University Heights Charter School

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Resources » Harrassment, Intimidation, Bullying

Harrassment, Intimidation, Bullying

University Heights Charter School believes that a safe and civil environment in school is necessary for students to learn and achieve high academic standards. 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 will not tolerate acts of harassment, intimidation or bullying (HIB).

The following is a summary of University Heights Charter School Policy 5131.1: Harrassment, Intimidation, or Bullying. The full policy was approved on June 21, 2011 and is immediately available under our policies section of the website here.

Any incident can be reported online at HIBSTER Reporting.
 
Our  current self-assessment status can be viewed at HIB Grade Report

Our HIB Team includes:

Anti-Bullying Coordinator: Tamara Cooper, Executive Director 973-623-1965, tcooper@uhcs-newark.org, 74 Hartford St., Newark, NJ 07103
Anti-Bullying Specialist (PreK-2): Margarita Matos, Social Worker 973-623-1965 mmatos@uhcs-newark.org, 74 Hartford St., Newark, NJ 07103
Anti-Bullying Specialist for (3-8): Gwendolyn Gunn-Ingram, Social Worker 973-623-1965 ggingram@uhcs-newark.org, 66-78 Morris Avenue, Newark, NJ 07103


Definition

 “Harassment, intimidation or bullying” is defined as any gesture, any written, verbal or physical act, or any electronic communication, whether it be a single incident or a series of incidents, 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 by any other distinguishing characteristic, that takes place on school grounds, at any school-sponsored function or on a school bus, or off school grounds, in accordance with law, that substantially disrupts or interferes with the orderly operation of the school or the rights of other students, and that:

-A reasonable person should know, under the circumstances, will have the effect of physically or emotionally harming a student or damaging the student’s property, or placing a student in reasonable fear of physical or emotional harm to his/her person or damage to his/her property; or
-Has the effect of insulting or demeaning any student or group of students; or
-Creates a hostile educational environment for the student by interfering with the student’s education or by severely or pervasively causing physical or emotional harm to the student.

Consequences and Remedial Measures

Consequences and remedial measures for a student who commits an act of harassment, intimidation or bullying shall be varied and graded according to the nature of the behavior, the developmental age of the student and the student’s history of problem behaviors and performance. Consequences shall be consistent with the board approved code of student conduct (see next section) and N.J.A.C. 6A:16-7.  Consequences and remedial measures shall be designed to:
-Correct the problem behavior;
-Prevent another occurrence of the problem;
-Protect and provide support for the victim of the act; and
-Take corrective action for documented systemic problems related to harassment, intimidation or bullying.

Consequences and appropriate remedial actions for any staff member who commits an act of harassment, intimidation or bullying may range from positive behavioral interventions up to disciplinary charges which could result in suspension or termination.

School Anti-Bullying Coordinator & School Anti-Bullying Specialist

The Executive Director will serve as the school anti-bullying coordinator who is responsible for coordinating and strengthening the school’s policies to prevent, identify, and address harassment, intimidation, and bullying of students; collaborate with the school anti-bullying specialists and the Board of Trustees to prevent, identify, and respond to harassment, intimidation, and bullying of students in the school; to provide data to the Department of Education regarding harassment, intimidation, and bullying of students.

The School Social Worker will serve as the school anti-bullying specialist who is responsible for chairing the school safety team; leading the investigation of incidents of harassment, intimidation, and bullying in the school; and acting  as the primary school official responsible for preventing, identifying, and addressing incidents of harassment, intimidation, and bullying in the school.

School Safety Team

University Heights Charter School has a school safety team to develop, foster, and maintain a positive school climate by focusing on the on-going, systemic process and practices in the school and to address school climate issues such as harassment, intimidation, or bullying.  The school safety team will be chaired by the school anti-bullying specialist, meet monthly, and will include school principals, teachers, a parent of a student in the school; and other community members.

The school safety team shall:
-Receive any complaints of harassment, intimidation, or bullying of students that have been reported to the principal
-Receive copies of any report prepared after an investigation of an incident of harassment, intimidation, or bullying;
-Identify and address patterns of harassment, intimidation, or bullying of students in the school
-Review and strengthen school climate and the policies of the school in order to prevent and address harassment, intimidation, or bullying of students;
-Educate the community, including students, teachers, administrative staff, and parents, to prevent and address harassment, intimidation, or bullying of students;F. Participate in the training required pursuant to the provisions of (N.J.S.A.18A:37-13 et seq.) and other training which the principal or the school anti-bullying coordinator may request;
-Collaborate with the school anti-bullying coordinator in the collection of school-wide data and in the development of school policies to prevent and address harassment, intimidation, or bullying of students; and
-Execute such other duties related to harassment, intimidation, and bullying as requested by the principal or school anti-bullying coordinator.

 
No parent/guardian who is a member of the school safety team shall:
A.Receive complaints of harassment, intimidation or bullying of students that have been reported to the principal;
B.   Receive copies of reports prepared after an investigation of a harassment, intimidation or bullying incident;
C.   Identify and address patterns of harassment, intimidation or bullying of students; or
D.    Participate in any other activities of the team which may compromise the confidentiality of a student.

Investigating Reported Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying

All reported incidents of harassment, intimidation and bullying shall be investigated promptly and in accordance with law and the following procedures:  
-Taking of statements from victims, witnesses and accused;
-Careful examination of the facts;
-Support for the victim; and
-Determination if alleged act constitutes a violation of this policy.

All investigations shall be thorough and complete, and documented in writing, and shall include, but not be limited to:

The investigation shall be initiated by the principal or the principal’s designee within one school day of the report of the incident and shall be conducted by a school anti-bullying specialist. The principal may appoint additional personnel who are not school anti-bullying specialists to assist in the investigation.

The investigation shall be completed as soon as possible, but not later than 10 school days from the date of the written report of the incident of harassment, intimidation, or bullying.  In the event that there is information relative to the investigation that is anticipated but not yet received by the end of the 10-day period, the school anti-bullying specialist may amend the original report of the results of the investigation to reflect the information.

The results of the investigation shall be reported to the Executive Director within two school days of the completion of the investigation, and in accordance with law and board policy.  The chief school administrator may initiate intervention services, establish training programs to reduce harassment, intimidation, or bullying and enhance school climate, impose discipline, order counseling as a result of the findings of the investigation, or take or recommend other appropriate action.

The results of each investigation shall be reported to the Board of Trustees no later than the date of the next board meeting following the completion of the investigation.

The Executive Director shall ensure that parents or guardians of the students who are parties to the investigation shall receive information about the investigation.  This information shall be provided in writing within 5 school days after the results of the investigation are reported to the board and include the nature of the investigation, whether the school found evidence of harassment, intimidation, or bullying; or whether discipline was imposed or services provided to address the incident of harassment, intimidation, or bullying.

Range of Ways to Respond to Harassment, Intimidation or Bullying

University Heights Charter School recognizes that some acts of harassment, intimidation or bullying may be isolated incidents requiring that the school officials respond appropriately to the individuals committing the acts and provide support programs for victims. Other acts may be so serious or parts of a larger pattern of harassment, intimidation or bullying that they require a response either at the classroom, school building or school levels or by law enforcement officials.

In considering whether a response beyond the individual is appropriate, the administrator shall consider the nature and circumstances of the act, the degree of harm, the nature and severity of the behavior, past incidences or past or continuing patterns of behavior, and the context in which the alleged incident(s) occurred.

Retaliation and Reprisal Prohibited

University Heights Charter School prohibits reprisal or retaliation or false accusation against any person who witnesses and/or reports an act of harassment, intimidation or bullying by any student, school employee, board member, contracted service provider, visitor or volunteer. The consequence and appropriate remedial action for a person who engages in reprisal or retaliation or false accusation shall be determined by the chief school administrator and/or principal or their designee after consideration of the nature, severity and circumstances of the act, in accordance with case law and board policies and procedures.

Any act of retaliation or reprisal or false accusation against any person who reports an act of harassment, intimidation or bullying shall not be tolerated.  Any student, school employee, board member, contracted-service provider, volunteer or visitor who engages in the act of retaliation or reprisal or who falsely accuses another shall be subjected to consequence and appropriate remedial action.  In cases where any state or federal law has allegedly been violated, the local law enforcement agency shall be notified.

Appeal Process

The parent or guardian may request a hearing before the board after receiving the information from the chief school administrator regarding the investigation.  The hearing shall be held within 10 days of the request.  The board shall meet in executive session for the hearing to protect the confidentiality of the students.  At the hearing the board may hear from the school anti-bullying specialist about the incident, recommendations for discipline or services, and any programs instituted to reduce such incidents.

At the next Board of Trustees meeting following its receipt of the report, the board shall issue a decision, in writing, to affirm, reject, or modify the Executive Director’s decision.  The board’s decision may be appealed to the Commissioner of Education, in accordance with law, no later than the 90 days after the issuance of the board’s decision.

A parent, student, guardian, or organization may file a complaint with the Division on Civil Rights within 180 days of the occurrence of any incident of harassment, intimidation, or bullying based on membership in a protected group as enumerated in the “Law Against Discrimination.”

Week of Respect

The week beginning with the first Monday in October of each year is designated as a “Week of Respect” in the State of New Jersey.  The school, in order to recognize the importance of character education, shall observe the week by providing age-appropriate instruction focusing on preventing harassment, intimidation, or bullying as defined by law (N.J.S.A. 18A:37-14).