Policy 514 - Bullying Prohibition Policy

I. PURPOSE

The purpose of this policy is to provide clear guidelines regarding the investigation and response by District staff toward acts of bullying and other similar disruptive and detrimental behavior.

II. GENERAL STATEMENT OF POLICY

The policy of this school district is that procedures related to the investigation and response of district staff toward acts of bullying and other similar disruptive and detrimental behavior will be developed and implemented.

III. DEVELOPMENT OF PROCEDURES

The Superintendent shall be responsible for ensuring the development and implementation of procedures related to the investigation and response of district staff toward acts of bullying and other similar disruptive and detrimental behavior. The procedures shall be operated in compliance with state and federal statute, rules, and regulations.

IV. DEFINITIONS

For purposes of this policy, the definitions included in this section apply.

  1. “Bullying” means intimidating, threatening, abusive, or harming conduct that is objectively offensive and:
    1. an actual or perceived imbalance of power exists between the student engaging in the prohibited conduct and the target of the prohibited conduct, and the conduct is repeated or forms a pattern; or
    2. materially and substantially interferes with a student’s educational opportunities or performance or ability to participate in school functions or activities or receive school benefits, services, or privileges. The term, “bullying,” specifically includes cyberbullying as defined in this policy.
  2. A “threat” is a statement of an intention to inflict pain, injury, damage, or other hostile action on someone in retribution for something done or not done.
  3. “Cyberbullying” means bullying using technology or other electronic communication, including, but not limited to, a transfer of a sign, signal, writing, image, sound, or data, including a post on a social network Internet website or forum, transmitted through a computer, cell phone, or other electronic device. The term applies to prohibited conduct which occurs on school premises, on school district property, at school functions or activities, on school transportation, or on school computers, networks, forums, and mailing lists, or off school premises to the extent that it substantially and materially disrupts student learning or the school environment.
  4. “Immediately” means as soon as possible but in no event longer than 24 hours.
  5. “Intimidating, threatening, abusive, or harming conduct” means, but is not limited to, conduct that does the following:
    1. Causes physical harm to a student or a student’s property or causes a student to be in reasonable fear of harm to person or property;
    2. Under Minnesota common law, violates a student’s reasonable expectation of privacy, defames a student, or constitutes intentional infliction of emotional distress against a student; or
    3. Is directed at any student or students, including those based on a person’s actual or perceived race, ethnicity, color, creed, religion, national origin, immigration status, sex, marital status, familial status, socioeconomic status, physical appearance, sexual orientation including gender identity and expression, academic status related to student performance, disability, or status with regard to public assistance, age, or any additional characteristic defined in the Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA). However, prohibited conduct need not be based on any particular characteristic defined in this paragraph or the MHRA.
  6. “On school premises, on school district property, at school functions or activities, or on school transportation” means all school district buildings, school grounds, and school property or property immediately adjacent to school grounds, school bus stops, school buses, school vehicles, school contracted vehicles, or any other vehicles approved for school district purposes, the area of entrance or departure from school grounds, premises, or events, and all school-related functions, school-sponsored activities, events, or trips. School district property also may mean a student’s walking route to or from school for purposes of attending school or school-related functions, activities, or events. While prohibiting bullying at these locations and events, the school district does not represent that it will provide supervision or assume liability at these locations and events.
  7. “Prohibited conduct” means bullying or cyberbullying as defined in this policy or retaliation or reprisal for asserting, alleging, reporting, or providing information about such conduct or knowingly making a false report about bullying.
  8. “Remedial response” means a measure to stop and correct prohibited conduct, prevent prohibited conduct from recurring, and protect, support, and intervene on behalf of a student who is the target or victim of prohibited conduct.
  9. “Student” means a student enrolled in a public school or a charter school.

V. BULLYING PROHIBITION PROCEDURES GUIDELINES
  1. An act of bullying, by either an individual student or a group of students, is expressly prohibited on school premises, on school district property, at school functions or activities, or on school transportation. This policy applies not only to students who directly engage in an act of bullying but also to students who, by their indirect behavior, condone or support another student’s act of bullying.
  2. School staff will act to investigate all complaints of bullying reported to the school district and will take appropriate action toward any student, teacher, administrator, volunteer, contractor, or other employee of the school district who is found to have violated this policy. Immediate steps will be taken at the discretion of school staff to protect all parties consistent with applicable law.
  3. Reporting procedures will be developed and disseminated to all students and district staff. Reporting procedures will be available to any person who believes he or she has been the target of bullying or any person with knowledge or belief of conduct that may constitute bullying or prohibited conduct under this policy shall report the alleged acts immediately to an appropriate school district official designated by this policy. A person may report bullying anonymously, however, the school district may not rely solely on an anonymous report to determine discipline or other remedial responses.
  4. Reports of bullying or other prohibited conduct are classified as private educational and/or personnel data and/or confidential investigative data and will not be disclosed except as permitted by law. The school district will respect the privacy of the complainant(s), the individual(s) against whom the complaint is filed, and the witnesses as much as possible, consistent with the school district’s obligation to investigate, take appropriate action, and comply with any legal disclosure obligations.
  5. The school district shall develop and provide training to school district personnel, volunteers, and students regarding this policy, reporting procedures, investigation procedures according to an established training cycle for new and returning individuals of all positions referenced previously consistent with Minn. Stat. § 122A.60.
  6. The administration of the school district will develop and implement programs and other initiatives to establish a positive school climate, to prevent bullying, to respond to bullying in a manner that does not stigmatize the target or victim, and to make resources or referrals to resources available to targets or victims of bullying.
  7. Procedures will be created to ensure adequate notice of this policy to students, parents/guardians, and school staff.

VI. POLICY REVIEW

To the extent practicable, the school board shall, on a cycle consistent with other school district policies, review and revise this policy. The policy shall be made consistent with Minn. Stat. § 121A.031 and other applicable law. Revisions shall be made in consultation with students, parents, and community organizations.

Legal References:

  • Minn. Stat. Ch. 13 (Minnesota Government Data Practices Act)
  • Minn. Stat. § 120A.05, Subds. 9, 11, 13, and 17 (Definition of Public School)
  • Minn. Stat. § 120B.232 (Character Development Education)
  • Minn. Stat. § 121A.03 (Sexual, Religious and Racial Harassment and Violence)
  • Minn. Stat. § 121A.031 (School Student Bullying Policy)
  • Minn. Stat. § 121A.0311 (Notice of Rights and Responsibilities of Students and Parents under the Safe and Supportive Minnesota Schools Act)
  • Minn. Stat. §§ 121A.40-121A.56 (Pupil Fair Dismissal Act)
  • Minn. Stat. § 121A.69 (Hazing Policy)
  • Minn. Stat. § 124D.10 (Charter School)
  • Minn. Stat. Ch. 363A (Minnesota Human Rights Act)
  • 20 U.S.C. § 1232g et seq. (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act)
  • 34 C.F.R. §§ 99.1 - 99.67 (Family Educational Rights and Privacy)

Cross References:

  • MSBA/MASA Model Policy 403 (Discipline, Suspension, and Dismissal of School District Employees)
  • MSBA/MASA Model Policy 413 (Harassment and Violence)
  • MSBA/MASA Model Policy 414 (Mandated Reporting of Child Neglect or Physical or Sexual Abuse)
  • MSBA/MASA Model Policy 415 (Mandated Reporting of Maltreatment of Vulnerable Adults)
  • MSBA/MASA Model Policy 423 (Employee-Student Relationships)
  • MSBA/MASA Model Policy 501 (School Weapons Policy)
  • MSBA/MASA Model Policy 506 (Student Discipline)
  • MSBA/MASA Model Policy 507 (Corporal Punishment)
  • MSBA/MASA Model Policy 515 (Protection and Privacy of Pupil Records)
  • MSBA/MASA Model Policy 521 (Student Disability Nondiscrimination)
  • MSBA/MASA Model Policy 522 (Student Sex Nondiscrimination)
  • MSBA/MASA Model Policy 524 (Internet Acceptable Use and Safety Policy)
  • MSBA/MASA Model Policy 525 (Violence Prevention)
  • MSBA/MASA Model Policy 526 (Hazing Prohibition)
  • MSBA/MASA Model Policy 529 (Staff Notification of Violent Behavior by Students)
  • MSBA/MASA Model Policy 709 (Student Transportation Safety Policy)
  • MSBA/MASA Model Policy 711 (Video Recording on School Buses)
  • MSBA/MASA Model Policy 712 (Video Surveillance Other Than on Buses)

Adopted: January 27, 2004
Revised: November 24, 2009
Revised: August 10, 2010
Revised: March 22, 2011
Revised: October 21, 2014
Revised: August 18, 2015
Revised: April 16, 2017
Revised: September 4, 2018