RULE STUDENTS: Conduct. Bullying, Cyberbullying, Harassment, or Intimidation. I. Purpose

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1 STUDENTS: Conduct Bullying, Cyberbullying, Harassment, or Intimidation I. Purpose To implement Board of Education of Baltimore County (Board) Policy 5580 by establishing guidelines for identifying and preventing bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, or intimidation, as well as intervening and supporting students who are exhibiting these behaviors or who are victims of bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, or intimidation. II. Definitions A. Bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, or intimidation includes ongoing intentional conduct, including verbal, physical or written conduct, or intentional electronic communication that creates a hostile educational environment by substantially interfering with a student s educational benefits, opportunities, or performance, or with a student s physical or psychological well-being and/or occurs on school property, at a schoolsponsored activity or event, or on a school bus, or substantially disrupts the orderly operation of a school. B. The following definitions provide additional guidance for evaluating the behavior and appropriate consequence, recognizing that some behaviors may fall into more than one category. 1. Bullying A pattern or behavior when a person repeatedly uses power in an intentional manner, including verbal, physical, or written conduct or intentional electronic communication against one or more students. 2. Cyberbullying The use of electronic communication to harm or harass others in a deliberate, repeated, and hostile manner. 3. Electronic Communication A communication transmitted or received by means of any electronic device, including, but not limited to, radio, television, cable, microwave, telephone, computer systems, networks, copiers, scanners, cell phones/smart devices, and fax machines. 4. Harassment Includes actual or perceived negative actions that offend, ridicule, or demean another individual with regard to race, national origin, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender 1

2 identity, religion, ancestry, physical attributes, socioeconomic status, familial status, physical or mental ability, or disability. 5. Intimidation subjecting an individual to intentional action that seriously threatens and induces a sense of fear and/or inferiority. 6. Retaliation An act of reprisal or getting back at a person for an act he/she has committed. 7. School-Sponsored Activity An activity that is sponsored, approved, conducted, planned, and/or supervised by school personnel, regardless of whether the activity takes place on or off school property or occurs during normal school hours. 8. Sexual Harassment Any deliberate and/or repeated unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature, whether it is verbal, nonverbal, or physical. III. Types of Bullying A. Direct Bullying, Harassment, or Intimidation 1. Behaviors such as, but not limited to, physical (hitting, kicking), verbal (name calling, teasing), non-verbal (rejecting, defaming, terrorizing), and sexual (voyeurism, assault). B. Indirect Bullying, Harassment, or Intimidation 1. Behaviors such as, but not limited to, physical (getting another person to assault someone), verbal (spreading rumors, gossip), and non-verbal (deliberate exclusion from a group). C. Cyberbullying 1. Harassing, humiliating, intimidating, or threatening others on the Internet or via cellular phones or other technology available to youth (e.g., s, text messaging, Web pages, instant messaging, and other electronically communicated messages). D. Sexual Harassment 1. Includes, but is not limited to: a. Offensive language communicated verbally or in writing, including electronic formats; b. Visual harassment, such as displaying sexual pictures or objects, derogatory posters, photography, cartoons, drawings, clothing, or gestures; c. Staring or leering at parts of the body; comments, gestures, or jokes of a sexual nature; offensive touching, including 2

3 grabbing, pinching, or impeding or blocking a person s physical movement; d. Taunting or ridiculing someone because of perceived or actual sexual orientation; e. Engaging in unwelcome sexual contact, including asking for sexual favors. IV. Training and Prevention A. The Department of School Safety and Security will conduct annual training for school administrators and school staff to increase the awareness of the prevalence, causes and consequences of bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, and intimidation and to increase the use of evidence-based positive behavior supports to prevent bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, and intimidation. Additional training may be provided for new employees who are hired after the start of the school year. B. The Department of School Safety and Security will provide training to school principals or the principals designees on using the Intranet on reporting and investigating. C. The school system will implement counseling and health curriculum on bullying and sexual harassment prevention using systemwide anti-bullying interventions and programs as part of a system of positive behavior and school improvement efforts. D. School administrators will create a school climate that promotes student involvement in the anti-bullying efforts, peer support, mutual respect, and a culture which encourages students to report incidents of bullying to adults. E. Each school will provide a range of support and referral services to students who have been targets of bullying behaviors, cyberbullying, harassment, or intimidation. V. Reporting Form A. The principal or the principal s designee will make the state victim reporting form, Bullying, Harassment or Intimidation Reporting Form, available in all schools, notifying students, school staff, and parents/guardians of its availability at the school. 3

4 B. The Department of School Safety and Security will make the state victim reporting form, Bullying, Harassment or Intimidation Reporting Form, available electronically from the BCPS Web site. C. The principal or the principal s designee will include the state victim reporting form, Bullying, Harassment or Intimidation Reporting Form, in the information packets for students and their parents/guardians disseminated at the beginning of the school year. D. The principal or the principal s designee will discuss the Maryland State Department of Education s Bullying, Harassment or Intimidation Reporting Form with students as part of the Student Handbook presentation. VI. Reporting A. A student may report complaints of bullying to any school system employee. All employees shall report, in writing, any allegations of bullying or violations of Board Policy 5580 involving students to the principal or a school administrator. B. Any student (and/or the parent/guardian or close adult relative on the student s behalf) who believes he/she is a victim of bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, or intimidation is strongly encouraged to report the incident(s) in writing to the school principal or a school administrator. C. A student (and/or the parent/guardian or close adult relative on the student s behalf) should complete and submit the Bullying, Harassment or Intimidation Reporting Form to an administrator in person, by mail, or electronically. D. When a student reports to a staff member that he/she is a target/victim of bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, or intimidation the staff member to whom the report has been made will respond quickly and appropriately to intervene and report the incident to a school administrator. 1. The staff member shall document a student report by completing and filing a Bullying, Harassment or Intimidation Reporting Form. E. The principal or the principal s designee will designated a private, safe location for students to submit a completed Bullying, Harassment or Intimidation Reporting Form if the student feels uncomfortable submitting 4

5 the reporting form in person and does not want to or is unable to submit the electronic form. VII. Investigation A. The principal or the principal s designee shall begin a thorough investigation with the alleged victim and accused promptly, but no later than five (5) school days of receiving a notification of a complaint. B. The principal or the principal s designee shall complete the entry of the victim report and the investigation report located on the Intranet within fourteen (14) school days after receiving a reporting form. C. The principal or the principal s designee will notify the parents/guardians in writing of the victim(s) and the offender(s) involved in the sexual discrimination and/or harassment incident, as appropriate. (See, PS 125, Report and Complaint Procedures: Sexual Discrimination and/or Harassment, Discrimination and/or Harassment based on Race, National Origin, Disability, and/or Religion.) D. The principal or the principal s designee will notify the parents/guardians of the victim and the offender in writing the resolution of the case, including, if applicable, that corrective action has been taken. Due to student confidentiality, however, the specific disciplinary corrective measures taken against a student may not be disclosed. (SEE, PS 125, Report and Complaint Procedures: Sexual Discrimination and/or Harassment, Discrimination and/or Harassment based on Race, National Origin, Disability, and/or Religion.) E. The principal or the principal s designee will apply consequences and/or remedial actions as deemed appropriate. VIII. Remediation and Consequences A. If the investigation determines that an offense has occurred, the principal shall consistently and fairly apply consequences and remedial actions for persons committing acts of bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, intimidation; acts of reprisal or retaliation; or making false accusations. B. The principal shall apply consequences and/or remedial actions consistent with Board Policy 5550, Disruptive Behavior. 5

6 C. The offender will be informed that retaliation against a victim is strictly prohibited and that consequences will occur if such activity occurs. IX. Confidentiality X. Notice A. The information contained in a victim report form is confidential and: 1. May not be redisclosed except as provided by the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act or at otherwise allowed by law; and 2. May not be made part of a student s permanent educational record. A. School administrators will annually advise students of Board Policy 5580 and this rule, as well as the process for reporting incidents of bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, intimidation, or acts of reprisal or retaliation, through appropriate means, including, but not limited to, as part of the student handbook presentation by administrators at the beginning of the school year, on the school system s Web site, and/or through other reasonable means. B. School administrators will annually advise students of the BCPS sexual harassment procedure, using the Sexual Harassment in Schools (elementary or secondary version) brochures. The brochures will be distributed and discussed as part of the Student Handbook presentations by administrators at the beginning of each school year. Legal References: 20 U.S.C. 1232g, Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) Annotated Code of Maryland, Criminal Law Article 3-805, Misuse of Electronic Mail Annotated Code of Maryland, Education Article 7-424, Reporting Incidents of Harassment or Intimidation Against Students Annotated Code of Maryland, Education Article , Model Policy Prohibiting Bullying, Harassment and Intimidation. COMAR 13A , School Safety 6

7 Related Policies: Board of Education Policy 5500, Student Conduct Board of Education Policy 5510, Positive Behavior Board of Education Policy 5550, Disruptive Behavior Board of Education Policy 5560, Suspensions, Assignment to Alternative Programs, or Expulsion Board of Education Policy 5580, Bullying, Cyberbullying, Harassment, or Intimidation Board of Education Policy 5600, Students Responsibilities and Rights Board of Education Policy 6202, Technology Acceptable Use Policy (TAUP) for Students RULE Adopted: 07/14/09 Revised: 04/22/14 Superintendent of Schools Copyright 2014 Baltimore County Public Schools. All rights reserved. 7

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