WAREHAM PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan
Prevention & Prohibition of Bullying in Wareham Public Schools
Revised: December 2015
Overview of the law:
On Monday, May 3, 2010, Governor Deval Patrick signed into law a landmark anti-bullying bill for Massachusetts (Chapter 92 of the Acts of 2010). Provisions of this law include requirements for schools to create and implement bullying prevention plans which must include:
Since 2010, the Massachusetts Legislature has amended the anti-bullying statute (M.G.L. c. 71 § 37O), including, but not limited to, expanding potential aggressors to include school staff members and recognizing that certain categories of students may be more vulnerable to being bullied.
Below are messages from the Superintendent, Chairman of the Wareham School Committee, and Wareham Public Schools Student Safety Committee written as Wareham was developing its initial Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan.
A Message from the Superintendent of Schools:
The mission of the Wareham Public Schools is, “is to educate all students for life’s responsibilities, challenges, and opportunities.” We believe education requires respect for one another, the community, and ourselves. In order for students to feel safe the school environment must be free of bullying. To that end, Wareham Public Schools prohibits bullying. cvberbullying and retaliation. The culture of the schools should encourage bystanders to step up to unjust situations. Our social-emotional educational programs help develop a caring and supportive learning community. Our elementary schools have the Open Circle Program or The Responsive Classroom and the middle school and Cooperative junior/Senior High School use the PeaceBuilders program. What these programs have in common is the expectation that all staff and students must respect themselves and others. This Bullying Prevention Plan contains procedures for training, reporting, investigating, record keeping and consequences. With the help of the entire learning community and outside community we can eliminate bullying and harassment.
A Message from the Chairman of the Wareham School Committee:
The Wareham School Committee is committed to providing the highest quality education to all the students in a safe and nurturing setting. The Committee continues to support initiatives, operational protocols, and programs that establish the learning atmosphere and platform to educate the whole child. The Committee promotes the continuous effort of endorsing tolerance and respect for all members of the school community. It rejects and supports a prohibition of all forms of bigotry and disrespect including bullying and understands the negative impact these behaviors have on the school culture and the academic and social development of the individual. The Wareham School Committee will continue to reach out to the entire community in developing partnerships which will promote a safe and wholesome culture in which teaching, learning, and values clarification can occur.
A Message from the Wareham Public Schools Student Safety Committee:
As parent members of the district’s PTA’s, our objective for this plan is developed to encourage an environment of respect and tolerance, with prompt action and appropriate resolution to any and all reports of bullying and/or violence. The first and foremost objective has to be the safety of all students and to foster an environment where students can develop and maintain a positive outlook towards learning and social interaction. Our plan defines clear cut expectations for student behavior. The students who make the decision to engage in bullying and/or violent behavior will be addressed immediately and there will be clear consequences defined in the plan. The plan requires all teachers and administrators to be trained in identifying bullying. The plan defines clearly the expectation for a teacher or administrator to respond rapidly to an incident, assuring each student’s safety while initiating an objective investigation into reported incidents. The plan is comprehensive and clearly outlines the student responsibility for their behavior and the teacher/administrator responsibility to identify
Aggressor is 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, cyberbullying, or retaliation of a student.
Bullying, pursuant to M.G.L. c. 71, § 370, means the repeated use by one or more students or a school staff member of a
(a) Causes physical or emotional harm to the target or damage to the target’s property;
(b) Places the target in reasonable fear of harm to himself or herself or damage to his or her property;
(c) Creates a hostile environment at school for the target;
(d) Infringes on the rights of the target at school; or
(e) Materially and substantially disrupts the education process or the orderly operation of a school.
Bullying shall include cyberbullying.
Cyberbullying, pursuant to M.G.L c. 71, § 370, means bullying through the use of technology or any electronic communication, which shall include, but 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. Cyberbullymg shall also include:
(a) The creation of a web page or blog in which the creator assumes the identity of another person, or
(b) 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 clauses (a) through (e) of the definition of bullying. Cyberbullying 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 enumerated in clauses (a) through (e) of the definition of bullying.
Hostile environment, pursuant to M.G.L c. 71, § 370, means 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 the student’s education.
Parent means a student’s father or mother, or guardian.
Principal means the administrative leader of a public school, charter school, collaborative school, or approved private day or residential school, or his or her designee for the purposes of implementing the school’s bullying prevention and intervention plan.
Retaliation means any form of intimidation, reprisal or harassment directed against a person who reports bullying, provides information during an investigation about bullying, or witnesses or has reliable Information about bullying.
School grounds means 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.
Target means a student victim of bullying or retaliation as defined in M.G.L. c. 71, § 370.
Bullying shall be prohibited:
(i) On school grounds, 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
(ii) 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 a school district or school, if the bullying creates a hostile environment at school for the victim, infrInges on the rights of the victim at school or materially and substantially disrupts the education process or the orderly operation of a school. Nothing contained herein shall require schools to staff any non-school related activities, functions, or programs.
Each school principal or the person who holds a comparable position shall be responsible for the implementation and oversight of the plan at his school and compliance with all aspects of M.G.L. c. 71, § 370.
Bullying, Cyberbullying, and Retaliation Reporting Procedures:
Investigating and Responding to Allegations of Student-on-Student Bullying
Investigating and Responding to Allegations of Staff-on-Student Bullying
Problem Resolution Procedure:
When a parent disagrees with findings related to outcomes of investigations or response to reports of bullying, cyberbullying or retaliation, the parent should immediately identify the nature of the disagreement in writing and submit this written notification to the principal or designee. First level dispute response will be with the principal of the school. If not resolved at this level, the parent should contact the Director of Student Services, and the principal or designee will provide all documentation to the Director. The Director will complete any necessary additional investigation and meet with the parent. This meeting may include the participation of the principal or designee.
Any parent wishing to file a claim/concern or seeking assistance outside of the school district may do so with the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Problem Resolution System (PRS). Information about the PRS can be found at http://www.doe.mass.edu/pqa or individuals may send emails to firstname.lastname@example.org or may call 78-338-37OO. In addition, the Superintendent’s office has hard copies of information about the PRS.
Confidentiality of Records:
Reporting Criminal Activity
(a) In making the determination whether notification to law enforcement is appropriate, the principal may consult with the school resource officer and any other individuals the principal deems appropriate.
(b) Nothing in 603 CMR 49.06 shall prevent the principal from taking appropriate disciplinary or other action pursuant to school district or school policy and state law, provided that disciplinary actions for students balance the need for accountability with the need to teach appropriate behavior.
Discipline for False Reports:
Any student who knowingly makes a false accusation of bullying, cyber-bullying, or retaliation will be subject to disciplinary action, which may include a warning, detention or suspension (in or out-of-school).
A key aspect of promoting positive school climates is ensuring that the underlying emotional needs of targets, student aggressors, families, and others are addressed. This Plan describes the strategies for providing supports and services necessary to meet these needs. In order to enhance the schools or district’s capacity to prevent, intervene early, and respond effectively to bullying, available services reflect an understanding of the dynamics of bullying and provide approaches to address the needs of targets and student aggressors. This plan includes a strategy for providing counseling or referral to appropriate services for student aggressors, targets and family members of those students.
Resources. This “map” of district and local resources will be reviewed by the administrative team and school counseling staff annually.
School-wide positive behavioral intervention programs:
Responsive Classroom (Decas)
® The Responsive Classroom is an approach to elementary teaching that emphasizes social, emotional, and academic growth in a strong and safe school community. The goal is to enable optimal student learning. Created by classroom teachers and backed by evidence from independent research, the Responsive Classroom approach is based on the premise that children learn best when they have both academic and social-emotional skills. The approach therefore consists of classroom and schoolwide practices for deliberately helping children build academic and social-emotional competencies.
Open Circle (Minot)
® Open Circle is a comprehensive, grade-differentiated social and emotional learning program for grades K-5 children, their teachers, administrators, other school staff, parents and other caregivers. Its mission is to work with school communities to help children become ethical people, contributing citizens and successful learners. The program fosters the development of relationships that support strategies for bullying prevention and intervention, research findings on bullying, and information on cyberbullying and internet safety.
Annual staff training on the Plan. Annual training for all school staff on the Plan 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.
Ongoing professional development. The goal of professional development is to establish a common understanding of tools necessary for staff to create a school climate that promotes safety, civil communication, and respect for differences. Professional development will build the skills of staff members to prevent, identify, and respond to bullying. As required by M.G.L c. 71, § 370, the content of school-wide and district-wide professional development will be informed by research and will include information on:
(i) developmentally (or age-) appropriate strategies to prevent bullying;
(ii) developmentally (or age-) appropriate strategies for immediate, effective interventions to stop bullying incidents;
(iii) information regarding the complex interaction and power differential that can take place between and among an aggressor, target, and witnesses to the bullying;
(iv) 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;
(v) information on the incidence and nature of cyberbullying; and
(vi) Internet safety issues as they relate to cyberbullying.
Professional development also will address ways to prevent and respond to bullying or retaliation for students with disabilities
Additional areas identified by the school or district for professional development include:
Student Education & Training
Wareham Public Schools will provide age-appropriate instruction on bullying prevention for students In each grade that is incorporated into the curriculum of the school or district. The curriculum will be evidence-based, and information about It will be made available to parents and guardians.
Initiatives also will teach students about the student-related sections of the Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan.
Students with Special Education Needs
Internet Safety Plan
Wareham Public Schools provides computer access to students and has an internet safety policy/acceptable use policy to protect students from inappropriate materials and subject matter. The policy, and any standards and rules enforcing it, will be determined by the school committee in conjunction with the superintendent. The policy is included in the District Handbook of Policies and Procedures for Students and Staff that is posted on the district’s website.
The internet is an amazing resource that offers our children unlimited opportunities for learning, constructive entertainment, and personal growth. Any child who is old enough to select a letter on a keyboard can access the world. New technologies offer many ways to communicate, and youth today have fully embraced the technologies. They have become a major part of our children’s social environment. The world of computers and the internet are constantly expanding and changing, and it is not uncommon today that children are more knowledgeable than adults about technology. Parents and caregivers have a responsibility to help keep children safe online and to educate themselves about the technologies children use to communicate. You need to be aware of your child’s online activities and teach him or her about cyber-ethics and how to interact positively in cyberspace.
Internet risks can be effectively managed through education and careful parental attention. By taking responsibility for your child’s online computer use, you can greatly minimize your child’s potential risk of exposure to online danger.
Golden rules of behavior are passed down from generation to generation. Parents should apply these same rules to regulate their child’s behavior in cyberspace.
Email is electronic mail, or messages sent from one address to another. It can include attachments such as pictures, sound, video or text.
Teach your child to do the following:
Instant Messaging (IM)
Instant Message is a communication service allowing two or more users who are on-line at the same time to correspond. It is faster than email because it happens in “real time” and can be accessed from any computer.
Chat rooms are areas online that allow multiple members to “chat’ in real time. They can be an individual website or part of a website providing venues for users with a common interest to have chat rooms. All participants in a chat room see each message posted. Some chat rooms are monitored by the site host, but not every site is monitored.
Blogs and Social Networks
A weblog, or blog, is a personal website of personal thoughts and web links, reading like a diary or journal.
Social networks allow members to join around shared interests. They have been called the equivalent of the town hall, the water cooler, or working on a yearbook for the internet generation. Some of the better-known social networking sites are Myspace, Togetherville, Xanga, and Facebook.
Blogs and Social Network Risks
Blog and Social Network Tips
Dissemination of Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan
Collecting, Maintaining, and Reporting Bullying Incident Data to DESE
The Wareham Public Schools will collect and maintain the following bullying incident data and shall report such data annually to DESE. The data shall include, but is not necessarily limited to,:
(i) the number of reported allegations of bullying or retaliation;
(ii) the number and nature of substantiated incidents of bullying or retaliation;
(iii) the number of students disciplined for engaging in bullying or retaliation; and
(iv) any other information required by DESE.
This incident data shall be reported in the form and manner established by DESE, in consultation with the attorney general.
In addition, at least once every four years, the district will administer a Department of Elementary and Secondary Education-developed student survey to assess school climate and the prevalence, nature, and severity of bullying in the district’s schools.
Relationship to Other Laws
Nothing in this Plan prevents the District from taking action to remediate discrimination or harassment based upon a person’s membership in a legally protected category under local, state, or federal law, or the District’s policies.
Additionally, nothing in this 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, 37H1/2, or 37H3/4, M.G.L. c. 71 §§ 41, 42, or 42D, other applicable laws, District policies, or collective bargaining agreements in response to violent, harmful, disruptive or other inappropriate behavior, regardless of whether the Plan covers the behavior.
Attachment to Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan:
Reporting Form for Allegations of Bullying, Cyber-Bullying or Retaliation Related to Bullying
- Wareham High School
- Wareham Middle School
- John W. Decas Elementary
- Minot Forest Elementary
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