††††††††††† C.† Disciplinary Policies
††††††††††††††††††††††† 1.† Code of Student Conduct
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† a.† Bullying/Cyberbullying
I.††††††††† Prohibition against Bullying/Cyberbullying
The School Committee prohibits harassment, bullying, hazing, or any other victimization of students by other students or by staff, based on any of the following actual or perceived traits or characteristics:† age, color, creed, national origin, race, religion, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical attributes, physical or mental ability or disability, ancestry, political party preference, political belief, socioeconomic status, or familial status.
Bullying/Cyberbullying is prohibited in the public schools of Narragansett, RI. (Rhode Island General Law 16.21.26) The prevention of bullying/cyberbullying is part of the Narragansett School Systemís strategic plan and each schoolís safety plan. (RIGL 16-7.1-2(e) and 16.21.24).† Students will refrain from using personal communication devices or district property to harass or stalk another.
II. †††††† Definition of Bullying/Cyberbullying
Bullying occurs when an individual, while at school, intentionally assaults, batters, threatens, harasses, stalks, menaces, intimidates, extorts, humiliates, or taunts another. Bullying also occurs when a student or a group of students organize a campaign of shunning against another student or when a student or a group of students maliciously spread rumors about another student. In most circumstances bullying does not include a mutual fight between two students of roughly equal strength who are angry at each other. Such fights are subject to discipline as a violation of school rules prohibiting fighting. It is recognized that some bullying might be through individual incidents of a relatively minor nature but which assume a greater significance when viewed in context, perhaps through their frequency or reason.
Cyberbullying is the use of any electronic communication device to convey a message in any form (text, image, audio or video) that defames, intimidates, harasses or is otherwise intended to harm, insult or humiliate another in a deliberate, repeated or hostile and unwanted manner under a personís true or false identity.
This policy is in effect while students or employees are on property within the jurisdiction of the School Committee; while on school-owned or school-operated vehicles; while attending or engaged in school-sponsored activities; and while away from school grounds if the misconduct directly affects the good order, efficient management and welfare of the school or school district.
III.†††††† Bullying/Cyberbullying Prevention
Each Narragansett school will proactively support a positive school culture, which promotes tolerance and acceptance of individual differences.† School staff at all times will model correct and courteous behavior to each other, to students, and to visitors to the school. Abusive or humiliating language or demeanor will not be accepted. An effort will be made to ensure that each student is well known by at least one staff person so that the student will have someone to turn to at school if a bullying/cyberbullying situation develops. To the extent possible the influence of cliques and other exclusive student groupings will be diminished by the creation of a range of inclusive school activities in which students will be encouraged to participate. [R.I.G.L. 16-38-4. Exclusive clubs].
The school health program and school counseling services will include appropriate social skills training to help students at all grade levels avoid isolation and to help them interact in a healthy manner.
At the start of each school year and at least one additional time during each school year, the principal of each building shall ensure that students and employees and volunteers who may have significant contact with pupils are given instruction in this policy and its corresponding procedures. This instruction shall include methods of discouraging and preventing bullying/cyberbullying, along with instruction in how to file a complaint against bullying/cyberbullying, and the disciplinary action that may be taken against those who commit acts of bullying/cyberbullying.
IV. ††††† Reporting Bullying/Cyberbullying
The principal of each school in the Narragansett School System shall establish, and prominently publicize to students, staff, volunteers, and parents, how a report of bullying/cyberbullying may be filed and how this report will be acted upon. The victim of bullying/cyberbullying, anyone who witnessed the bullying/cyberbullying, and anyone who has credible information that an act of bullying/cyberbullying has taken place may file a report of bullying/cyberbullying.
School staff shall take all reasonable measures to prevent bullying/cyberbullying and shall report all acts of bullying/cyberbullying that come to their attention. In this context the staff includes volunteers working in the school.† Under Rhode Island law, any school employee who promptly reports an incident of harassment, intimidation or bullying/cyberbullying to a building principal, and who makes this report in compliance with this policy and the procedures established by the building principal, is not liable for damages arising from any failure to remedy the reported incident [R.I.G.L. 16-21-26(h)]
The Narragansett School System will promote a culture that encourages responsible reporting by students who are victims of bullying/cyberbullying, or who observe an act of bullying/cyberbullying, or have reasonable grounds to believe that bullying/cyberbullying is taking place. To this end, school authorities will provide procedures that make it easy for both students and staff to report incidents confidentially and will take seriously and respond quickly to all reported incidents.
V.††††††† Investigation of Bullying/Cyberbullying
The principal of each school in the Narragansett School System shall establish a protocol for investigating incidences of bullying/cyberbullying.† The principal, or his or her designee, shall investigate all allegations of bullying/cyberbullying. If the allegation is found to be credible, appropriate remedial steps will be taken and/or appropriate disciplinary sanctions imposed. The parents of both the bully/cyberbully and the victim will be apprised of actions taken.†
VI.†††††† Responses to Bullying/Cyberbullying
The Narragansett School System implements progressive discipline and the discipline history of each student is reviewed when the principal exercises his/her discretion when determining consequences. In determining the appropriate response to students who commit one or more acts of bullying/cyberbullying, the school administrator will consider the following factors: the developmental and maturity levels of the parties involved, the levels of harm, the surrounding circumstances, the nature of the behaviors, past incidences or past or continuing patterns of behavior, the relationships between the parties involved and the context in which the alleged incidents occurred. Concluding whether a particular action or incident constitutes a violation of this policy requires a determination based on all of the facts and surrounding circumstances. It is only after meaningful consideration of these factors that an appropriate consequence will be determined.
Consequences for students who bully/cyberbully include both education and counseling to remedy the situation and disciplinary sanctions that may range from behavioral interventions up to and including suspension. These may include but are not limited to the following:
1. Admonitions and warnings.
2. Parent contact.
3. In-school counseling and clinical observation.
4. Loss of the opportunity to
participate in extracurricular activities.
5. Loss of the opportunity to participate in school social activities.
6. Loss of the opportunity to participate in graduation exercises.
7. Loss of school bus transportation.
8. Assignment of community service.
9. In school suspension.
10. Short term suspension (10 or fewer days of suspension) or long-term school suspension (for more than 10 days).
VII.†††† Police Notification
When the bullying/cyberbullying involves conduct that violates the criminal law the police shall be notified.† Criminal offenses must be of a kind that would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress, or be in fear of bodily injury (RIGL 11-52-4.2).
VIII.††† Help for the Victim of Bullying/Cyberbullying
If the victimís mental health has been placed at risk, appropriate referrals will be made. If the bullying/cyberbullying included a violent criminal offense, the victim of bullying/cyberbullying will be informed of any school transfer rights he or she may have under the Federal No Child Left Behind Act.
If a student is the victim of serious or persistent bullying/cyberbullying, the principal of the school will prepare a written school safety plan outlining what steps will be taken to provide the student with a safe educational environment. This plan will be developed, if possible, with input from the parents of the student. Staff members who are to implement the plan will help formulate it.
IX.†††††† Prohibition against Retaliation
Retaliation or threats of retaliation in any form designed to intimidate the victim of bullying/cyberbullying, those who are witnesses to bullying/cyberbullying, or those investigating an incident of bullying/cyberbullying shall not be tolerated. In most cases retaliation or a threat of retaliation will result in the imposition of short or long term school suspension and, in appropriate cases, referral to the police. [R.I.G.L. 11-42-2. Extortion and blackmail] [R.I.G.L.11-59-2. Stalking prohibited]
X.††††††† Prohibition Against False Reports of Bullying/Cyberbullying
False reports concerning bullying/cyberbullying will be subject to appropriate school discipline, including short or long-term suspension from school.
The principal of any school in Narragansett may establish a Mediation Board to resolve complaints of bullying/cyberbullying in circumstances where mediation may provide an appropriate remedy. The Mediation Board may, when appropriate, include students.
No student who is the victim of bullying/cyberbullying shall be required to participate in mediation or to accept any apology tendered by the bullying/cyberbullying student. The decision of a victim of bullying/cyberbullying not to participate in a mediation program shall not diminish the obligation of the school to impose discipline against the student who has committed an act of bullying/cyberbullying.
XII.†††† Additional Measures
The school improvement team [R.I.G.L. 16-53.1-2] of each school in the district shall determine the need for additional policies and programs to educate students and staff about the harm caused by bullying/cyberbullying.†
Principals will provide the Superintendent of Schools with a report on incidents with police involvement regarding bullying/cyberbullying which have taken place in the schools under their respective supervision. †That report will be made to the Superintendent as soon as the police are involved, and will include a statement describing what remedial actions have been taken to address bullying/cyberbullying.† All bullying/cyberbullying incidents will be provided to the Superintendent in an annual report at the end of the school year.†
Adopted:† June 10, 2009††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Narragansett, Rhode Island