Forms & Policies » Policy on Bullying

Policy on Bullying

INTRODUCTION

 

The Everett Public Schools is committed to promoting an atmosphere of safety, respect and caring for all students, staff members and visitors to the schools, and to providing an environment in each school that is conducive to teaching and learning. Each school principal or the person who holds a comparable position shall be responsible for the implementation and oversight of this plan at his or her school. Bullying, harassment and intimidation have no place in a school setting. Consistent with this commitment, the Everett Public Schools refuses to tolerate and prohibits bullying and cyber-bullying of students, as those terms are defined in G.L. c. 71, §37O. The Everett Public Schools also prohibits and refuses to tolerate retaliation against students who report such conduct, provide information during an investigation of bullying, or witness or have reliable information about bullying. Bullying, cyber-bullying, harassment, intimidation and retaliation violate the Code of Conduct for students. Such conduct also may constitute a crime. A student or staff member 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 target who engages in bullying, cyber-bullying, harassment, intimidation or retaliation will be subject to discipline and may be subject to criminal prosecution.

 

The bullying of a student with a disability that results in the student not receiving meaningful educational benefit constitutes a denial of a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) that must be remedied, for bullying can undermine a student’s ability to achieve his or her full academic potential. The Everett Public Schools does not attempt to resolve the bullying situation by unilaterally changing the frequency, duration, intensity, placement, or location of the student’s special education and related services. These decisions are made by the IEP Team and consistent with the IDEA provisions that address parental participation.

 

The reporting forms are available on this page, in the tab on the right. They are also are available in the Guidance Office in each school and in the Deans’ offices at Everett High School. Bully Boxes are available in each school, where anonymous reports may be submitted.
 
Anonymous phone calls to staff members will be referred to the Principal or his/her designee.
 
Reports of retaliation will be referred to the person(s) who investigated the original incident.

 

Bullying is prohibited on school grounds; on property immediately adjacent to school grounds; at school-sponsored or school-related activities; at functions or programs whether on or off school grounds; at school bus stops; on school buses or other vehicles owned, leased or used by the school district; or, through the use of technology or an electronic device owned, leased or used by the Everett Public Schools.

 

Bullying also is prohibited at a location, activity, function or program that is not school-related or through the use of technology or an electronic device that is not owned, leased or used by the Everett Public Schools if the act or acts in question create a hostile environment at school for the target; infringe on the rights of the target at school; and/or materially and substantially disrupt the education process or the orderly operation of a school.   Nothing in this Policy requires the school district to staff any non-school-related activities, functions or programs.

 

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

 

The Everett Public Schools provides age-appropriate instruction on bullying prevention in each grade that is incorporated into the curriculum of the school district. The curriculum shall be evidence-based and includes practices for use as part of any bullying prevention and intervention program to help ensure that school and classroom settings are positive, safe and nurturing environments for all children and adults.

 

The Superintendent is responsible for developing a Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan, with staff and public involvement, addressing each of the 10 elements set forth in G.L.c.71, §370(d) , with copies of forms, flow charts, etc. Principals are responsible for implementing the Plan in their schools; the Superintendent is responsible for its overall implementation. The Plan reflects an integrated approach that incorporates preventive education, behavior management, disciplinary action and restorative justice. This balanced approach addresses the needs of all parties involved: the target, alleged perpetrator and community through processes that preserve the safety and dignity of all.[1] It requires, among other

things, that students and staff members report all instances of bullying, cyber-bullying or retaliation; that Principals or their designees promptly investigate reports of bullying, cyber-bullying or retaliation; that the parents/guardians of students who are targets or alleged perpetrators of bullying, cyber-bullying or retaliation be notified and informed of what steps are being taken to prevent recurrences and to keep the targets safe; and that the school district take effective remedial action to end bullying, cyber-bullying and retaliation and to restore a sense of security to targets of bullying. The Plan also includes on-going training and education components. Information regarding bullying and cyber-bullying will be made available to students, parents/guardians, staff members and the community through such avenues as newsletters, presentations to students, professional development for staff, meetings of the Committee on Bullying in each building, and presentations to parents and the community for policy input and feedback.

 

BULLYING PREVENTION AND INTERVENTION PLAN 

The Everett Public Schools develops, adheres to and updates this plan in consultation with teachers, school staff, professional support personnel, school volunteers, administrators, community representatives, local law enforcement agencies, students, parents and guardians.

 

The Everett Public Schools Policy on Bullying and its Action Plan shall apply to students and members of a school staff, including, but not limited to, educators, administrators, school nurses, cafeteria workers, custodians, bus drivers, athletic coaches, advisors to an extracurricular activity and paraprofessionals. This consultation shall include, but not be limited to, notice and a public comment period.

 

Parents, guardians and staff are expected to attend school-sponsored and district-sponsored events to learn acceptable strategies regarding ways to identify and deal with all matters of bullying, cyber- bullying and retaliation.

 

RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN BULLYING POLICY AND POLICIES

AGAINST DISCRIMINATION AND HARRASSMENT

 

Any incident of bullying, intimidation or harassment that is based on a person’s membership in a legally protected category under state or federal law will be treated as a violation of this Policy and the Everett Public Schools’ policy prohibiting unlawful discrimination.

 

Nothing in this Policy is designed or intended to limit the authority of a Principal or the Superintendent to take action under G.L. c. 71, §§37H or 37H½, G.L. c. 71, §§41 and 42, G.L. c. 76, §5 or other applicable laws, policies or collective bargaining agreements in response to violent, harmful or disruptive behavior, regardless of whether this Policy covers such behavior.

 

Nothing in this Policy creates or should be interpreted as creating an express or implied contract. Except for any provisions mandated by state law, federal law or applicable collective bargaining agreements, the Everett Public School District reserves the exclusive right at all times to unilaterally modify, revoke, or change any and all provisions of this Policy.

The Everett Public School District is committed to promoting an atmosphere of safety, respect and caring for all students, staff members and visitors to the schools, and to providing an environment in each school that is conducive to teaching and learning. Consistent with this commitment, the Everett School Committee has adopted a Policy on Bullying that can be found on the school district’s website, http://www.everettpublicschools.org together with this Action Plan. Additionally, the Superintendent has developed this Action Plan on Bullying Prevention and Intervention (“Action Plan”), with staff and public involvement, addressing each of the 10 elements set forth in G.L.c.71, §370(d). This Action Plan reflects an integrated approach that incorporates preventive education, behavior management, disciplinary action and restorative justice. Its balanced approach addresses the needs of all parties involved: the target, alleged perpetrator and community through processes that preserve the safety and dignity of all.  

 

This plan recognizes that certain students may be more vulnerable to becoming a target of bullying or harassment based on actual or perceived differentiating characteristics including race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, sex, socioeconomic status, homelessness, academic status, gender identity or expression, physical appearance, pregnant or parenting status, sexual orientation, mental, physical, developmental or sensory disability or by association with a person who has or is perceived to have one or more of these characteristics.

 

This plan includes specific steps that the Everett Public Schools shall take to support vulnerable students and to provide all students with the skills, knowledge and strategies needed to prevent or respond to bullying or harassment.

 

Schools will ensure that a student with a disability who is the target of bullying behavior continues to receive a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) in accordance with his or her IEP.

 

This Action Plan shall apply to students and school staff members, including, but not limited to, educators, administrators, school nurses, cafeteria workers, custodians, bus drivers, athletic coaches, advisors to an extracurricular activity or paraprofessionals. The Principal of each school is responsible for implementing the Action Plan, except when a report of bullying identifies the Principal or Assistant Principal as the alleged perpetrator, in which case the Superintendent or designee will be responsible for implementing the Action Plan.

Bullying, Cyber-Bullying and Retaliation

 

The Everett Public Schools prohibits and refuses to tolerate bullying, cyber-bullying, harassment or intimidation of students by other students or by staff members or other adults in the school community. The Everett Public Schools also prohibits and will not tolerate retaliation against students who report such conduct, provide information during an investigation of bullying, witness bullying, or have reliable information about bullying. Bullying, cyber-bullying, harassment, intimidation and retaliation violate the Code of Conduct for students. Such conduct also may constitute a crime. A student or staff member who engages in bullying, cyber-bullying, harassment, intimidation or retaliation will be subject to discipline and may be subject to criminal prosecution.

 

It is a violation of the Policy on Bullying and this Action Plan for any adult in the school community, including but not limited to staff members, consultants and contractors, to engage in or to condone bullying in school, or to fail to report or otherwise take reasonable, corrective measures, when he or she becomes aware of such conduct.

 

DEFINITIONS   

Bullying: The 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 target and (1) causes physical or emotional harm to the target or damage to the target’s personal property; (2) places the target in reasonable fear of such harm to himself or damage to his property (3) creates a hostile environment in school for the target; (4) infringes on the target’s rights in school; or (5) materially and substantially disrupts the educational process or orderly operations of school. This shall include cyber-bullying.

 

Bystander: A person who is present during an act of bullying but does not take part.

                   

Cyber-bullying: Bullying 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:

• The creation of a web page or blog in which the creator assumes the identity of another person.
• 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 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 that are included in 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 so as to alter the conditions of a student’s education.

 

Plan: Each school district, charter school, non-public school, approved private day or residential school and collaborative school shall develop, adhere to and update a plan to address bullying prevention and intervention in consultation with teachers, school staff, professional support personnel, school volunteers, administrators, community representatives, local law enforcement agencies, students, parents and guardians. The Plan shall apply to students and school staff members, including, but not limited to educators, administrators, school nurses, cafeteria workers, custodians, bus drivers, athletic coaches, advisors to an extracurricular activity and paraprofessionals.

 

Perpetrator: A student or staff member 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 in bullying or retaliation.

 

Retaliation: Any form of intimidation, reprisal or harassment that is directed against a person who reports bullying, provides information during a bullying investigation, or witnesses or has reliable information about bullying.

School grounds: Property on which a school building or facility is located or property that is owned, leased or used by a school district, charter school, non-public school, approved private day or residential school, or collaborative school for a school-sponsored activity, function, program, instruction or training.

 

Stalking: The act of willfully and maliciously engaging in conduct that seriously alarms or annoys a specific person and that would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress and that makes a threat with the intent to place person in fear of death or bodily injury. Such conduct, acts or threats include, but are not limited to, electronic mail, internet communications and facsimile communications. Stalking is a police matter; stalking is felony that is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for up to five years or by a fine of not more than $1000.00 and imprisonment in the house of correction for not more than two and one-half years or by both.

 

Unauthorized Access: Whoever, without authorization, knowingly accesses a computer system by any means, or who, after gaining access to a computer system by any means, knows that such access is not authorized and fails to terminate such access, shall be punished by imprisonment in the house of correction for not more than thirty days or by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars, or both.

The requirement of a password or other authentication to gain access shall constitute notice that access is limited to authorized users.

 

See also Everett Public Schools Acceptable Use Policy.

 

Target: A student against whom bullying, cyber-bullying or retaliation has been perpetrated.

 

Policy Application 

Occurrences of bullying happen both in and out of school, during and after school hours, at home and in locations outside of the home. 

Bullying is prohibited everywhere and at all times and particularly:

On school grounds;
On property immediately adjacent to school grounds;
At school-sponsored or school-related activities;
At school-related functions or programs whether on or off school ground;
At school bus stops;
On school buses or other vehicles owned, leased or used by the school district; and
Through the use of technology or an electronic device owned, leased or used by the Everett Public Schools.
 
Bullying also is prohibited at a location, activity, function or program that is not school-related, or through the use of technology or an electronic device that is not owned, leased or used by the Everett Public Schools, if the act or acts in question:
• Create a hostile environment at school for the target;
• Infringe on the rights of the target at school; or
• Materially and substantially disrupt the education process or the orderly operation of a school.

 

Nothing in this Action Plan requires the school district to staff any non-school-related activities, functions or programs.

 

Reporting
Reporting by Students: Any student who believes that he or she is a target of bullying or retaliation, who observes an act of bullying or retaliation, or who has reasonable grounds to believe that these behaviors are taking place, must report the incident(s) to a member of the school staff. The report may be verbal or written, and may be made anonymously, although no disciplinary action will be taken against a perpetrator solely on the basis of an anonymous report. If a student makes a verbal report to a staff member, the staff member will record the report in writing and, if developmentally appropriate, will ask the student to review and sign the report. A student, other than a target, who fails to report such incident(s) may be subject to disciplinary action. Any student who knowingly makes a false accusation of bullying or retaliation will be subject to disciplinary action.

Reporting by Staff Members: Every staff member is a mandated reporter and must report immediately to the Principal or designee any incident of bullying or retaliation that the staff member witnesses or of which the staff member becomes aware. If the staff member initially makes a verbal report of bullying, he or she will submit a written incident report as soon as practicable thereafter. Incident reports will be dated and time-stamped. The Principal or designee will maintain a log of all incidents reported and will submit the log monthly to the Director of Guidance, who will maintain a district-wide tally. A status report about each incident also will be submitted by the Principal to the Director of Guidance.

Reporting by Parents/Guardians: Parents/guardians and other members of the community are encouraged to report to the Principal or a staff member any incident of bullying or retaliation that they witness or of which they become aware as soon as possible.

District personnel, upon receipt of a report of alleged bullying or retaliation, are required to assess the safety of the target of the alleged bullying and to promptly begin to conduct an investigation into the allegations. Before fully investigating the allegations of bullying or retaliation, the principal or his/her designee will take steps to assess the need to restore a sense of safety to the target and/or to protect the target from possible further incidents. Responses to promote safety may include, but are not be limited to, creating a personal safety plan; pre-determining seating arrangements for the target and/or the alleged perpetrator 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 alleged perpetrator’s schedule and access to the target. The principal or his/her designee will take additional steps to promote safety during the course of and after the investigation, as necessary.

 

The principal or his/her 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.

 

The bullying of a student with a disability that results in the student not receiving meaningful educational benefit constitutes a denial of a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) that must be remedied, for bullying can undermine a student’s ability to achieve his or her full academic potential. The Everett Public Schools does not attempt to resolve the bullying situation by unilaterally changing the frequency, duration, intensity, placement, or location of the student’s special education and related services. These decisions are made by the IEP Team in accordance with IDEA provisions that address parental participation.

 

The Principal or his/her designee will arrange for an alleged perpetrator to receive counseling or will refer the alleged perpetrator to appropriate services, including guidance, academic intervention, and protection, as necessary.

Notice to Parents/Guardians, When Alleged Perpetrator is a Student. Upon receipt of a report alleging bullying or retaliation by a student, the Principal or his/her designee will promptly contact the parents/guardians of the student who is the target and the parents/guardians of the student who is the alleged perpetrator. The communication will include a discussion of the actions being taken to prevent further instances of such conduct. The parents/guardians of the alleged perpetrator will be invited to attend a meeting at which the conduct, words or images referred to in the report will be reviewed.

 

Upon completion of an investigation into a report of bullying or retaliation, the Principal or his/her designee will contact the parents/guardians of the target and of the alleged perpetrator and will inform them of the results, including whether the allegations were founded; whether there was a violation of the Policy on Bullying; and of the actions to be taken to prevent further incidents of such conduct. The parents/guardians will be provided with information regarding their own child only, unless a court order has been issued to indicate otherwise. The parents/guardians of a student who is disciplined for any act of bullying or retaliation must attend a meeting with the Principal or his/her designee at the time that the student is re-admitted to the regular school program.

 

Notice to Parents/Guardians and Staff Member, When Alleged Perpetrator is a Staff Member. Upon receipt of a report alleging bullying or retaliation by a staff member, the Principal or his/her designee will promptly contact the parents/guardians of the student who is the target and the staff member who is the alleged perpetrator. In conducting the investigation, the Principal or his/her designee will provide the staff member with the procedural protections available under the school district’s personnel policies and/or applicable collective bargaining agreement.

 

Upon completion of an investigation into a report of bullying or retaliation, the Principal or his/her designee will contact the parents/guardians of the target and the alleged perpetrator and will inform them of the results; including whether the allegations were found to be factual; whether a violation of the Policy on Bullying was found; and what actions will be taken to prevent further incidents of such conduct. The parents/guardians will be provided with information as it relates to their own child only, unless a court order has been issued to indicate otherwise. If a Principal or his/her designee determines that bullying or retaliation has occurred, the Principal or his/her designee will confer with the Superintendent regarding possible disciplinary or other action against the staff member, in accordance with the school district’s personnel policies and/or applicable collective bargaining agreement.

 

Notice to Another School or School District. If it appears that an incident of bullying or retaliation involves students from more than one school, school district, charter school, non-public school, approved private day or residential school or collaborative school, the school or school district that first was informed of the bullying or retaliation will promptly notify the appropriate administrator of the other school or school district, consistent with state and federal law, so that both may take appropriate action.

 

Notice to Law Enforcement Agency. The Principal or his/her designee will notify the Everett Police Department if a former student who is under the age of twenty-one (21) is believed to be involved in bullying, and the Principal or his/her designee has a reasonable basis to believe that criminal charges may be pursued against the former student.

 

At any point during an investigation of bullying or retaliation, including at the conclusion of an investigation, the Principal or his/her designee will notify the Everett Police Department if the Principal or his/her designee has a reasonable basis to believe that criminal charges may be pursued against the alleged perpetrator.

 

Before notifying law enforcement officials, the Principal or his/her designee will consult with the Superintendent, the School Resource Officer and other appropriate staff members. The Principal or his/her designee must document the reason(s) for his/her decision to notify law enforcement officials.

The Principal or his/her designee will promptly commence and complete the investigation into a report of bullying or retaliation. In the event of an allegation of cyber-bullying, the Principal or his/her designee will take appropriate steps to secure the electronic communication(s) or other evidence of bullying or retaliation. The investigation will be tailored in light of, among other things, the nature and severity of the alleged conduct and the ages of the students involved. The investigation may include obtaining written statements from persons having knowledge of the alleged incident(s) and interviewing the target, alleged perpetrator, staff members, students and/or witnesses. All persons will be interviewed individually.

 

Confidentiality will be maintained throughout the process, to the extent consistent with the school's legal obligations, in order to protect persons who are the target of bullying or retaliation, report bullying or retaliation, provide information during an investigation of bullying or retaliation, or witness or have reliable information about an act of bullying or retaliation.

The Principal or his/her designee will determine whether the reported incident(s) occurred and, if so, whether the incident(s) constitute bullying or retaliation. The determination will be based on all relevant evidence and the perspective of the students involved, in light of their ages, intelligence and experience. The determination will be made in writing.

 

If bullying or retaliation is substantiated, the Principal or his/her designee will take action that is reasonably calculated to prevent a recurrence of such conduct and to ensure that the target is not restricted in participating in school or benefiting from school activities.

 

Disciplinary actions for students will be in accordance with the school district’s disciplinary policies and will balance the need for accountability with the need to teach students appropriate behavior. Possible responses include, but are not limited to, teaching appropriate behavior regarding bullying, conflict resolution and anger management; requiring a student to provide a written apology, write a reflective essay or engage in another reflective activity; placing a student on a behavioral contract or internet safety plan; holding a parent conference; separating the parties involved until the matter is settled.

 

Restorative measure will be outlined to seamlessly reinstate students and employees who are involved in matters of bullying into the work and/or the school environment. The Principal also will consider whether adjustments are needed in the school environment to promote student safety and to discourage acts of bullying or retaliation.  

 

Within a reasonable time period following a determination that bullying or retaliation has occurred, the Principal or his/her designee will contact the TARGET to determine whether such conduct has recurred and/or whether additional supportive measures are necessary to restore the student’s sense of safety. The Principal or his/her designee will take such further actions as are needed to respond to the information provided by the student.

State and federal law, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, prohibit a public school district from excluding or discriminating against a student in admission to school or in obtaining the advantages, privileges, and courses of study of the school on account of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. Bullying or retaliation also may constitute unlawful discrimination, if it is based on the target’s membership in a legally protected category. Any incident of discrimination or harassment based on a student’s membership in a legally protected category will be treated as a violation of the Policy on Bullying and the Everett Public Schools’ policies prohibiting unlawful discrimination and harassment.

 

Relationship to Other Laws and Policies

If the Principal or his/her designee determines that an incident reported under this Action Plan occurred but that the conduct does not constitute bullying or retaliation, the investigator may, nonetheless, take appropriate disciplinary action if the conduct is inappropriate and violates the Code of Conduct for students.

 

Nothing in the Policy on Bullying or this Action Plan is designed or intended to limit the authority of a Principal or the Superintendent to take action under G.L. c. 71, §§37H or 37H½, G.L. c. 71, §§41 and 42, G.L. c. 76, §5 or other applicable laws, policies or collective bargaining agreements in response to violent, harmful or disruptive behavior, regardless of whether the Policy or this Action Plan covers such behavior.

“Effective Evidence-based Practices for Preventing and Addressing Bullying” includes practices for use as part of any bullying prevention and intervention program to help ensure that school and classroom settings are positive, safe, and nurturing environments for all children and adults. The school district will provide students with instruction on strategies to identify, refuse to tolerate, cope with, and report bullying behavior, through the following evidence-based, age-appropriate curricula that children will be instructed to employ to increase their comfort with expressing feelings and to decrease bullying.

  • Grades K-5: Open Circle
  • Grades 6-8: Second Step
  • Grades K-12: Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center (MARC) Curriculum: Bullying and Cyber-bullying Prevention. Core groups of students are trained through MARC, and work with building-trained staff, to support the school building climate through suggested activities such as PSA’s, poster contests, bully free zones, etc.

 

Each fall, teachers explain the Policy on Bullying to their students in age appropriate language. Teachers sign certification statements attesting that they spoke with every child in his or her charge. Students will participate in learning and will adhere to the following guidelines and expectations to prevent bullying:

  • Treat each other respectfully;
  • Refuse to bully others;
  • Refuse to stand by and let others be bullied;
  • Refuse to watch, laugh, or join in when someone is being bullied;
  • Try to include everyone, especially those who are often left out; and
  • Report bullying to an adult.

 

In all schools, interventions for students who engage in bullying behaviors will be clearly outlined, and behaviors will be assessed on a continuum that is appropriate to the developmental level of the student(s). The skills and proficiencies needed to avoid and to respond to bullying, harassment and teasing will be addressed for students with disabilities in their Individualized Education Programs.

This plan includes a provision for ongoing professional development to build the skills of all staff members, including, but not limited to educators, administrators, school nurses, cafeteria workers, custodians, bus drivers, athletic coaches, advisors to extracurricular activities and paraprofessionals, to prevent, identify and respond to bullying.

 

Annual Written Notice. At the beginning of the school year, the school district will provide staff members with written notice of the Policy on Bullying and this Action Plan. The notice will include information regarding the procedures for reporting incidents of bullying or retaliation. Relevant sections of the Action Plan relating to the duties of staff members will be included in the Employee Handbook.

 

Annual Training. The school district will provide staff members with annual research-based training on their duties under this Action Plan, the reporting and investigation procedures contained in the Action Plan, and an overview of the bullying prevention curriculum for students. The training will include information regarding the following topics:

  • Common vocabulary relating to bullying and retaliation;
  • Identification of conduct that constitutes bullying or retaliation;
  • Identification of an alleged perpetrator a target and a bystander, and the complex interaction and power differential that can take place among them;
  • Developmentally appropriate strategies to prevent bullying and retaliation;
  • Strategies for immediate, safe and effective interventions to stop incidents of bullying and retaliation;
  • Procedures for reporting and investigating bullying and retaliation;
  • The relationship between bullying and other improper conduct, such as harassment or discrimination based on an individual’s membership in a protected category;
  • Research findings on bullying, including information on students who are at risk for bullying (supplied from the EPS yearly survey information compiled through MARC and the results of the Youth Risk Behavior Survey);
  • Information on the incidence and nature of cyber-bullying; and
  • Internet safety issues, as they relate to cyber-bullying.

 

Professional development for staff also may include information relating to gender identity and gender nonconformity. During the school year, all staff will participate in further training. Updated information from the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office will be presented during a public community meeting.

Expectations for Staff

 Staff members are expected to recognize acts of bullying and retaliation and to take all necessary steps to ensure that the policies and procedures of the Everett Public Schools regarding bullying and retaliation are implemented, including but not limited to the following:

  • Immediately reporting to the Principal or designee any incident of bullying or retaliation that the staff member observes or of which the staff member becomes aware.   Every staff member in the Everett Public Schools is a mandated reporter.
  • Intervening in any incident of bullying or retaliation observed by the staff member to end the behavior and to protect the safety of the target. If necessary, a staff member should obtain help from another staff member;
  • Closely observing students during filing times, recess, lunch time and dismissal;
  • Taking seriously any concerns about bullying or retaliation that are received from students or parents/guardians, and responding quickly and sensitively to reports of retaliation;
  • Engaging in professional development activities to learn more about bullying and retaliation.

 

All employees of the Everett Public Schools are expected to take the following actions to prevent bullying and to create a climate that is safe and conducive to teaching and learning:

  • Review the Policy on Bullying with all children in a language that they understand at the beginning of the school year;
  • Instruct students regarding bullying and retaliation, using the curriculum in accordance with implementation guidelines and recommendations;
  • Supervise students throughout the school day according to building expectations;
  • Assign consequences for bullying or retaliation in accordance with this Action Plan; and
  • Identify students at risk for bullying to Guidance Counselors for monitoring.  

 

Trained teacher facilitators, located in all buildings, will meet with groups of students to plan activities that will positively impact school climate (e.g., public service announcements, poster contests, bully-free zones, etc).

 

The school district will administer surveys periodically to students to identify gateway behaviors and locations in each school that need more close monitoring.

 

  • Expectations for Parents/Guardians
    Parents/guardians are valued partners in assisting the school district in preventing and responding to bullying and retaliation. Parents/guardians can help by:
  • Attending school-sponsored and district-sponsored parent events on matters of bullying;
  • Encouraging their child not to engage in harmful teasing;
  • Listening to their child if he/she reports being bullied;
  • Encouraging their child not to exclude others or to spread rumors and gossip;
  • Helping their child understand how hurtful it feels to be excluded, bullied or harassed;
  • Reporting signs of bullying to a teacher, Guidance Counselor or Principal;
  • Supporting the school if their child is identified as having engaged in bullying behavior;
  • Ensuring that their child is not left unsupervised at the computer for any great length of time; and
  • Monitoring their child’s use of technology, including but not limited to instant messaging, text messaging and social networking sites.
  •  
The school district will provide parents/guardians with notice annually of the Policy on Bullying and relevant portions of this Action Plan. The school district also will offer education programs for parents/guardians which shall focus on the bullying prevention curriculum, how parents/guardians can reinforce the curriculum at home and support the school district or school plan; the dynamics of bullying; and online safety and cyber-bullying.
 
The parent/guardian of a student who is alleged to have engaged in bullying or retaliation will be invited to attend a meeting at which the activity, words or images subject to the complaint will be reviewed.
 
The parent/guardian of a student who is disciplined for bullying or retaliation must attend a meeting with the Principal or his/her designee at the time that the student is to be re-admitted to the regular school program.

 

Bullying : The 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 target and (1) causes physical or emotional harm to the target or damage to the target’s personal property; (2) places the target in reasonable fear of such harm to himself or damage to his property ; (3) creates a hostile environment in school for the target; (4) infringes on the target’s rights in school; or (5) materially and substantially disrupts the educational process or orderly operations of school. This shall include cyber-bullying.

                   

Bystander: A person who is present during an act of bullying, but does not take part.

 

Cyber-bullying: Bullying 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:

• The creation of a web page or blog in which the creator assumes the identity of another person.
• 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 clauses to include 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 that are included in 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 a student’s education.

 

Plan: Each school district, charter school non-public school, approved private day or residential school and collaborative school shall develop, adhere to and update a plan to address bullying prevention and intervention in consultation with teachers, school staff, professional support personnel, school volunteers, administrators, community representatives, local law enforcement agencies, students parents and guardians. The Plan shall apply to students and members of a school staff, including, but not limited to educators, administrators, school nurses, cafeteria workers, custodians, bus drivers, athletic coaches, advisors to an extracurricular activity and paraprofessionals.

 

Retaliation: Any form of intimidation, reprisal or harassment that is directed against a person who reports bullying, provides information during a bullying investigation, or witnesses or has reliable information about bullying.

 

Perpetrator: A student or staff member 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 in bullying or retaliation.

 

School grounds: Property on which a school building or facility is located or property that is owned, leased or used by a school district, charter school, non-public school, approved private day or residential school, or collaborative school for a school-sponsored activity, function, program, instruction or training.

 

Stalking: The act willfully and maliciously engaging in conduct that seriously alarms or annoys a specific person and would cause reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress and makes a threat with the intent to place person in fear of death or bodily injury. Such conduct, acts or threats include, but are not limited to, electronic mail, Internet communications and facsimile communications. Stalking is a police matter and felony that is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for up to five years or by a fine of not more than $1000.00, or imprisonment in the house of correction for not more than two and one-half years or both.

 

Unauthorized Access: Whoever, without authorization, knowingly accesses a computer system by any means, or after gaining access to a computer system by any means knows that such access is not authorized and fails to terminate such access, shall be punished by imprisonment in the house of correction for not more than thirty days or by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars, or both.

The requirement of a password or other authentication to gain access shall constitute notice that access is limited to authorized users.

See also Everett Public Schools Acceptable Use Policy.

 

Target: A student against whom bullying, cyber-bullying or retaliation has been perpetrated. 

A flow chart of the bullying incident reporting process
A complaint is made: How it proceeds. A chart