PREVENTION AND RESPONSE TO BULLYING, INTIMIDATION, AND HARASSMENT
Gerber School adheres to the Urbana School District bullying policy as found HERE on the USD116 website in section 7.180 and HERE in section 7.190. USD116 Board policy was most recently updated on 10/27/21.
The school administration is authorized to discipline students for gross disobedience and misconduct including, but not limited to engaging in hazing or any kind of bullying or aggressive behavior that does physical or psychological harm to a staff person or another student, or urging other students to engage in such conduct. Prohibited conduct specifically includes, without limitation, any use of violence, intimidation, force, noise, coercion, threats, stalking, harassment, sexual harassment, public humiliation, theft or destruction of property, retaliation, hazing, bullying, or bullying using a school computer, or school computer network, or other comparable conduct.
Bullying, intimidation, and harassment diminish a student’s ability to learn and a school’s ability to educate. Preventing students from engaging in these disruptive behaviors and providing all students equal access to a safe, non-hostile learning environment are important District goals. Bullying on the basis of actual or perceived race, color, national origin, military status, unfavorable discharge status from the military service, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender-related identity or expression, ancestry, age, religion, physical or mental disability, order of protection status, status of being homeless, or actual or potential marital or parental status, including 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 buses or other school vehicles, at designated school bus stops waiting for the school bus, 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 nonschool-related location, activity, function, or program or from the use of technology or an electronic device that is not owned, leased, or used by a school district or school if the bullying causes a substantial disruption to the educational process or orderly operation of a school. This item (4) applies only in cases in which a school administrator or teacher receives a report that bullying through this means has occurred and it does not require a district or school to staff or monitor any nonschool-related activity, function, or program.
Definitions from Section 27-23.7 of the School Code (105 ILCS 5/27-23.7)
Bullying includes cyber-bullying 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 predicted 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.
Cyberbullying means bullying through the use of technology or any electronic communication, including without limitation any transfer of signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data, or intelligence of any nature transmitted in whole or in part by a wire, radio, electromagnetic system, photo-electronic system, or photo-optical system, including without limitation electronic mail, Internet communications, instant messages, or facsimile communications.
Cyberbullying includes the creation of a webpage or weblog in which the creator assumes the identity of another person or the knowing impersonation of another person as the author of posted content or messages if the creation or impersonation creates any of the effects enumerated in the definition of bullying.
Cyberbullying also includes the distribution by electronic means of a communication to more than one person or the posting of material on an electronic medium that may be accessed by one or more persons if the distribution or posting creates any of the effects enumerated in the definition of bullying.
Restorative measures means a continuum of school-based alternatives to exclusionary discipline, such as suspensions and expulsions, that: (i) are adapted to the particular needs of the school and community, (ii) contribute to maintaining school safety, (iii) protect the integrity of a positive and productive learning climate, (iv) teach students the personal and interpersonal skills they will need to be successful in school and society, (v) serve to build and restore relationships among students, families, schools, and communities, and (vi) reduce the likelihood of future disruption by balancing accountability with an understanding of students’ behavioral health needs in order to keep students in school.
School personnel means persons employed by, on contract with, or who volunteer in a school district, including without limitation school and school district administrators, teachers, school guidance counselors, school social workers, school clinical professionals, student engagement advocates school psychologists, school nurses, cafeteria workers, custodians, bus drivers, school resource officers, and security guards, etc.
BULLYING PREVENTION AND RESPONSE PLAN
The Superintendent or designee shall develop and maintain a bullying prevention and response plan that advances the District’s goal of providing all students with a safe learning environment free of bullying and harassment. This plan must be consistent with the following requirements:
1. Using the definition of bullying as provided in this policy, the Superintendent or designee shall emphasize to the school community that: (1) the District prohibits bullying, and (2) all students should conduct themselves with a proper regard for the rights and welfare of other students. This may include a process for commending or acknowledging students for demonstrating appropriate behavior.
2. Bullying is contrary to State law and the policy of this District. However, nothing in the District’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 the District Complaint Manager or 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 the District Complaint Manager or any staff member. Anonymous reports are also accepted.
District complaint managers: Angi Franklin (firstname.lastname@example.org), assistant superintendent of human resources, Todd Taylor (email@example.com), assistant superintendent of special services, and Kimberly Norton (firstname.lastname@example.org), assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction; 205 N. Race Street, Urbana IL 61801 (217) 384-3600
Gerber complaint manager: Jennifer Rohn (email@example.com), principal; 1301 N. Cunningham, Urbana, IL 61802 (217) 367-4064
4. Consistent with federal and State laws and rules governing student privacy rights, the Superintendent or designee and/or Gerber principal or assistant principal shall promptly inform parent(s)/guardian(s) of all students involved in an alleged incident of bullying and discuss, as appropriate, the availability of social work services, counseling, school psychological services, other interventions, and restorative measures.
5. The Superintendent 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 the incident of bullying was received and taking into consideration additional relevant information received during the course of the investigation about the reported incident of bullying.
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. Notifying the Building Principal or school administrator or designee of the report of the incident of bullying as soon as possible after the report is received.
d. Consistent with federal and State laws and rules governing student privacy rights, providing parents and guardians of the students who are parties to the investigation information about the investigation and an opportunity to meet with the principal or school administrator 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 Superintendent or designee shall investigate whether a reported act of bullying is within the permissible scope of the District’s jurisdiction and shall require that the District provide the victim with information regarding services that are available within the District and community, such as counseling, support services, and other programs.
6. The Superintendent or designee shall use interventions to address bullying, which may include, but are not limited to, school social work services, restorative measures, social-emotional skill building, counseling, school psychological services, and community-based services.
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 District’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 District’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 Superintendent or designee shall post this policy on the District’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 Superintendent or designee shall assist the Board with its evaluation and assessment of this policy’s outcomes and effectiveness. This process shall include, without limitation:
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.
The evaluation process may use relevant data and information that the District already collects for other purposes. The Superintendent or designee must post the information developed as a result of the policy evaluation on the District’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.
12. The District’s bullying prevention plan must be consistent with other Board policies.