The MVSD Governing Board affirms the right of every student to attend a school that is safe and secure. Therefore, the district, schools, students, parents/guardians and the community have an obligation to promote mutual respect and safe, harmonious relations that support dignity and equality. To that end, the school district has in place policies, procedures, and practices that educate and empower our students to reduce and eliminate harassment, intimidation and bullying. Moreover, the school district has processes and procedures to address incidents of harassment, intimidation and bullying ("HIB") when they occur, whether through education, counseling, and/or progressive discipline. Staff, students, and parents/guardians, will be notified of these policies/procedures annually.
The District will not tolerate bullying or any behavior that infringes on the safety or well-being of students, staff, or any other persons within the district's jurisdiction, whether directed at an individual or group. This includes, but is not limited to actual or perceived HIB based on race, color, creed, national origin, ethnicity, gender, language, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, learning differences, political or religious ideology, physical appearance, or economic status. (Education Code 48900.2, 48900.3, and 48900.4)
- Harassment is defined as continued unwanted and annoying actions aimed at an individual or a group, including threats and demands.
- Intimidation is defined as frightening one into submission, compliance or acquiescence. To intimidate implies the presence of a fear-inspiring force.
- Bullying is defined as aggressive or unwanted and unwelcome behavior by an individual or groups of individuals who ridicule, harass, humiliate, or intimidate another individual or individuals while on school grounds, at a school-sponsored activity, while traveling to or from school, during an activity related to school attendance or that is directed against school district personnel or students and that constitutes sexual harassment, hate violence or creates an intimidating or hostile educational environment. Typically, the behavior is repeated over time and includes the use of hurtful words and/or acts.
Indicators of Bullying Behavior
Bullying behaviors may include, but are not necessarily limited to the following:
- Verbal: Hurtful name-calling, teasing, gossiping, making threats, taunting, intimidating, insulting, making slurs or epithets, making rude noises, or spreading hurtful rumors.
- Nonverbal: Posturing, making gang signs, leering, staring, stalking, destroying property, insulting or threatening notes, using graffiti or graphic images, or exhibiting inappropriate and/or threatening gestures or actions.
- Physical: Hitting, punching, pushing, shoving, poking, kicking, tripping, strangling, hair pulling, fighting, beating, "pantsing", pinching, slapping, biting, spitting, or destroying property.
- Relational (Psychological): Rejecting, terrorizing, extorting, defaming, intimidating, humiliating, blackmailing, manipulating or undermining peer relationships, isolating, shunning, ostracizing, using peer pressure, or rating personal characteristics.
- Cyber bullying: Bullying committed by means of an electronic act, the transmission of a communication, including but not limited to, a message, text, sound, or image by means of an electronic device, including but limited to, a phone, wireless telephone, or other wireless communication device, computer, or pager. Sending insulting or threatening messages by phone, e-mail, Web sites, or any other electronic or written communication. Cyberbullying also involves breaking into another person's electronic account and assuming that person's identity in order to damage that person's reputation. This policy pertains to cyberbullying that is related to school activity or attendance that occurs at any time, including, but not limited to, while on school grounds, while going to or coming from school, during the lunch period whether on or off campus, during, or while going to or coming from, a school sponsored activity, that is directed specifically toward a pupil or school personnel.
The Board recognizes that some acts of HIB may be isolated and/or unintentional incidents requiring only that the school respond appropriately to the individuals committing the acts. Other acts may indicate a larger pattern of bullying that additionally require a response either at the classroom, school site, or at district level or by law enforcement officials. Consequences and appropriate remedial actions for a student who commits an act of bullying may range from behavioral intervention and education up to and including suspension or expulsion. (See Education Code 48900-48900.4)
School staff shall receive related professional development, including information about early warning signs of harassing/intimidating behaviors and effective prevention and intervention strategies.
Complaints and Investigation
The principal or principal's designee at each school shall be responsible for receiving complaints alleging violations of this policy. All staff are expected to provide supervision to enforce standards of conduct and educate students in those standards if they observe or become aware of bullying or harassing behavior, staff shall immediately intervene to stop the incident when safe to do so, call for assistance (if necessary), and report such incidents. The Board requires that staff follow district and school procedures for reporting alleged acts of harassment, intimidation and bullying.
All other members of the school community, including students, parents/guardians, volunteers, and visitors, are encouraged to report any act that may be a violation of this policy. While submission of the report form is not required, the reporting party is encouraged to use the report form available from the principal of each school or at the district office. Oral reports shall also be considered official reports. Reports may be made anonymously, but formal disciplinary action may not be based solely on an anonymous report. .
Students are expected to report all incidents of bullying, teasing, or other verbal or physical abuse. Any student who feels she/he is a victim of such behavior should immediately contact a teacher, counselor, principal, or staff person. If the student who was bullied believes the situation has not been remedied, she/he may file a complaint in accordance with district procedures. In addition to ongoing education, all students are to be informed of the process by which they may make reports of harassment, intimidation or bullying.
Complaints of bullying shall be investigated and resolved in accordance with site-level grievance procedures specified in AR 5145.7- Sexual Harassment.
Retaliation is Prohibited
Retaliation against a student because the student has filed an incident report or assisted or participated in a bullying or harassment investigation or proceeding is prohibited. Students who knowingly file false bullying or harassment complaints or give false statements in an investigation shall be subject to discipline by measures up to and including suspension and expulsion, as shall any student who is found to have retaliated against another in violation of this policy.
An allegation of HIB, and the results of the investigation, shall be kept confidential to the extent reasonably possible.