Anti-Bullying Policy

Legacy Academy Anti-Bullying Policy

 

Purpose

 

The Illinois General Assembly and Legacy Academy Charter School has found that a safe and civil school environment is necessary for students to learn and achieve and that bullying causes physical, psychological, and emotional harm to students and interferes with their ability to learn and participate in school activities. Bullying has been linked to other forms of antisocial behavior, such as vandalism, shoplifting, skipping and dropping out of school, fighting, using drugs and alcohol, and sexual harassment and violence. It is the goal of Legacy Academy to create a learning environment where students are protected from bullying so they feel safe and supported in their efforts to succeed academically and develop emotionally into responsible, caring individuals.

 

Legacy Academy asks every Legacy student, with the support of his/her parent(s), guardian(s) and the adults at school, to commit to the following principles, which will apply to everyone on school property and at school-related activities:

 

I will not bully others.

 

I will try to help anyone I suspect is being bullied.

 

I will work to include students who are left out.

 

If someone is being bullied, I will tell an adult at school and an adult at home

 

Scope

 

Bullying is contrary to Illinois law and this policy is consistent with the Illinois School code. This policy protects Legacy students against bullying and harassment on the basis of actual or perceived race, color, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, physical or mental disability, military status, sexual orientation, gender-related identity or expression, unfavorable discharge from military service, association

with a person or group with one or more of the aforementioned actual or perceived

characteristics, or any other distinguishing characteristic. Legacy recognizes the

particular vulnerability of students with actual or perceived disabilities and those

who identify as or are perceived to be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. Nothing in this policy is intended to infringe upon any expression protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution or Section 3 of Article I of the Illinois Constitution.

 

Bullying is prohibited:

 

1) During any school-sponsored or school-sanctioned program or activity;

 

2) In school, on school property, on school buses or other Legacy-provided

transportation, and at designated locations for students to wait for buses

and other Legacy-provided transportation (“bus stops”);

 

3) Through the transmission of information from a Legacy computer or computer

network, or other electronic school equipment;

 

4) When communicated through any electronic technology or personal electronic

device while on school property, on school buses or other Legacy-provided

transportation, at bus stops, and at school-sponsored or school-sanctioned

events or activities;

 

5) When it is conveyed that a threat will be carried out in a school setting, including

threats made outside school hours with intent to carry them out during any school related or sponsored program or activity or on Legacy-provided transportation;

 

6) When it is a behavior that occurs off campus but otherwise would constitute a Student Code of Conduct violation that seriously disrupts any student’s education.

 

Definitions

 

“Bullying” 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 predicted to have one or more

of the following effects:

 

1) Placing the student in reasonable fear of harm to the student's person

or property;

2) Causing a substantially detrimental effect on the student's physical

or mental health;

3) Substantially interfering with the student's academic performance; or

4) Substantially interfering with the student's ability to participate in or benefit

from the services, activities, or privileges provided by a school.

5 ) Bullying behaviors may also qualify as other inappropriate behaviors listed in the Student Code of Conduct. When deciding whether inappropriate behavior constitutes bullying, administrators should consider the student’s intent, the frequency or recurrence of the inappropriate behavior, and whether there are power imbalances between the students involved. While bullying is often characterized by repeated acts, sometimes a single incident constitutes bullying depending on the student’s intent and power imbalances.

 

Bullying may take various forms, including without limitation, one or more of the

following: harassment, threats, intimidation, stalking, physical violence, sexual

harassment, sexual violence, theft, public humiliation, destruction of property,

or retaliation for asserting or alleging an act of bullying. This list is meant to be

illustrative and non-exhaustive.

 

“Cyberbullying” means using information and communication technologies

to bully.

 

“Retaliation” means any form of intimidation, reprisal or harassment directed

against a student who reports bullying, provides information during an

investigation, or witnesses or has reliable information about bullying.

 

“Peer Conflict” means disagreements and oppositional interactions that are

situational, immediate and developmentally appropriate. When school employees

are aware of peer conflict, they are expected to guide students in developing new skills in social competency, learning personal boundaries and peaceably resolving conflict, and to model appropriate social interactions. These interventions are designed to prevent Peer Conflict from escalating to Bullying.

 

 

 

Intervening to Address Bullying

 

Responsibilities of Legacy Employees and Contractors:

 

All Legacy employees and contractors, including security officers, lunchroom staff

and bus drivers, who witness incidents of bullying or school violence or who

possess reliable information that would lead a reasonable person to suspect

that a person is a target of bullying, must:

 

1) Intervene immediately in a manner that is appropriate to the context and

ensures the safety of all people involved;

 

2) Report the incident of bullying or retaliation to the Director/Designee as

soon as practicable, but within 24 hours, on the Legacy Bullying Complaint Form

(Attachment A);

 

3) Cooperate fully in any investigation of the incident and in implementing any

safety plan established by the Director/Designee.

 

Responsibilities of Students, Parents and Guardians:

 

No student who witnesses bullying may stand by or participate in the bullying,

but must notify an adult at school and an adult at home as quickly as practicable.

Any parent or guardian who witnesses or is notified of bullying has an obligation

to advise the Director/Designee as quickly as practicable. Reports can be made

by completing Attachment A and submitting it to the Director/Designee. Anonymous reports will be taken by the Director/Designee. No disciplinary action will be taken on the sole basis of an anonymous report.

 

 

Investigation:

 

1) The Director shall select a designee, employed by the school and trained in

investigative procedures, to perform the investigation.

 

2) Investigation of a bullying incident shall be initiated within five school days

of receipt of a report and completed within 10 school days, unless the

Director grants in writing an additional 5-day extension due to extenuating

circumstances. The Director/ Designee shall document the extension in the

investigation report and shall notify the parties involved.

 

3) The investigation shall include:

 

a. Identifying the perpetrator(s), target(s) and bystander(s), as well as any adult

who witnessed the incident or may have reliable information about it;

 

b. Conducting an individual interview in a private setting with the alleged

perpetrator and target. The alleged perpetrator and target should never

be interviewed together or in public. Individual interviews shall also be

conducted in private with student and adult bystanders.

 

c. Determining how often the conduct occurred, any past incident or

continuing pattern of behavior, and whether the target’s education

was affected.

 

d. Assessing the individual and school-wide effects of the incident relating

to safety, and assigning school staff to create and implement a safety plan

that will restore a sense of safety for the target and other students who have

been impacted.

 

e. When appropriate, preparing a Misconduct Report identifying his or her recommendation for individual consequences.

 

f. Comprehensively documenting the details of the investigation.

 

g. When the investigation is complete, the Director/Designee shall ensure the investigation report is attached to the Incident Report and filed accordingly.

 

 

 

 

Notification

On the same day the investigation is initiated, the Director/Designee shall report to the parent/legal guardian of all involved students, via telephone, personal

conference and/or in writing, the occurrence of any alleged incident of bullying,

and shall document these notifications in an Incident Report. When the investigation is complete, the Director/Designee shall notify the parents/legal

guardians of all students involved of the outcome of the  investigation. Parents/legal guardians of the students who are parties to the investigation may

request a personal conference with the Director/ Designee to discuss the

investigation, the findings of the investigation, the actions taken to address the

reported incident of bullying, and any resources available in or outside the school

to help the students address the underlying reasons for the bullying (see “Referrals” section below).

If the investigation results in the imposition of consequences, the Director/Designee may advise the parent/legal guardian of students other than the perpetrator that the Student Code of Conduct was followed. S/he may not advise them of the specific consequence imposed, as that would violate the

confidentiality of school-record information required by law. When communicating incidents of bullying to the target’s parent/guardian, the Director/Designee should consider whether the student may want to keep certain information confidential. For example, if a student is bullied after coming out as gay, the Director/Designee shall not disclose the student’s sexual orientation to the

parent/guardian without the student’s permission, unless there is a legitimate,

school-related reason for doing so. If the target is a student with a disability, the school shall convene the IEP Team to determine whether additional or different special education or related services are needed to address the student’s individual needs and revise the IEP accordingly. For example, if the student’s disability affects social skill development or makes the student vulnerable to bullying, the Director/Designee shall ask the student’s IEP Team to consider whether the IEP should include provisions to develop the student’s skills and proficiencies to avoid and respond to bullying. If the student who engaged in bullying behavior is a student with a disability, the school shall convene the IEP Team to determine if additional supports and services are needed to address the inappropriate behavior and consider examining the environment in which the bullying occurred to determine if changes to the environment are warranted. For example, the IEP Team should consider a behavior intervention plan for the student or review a current behavior intervention plan and revise if necessary.

 

 Imposing Consequences:

 

Many Peer Conflicts can be resolved immediately and do not require reporting or

creation of a Misconduct or Incident Report. If, however, a conflict is ongoing and

meets the definition of bullying, the investigation procedures in this policy must

be followed.

 

Schools must respond to bullying in a manner tailored to the individual incident,

considering the nature of the behavior, the developmental age of the student,

and the student’s history of problem behaviors and performance.

When an investigation determines that bullying occurred, the Director/Designee

shall explain the consequences in a non-hostile manner, and shall impose any

consequence immediately and consistently. The Director/Designee shall keep

communicating and working with all parties involved until the situation is resolved.

 

 

When an investigation determines that bullying occurred, the Director/Designee

shall explain the consequences in a non-hostile manner, and shall impose any

consequence immediately and consistently. The Director/Designee shall keep

communicating and working with all parties involved until the situation is

resolved. Some key indicators of resolution include:

 

• The perpetrator is no longer bullying and is interacting civilly with the target.

 

• The target reports feeling safe and is interacting civilly with the perpetrator.

 

• School staff notice an increase in positive behavior and social-emotional

competency in the perpetrator and/or the target.

 

• School staff notice a more positive climate in the areas where bullying

incidents were high

 

 

 

What Not To Do

 

• Solicit an apology from the perpetrator to the target, use peace circles, victim/

offender conferences, or any form of mediation that puts the perpetrator and

target in contact with one another in an immediate attempt to resolve the

bullying. Research shows that bullies often lack empathy so their attempt at

expressing remorse may not be genuine. Restorative approaches may be helpful

but only if used after other interventions have balanced the power differential

between the perpetrator and target.

 

• Dismiss bullying as typical student behavior or assume it is not serious.

 

Referrals

 

Interventions with bullies should not focus on feelings, but changing thinking.

The Director/Designee shall refer students who bully to positive-behavior

small-group interventions (for anger management, trauma or social skills)

within the school, if possible, to reinforce the behavioral expectation they

violated and increase their social-emotional competency.

 

The targets of bullying need protection from bullies, but may also need support

and help in changing their own behavior. The Director/Designee shall ask a school

mental health professional to refer these students to individual or group therapy

where they can openly express their feelings about their bullying experience, or

social-skills training and/or groups where they can practice assertiveness and

coping mechanisms.

 

Appeal

 

Any party who is not satisfied with the outcome of the investigation may appeal to

Legacy Academy’s Chief Compliance Officer:

Dr. Barbara Forte
4029 Prairie Road
Rockford, IL 61102
Tel: (815) 961-1100
Fax: (815) 968-4597
e-mail: Bforte52@aol.com  

 

The appeal must be made within 15 calendar days of notification of the Director’s

decision. The Chief Compliance Officer promptly shall render a final determination and may:

 

  •  return the incident to the Director or his/her designee for further

 investigation or reconsideration of the consequence(s),

  •  direct the imposition of other consequence(s), or

  •  deny the appeal.

 

The Chief Compliance Officer shall notify the party requesting the appeal and the

Director that his or her decision is final and shall document that notification in the

Incident Report.

 

Consequences for Legacy Academy Employees and Contractors

When it is determined that an employee or contractor was aware that bullying was taking place but failed to report it, the employee/contractor will be considered to have violated this policy. The Director shall consider employee discipline for such violations.

 

Notice and Dissemination of Requirements

Directors shall ensure that this Anti-Bullying Policy is on the school’s website, in

the school building as well as disseminate and present this Policy to school staff as part of pre-school-year professional development.

 

 

 

Training and Professional Development

Staff Professional development will be offered to build the skills of all Legacy Academy employees, contractors, and volunteers to implement this policy. The

content of such professional development shall include, but not be limited to:

a) Developmentally appropriate strategies to prevent incidents of bullying and

to intervene immediately and effectively to stop them;

b) Information about the complex interaction and power differential that can

take place between and among a perpetrator, target, and witness to the

bullying;

c) Research findings on bullying, including information about specific

categories of students who have been shown to be particularly at risk, and

any specific interventions that may be particularly effective for addressing

bias-based bullying; and

d) Information about Internet safety issues as they relate to cyberbullying.

 

Student Internet Safety Education

In accordance with Legacy Academy’s Internet Safety Policy, each teacher shall

incorporate into the school curriculum a component on Internet safety to be taught at least once each school year to all students. The Chief Academic Officer or his or her designee shall determine the scope and duration of this unit of instruction and topics covered. At a minimum, the unit of instruction shall address:

(a) safety on the Internet;

(b) appropriate behavior while online, on social networking Web sites, and in chat rooms; and

(c) cyberbullying awareness and response.

 

The age appropriate unit of instruction may be incorporated into the current courses of study regularly taught. Schools shall satisfy the documentation requirements established by the Chief Officer of Teaching and Learning or designee to ensure compliance with this curricular requirement.

 

BULLYING REPORT FORM


 

Name: _______________________________ Student ID: _______________________ Grade: ______

Date: ______________ Time: _________ School: ___________________________________________

 

Please answer the following questions about this reporting incident:

List the name of the alleged bully, and/or cyberbully. If name is not known, provide any other identifiable information:

_____________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Relationship between you and the alleged bully, and/or cyberbully:

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Describe the incident: _____________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________

When and where did it happen? _____________________________________________________________________________________

 

Were there any witnesses? [ ] yes [ ] no If yes, who? __________________________________________

Other information, including previous incidents or threats:

_____________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________

 

Student or parent declines to complete this form: Initial: _________________ Date: ____________

 

I certify that all statements made in the complaint are true and complete. Any intentional false statement of fact will subject me to appropriate discipline. I authorize school officials to disclose the information I provide only as necessary in pursuing the investigation.

 

Signatures:

 

Student: ____________________________________________________________ Date: ____________

 

School official receiving complaint: _______________________________________ Date: ____________

 

School official conducting follow-up: _____________________________________ Date: _____________

 

 

This document shall remain confidential