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Definition of Bullying

Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Both children who are bullied and who bully others may have serious lasting problems.

In order to be considered bullying, the behavior must be aggressive and include:

  • An imbalance of power: Children who bully use their power-such as physical strength, access to embarrassing information, or popularity- to control or harm others. Power imbalances can change over time and in different situations, even if they involve the same people.
  • Repetition: Bullying behaviors happen more than once or have the potential to happen more than once.

Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.

Types of Bullying

Verbal bullying is saying or writing mean things. Verbal bullying includes:

  • Teasing
  • Name-calling
  • Inappropriate sexual comments
  • Taunting
  • Threatening to cause harm

Social bullying, sometimes referred to as relational bullying, involves hurting someone’s reputation or relationships. Social bullying includes:

  • Leaving someone out on purpose
  • Telling other children not to be friends with someone
  • Spreading rumors about someone
  • Embarrassing someone in public

Physical bullying involves hurting a person’s body or possessions. Physical bullying includes:

  • Hitting/kicking/pinching
  • Spitting
  • Tripping/pushing
  • Taking or breaking someone’s things
  • Making mean or rude hand gestures

The Southeast Neighborhood School of Excellence (SENSE) recognizes that bullying is an inappropriate behavior that has destructive and negative effects on individual students and on the overall climate of the school. SENSE believes that all students are entitled to a safe and secure learning environment; bullying works against the achievement of that goal. Bullying is a behavior that should never be tolerated. It is important that teachers, students, and parents take a stand against all bullying behaviors.

The SENSE Charter School staff is committed to a policy that identifies and corrects those students who become involved in bullying behaviors. SENSE expects that all students will refrain from becoming involved in any bullying behaviors. Failure to comply with these expectations will result in disciplinary action. In addition, it is expected that all bystanders (third party witnesses) will refrain from supporting bullying behaviors in either an active or passive manor and will report bullying behaviors to the appropriate authorities.

Each year, SENSE Charter School staff will educate students in all grade levels to help them identify and respond to the dangers of bullying. Bullying is defined as a deliberately hurtful behavior that is repeated over a period of time and results in those being bullied not being able to defend themselves. The three main types of bullying are physical, verbal (direct and indirect) and relational.

Students who become involved in bullying will be subject to the following four-step process:

Step 1: A student who is bullied by another student should contact an adult (parent, teacher, or staff member). Likewise, a bystander should also contact an adult.

Step 2: If a second incident were to occur, the victim should address the bully and clearly inform him/her that the actions/words have been harmful and should be stopped. In addition, the victim should contact the same adult as contacted previously.

Step 3: In the unfortunate event of a third incident, the victim should report the bullying to the Head of School and have a parent complete the “Bullying Reporting Form” (a copy is included at the back of this handbook and at the front office). The Head of School will investigate the incident once a complaint form has been submitted. Appropriate action will be taken against the bully including a “Cease and Desist Order.” Additionally, the Head of School will contact the parents of the “bully” to inform of the complaint being issued and the consequences for the actions. The victim will not need to prove that he/she was bullied; the bully will be expected to prove to the Head of School that he/she did not violate the policy. Be advised that false or misleading accusations against another student will result in consequences for the student reporting.

Step 4: If a student defies the “Cease and Desist Order” and continues the bullying behavior, he/she may be suspended from school.

SENSE Charter School Student Sexual Harassment Policy

  1. Prohibited Sexual Harassment

1.Prohibited sexual harassment includes, but is not limited to, unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, visual, or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:

a.Submission to the conduct is explicitly or implicitly made a term or condition of an individual’s academic status or progress

b.Submission to or rejection of the conduct by an individual is used as the basis for academic decisions affecting the individual.

c.The conduct has the purpose or effect of having a negative impact on the individual’s academic performance, or of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive educational environment.

d.Submission to or rejection of the conduct by the individual is used as the basis for any decision affecting the individual regarding benefits and services, honors, programs, or activities available at or through the school.

2.Type of conduct which are prohibited in the school and which may constitute sexual harassment include, but are not limited to:

a.Unwelcome sexual flirtations or propositions.

b.Sexual slurs, leering, epithets, threats, verbal abuse, derogatory comments or sexually degrading descriptions.

c.Graphic verbal comments about an individual’s body, or overly personal conversation.

d.Sexual jokes, notes, stories, drawings, pictures, or gestures.

e.Spreading sexual rumors.

f.Teasing or sexual remarks about students enrolled in a predominantly single-sex class.

g.Touching an individual’s body or clothes in a sexual way.

h.Purposefully cornering or blocking normal movements.

i.Limiting a student’s access to educational tools.

j.Displaying sexually suggestive objects.

Notifications

A copy of the school’s Sexual Harassment Policy shall:

1)The Sexual Harassment Policy will be posted in the main office.

2)Each year the Sexual Harassment Policy will be printed in the family handbook which is distributed to all parents.

3)The Sexual Harassment Policy shall be included in any other notifications that are sent to parents/guardians at the beginning of each school year.

Enforcement

The Head of School or designee shall take appropriate actions to reinforce SENSE Charter School’s sexual harassment policy. As needed, these actions may include any of the following:

1)Removing of vulgar or offending graffiti

2)Providing staff in-service and student instruction or counseling.

3)Notifying parents/guardians.

4)Notifying Child Protective Services.

5)Taking appropriate disciplinary action. In addition, the Head of School or designee may take disciplinary measures against any person who is found to have made a complaint of sexual harassment that he/she knows was not true.

Sexual Harassment

The Board of Directors is committed to maintaining an educational environment that is free from harassment. The Board prohibits sexual harassment of students by other students, employees or other persons, at school or at school sponsored or school-related activities. The Board also prohibits retaliatory behavior or action against persons who complain, testify, assist, or otherwise participate in the complaint process established pursuant to this policy and the administrative regulation.

Instruction/Information

The Head of School or designee shall ensure that all students receive age-appropriate instruction and information on sexual harassment. Such instruction and information shall include:

1)What acts and behavior constitute sexual harassment; including the fact that sexual harassment could occur between people of the same gender.

2)A clear message that students do not have to endure sexual harassment from any individual.

3)Encouragement to report observed instances of sexual harassment, even where the victim of the harassment has not complained.

4)Information about the person(s) to who a report of sexual harassment should be made.

Complaint Process

1.All students shall be advised of the existence of the harassment/discrimination complaint procedures.

2.Any student who feels that he or she has been the object of sexual harassment may verbally file a complaint with his/her Head of School or designee.

3.Any school employee to whom a complaint is made shall, within 24 hours of receiving the complaint, report it to the Head of School or designee. This report shall be made regardless of whether the victim files a complaint.

4.In any case of sexual harassment involving the Head of School or any other employee to whom the complaint would ordinarily be made, the employee who receives the student’s report or who observes the incident shall report to the nondiscrimination coordinator or the designee. This report shall be made regardless of whether the victim files a complaint.

5.The Head of School or designee to whom a complaint of sexual harassment is reported shall immediately investigate the complaint. Where the Head of School or designee finds the sexual harassment occurred, he/she shall take prompt, appropriate action to end the harassment and address its effects on the victim. The Head of School or designee shall also advise the victim of any other remedies that may be available. The Head of School or designee shall file a report and refer the matter to law enforcement authorities, where required.

Disciplinary Measures

1.Any student who engages in sexual harassment of anyone at school or at a school-sponsored or school-related activity is in violation of this policy and shall be subject to disciplinary action. For students in grades K-8, disciplinary action may include suspension and/or expulsion, provided that in imposing such a discipline the entire circumstances of the incident(s) shall be taken into account.

2.SENSE Charter School will also take any appropriate action against any employee who engages in sexual harassment/discrimination.

Record Keeping

The Head of School or designee shall maintain a record of all reported cases of sexual harassment. Complaints and allegations of sexual harassment will be kept confidential except when to enable the school to monitor, address, and prevent repetitive harassing behavior in its schools except when disclosure is necessary to further the end of the investigation or other needed remedial action or ongoing monitoring.

Confidentiality

All complaint allegations shall be kept confidential to the greatest extent possible under the law.

Retaliation

SENSE Charter School prohibits retaliation in any form for the filing of a complaint, the reporting of instances of discrimination, or participation in complaint procedures. Such participation shall not in any way affect the status, work assignment of the complainant or the grades of a student/complainant.