READING SCHOOL DISTRICT

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1 No READING SCHOOL DISTRICT SECTION: TITLE: ADMINISTRATIVE EMPLOYEES BULLYING/CYBERBULLYING AND HARASSMENT ADOPTED: March 25, 2009 REVISED: BULLYING/CYBERBULLYING AND HARASSMENT 1. Purpose Pol Definitions SC A All administrative employees are expected to conduct themselves in a manner consistent with appropriate and orderly behavior. The Board is committed to providing a safe, positive working environment for district employees. The Board recognizes that bullying, cyberbullying and harassment creates an atmosphere of fear and intimidation, detracts from the safe environment necessary for employees to work and may lead to more serious violence. Therefore, the Board prohibits bullying, cyberbullying and harassment by district employees. Bullying means an intentional electronic, written, verbal or physical act or series of acts directed at another employee, student, or parent/guardian which occurs in or outside a school setting, that is severe, persistent, or pervasive and has the effect of doing any of the following: 1. Substantial interference with an employee s work performance, student s education, or relationship with a parent/guardian. 2. Creation of a threatening environment. 3. Substantial disruption of the orderly operation of the school. Cyberbullying includes, but is not limited to, the following misuses of technology: harassing, teasing, intimidating, threatening, or terrorizing another employee, student or parent/guardian by way of any technological tool, such as sending or posting inappropriate or derogatory messages, instant messages, text messages, digital pictures or images, or web site postings (including blogs) which has the effect of: 1. Physically, emotionally or mentally harming an employee, student or parent/guardian. 2. Placing an employee, student, or parent/guardian in reasonable fear of physical, emotional or mental harm. Page 1 of 6

2 BULLYING/CYBERBULLYING AND HARASSMENT - Pg Placing an employee, student, or parent/guardian in reasonable fear of damage to or loss of personal property. 4. Creating an intimidating or hostile environment that substantially interferes with an employee s, student s, or parent s/guardian s work and educational opportunities. Pol. 348 Harassment is any gesture or written, verbal, graphic, or physical act (including electronically transmitted acts i.e. Internet, cell phone, personal digital assistant (PDA), or wireless hand held device) that is reasonably perceived as being motivated either by any actual or perceived characteristic, such as race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression; or mental, physical, or sensory disability or impairment; or by any other distinguishing characteristic. Such behavior is considered harassment or bullying whether it takes place on or off school property, at any school-sponsored function, or in a school vehicle. Harassment is conduct that meets all of the following criteria: 1. Is directed at one or more employees, students, or parents/guardians. 2. Substantially interferes with educational opportunities, benefits, or programs of one or more employees, students, or parents/guardians. 3. Adversely affects the ability of an employee, student, or parent/guardian to participate in or benefit from the school district s educational programs or activities because the conduct, as reasonably perceived by the employee, student, or parent/guardian is so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive as to have this effect. 4. Is based on an employee s, student s, or parent s/guardian s actual or perceived distinguishing characteristic (see above), or is based on an association with another person who has or is perceived to have any of these characteristics. SC A School setting means in the school, on school grounds, in school vehicles, at a designated bus stop or at any activity sponsored, supervised or sanctioned by the school. 3. Authority The Board encourages employees who have been bullied to promptly report such incidents to the building principal or designee. Page 2 of 6

3 BULLYING/CYBERBULLYING AND HARASSMENT - Pg. 3 The Board directs that complaints of bullying shall be investigated promptly, and corrective action shall be taken when allegations are verified. Confidentiality of all parties shall be maintained, consistent with the district s legal and investigative obligations. No reprisals or retaliation shall occur as a result of good faith reports of bullying. The Reading School District Board of Education expects employees to conduct themselves in a manner in keeping with their levels of professional development and maturity, and demonstrate capabilities with a proper regard for the rights and welfare of other employees, students, parents/guardians, volunteers, and contractors. Since bystander support of harassment or bullying can sustain bullying behaviors, the district prohibits both active and passive support for acts of harassment or bullying. The administration should encourage employees to support other employees who constructively attempt to stop or report bullying behavior to the designated authority. The Reading School District Board of Education requires its school administrators to develop and implement procedures that ensure both the appropriate consequences and remedial responses to a student or staff member who commits one or more acts of harassment or bullying. The following factors, at a minimum, shall be given full consideration by school administrators in the development of the procedures for determining appropriate consequences and remedial measures for each act of harassment or bullying and cyberbullying. 4. Delegation of Responsibility Each employee shall be responsible to respect the rights of others and to ensure an atmosphere free from bullying. The Superintendent or designee shall develop administrative regulations to implement this policy. The Superintendent or designee shall ensure that this policy and administrative regulations are reviewed annually with employees. The Superintendent or designee, in cooperation with other appropriate administrators, shall review this policy every three (3) years and recommend necessary revisions to the Board. The Employee Handbook, which shall contain this policy, shall be disseminated annually to employees. Page 3 of 6

4 BULLYING/CYBERBULLYING AND HARASSMENT - Pg Guidelines Education The district may develop and implement bullying prevention and intervention programs. Such programs shall provide district employees with appropriate training for effectively responding to, intervening in and reporting incidents of bullying. Consequences For Violations Pol. 317 Consequences and appropriate remedial actions for an employee who commits one or more acts of harassment or bullying may range from positive behavioral interventions up to and including dismissal from employment as set forth in the Board s approved Employee Handbook. Consequences for an employee who commits an act of harassment or bullying shall be unique to the individual incident and will vary in method and severity according to the nature of the behavior and the employee s work history of problem behaviors and performance, and must be consistent with the Board s approved code of conduct. Remedial measures shall be designed to: correct the problem behavior; prevent another occurrence of the behavior; and protect the victim of the act. Effective discipline should employ a school-wide approach to adopt a rubric of bullying offenses and the associated consequences. The consequences and remedial measures may include, but are not limited to, the examples listed below. Pol. 317 An employee who violates this policy shall be subject to appropriate disciplinary action consistent with the Employee Handbook, which may include: 1. Counseling within the school. 2. Administrative conference. 3. Loss of work privileges. 4. Transfer to another school building. 5. Suspension. 6. Counseling/Therapy outside of school. 7. Referral to law enforcement officials. Page 4 of 6

5 BULLYING/CYBERBULLYING AND HARASSMENT - Pg. 5 Examples Of Remedial Measures Employees 1. Framing the aggressive behavior as a failed attempt to solve a real problem or reach a goal. 2. Restitution and restoration. 3. Transformative conferencing/restorative justice. 4. Employee Assistance Program. 5. Corrective instruction or other relevant learning or service experience. 6. Supportive interventions. 7. Behavioral management plan, with benchmarks that are closely monitored. Environmental (Classroom, School Building, or School District) 1. Set a time, place, and person to help the bully reflect on the offending behavior, maintaining an emotionally-neutral and strength-based approach. 2. School and community surveys or other strategies for determining the conditions contributing to harassment, intimidation, or bullying. 3. School culture change. 4. School climate improvement. 5. Adoption of research-based, systemic bullying prevention programs. 6. Modifications of schedules. 7. General professional development programs for certificated and noncertificated staff. 8. Professional development plans for involved staff. 9. Disciplinary action for school staff who contributed to the problem. 10. Administrative conferences. Page 5 of 6

6 BULLYING/CYBERBULLYING AND HARASSMENT - Pg Referral to counseling. 12. Involvement of community-based organizations. 13. Development of a general bullying response plan. 14. Support groups. 15. Law enforcement involvement. References: School Code 24 P.S. Sec A, A Board Policy 249, 317, 348 Page 6 of 6

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