets for students and parents or guardians; 2) make it available in the school’s main office, the counseling office, the school nurse's office, and other locations determined by the principal or designee; and 3) post it on the school’s website. The Incident Reporting Form will be made available in the most prevalent language(s) of origin of students and parents or guardians

At the beginning of each school year, the school or district will provide the school community, including administrators, staff, students, and parents or guardians, with written notice of its policies for reporting acts of bullying and retaliation. A description of the reporting procedures and resources, including the name

and contact information of the principal or designee, will be incorporated in student and staff handbooks, on the school or district website, and in information about the Plan that is made available to parents or guardians.

 

1.          Reporting by Staff

A staff member will report immediately to the principal or designee when he/she witnesses or becomes aware of conduct that may be bullying or retaliation. The requirement to report to the principal or designee does not limit the authority of the staff member to respond to behavioral or disciplinary incidents consistent with school or district policies and procedures for behavior management and discipline.

 

2.         Reporting by Students, Parents or Guardians, and Others

The school or district 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 principal or designee. 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 principal or designee.

B.  Responding to a report of bullying or retaliation.

 

1.         Safety

Before fully investigating the allegations of bullying or retaliation, the principal or designee 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, or on the bus; identifying a staff member who will act as a “safe person” for the target; and altering the aggressor’s schedule and access to the target. The principal or designee will take additional steps to promote safety during the course of and after the investigation, as necessary.

The principal or designee 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. (Include locally established student safety planning policies and procedures here.)

 

2.           Obligations to Notify Others

a.   Notice to parents or guardiansUpon determining that bullying or retaliation has occurred, the principal or designee will promptly notify the parents or guardians of the target and the aggressor of this, and of the procedures for responding to it. There may be circumstances in which the principal or designee contacts parents or guardians prior to any investigation. Notice will be consistent with state regulations at 603 CMR 49.00. Parents/guardians of victims can seek assistance from or file a claim with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education problem resolution system http://www.doe.mass.edu/pqa/prs/ , 781‐338‐3000.

 

b.   Notice to Another School or District. If the reported incident involves students from more than one school district, charter school, non‐public school, approved private special education day or residential school, or collaborative school, the principal or designee first informed of the incident 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. All communications will be in accordance with state and federal privacy laws and regulations, and 603 CMR 49.00.

 

c.   Notice to Law Enforcement. At any point after receiving a report of bullying or retaliation, including after an investigation, if the principal or designee has a reasonable basis to believe that criminal charges may be pursued against the aggressor, the principal 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 principal or designee 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.

In making this determination, the principal will, consistent with the Plan and with applicable school or district policies and procedures, consult with the school resource officer, and other individuals the principal or designee deems appropriate.

 

C. Investigation. The principal or designee 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 principal or designee will, among other things, interview students, staff, witnesses, parents or guardians, and others as necessary. The principal or designee (or whoever is conducting the investigation) 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 principal or designee, other staff members as determined by the principal or designee, and in consultation with the school counselor, as appropriate. To the extent practicable, and given his/her obligation to investigate and address the matter, the principal or designee will maintain confidentiality during the investigative process. The principal or designee will maintain a written record of the investigation.

Procedures for investigating reports of bullying and retaliation will be consistent with school or district policies and procedures for investigations. If necessary, the principal or designee will consult with the Superintendent and with legal counsel about the investigation.

 

D.  Determinations. The principal or designee will make a determination based upon all of the facts and circumstances. If, after investigation, bullying or retaliation is substantiated, the principal or designee will take steps reasonably calculated to prevent recurrence and to ensure that the target is not restricted in participating in school or in benefiting from school activities. The principal or designee will: 1) determine what remedial action is required, if any, and 2) determine what responsive actions and/or disciplinary action is necessary.

Depending upon the circumstances, the principal or designee may choose to consult with the students’ teacher(s) and/or school counselor, and the target’s or aggressor’s parents or guardians, to identify any underlying social or emotional issue(s) that may have contributed to the bullying behavior and to assess the level of need for additional social skills development.

The principal or designee will 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. All notice to parents must comply with applicable state and federal privacy laws and regulations. Because of the legal requirements regarding the confidentiality of student records, the principal or designee 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 must be aware of in order to report violations.

 

E.  Responses to Bullying.

1.           Teaching Appropriate Behavior Through Skills‐building

Upon the principal or designee determining that bullying or retaliation has occurred, the law requires that the school or district use a range of responses that balance the need for accountability with the need to teach appropriate behavior. M.G.L. c. 71, § 37O(d)(v). Skill‐building approaches that the principal or designee may consider include:

  • offering individualized skill‐building sessions based on the 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 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 a focus on developing specific social skills; and
  • making a referral for evaluation.

 

2.           Taking Disciplinary Action

If the principal or designee decides that disciplinary action is appropriate, the disciplinary action will be determined on the basis of facts found by the principal or designee, 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 with the code of conduct.

Discipline procedures for students with disabilities are governed by the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA), which should be read in cooperation with state laws regarding student discipline.

If the principal or designee determines that a student knowingly made a false allegation of bullying or retaliation, that student may be subject to disciplinary action.

 

 

3.           Promoting Safety for the Target and Others

The principal or designee 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 principal or designee 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 principal or designee will 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 principal or designee will work with appropriate school staff to implement them immediately.

 

 

 

VI.         COLLABORATION WITH FAMILIES

A.  Parent education and resources. The district in collaboration with the Tri‐Town Council will offer educational programs for parents and guardians that are focused on the parental components of the anti‐ bullying strategies and any social competency strategies used by the district. In addition, the programs may be offered in collaboration with the PTA, School Councils, Special Education Parent Advisory Council, and/or similar organizations.

 

B.  Notification requirements. Each year the district will inform parents or guardians of enrolled students about the anti‐ bullying strategies that are being used. This notice will include information about the dynamics of bullying, including cyber‐bullying and online safety. The school or district will send parents notice each

year about the student‐related sections of the Plan and the district's Internet safety policy. All notices and information made available to parents or guardians will be in hard copy and electronic formats, and will be available in the language(s) most prevalent among parents or guardians. The district will post the Plan and related information on our website.

 

C.  Problem Resolution. System Problem Resolution System: Regardless of the outcome of the bullying determination, the Principal or Designee shall inform the parent or guardian of the target/victim about the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education problem resolution system and the process for accessing that system. Any parent wishing to make a claim/concern or seeking assistance outside of the school district may do so with the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Problem Resolution Monitoring (PSM) Information about the PSM can be found at   http://www.doe.mass.edu/psm/       e-mails to compliance@doe.mass.edu or they may call 781-338-3700. In addition, the Director’s Office has hard copies of information about the PSM.

 

 

VII.        PROHIBITION AGAINST BULLYING AND RETALIATION

 

Collegiate Charter School of Lowell prohibits bullying, cyber‐bullying, and retaliation. This statement along with the elaboration listed below will be included in the student code of conduct, the student handbook, and the staff handbook.

 

Acts of bullying, which include cyber‐bullying, are prohibited:

(i)  on school grounds and property immediately adjacent to school grounds, at a school‐sponsored or school‐ related activity, function, or program whether on or off school grounds, at a school bus stop, on a school bus or other vehicle owned, leased, or used by a school district or school; or through the use of technology or an electronic device owned, leased, or used by a school district or school, and

(ii) at a location, activity, function, or program that is not school‐related through the use of technology or an electronic device that is not owned, leased, or used by a school district or school, if the acts create a hostile environment at school for the target or witnesses, infringe on their rights at school, or materially and substantially disrupt the education process or the orderly operation of a school.

Retaliation against a person who reports bullying, provides information during an investigation of bullying, or witnesses or has reliable information about bullying is also prohibited.

As stated in M.G.L. c. 71, § 37O, nothing in this Plan requires the district or school to staff any non‐school related activities, functions, or programs.

All students receive the same protection regardless of their status under the law.

 

VIII.       DEFINITIONS

 

Aggressor/ 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, either individually, or as part of a group, in bullying, cyber‐bullying or retaliation. Victims are classified as students; therefore, bullying complaints involving staff members should be investigated under the District’s harassment policy.

 

BullyingThe 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/herself or of damage to his/her 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 policy, bullying shall include cyber‐bullying.

 

Cyber‐bullyingBullying through the use of technology or any electronic communication, which shall include, but shall not be limited to, any transfer of signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data or intelligence of any nature transmitted in whole or in part by a wire, radio, electromagnetic, photo electronic or photo optical system, including, but not limited to, electronic mail, internet communications, instant messages or facsimile communications. Cyber‐bullying shall also include (i) the creation of a web page or blog in which the creator assumes the identity of another person or (ii) the knowing impersonation of another person as the author of posted content or messages, if the creation or impersonation creates

any of the conditions enumerated in clauses (i) to (v), inclusive, of the definition of bullying. Cyber‐bullying shall also include the distribution by electronic means of a communication to more than one person or the posting of material on an electronic medium that may be accessed by one or more persons, if the distribution or posting creates any of the conditions enumerated in clauses (i) to (v), inclusive, of the definition of bullying.

 

Hostile Environment: A situation in which bullying causes the school environment to be permeated with intimidation, ridicule, or insult that is sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of the target’s education.

 

Local law enforcement agency: local police department

Principal: The administrative leader of Collegiate Charter School of Lowell or his/her designee for the purposes of investigating and responding to reports of bullying, cyber‐bullying or retaliation.

Retaliation: Intimidation, reprisal, or harassment directed against a person who reports bullying, provides information during an investigation of bullying, or witnesses or has reliable information about bullying.

Staff: Includes, but is not limited to, educators, administrators, counselors, school nurses, cafeteria workers, custodians, bus drivers, athletic coaches, advisors to extracurricular activities, support staff, or paraprofessionals.

Target / Victim: A student who has been subject to bullying or retaliation.

 

I.   RELATIONSHIP TO OTHER LAWS

Consistent with state and federal laws, and the policies of the district, no person shall be discriminated against in admission to a public school of any town or in obtaining the advantages, privilege and courses of study of such public school on account of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, or sexual orientation. Nothing in the Plan prevents the school or district from taking action to remediate discrimination or harassment based on a person’s membership in a legally protected category under local, state, or federal law, or school or district policies.

In addition, nothing in the Plan is designed or intended to limit the authority of the school or district to take disciplinary action or other action under M.G.L. c. 71, §§ 37H or 37H½, other applicable laws, or local school or district policies in response to violent, harmful, or disruptive behavior, regardless of whether the Plan covers the behavior.