Hatfield Public Schools
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. NEEDS ASSESSMENT
II. PRIORITY STATEMENT
IV. REPORTING AND INVESTIGATION PROCEDURES
V. ACCESS TO RESOURCES AND SERVICES
VI. STUDENT PEVENTION PROGRAMS AND ACTIVITIES
VII. STAFF TRAINING AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
VIII. COLLABORATION WITH FAMILIES
IX. RELATIONSHIP TO OTHER LAWS
APPENDIX A: INCIDENT REPORT FORM
PROHIBITION AGAINST BULLYING AND RETALIATION
Acts of bullying, which include cyberbullying, are prohibited on school grounds and property immediately adjacent to school grounds, at a school-sponsored or school-related activity, function, or program whether on or off school grounds, at a school bus stop, on a school bus or other vehicle owned, leased, or used by a school district or school; or through the use of technology or an electronic device owned, leased, or used by a school district or school, and at a location, activity, function, or program that is not school-related through the use of technology or an electronic device that is not owned, leased, or used by a school district or school, if the acts create a hostile environment at school for the target or witnesses, infringe on their rights at school, or materially and substantially disrupt the education process or the orderly operation of a school.
Retaliation against a person who reports bullying, provides information during an investigation of bullying, or witnesses or has reliable information about bullying is also prohibited.
As stated in M.G.L. c. 71, § 37O, nothing in this Plan requires the district or school to staff any non-school related activities, functions, or programs
I. NEEDS ASSESSMENT
The Hatfield Public Schools will annually assess the needs of the District by: 1) surveying students, staff, parents, and guardians on school climate and school safety issues; and 2) collecting and analyzing building-specific data on the prevalence and characteristics of bullying (e.g., focusing on identifying vulnerable populations and “hot spots” in school buildings, on school grounds, or on school buses). Information will be gathered through analyzing the Incident Report Forms completed for the prior year as well as surveying student and staff. This information will help to identify patterns of behaviors and areas of concern, and to help the District make informed decisions about prevention strategies including, but not limited to, adult supervision, professional development, age-appropriate curricula, and in-school support services. A task force will meet annually to review the effectiveness of the plan and make adjustments based on data gathered at each school, as well as to discuss the latest up-to-date research on ways to prevent bullying.
Task Force Members involved in the development of the Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan include:
Superintendent John Robert
HES Principal Jen Chapin
SA Principal Scott Goldman
HES Counselor Amy Crisafulli
SA Counselor Casey Mones
School Committee Catherine Englehardt
HES teacher Kathy Marks
SA teacher David Keir
Middle School teacher Emily Case
Sped Representative Amy Braman
HES Parent Tracy Channell
SA parent Kim Lampron
SA Student Nathaniel Hanson
SA Student Kory Wagner
Nurse Sallie Swartz
Police Chief Tom Osley
The following are responsible for the implementation and oversight of the plan:
The Building Principal, in consultation with the Superintendent and various school staff, is responsible for: 1) receiving reports on bullying; 2) collecting and analyzing building-and/or-school-wide data on bullying to assess the present problem and to measure improved outcomes; 3) creating a process for recording and tracking incident reports, and for accessing information related to targets and 4) planning supports that respond to the needs of targets and aggressors; 5) designating key staff to be in charge of implementation of the plan; 6) and amending student and staff handbooks and codes of conduct.
The Superintendent, in consultation with the Building Principals, is responsible for: 1) planning for the ongoing professional development that is required by the law; 2) choosing and implementing the curricula that the school or district will use; 3) leading the parent or family engagement efforts and drafting parent information materials; and 4) reviewing and updating the Plan each year, or more frequently.
The School Committee, in consultation with the Superintendent, is responsible for developing new or revising current policies and protocols under the Plan, including an Internet safety policy.
II. PRIORITY STATEMENT
The Hatfield Public School District expects that all members of the school community are committed to providing all students with a safe learning environment that is free from bullying and cyber bullying. This commitment is an integral part of our comprehensive efforts to promote learning, and to prevent and eliminate all forms of bullying and other harmful and disruptive behavior.
Aggressor is a student who engages in bullying, cyberbullying, or retaliation.
Bullying, as defined in M.G.L. c. 71, § 37O, is the repeated use by one or more students of a written, verbal, or electronic expression or a physical act or gesture or any combination thereof, directed at a target that:
1. Causes physical or emotional harm to the target or damage to the target’s property.
2. Places the target in reasonable fear of harm to himself or herself or of damage to his or her property.
3. Creates a hostile environment at school for the target.
4. Infringes on the rights of the target at school.
5. Materially and substantially disrupts the education process or the orderly operation of a school.
Cyberbullying is bullying through the use of technology or electronic devices such as telephones, cell phones, computers, and the Internet. It includes, but is not limited to, email, instant messages, text messages, and Internet postings.
Cyber-harassment is defined as any willful and repeated harm inflicted through, but not limited to, Web pages, social networking sites, emails, instant messages or text messages using computers, cell phones and other electronic devices which is motivated by target individual or individuals membership in a protected group, whether real or perceived.
Harassment is defined as unwelcome, intentional, unprovoked discriminatory behavior, toward an individual or individuals, motivated by membership (real or perceived) in a protected category including: race, color, religion, ethnicity/natural origin, disability, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation and age.
Hazing is defined as any conduct or method of initiation into any student organization, whether on public or private property, which willfully or recklessly endangers the physical or mental health of any student or other person. Such conduct shall include whipping, beating, branding, forced calisthenics, exposure to the weather, forced consumption of any food, liquor, beverage, drug or other substance, or any other brutal treatment or forced physical activity which is likely to adversely affect the physical health or safety of any such student or person, or which subjects such student or other person to extreme mental stress, including extended deprivation of sleep or rest or extended isolation.
Hostile environment, as defined in M.G.L. c. 71, § 37O, is 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.
Retaliation is any form of intimidation, reprisal, or harassment directed against a student who reports bullying, provides information during an investigation of bullying, or witnesses or has reliable information about bullying.
Sexual harassment is defined in Massachusetts as; sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when submission to or rejection of such advances, requests or conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of employment or as a basis for employment decisions or decisions regarding student evaluation or participation in school programs or activities; or such advances, request or conduct have the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or school performance by creating an intimidating, hostile, humiliating or sexually offensive environment.
Staff includes, but is not limited to, educators, administrators, counselors, school nurses, cafeteria workers, custodians, bus drivers, athletic coaches, and advisors to extracurricular activities, support staff, or paraprofessionals.
Target is a student against whom bullying, cyberbullying, or retaliation has been perpetrated.
IV. PROCEDURES FOR REPORTING AND RESPONDING TO BULLYING AND RETALIATION.
Reporting Bullying or Retaliation
Reports of bullying or retaliation may be made by staff, students, parents or guardians, or others, and may be oral or written. Oral reports made by or to a staff member shall be recorded in writing. A school or district staff member is required to report immediately to the principal or designee any instance of bullying or retaliation the staff member becomes aware of or witnesses. The requirement to report to the principal does not limit the authority of the staff member to respond to behavioral or disciplinary incidents consistent with school or district policies and procedures for behavior management and discipline.
Reports may be made to the following:
At Smith Academy, telephone: 247-5641
- Scott Goldman, Principal or
- Casey Mones, Guidance Counselor
At Hatfield Elementary School, telephone 247-5010
- Jennifer Chapin, Principal or
- Amy Crisafulli, School Adjustment Counselor
Drop Boxes are located outside the Guidance Office at Smith Academy and the Adjustment Counselor’s Office at the elementary school for anonymous reports
Responding to a Report of Bullying or Retaliation
Before fully investigating the allegations of bullying or retaliation, the principal will take steps to assess the need to restore a sense of safety to the alleged target and/or to protect the alleged target from possible further incidents. Responses to promote safety may include, but not be limited to, creating a personal safety plan; pre-determining seating arrangements for the target and/or the aggressor 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 aggressor’s schedule and access to the target. The principal will take additional steps to promote safety during the course of and after the investigation, as necessary.
The principal 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 principal or designee will investigate all reports of bullying or retaliation; and in doing so, will consider all available information known, including the nature of the allegation(s) and the ages of the students involved. The investigation should be completed within one to five school days.
During the investigation the principal or designee will, among other things, interview students, staff, witnesses, parents or guardians, and others as necessary. The principal or designee will remind the alleged aggressor, target, and witnesses that retaliation is strictly prohibited and will result in disciplinary action.
Interviews may be conducted by the principal or designee, or other staff members as determined by the principal or designee, and in consultation with the school counselor, as appropriate. To the extent possible, and given his/her obligation to investigate and address the matter, the principal or designee will maintain confidentiality during the investigative process. The principal or designee will maintain a written record of the investigation.
Procedures for investigating reports of bullying and retaliation will be consistent with school or district policies and procedures for investigations. If necessary, the principal or designee will consult with legal counsel about the investigation.
The principal will make a determination based upon all of the facts and circumstances. If, after investigation, bullying or retaliation is substantiated, the principal will take steps reasonably calculated to prevent recurrence and to ensure that the target is not restricted in participating in school or in benefiting from school activities. The principal will: 1) determine what remedial action is required, if any, and 2) determine what responsive actions and/or disciplinary action is necessary.
Depending upon the circumstances, the principal may choose to consult with the students’ teacher(s) and/or school counselor, and the target’s or aggressor’s parents or guardians, to identify any underlying social or emotional issue(s) that may have contributed to the bullying behavior and to assess the level of need for additional social skills development.
The principal will promptly notify the parents or guardians of the target and the aggressor about the results of the investigation and, if bullying or retaliation is found, what action is being taken to prevent further acts of bullying or retaliation. All notice to parents must comply with applicable state and federal privacy laws and regulations. Because of the legal requirements regarding the confidentiality of student records, the principal cannot report specific information to the target’s parent or guardian about the disciplinary action taken unless it involves a “stay away” order or other directive that the target must be aware of in order to report violations.
If the principal decides that disciplinary action is appropriate, the disciplinary action will be determined on the basis of facts found by the principal or designee, including the nature of the conduct, the age of the student(s) involved, and the need to balance accountability with the teaching of appropriate behavior. Discipline will be consistent with the plan and with the school’s or district’s code of conduct. Discipline procedures for students with disabilities are governed by the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA), which should be read in cooperation with state laws regarding student discipline.
If the principal determines that a student knowingly made a false allegation of bullying or retaliation, that student may be subject to disciplinary action.
The principal will consider what adjustments, if any, are needed in the school environment to enhance the target's sense of safety and that of others as well. Within a reasonable period of time following the determination and the ordering of remedial and/or disciplinary action, the principal will contact the target to determine whether there has been a recurrence of the prohibited conduct and whether additional supportive measures are needed. If so, the principal will work with appropriate school staff to implement them immediately.
Obligations to Notify Others
- Notice to Parents or Guardians. Upon determining that bullying or retaliation has occurred, the principal or designee will promptly notify the parents or guardians of the target and the aggressor of this, and of the procedures for responding to it. There may be circumstances in which the principal or designee contacts parents or guardians prior to any investigation. Notice will be consistent with state regulations at 603 CMR 49.00.
- Notice to Another School or District. If the reported incident involves students from more than one school district, charter school, non-public school, approved private special education day or residential school, or collaborative school, the principal or designee first informed of the incident will promptly notify by telephone the principal or designee of the other school(s) of the incident so that each school may take appropriate action. All communications will be in accordance with state and federal privacy laws and regulations, and 603 CMR 49.00.
- Notice to Law Enforcement. At any point after receiving a report of bullying or retaliation, including after an investigation, if the principal or designee has a reasonable basis to believe that criminal charges may be pursued against the aggressor, the principal will notify the local law enforcement agency. Notice will be consistent with the requirements of 603 CMR 49.00 and locally established agreements with the local law enforcement agency. Also, if an incident occurs on school grounds and involves a former student under the age of 21 who is no longer enrolled in school, the principal or designee shall contact the local law enforcement agency if he or she has a reasonable basis to believe that criminal charges may be pursued against the aggressor.
V. ACCESS TO RESOURCES AND SERVICES
Counseling and Other Services Include
- School adjustment counselors.
- Guidance counselor.
- Support groups offered in school for identified students.
- Immediate response to identified incidences/crisis.
Referral to Outside Services
If school counselors assess the student’s need for counseling is greater than what can be provided in the school setting, counselors will work with student and family to identify outside resources. Counseling staff will inform families of available resources through email or phone contact as appropriate. Referrals may include the following:
- Emergency/Crisis team (Clinical and Support Options).
- Service Net.
- Child and Family Services.
- Private Practitioners.
- Educational services through the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office.
Students with Disabilities
When the IEP Team determines the student has a disability that affects social skills development or the student may participate in or is vulnerable to bullying, harassment, or teasing because of his/her disability, the team will consider what should be included in the IEP to develop the student's skills and proficiencies to avoid and respond to bullying, harassment, or teasing. These may include among other things, social skills training, a functional behavioral assessment, or a behavior plan.
VI. STUDENT PREVENTION PROGRAMS AND ACTIVITIES
Specific Bullying Prevention Approaches
- “Second Step” for grades PK-3.
- “Steps to Respect” for grades 4-6.
- “Owning Up” for grades 7-12.
Whole School Approaches
- High teacher visibility in hallways, at lunches, at recess, and before and after school.
- Small class sizes.
- Responsive Classroom K-6.
- Student success team/Student assistance team meetings.
- Middle School Team meetings.
- Lunch groups.
- Infusion of bullying topics and internet safety into curriculum at all levels.
- Health curriculum supports social/emotional learning.
Focused Strategies for Bullying Prevention and Social Skills Strategies
- Social Theater Groups for students on the autism spectrum.
- Use of behavior modification plans, as needed.
- Cyberbullying Internet Safety Program conducted by the Northwestern (Massachusetts) District Attorney’s Office.
VII. STAFF TRAINING AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Annual Training on the Plan
Annual training for all school staff on the plan will occur during the scheduled in-service days prior to the start of school each year. Training will include staff duties under the plan, an overview of the steps that the principal or designee will follow upon receipt of a report of bullying or retaliation, and an overview of the bullying prevention curricula to be offered at all grades throughout the school or district. Staff members hired after the start of the school year are required to participate in school-based training during the school year in which they are hired, unless they can demonstrate participation in an acceptable and comparable program within the last two years. Training will occur for paraprofessionals, kitchen staff, custodians, and bus drivers within the first 30 days of each school year. At the start of each school year, the building principal or his or her designee will review the student-related sections of the Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan with all students.
Ongoing Professional Development
Ongoing professional development will occur at various faculty meetings, in-service days sponsored by both the Collaborative for Educational Services and the Mary Lyons Foundations. Professional Development will also be provided by the Northwestern Massachusetts District Attorney’s Office, The Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center, and The Para Educator Training Network. The professional development will focus on the following topics:
- Developmentally (or age-) appropriate strategies to prevent bullying.
- Developmentally (or age-) appropriate strategies for immediate, effective interventions to stop bullying incidents.
- Information regarding the complex interaction and power differential that can take place between and among an aggressor, target, and witnesses to the bullying.
- Research findings on bullying, including information about specific categories of students who have been shown to be particularly at risk for bullying in the school environment.
- Information on the incidence and nature of cyberbullying.
- Internet safety issues as they relate to cyberbullying.
Professional development will also address ways to prevent and respond to bullying or retaliation for students with disabilities that must be considered when developing students’ Individualized Education Programs (IEP’s). This will include a particular focus on the needs of students with autism or students whose disability affects social skills development.
Written Notice to Staff
The school or district will provide all staff with an annual written notice of the Plan by publishing information about it, including sections related to staff duties, in the school employee handbook and the code of conduct. Staff will sign off on all training received and copies of training records will be maintained in the Superintendent’s Office.
VIII. COLLABORATION WITH FAMILIES
Parent Education and Resources
The school district will review annually for parents and guardians the parental components of the anti-bullying curricula and any social competency curricula used by the district or school. This will be done at the Open House in the fall.
Each year the school district will inform parents or guardians of enrolled students about the anti-bullying curricula that are being used, including information about the dynamics of bullying, including cyberbullying and online safety. The school or district will include in the student handbook, the student-related sections of the Plan and the school's Internet safety policy. The school or district will post the plan on its website.
IX. RELATIONSHIP TO OTHER LAWS
Consistent with state and federal laws, and the policies of the school or district, no person shall be discriminated against in admission to a public school of any town or in obtaining the advantages, privilege and courses of study of such public school on account of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, or sexual orientation. Nothing in the Plan prevents the school or district from taking action to remediate discrimination or harassment based on a person’s membership in a legally protected category under local, state, or federal law, or school or district policies.
In addition, nothing in the Plan is designed or intended to limit the authority of the school or district to take disciplinary action or other action under M.G.L. c. 71, §§ 37H or 37H½, other applicable laws, or local school or district policies in response to violent, harmful, or disruptive behavior, regardless of whether the Plan covers the behavior.
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