School Policy

INTERCULTURAL ANTI-BULLYING POLICY

 

Intercultural Montessori Language School (the “school”) believes that it is essential to discourage students from engaging in behaviors that diminish a student’s ability to learn. It is essential to provide all students equal access to a safe, non-hostile learning environment. Efforts to stop bullying must involve the entire school community.

Adults are to take the lead in confronting bullying behavior in a non-bullying manner. Children cannot deal with acts of bullying on their own. They need support of adults, and procedures and practices for responding to bullying behavior in a fair, age appropriate, and consistent manner. Therefore, children are taught what constitutes bullying and of the following steps:

·         Children are encouraged to tell an adult if they see or experience bullying.

·         The child being bullied has a say as to how he/she would like to address the situation:

o   Speak with the person doing the bullying, (in the presence of an adult).

o   Work out the problem directly with the classroom teacher, the Executive Director, and/or have parents involved.

Each elementary classroom shall create a yearly declaration which all children agree to, that describes how they promote cooperation and foster a peaceful classroom. Each Primary classroom will ensure that students are aware of their classroom community ground rules and that they must inform the teacher when they perceive a problem.

Bullying on the basis of actual or perceived race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender-related identity or expression, ancestry, age, marital status, religion, physical or mental disability, military status, unfavorable discharge from military service, order of protection status, status of being homeless, or pregnancy, association with a person or group with one or more of the aforementioned actual or perceived characteristics, or any other distinguishing characteristic is prohibited in each of the following situations:

1.      During any school-sponsored education program or activity.

2.      While in school, on school property, on school vehicles, or at school-sponsored or school-sanctioned events or activities.

3.      Through the transmission of information from a school computer, a school computer network, or other similar electronic school equipment.

4.      Through the transmission of information from a computer that is accessed at a non-school-related location or activity, or from the use of technology or an electronic device that is not owned, leased, or used by the school if the bullying causes a substantial disruption to the educational process or orderly school operation. This paragraph applies only when the school receives such a report and does not require monitoring of any non-school activity.

Bullying includes cyberbullying (as cyberbullying is defined in the Illinois School Code) and means any severe or pervasive physical or verbal act or conduct, including communications made in writing or electronically, directed toward a student or students that has or can be reasonably expected to have the effect of one or more of the following:

1.      Placing the student or students in reasonable fear of harm to the student’s or students’ person or property;

2.      Causing a substantially detrimental effect on the student’s or students’ physical or mental health;

3.      Substantially interfering with the student’s or students’ academic performance; or

4.      Substantially interfering with the student’s or students’ ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or privileges provided by a school.

Bullying Prevention/Response Plan

The Executive Director or designee shall develop and maintain a bullying prevention and response plan that advances the school’s goal of providing all students with a safe learning environment free of bullying and harassment. This plan must be consistent with the following:

1.   The school uses the definition of bullying as provided in this policy.

2.   Bullying is contrary to Illinois law and the policy of this school. However, nothing in the school’s bullying prevention and response plan is intended to infringe upon any right to exercise free expression or the free exercise of religion or religiously based views protected under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution or under Section 3 of Article I of the Illinois Constitution.

3.   Students are encouraged to immediately report bullying. A report may be made orally or in writing to any staff member with whom the student is comfortable speaking. Anyone, including staff members and parents/guardians, who has information about actual or threatened bullying is encouraged to report it to any staff member.

4.   Consistent with federal and State laws and rules governing student privacy rights, the Principal or designee shall promptly inform the parent(s)/guardian(s) of every student involved in an alleged incident of bullying and discuss, as appropriate, the availability of restorative measures (as such measures are defined in the Illinois School Code) and other potential interventions and consequences up to and including dismissal.

5.   The Executive Director or designee shall promptly investigate and address reports of bullying, by, among other things:

a.       Making all reasonable efforts to complete the investigation within 10 school days after the date the report of a bullying incident was received and taking into consideration additional relevant information received during the course of the investigation about the reported bullying incident.

b.      Involving appropriate school support personnel and other staff persons with knowledge, experience, and training on bullying prevention, as deemed appropriate, in the investigation process.

c.       Consistent with federal and State laws and rules governing student privacy rights, providing parents/guardians of the students who are parties to the investigation information about the investigation and an opportunity to meet with the Principal or his or her designee to discuss the investigation, the findings of the investigation, and the actions taken to address the reported incident of bullying.

The Executive Director of designee shall investigate whether a reported incident of bullying is within the permissible scope of the school’s jurisdiction and shall require that the school provide the victim with information regarding any services that are available within the school and community, such as counseling, support services, and other programs.

6.   The Executive Director or designee shall use interventions to address bullying, that may include, but are not limited to, restorative measures, other available school and community-based services, and other potential consequences up to and including dismissal.

7.   A reprisal or retaliation against any person who reports an act of bullying is prohibited. A student’s act of reprisal or retaliation will be treated as bullying for purposes of determining any consequences or other appropriate remedial actions.

8.   A student will not be punished for reporting bullying or supplying information, even if the school’s investigation concludes that no bullying occurred. However, knowingly making a false accusation or providing knowingly false information will be treated as bullying for purposes of determining any consequences or other appropriate remedial actions.

9.   The school’s bullying prevention and response plan must be based on the engagement of a   range of school stakeholders, including students and parents/guardians.

10. The Executive Director or designee shall post this policy on the school’s Internet website, if any, and include it in the student handbook, and, where applicable, post it where other policies, rules, and standards of conduct are currently posted. The policy must also be distributed annually to parents/guardians, students, and school personnel, including new employees when hired.

11. The Executive Director or designee shall assist with its evaluation and assessment of this policy’s outcomes and effectiveness. This process shall include:

a.       The frequency of victimization;

b.      Student, staff, and family observations of safety at a school;

c.       Identification of areas of a school where bullying occurs;

d.      The types of bullying utilized; and

e.       Bystander intervention or participation.

12. The evaluation process may use relevant data and information that the school already collects for other purposes. The Executive Director or designee must post the information developed as a result of the policy evaluation on the school’s website, or if a website is not available, the information must be provided to school administrators, Board members, school personnel, parents/guardians, and students.