LTPS believes that a safe and civil environment in school is necessary for students to learn and achieve high academic standards. Since students learn by example, school administrators, faculty, staff, and volunteers are required to demonstrate appropriate behavior, treating others with civility and respect, and refusing to tolerate harassment, intimidation or bullying. Harassment, intimidation or bullying, like other disruptive or violent behaviors, is conduct that disrupts both a student's ability to learn and a school's ability to educate its students in a safe environment. Therefore, the school district will not tolerate acts of harassment, intimidation or bullying.
Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying (HIB) are:
- Any gesture, written, verbal, or physical act or electronic communication that takes place on school property, at a school sponsored function or school bus.
- Incidents of HIB including cyber-bullying that occur away from school grounds may also be included if they endanger the safety of students or staff.
- Motivated by any actual or perceived characteristic, such as race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, or mental, physical or sensory disability or any other distinguishing characteristic.
- When a reasonable person should know, under the circumstances, that the act will have the effect of physically or emotionally harming the pupil or damaging his/her property, placing the pupil in reasonable fear of harm to his/her person or personal property.
- Insulting or demeaning any pupil or group of pupils in such as way as to cause substantial disruption in or substantial interference with the orderly operation of the school.
- Also, a pupil exercising power and control over another pupil, either in isolated incidents or patterns of HIB behavior
(N.J.S.A. 18A: 37-14 (2011)
- Telephone (cell and land), computer, pager
Pupils should conduct themselves as appropriate to their levels of development, maturity and demonstrated capabilities with proper regard for the welfare of others including staff and other pupils. Staff members are expected to model appropriate behavior and encourage best practices of pro-active discipline, positive behavior support and growth in self-discipline. Severity of behaviors and history of other such behaviors will be considered when designing the consequences of infractions.
Consequences and Appropriate Remedial Action
Factors for determining consequences in response to HIB behavior are part of the Pupil Code of Conduct. These include:
- Age and developmental maturity levels of all parties:
- Degrees of harm;
- Surrounding circumstances;
- Nature and severity of behavior(s);
- Incidences of past or continuing patterns of behavior;
- Relationships between parties involved; and
- Context in which the alleged incidents occurred.
Personal and environmental factors are also considered.
Consequences for Remedial Action for infractions are mandatory (N.J.A.C. 6A: 16-7.9 (a) 2). They may include a range and variation in type depending on the results of investigating the factors above. These include:
- Temporary removal from the classroom
- Deprivation of privileges
- Classroom or administrative detention
- Referral to the disciplinary administrator
- In-school suspension
- After-school programs
- Out of school suspension
- Legal action
- Peer support group
- Recommendations of pupil behavior modification plan
- Behavioral assessment/evaluation
- Pupil counseling
- Parent conferences
- Complaints alleging violation of the HIB Policy must be reported to the appropriate Principal or designee.
- An incident reporting form to document the allegation must be completed for the investigation to begin.
- A verbal report or anonymous report is considered official, but disciplinary action may not be taken based solely on an anonymous report.
- Timely reporting, in compliance with the procedures in the Policy, makes the person who reports it immune from a cause of action for damages arising out of failure to report the incident.
- Once reported the incident must be investigated. The principal is responsible for ensuring that the investigation is carried out.
- The investigation will be prompt, thorough and complete and be recorded.
- An appropriate response must be developed and provided.
Reprisal or Retaliation/False Accusations
- The Principal or designee will determine consequences for reprisal/retaliation after consideration of the nature and severity of the actions in accordance with state law and regulations.
- Consequences for false accusations of HIB will be applied in accordance with NJ statute and the District Code of Conduct Policy.
- Must be disseminated in total annually to school staff, parents/legal guardians and students.
- Policy shall be transmitted to the Executive County Superintendent of Schools.
- Must appear in any publication of comprehensive rules, procedures and standards for the school and on the district website.
- Staff training for HIB must be reviewed annually and determinations about the need for additional training and updates of the School Code of Conduct must be made and recommended by the Superintendent and BOE.