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06. Bullying Policy

(Refer to BOE Policy JDDC and GAAE)

Bullying means: Any intentional gesture or any intentional written, verbal, electronic, or physical act or threat either by any student, staff member, or parent towards a student or by any student, staff member or parent towards a staff member that is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive that it creates an intimidating, threatening, or abusive educational environment that a reasonable person, under the circumstances, knows or should know will have the effect of:

  • Harming a student or staff member, whether physically or mentally;
  • Damaging a student’s or staff member’s property:
  • Placing a student or staff member in reasonable fear of harm; or
  • Placing a student or staff member in reasonable fear of damage to the student’s or staff member’s property.

Bullying also includes cyberbullying. "Cyberbullying" means bullying by use of any electronic communication device through means including, but not limited to, e-mail, instant messaging, text messages, blogs, mobile phones, pagers, online games, and websites. Additionally, bullying means any form of intimidation or harassment prohibited by the board of education of the school district in policies concerning bullying adopted pursuant to K.S.A. 72-6147 or subsection (e) of K.S.A. 72-1138, and amendments thereto. USD 253 will not tolerate these actions by students, staff, or parents. For the purposes of this plan and its authorizing policies, “parent” includes a biological, adoptive, or step-parent; guardian; custodian; or other person with authority to act on behalf of a student. Similarly, a “staff member” means any person employed by the district. Any act of bullying by either an individual student or group of students towards a student or staff member of the district is prohibited on or while utilizing school property, in a school vehicle, or at school-sponsored activities, programs, and events. This policy applies to students who directly engage in an act of bullying, to students who, by their behavior, support another student’s act of bullying, and to all staff members and parents who engage in similar behaviors.

Training concerning identifying, reporting, investigating, and preventing bullying behaviors as outlined in district policies and this plan shall be provided to students and staff members using district resources available for such purpose and shall be provided through school assemblies, staff development, or other appropriate forums at least biannually. USD 253 focuses on bullying prevention by:

  1. Developing a bullying prevention program based on the KSDE Bullying Prevention Resource Toolkit including addressing bullying, building adult capacity to change climate and culture, curriculum and instructional resources, and measuring social -emotional learning;
  2. Using the Kansas State Department of Education’s Social - Emotional and Character Development Standards to address school bullying and student mental health;
  3. Implementing a social- emotional learning curriculum that includes an anti-bullying family engagement component;
  4. Providing students and families with information and resources annually on bullying, cyberbullying, digital citizenship and how to make smart choices on-line;
  5. Providing students and families with the district’s student behavior expectations relating to bullying and explanations for incidences that do not meet the legal definition of bullying;
  6. Tracking incidences of bullying including physical, cyber, verbal, and relational bullying and reporting this information to the Kansas State Board of Education;
  7. Collecting data on bullying incidents from social emotional data sources and annually reviewing this information with the board of education;
  8. Developing cultural awareness and understanding that certain demographic groups are disproportionately bullied at a higher rate than peers based upon sex, disability, socio-economic status, religious beliefs, gender identity and expression, sexual-orientation, and race/ethnicity (including migrant populations);
  9. Requiring all school employees to complete the following bullying prevention, identification, reporting and training module (describe district’s annual training program).

The board or the district administration on behalf of the board may seek student, staff, parent, and/or community input on the adoption, revision, and/or implementation of the board’s bullying policies or plan as directed or approved by the board. No teacher, administrator, or school district employee shall engage in, permit, or tolerate bullying.

Retaliation against a victim, good faith reporter, or a witness to bullying is prohibited. A student or staff member who engages in an act of bullying, reprisal, retaliation, or false reporting of bullying, shall be subject to discipline in accordance with school district policy and procedures. The school administration and/or board may consider the following factors when determining an appropriate disciplinary action for such prohibited conduct: the ages of the parties involved; the developmental and maturity levels, special education needs of the parties involved, and the frequency, and severity of the behavior. Discipline guidelines for student bullying may be found in student and employee handbooks. Offenses over time or single offenses which are severe in nature may result in discipline up to and including suspension and/or expulsion or termination from employment. Parents participating in prohibited bullying conduct aimed at district students and/or staff members may jeopardize their access to district facilities; district property; school sponsored activities, programs, and events; and/or district students and/or staff members through the district’s communication systems. As appropriate, reports to local law enforcement will be filed to report criminal bullying behaviors. (See Policies EBC, GAAC, GAACA, JGEC, JGECA and KN)

JCF - Hazing

 “Hazing” is a recklessly coercing, demanding, or encouraging another person to perform, as a condition of membership in a social, academic, athletic, or other school-sponsored activity or group, any act which could reasonably be expected to result in great bodily harm, disfigurement or death or which is done in a manner whereby great bodily harm, disfigurement or death could be inflicted or any behavior or activity that one is subjected to that is humiliating, degrading, or endangering as a condition of membership in a school organization, team, or group. Hazing is prohibited on school property, in school vehicles, and at school-sponsored activities or events. Permission, consent, or assumption of risk by an individual subjected to hazing does not lessen the prohibition contained in this policy. No administrator, teacher, or other employee of the district shall encourage, permit, condone, or tolerate any hazing activities. No students are permitted to plan, encourage, or engage in any hazing. Administrators, teachers, and all other district employees shall be particularly alert to possible conditions, circumstances, or events that might include hazing. If any of the prohibited behaviors are planned or discovered, involved students shall be informed by the discovering district employee of the prohibition contained in this policy and shall be required to end all such activities immediately. All hazing incidents are to be reported immediately to the Superintendent, Director of Human Resources, or building principal, and appropriate discipline shall be administered. Administrators, teachers, other employees, and students who fail to abide by this policy may be subject to disciplinary action and may be liable for civil and criminal penalties under State and/or Federal law. No one is permitted to retaliate against an employee or student because he/she files a grievance or assists or participates in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing regarding a charge of hazing of an individual.