Learning Community Policy on Bullying

Learning Community Policy on Bullying, Teen Dating Violence, and Sexual Violence

PROHIBITION AGAINST BULLYING, TEEN DATING VIOLENCE,
AND SEXUAL VIOLENCE

Harassment, intimidation, bullying, teen dating violence and sexual violence are prohibited in the public schools of The Learning Community in Rhode Island. [R.I.G.L. 16-21-26, 16-21-30] The prevention of bullying, teen dating violence, and sexual violence is part of the The District’s strategic plan [R.I.G.L.16-7.1-2(e)] and school safety plan [R.I.G.L. 16-21-24]. Bullying, Dating Violence, and Sexual Violence will not be toler-ated in The Learning Community’s Schools.

The purpose of this policy is to:

  • Raise School awareness about bullying, teen dating violence and sexual violence
  • provide direction in responding to incidents; and
  • prevent new incidents of bullying, dating violence and sexual violence.

DEFINITIONS

At School means in a classroom, on or immediately adjacent to school premises, on a school bus or other school-related vehicle, at an official school bus stop, or at any school-sponsored activity or event whether or not it is on school grounds.

Bullying occurs when a student intentionally assaults, batters, threatens, harasses, stalks, menaces, in-timidates, extorts, humiliates, or taunts another student. Bullying also occurs when a student or a group of students organize a campaign of shunning against another student or when a student or a group of stu-dents maliciously spread rumors about another student.

Dating Violence: A pattern of behavior where one person uses threats of, or actually uses, physical, sex-ual, verbal or emotional abuse to control his or her dating partner.

Sexual Assault includes behaviors that are attempted or perpetrated against a victim’s will or when a vic-tim cannot consent because of age, disability, or the influence of alcohol or drugs. Sexual assault may involve actual or threatened physical force, use of weapons, coercion, intimidation, or pressure and may include:

For additional terms, please see Definitions in the Procedures and Guidelines section.

REPORTING RESPONSIBILITIES

The Co-Directors have established —and prominently publicize to students, team members, volunteers, and parents—how to report bullying and how such reports will be acted on. The victim of bullying, dating violence, or sexual violence; witnesses/bystanders to such actions; or anyone who has information that these actions have occurred may report this incident to any team member, including a co-director, the school social worker, a behavioral specialist, a teacher, or any other team member.

INVESTIGATION

The Co-Directors, Middle Grades Coordinator, Behavioral Specialist, Director of Instruction, and/or Social worker will investigate reports of  bullying, dating violence, and sexual violence reports. If the allegation is found to be credible, appropriate discipli-nary sanctions, subject to due processes procedures, shall be imposed.

Whenever bullying, teen dating violence, or sexual violence involved conduct that violates criminal law, the police shall be notified.

DISCIPLINARY SANCTIONS

Disciplinary sanctions for bullying, dating violence, or sexual violence may include loss of privilege to participate in extra curricular activities including athletics and school social events; loss of school bus transportation; assignment of additional school work or community service; and—depending on the ex-tent of involvement in the prohibited activity—suspension from school.

VICTIM RIGHTS AND PROTECTION

The Learning Community is committed to creating a school environment that promotes timely and fair adjudication of bullying, teen dating violence, and sexual violence cases. Co-Directors will ensure that the  rights and privacy of the victim as well as the due process rights of the alleged perpetrator are protected.

PREVENTION

The Co-Directors shall ensure that students and staff are instructed on how to identify, prevent, and report bullying, teen dating violence, and sexual violence. The Co-Directors shall also ensure that the school health program and counseling services include the appropriate social skills training to help students avoid isolation and help them interact in a healthy manner.

School staff shall model correct and courteous behavior to each other, to students, parents and to visitors. Abusive or humiliating language or demeanor shall not be accepted. The team shall ensure that each stu-dent is known by a teacher that the student can turn to if abuse develops. To the extent possible, the influ-ence of cliques and other exclusive student grouping shall be diminished by the creation of inclusive school activities in which all students are encouraged to participate.

Procedures and Guidelines

DEFINITIONS (Continued)

Bystander: someone who is aware of bullying, dating violence, or sexual violence, but does not intervene or seek help for the victim.

Cyberbullying: the use of modern communication technologies and online forums—such as instant mes-saging, text messaging, blogs, email, chat rooms, and social networks—to embarrass, humiliate, threaten, or intimidate an individual in the attempt to gain power and control over them.

Dating: Any romantic relationship between an unmarried couple regardless of duration, commitment level, or physical intimacy. Dating includes hooking up, going out and friends with benefits.

Dating Partner: any person, regardless of gender, involved in a dating relationship. This could include persons who have a former dating or sexual relationship, are same sex couples, or are unrelated but have had intimate or continuous social contact with one another.

Hazing: any conduct or method of initiation into any student organization, whether on public or private property, which willfully or recklessly endangers the physical or mental health of any student or other person. This conduct shall include, but not be limited to, whipping, beating, branding, forced calisthenics, exposure to the weather, forced consumption of any food, liquor, beverage, drug, or other substance, or any brutal treatment or forced physical activity which is likely to adversely affect the physical health or safety of the student or any other person, or which subjects the student or other person to extreme mental stress, including extended deprivation of sleep or rest or extended isolation.28

Perpetrator/Abuser/Dominant Aggressor: a person who uses either bullying, dating violence, or sexual violence to establish and maintain power and control over the target of their behavior. The dominant ag-gressor/abuser means the person determined to be the most significant, rather than the first, aggressor. The following should be considered when identifying the dominant aggressor: (1) whether either person made threats creating fear of physical injury; (2) whether there is a history of domestic or sexual violence between the persons involved; (3) whether either person acted in self-defense; and (4) whether either per-son used or threatened to use a weapon and/or physical force.29

Sexual Harassment includes degrading remarks, gestures, and jokes, notes, graffiti, and spreading ru-mors to indecent exposure, being touched, grabbed, pinched, or brushed against in a sexual way.

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