104 - ANTI-BULLYING/ANTI-HARASSMENT POLICY

The East Buchanan Community School District is committed to providing all students, employees, and volunteers with a safe and civil school environment in which all members of the school community are treated with dignity and respect. Bullying and/or harassing behavior can seriously disrupt the ability of school employees to maintain a safe and civil environment, and the ability of students to learn and succeed.

Bullying and/or harassment of or by students, staff, and volunteers is against federal, state, and local policy and is not tolerated by the board.

Accordingly, school employees, volunteers, and students shall not engage in bullying or harassing behavior while on school property, while on school-owned or school-operated vehicles, while attending or participating in school-sponsored or sanctioned activities, and while away from school grounds if the conduct materially interferes with the orderly operation of the educational environment or is likely to do so.

Complaints may be filed with the superintendent or superintendent’s designee pursuant to the regulation accompanying this policy.  Complaints will be investigated within a reasonable time frame. 

A school employee, volunteer, or student, or a student’s parent or guardian who promptly, reasonably, and in good faith reports an incident of bullying or harassment, in compliance with the procedures in the regulation, to the appropriate school official designated by the school district, shall be immune from civil or criminal liability relating to such report and to participation in any administrative or judicial proceeding resulting from or relating to the report.

Retaliation Prohibited

Individuals who knowingly file false bullying or harassment complaints and any person who gives false statements in an investigation may be subject to discipline by appropriate measures.

Any student found to have violated or retaliated in violation of this policy shall be subject to measures up to, and including, suspension and expulsion.  Any school employee found to have violated or retaliated in violation of this policy shall be subject to measures up to, and including, termination of employment.  Any school volunteer found to have violated or retaliated in violation of this policy shall be subject to measures up to, and including, removal from service and exclusion from school grounds. 

Definitions

For the purposes of this policy, the defined words shall have the following meaning: 

  • “Electronic” means any communication involving the transmission of information by wire, radio, optic cable, electromagnetic, or other similar means. “Electronic” includes but is not limited to communication via electronic mail, internet-based communications, pager service, cell phones, and electronic text messaging.  “Harassment” and “bullying” shall mean any repeated or potentially repeated electronic, written, verbal, or physical act or other ongoing conduct toward an individual based on any trait or characteristic of the individual which creates an objectively hostile school environment that meets one or more of the following conditions:
  1. Places the individual in reasonable fear of harm to the individual’s person or property.
  2. Has a substantial detrimental effect on the individual’s physical or mental health.
  3. Has the effect of substantially interfering the individual’s academic or career performance. Has the effect of substantially interfering with the individual’s ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or privileges provided by a school.
  • “Trait or characteristic of the individual” includes but is not limited to 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.
  • “Volunteer” means an individual who has regular, significant contact with students.

 

Publication of Policy

The board will annually publish this policy. The policy may be publicized by the following means:

  • Inclusion in the student handbook,
  • Inclusion in the employee handbook
  • Inclusion in the registration materials
  • Inclusion on the school or school district’s web site,
  • Inclusion in the school district newsletter publications and a copy shall be made to any person at the central administrative office at 414 5th Street, North, Winthrop, IA 50682.

 

Legal References:       20 U.S.C. §§ 1221-1234i.

                                    29 U.S.C. § 794.

                                    42 U.S.C. §§ 2000d-2000d-7.

                                    42 U.S.C. §§ 12001 et. seq.

                                    Iowa Code §§ 216.9; 280.28; 280.3.     

                                    281 I.A.C. 12.3(6).

                                    Morse v. Frederick, 551 U.S. 393 (2007)

Cross References:      102       Equal Educational Opportunity

                                    502       Student Rights and Responsibilities

                                    503       Student Discipline

                                    506       Student Records

Approved:  February 18, 2008              

Reviewed:  January 16, 2010; March 9, 2015    

Revised:  June 15, 2016; January 13, 2021

104 - HANDBOOK PROVISION

Initiations, Hazing, Bullying or Harassment

Harassment, bullying and abuse are violations of school district policies, rules and regulations and, in some cases, may also be a violation of criminal or other laws.  The school district has the authority to report students violating this rule to law enforcement officials.

Students who feel that they have been harassed or bullied should:

  • Communicate to the harasser or bully that the student expects the behavior to stop, if the student is comfortable doing so.  If the student needs assistance communicating with the harasser or bully, the student should ask a teacher, counselor or principal to help.

  • If the harassment or bullying does not stop, or the student does not feel comfortable confronting the harasser or bully, the student should:

  • tell a teacher, counselor or principal; and

  • write down exactly what happened, keep a copy and give another copy to the teacher, counselor or principal including;

  • what, when and where it happened;

  • who was involved;

  • exactly what was said or what the harasser or bully did;

  • witnesses to the harassment or bullying;

  • what the student said or did, either at the time or later;

  • how the student felt; and

  • how the harasser or bullying responded.

 

Sexual harassment may include unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.  Harassment or bullying on the basis or 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 includes conduct of a verbal or physical nature that is designed to embarrass, distress, agitate, disturb or trouble persons when:

  • places the student in reasonable fear of harm to the student’s person or property;

  • has a substantially detrimental effect on the student’s physical or mental health;

  • has the effect of substantially interfering with the student’s academic performance; or

  • has the effect of substantially interfering with the student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or privileges provided by a school.

 

Sexual harassment includes, but is not limited to:

  • verbal, physical or written harassment or abuse;

  • pressure for sexual activity;

  • repeated remarks to a person with sexual or demeaning implications; and

  • suggesting or demanding sexual involvement, accompanied by implied or explicit threats.

Harassment or bullying based upon factors other than sex includes, but is not limited to:

  • verbal, physical, or written harassment or abuse;

  • repeated remarks of a demeaning nature;

  • implied or explicit threats concerning one's grades, job, etc; and

  • demeaning jokes, stories or activities.

School districts are required to notify students on harassment and bullying.  School districts that have concerns about "secret societies" in the school may want to add language prohibiting them in accordance with Iowa Code 287.

East Buchanan Community School District

104.E1 - ANTI-BULLYING/HARASSMENT COMPLAINT FORM

104.E2 - ANTI-BULLYING/HARASSMENT WITNESS DISCLOSURE FORM

104.E3 - DISPOSITION OF COMPLAINT FORM

104.R1 - ANTI-BULLYING/ANTI-HARASSMENT INVESTIGATION PROCEDURES

Filing a Complaint

An individual who believes that the individual has been harassed or bullied may file a complaint with the superintendent or superintendent’s designee. The complaint form is available on the district’s website and in each school office.  An alternate investigator will be designated in the event it is claimed that the superintendent or superintendent’s designee committed the alleged bullying or harassment or some other conflict of interest exists. Complaints shall be filed within 180 days of the event giving rise to the complaint or from the date the Complainant could reasonably become aware of such occurrence. The Complainant will state the nature of the complaint and the remedy requested. The Complainant shall receive assistance as needed.

Investigation

The school district will promptly and reasonably investigate allegations of bullying or harassment upon receipt of a written complaint. The superintendent or the superintendent’s (hereinafter “Investigator”) will be responsible for handling all complaints alleging bullying or harassment.

The investigation may include, but is not limited to the following:

  • Interviews with the Complainant and the individual named in the complaint (“Respondent”)
  • A request for the Complainant to provide a written statement regarding the nature of the complaint;
  • A request for the Respondent to provide a written statement;
  • Interviews with witnesses identified during the course of the investigation;
  • A request for witnesses identified during the course of the investigation to provide a written statement; and
  • Review and collection of documentation or information deemed relevant to the investigation.

The Investigator shall consider the totality of circumstances presented in determining whether conduct objectively constitutes bullying or harassment as defined in Board policy. Upon completion of the investigation, the Investigator shall issue a report with respect to the findings, and provide a copy of the report to the appropriate building principal or Superintendent if the investigation involved the building principal.

The complaint and identity of the Complainant, Respondent, or witnesses will only be disclosed as reasonably necessary in connection with the investigation or as required by law or policy.  Similarly, evidence uncovered in the investigation shall be kept confidential to the extent reasonably possible.

Additional suggestions for administrative procedures regarding this policy include:

  • Organizing training programs for students, school employees, and volunteers regarding how to recognize bullying and harassing behavior and what to do if this behavior is witnessed; and
  • Developing a process for evaluating the effectiveness of this policy in reducing bullying and harassing behavior.

Decision

The investigator, building principal or superintendent, depending on the individuals involved, shall inform the Complainant and the accused about the outcome of the investigation.  If, after an investigation, a student is found to be in violation of the policy, the student shall be disciplined by appropriate measures, which may include suspension and expulsion. If after an investigation a school employee is found to be in violation of this policy, the employee shall be disciplined by appropriate measures, which may include termination. If after an investigation a school volunteer is found to be in violation of this policy, the volunteer shall be subject to appropriate measures, which may include exclusion from school grounds.

Individuals who knowingly file false bullying and/or harassment complaints and any person who gives false statements in an investigation may be subject to discipline by appropriate measures, as shall any person who is found to have retaliated against another in violation of this policy. Any student found to have retaliated in violation of this policy shall be subject to measures up to, and including, suspension and expulsion.  Any school employee found to have retaliated in violation of this policy shall be subject to measures up to, and including, termination of employment. Any school volunteer found to have retaliated in violation of this policy shall be subject to measures up to, and including, exclusion from school grounds. 

Approved:  July 15, 2016             

Reviewed:  ___________________

Revised:  January 13, 2021

104.R1 - ANTI-BULLYING/ANTI-HARASSMENT INVESTIGATION PROCEDURES

Individuals who feel that they have been harassed should:

        Communicate to the harasser that the individual expects the behavior to stop, if the individual is comfortable doing so.  If the individual wants assistance communicating with the harasser, the individual should ask a teacher, counselor or principal to help.

        If the harassment does not stop, or the individual does not feel comfortable confronting the harasser, the individual should:

        --    tell a teacher, counselor or principal; and

        --    write down exactly what happened, keep a copy and give another copy to the teacher, counselor or principal including;

  • what, when and where it happened;

  • who was involved;

  • exactly what was said or what the harasser did;

  • witnesses to the harassment;

  • what the student said or did, either at the time or later;

  • how the student felt; and

  • how the harasser responded.

COMPLAINT PROCEDURE    

An individual who believes that the individual has been harassed or bullied will notify the principal, the designated investigator.  The alternate investigator is the Superintendent.  The investigator may request that the individual complete the Harassment/Bullying Complaint form and turn over evidence of the harassment, including, but not limited to, letters, tapes, or pictures.  The complainant shall be given a copy of the completed complaint form.   Information received during the investigation is kept confidential to the extent possible.

The investigator, with the approval of the principal, or the principal has the authority to initiate an investigation in the absence of a written complaint.

INVESTIGATION PROCEDURE

The investigator will reasonably and promptly commence the investigation upon receipt of the complaint.  The investigator will interview the complainant and the alleged harasser.  The alleged harasser may file a written statement in response to the complaint.  The investigator may also interview witnesses as deemed appropriate.

Upon completion of the investigation, the investigator will make written findings and conclusions as to each allegation of harassment and report the findings and conclusions to the principal.  The investigator will provide a copy of the findings of the investigation to the principal.  

RESOLUTION OF THE COMPLAINT

Following receipt of the investigator's report, the principal may investigate further, if deemed necessary, and make a determination of any appropriate additional steps which may include discipline.

ANTI-BULLYING/HARASSMENT INVESTIGATION PROCEDURES

Prior to the determination of the appropriate remedial action, the principal may, at the principal's discretion, interview the complainant and the alleged harasser.  The principal will file a written report closing the case and documenting any disciplinary action taken or any other action taken in response to the complaint.  The complainant, the alleged harasser and the investigator will receive notice as to the conclusion of the investigation.  The principal will maintain a log of information necessary to comply with Iowa Department of Education reporting procedures.

POINTS TO REMEMBER IN THE INVESTIGATION

  • Evidence uncovered in the investigation is confidential.
  • Complaints must be taken seriously and investigated.
  • No retaliation will be taken against individuals involved in the investigation process.
  • Retaliators will be disciplined up to and including suspension and expulsion.

CONFLICTS
If the investigator is a witness to the incident, the alternate investigator shall investigate.