Anti Bullying Policy
Bullying is any gesture or written, verbal, graphic, or physical act (including electronically transmitted acts - i.e. Internet, cell phone, personal digital assistant (PDA), or wireless hand held device) that is reasonably perceived as being motivated either by any actual or perceived characteristic, such as race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression; or a mental, physical, or sensory disability or impairment; or by any other distinguishing characteristic. Such behavior is considered bullying whether it takes place on or off school property, at any school-sponsored function, or in a school vehicle.
"Bullying" is conduct that meets all of the following criteria:
- is directed at one or more pupils;
- occurs in a school setting;
- is severe, persistent or pervasive;
- substantially interferes with educational opportunities, benefits, or programs of one or more pupils;
- adversely affects the ability of a pupil to participate in or benefit from the school's educational programs or activities by placing the pupil in reasonable fear of physical harm or by causing emotional distress;
- is based on a pupil's actual or perceived distinguishing characteristic (see above), or is based on an association with another person who has or is perceived to have any of these characteristics; and
- substantially disrupting the orderly operation of the school and “school setting” shall mean in the school, on school grounds, in school vehicles, at a designated bus stop or at any activity sponsored, supervise or sanctioned by the school.
The Board expects students to conduct themselves in a manner in keeping with their levels of development, maturity, and demonstrated capabilities with a proper regard for the rights and welfare of other students, school staff, volunteers, and contractors.
The Board believes that standards for student behavior must be set cooperatively through interaction among the students, parents, and guardians, staff, and community members of the school, producing an atmosphere that encourages students to grow in self-discipline. The development of this atmosphere requires respect for self and others, as well as for school and community property on the part of students, staff, and community members.
Since bystander support of bullying can support these behaviors, the school prohibits both active and passive support for acts of bullying. The staff should encourage students to support students who walk away from these acts when they see them, constructively attempt to stop them or report them to the designated authority.
Consequences and appropriate remedial actions for a student or staff member who commits one or more acts of bullying may range from positive behavioral interventions up to and including suspension or expulsion, in the case of a student, or suspension or termination in the case of an employee, as set forth in the school's approved code of student conduct or employee handbook. 48
Consequences for a student who commits an act of bullying shall be unique to the individual incident and will vary in method and severity according to the nature of the behavior, the developmental age of the student, and the student's history of problem behaviors and performance, and must be consistent with the school's approved code of student conduct. Remedial measures shall be designed to accomplish any of the following: correct the problem behavior; prevent another occurrence of the behavior; and protect the victim of the act. Effective discipline should employ a school-wide approach to adopt a rubric of bullying offenses and the associated consequences.
The Board requires the Chief Executive Officer of the school to be responsible for receiving complaints alleging violations of this policy. All school employees are required to report alleged violations of this policy to the Chief Executive Officer. All other members of the school community, including students, parents, volunteers, and visitors, are encouraged to report any activity that may be a violation of this policy. Reports may be made anonymously, but formal disciplinary action may not be based solely on the basis of an anonymous report.
The Board requires the Chief Executive Officer to be responsible for determining whether an alleged act constitutes a violation of this policy. In so doing, the Chief Executive Officer shall conduct a prompt, thorough, and complete investigation of each alleged incident. The investigation is to be completed within three school days after a report or complaint is made. The Board prohibits reprisal or retaliation against any person who reports an act of bullying. The consequences and appropriate remedial action for a person who engages in reprisal or retaliation shall be determined by the administrator after consideration of the nature, severity, and circumstances of the act.
The Board prohibits any person from falsely accusing another of bullying. The consequences and appropriate remedial action for a person found to have falsely accused another of bullying may range from positive behavioral interventions up to and including suspension or expulsion. Consequences and appropriate remedial action for a school employee found to have falsely accused another of bullying shall be disciplined in accordance with school policies, procedures, and agreements.
The Board requires school officials to annually disseminate the anti-bullying policy to all school staff, students, and parents, along with a statement explaining that it applies to all applicable acts of bullying that occur on school property, at school-sponsored functions, or in a school vehicle.
West Philadelphia Achievement Elementary Charter School will comply with federal, state and local laws relating to bullying.
West Philadelphia Achievement Elementary Charter School will comply with federal, state and local laws regarding the discipline of special education students who engage in an act of bullying.
To the extent that anything in this policy could be construed to conflict with applicable state and/or federal laws, the applicable state and/or federal laws control.