Policy Code: JFBA

Adoption Date: Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

Review Date: Tuesday, September 25th, 2018

BULLYING, CYBER-BULLYING, HARASSMENT, HAZING, AND RETALIATION


I. Purpose Bullying, cyber-bullying and hazing of students and employees are prohibited, are against federal, state and local policy, and are not tolerated by Iron County School District. All Iron County schools are committed to providing all students with a safe and civil school environment in which all members of the school community are treated with dignity and respect. To that end, Iron County School district has in place policies, procedures, and practices designed to reduce and eliminate bullying, cyber-bullying, and hazing. School officials have the authority to discipline students for off-campus speech and behavior that causes or threatens a substantial disruption on campus or during school activities, including violent altercations, or a significant interference with a student’s educational performance and involvement in school activities. If after an investigation, a student is found to be in violation of this policy, the student shall be disciplined by appropriate measures up to, and including, suspension and expulsion, pursuant to Utah Code Section 53G-8-205 and, loss of participation in extracurricular activities, and/or probation. If after an investigation, a school employee is found to have violated this policy, the employee shall be disciplined by appropriate measures up to, and including, termination.

II. Definitions A. “Abusive conduct” means verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of an employee to another employee that, based on its severity, nature, and frequency of occurrence, a reasonable person would determine:

  1. is intended to cause intimidation, humiliation, or unwarranted distress;
  2. results in substantial physical or psychological harm as a result of intimidation, humiliation, or unwarranted distress; or
  3. exploits an employee's known physical or psychological disability
    • a. A single act does not constitute abusive conduct, unless it is an especially severe and egregious act that meets the standard under Subsection (A)(1), (2), or (3).

B. “Bullying” means a school employee or student intentionally committing a written, verbal, or physical act against a school employee or student that a reasonable person under the circumstances should know or reasonably foresee will have the effect of:

  1. causing physical or emotional harm to the school employee or student;
  2. causing damage to the school employee's or student's property;
  3. placing the school employee or student in reasonable fear of:
    • a. harm to the school employee's or student's physical or emotional well-being; or
    • b. damage to the school employee's or student's property;
  4. creating a hostile, threatening, humiliating, or abusive educational environment due to:
    • a. the pervasiveness, persistence, or severity of the actions; or
    • b. a power differential between the bully and the victim; or
  5. substantially interfering with a student having a safe school environment that is necessary to facilitate educational performance, opportunities, or benefits.
  6. The conduct described above constitutes bullying, regardless of whether the person against whom the conduct is committed directed, consented to, or acquiesced in, the conduct.
  7. “Bullying” includes relational aggression or indirect, covert, or social aggression, including rumor spreading, intimidation, enlisting a friend to assault a child\, and social isolation.

C. “Civil rights violation” means bullying (cyber-bullying), or hazing that is targeted at a student or employee upon the students’ or employees’ identification as part of any group protected from discrimination under the following federal laws:

  1. Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, including discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin;
  2. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, including discrimination on the basis of sex; or
  3. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, including discrimination on the basis of disability;

D. “Cyber-bullying” means using the Internet, a cell phone, or another device to: send or post text, video, or an image with the intent or knowledge, or with reckless disregard, that the text, video, or image will hurt, embarrass, or threaten an individual, regardless of whether the individual directed, consented to, or acquiesced in the conduct, or voluntarily accessed the electronic communication.

E. “Disruptive student behavior” means the same as that term is defined in Utah Code Subsection 53G-8-210(1)(a).

  1. Disruptive student behavior includes:
    • a. the grounds for suspension or expulsion described in Utah Code Section 53G-8-205; and
    • b. the following conduct described in Utah Code Subsection 53G-8-209 (2)(b):
      • use of foul, abusive, or profane language while engaged in school related activities;
      • illicit use, possession, or distribution of controlled substances or drug paraphernalia, and the use, possession, or distribution of an electronic cigarette as defined in Utah Code Section 76-10-101, tobacco, or alcoholic beverages contrary to law; and
      • hazing, demeaning, or assaultive behavior, whether consensual or not, including behavior involving physical violence, restraint, improper touching, or inappropriate exposure of body parts not normally exposed in public settings, forced ingestion of any substance, or any act which would constitute a crime against a person or public order under Utah law.

F. “Hazing” means a school employee or student intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly committing an act or causing another individual to commit an act toward a school employee or student that:

  1. endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a school employee or student;
    • a. involves any brutality of a physical nature, including whipping, beating, branding, calisthenics, bruising, electric shocking, placing of a harmful substance on the body, or exposure to the elements;
    • b. involves consumption of any food, alcoholic product, drug, or other substance or other physical activity that endangers the mental or physical health and safety of a school employee or student; or
    • c. involves any activity that would subject a school employee or student to extreme mental stress, such as sleep deprivation, extended isolation from social contact, or conduct that subjects a school employee or student to extreme embarrassment, shame, or humiliation; and
  2. is committed for the purpose of initiation into, admission into, affiliation with, holding office in, or as a condition for in a school or school sponsored team, organization, program, club, or event; or
  3. is directed toward a school employee or student whom the individual who commits the act knows, at the time the act is committed, is a member of, or candidate for membership in, a school or school sponsored team, organization, program, club, or event in which the individual who commits the act also participates.
  4. the conduct described in this Subsection G constitutes hazing, regardless of whether the person against whom the conduct is committed directed, consented to, or acquiesced in, the conduct.

G. “Parent” means a student’s parent or guardian.

H. “Restorative justice practice” means a discipline practices designed to enhance school safety, reduce school suspensions, and limit referrals to court, and is designed to help minors take responsibility for and repair the harm of behavior that occurs in school.

I. “Retaliation” means an act of communication intended:

  1. as retribution against a person for reporting bullying, cyber-bullying, and/or hazing; or
  2. to improperly influence the investigation of, or the response to, a report of bullying or hazing.

J. “School employee” means an individual working in the individual’s official capacity as:

  1. a school teacher;
  2. a school staff member;
  3. an administrator; or
  4. all others an individual who is employed, directly or indirectly, by a school, school board, or school district;

K. “Trauma-Informed Care” means a strengths-based service delivery approach grounded in an understanding of and responsiveness to the impact of trauma, emphasizing physical, psychological, and emotional safety for both offenders and victims, and creating opportunities for victims to rebuild a sense of control and empowerment.

L. “Volunteer” means a person working under direct supervision of a licensed educator.

III. Training A. All students, school employees, coaches, and volunteers in Iron County School District will receive annual training from a qualified professional regarding bullying, cyber-bullying, and hazing and retaliation. This training will address:

  1. overt aggression that may include physical fighting such as punching, shoving, kicking, and verbal threatening behavior, such as name calling, or both physical and verbal aggression or threatening behavior;
  2. relational aggression or indirect, covert, or social aggression, including rumor spreading, intimidation, enlisting a friend to assault a child, and social isolation;
  3. bullying, cyber-bullying, harassment and/or hazing of a sexual nature or with sexual overtones;
  4. cyber-bullying, including use of email, web pages, text messaging, instant messaging, three-way calling or messaging or any other electronic means for aggression inside or outside of school;
  5. bullying, cyber-bullying, hazing and retaliation based upon the students’ or employees’ identification as part of any group protected from discrimination under the following federal laws:
    • a. Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, including discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin;
    • b. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, including discrimination on the basis of sex; or
    • c. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, including discrimination on the basis of disability; and
  6. Training on civil rights violations will include compliance when civil rights violations are reported;
  7. bullying, cyber-bulling, hazing and retaliation including training and education specific to bullying based upon students' or employees’ actual or perceived characteristics;
  8. awareness and intervention skills such as social skills training.

B. A licensed educator shall supervise volunteers and is responsible for ensuring the volunteer is trained in the above areas. Volunteers shall report to their supervisor if the volunteer witnesses or is notified of a bullying, cyber-bullying, hazing, or retaliation incident among students or if the volunteer has reason to suspect such an incident. Volunteers shall not engage in bullying activities themselves and must follow policy requirements or may be asked to leave Iron County School District if in violation of this policy.

C. All licensed educators must complete 2 hours of professional development in youth suicide prevention training once every license renewal cycle.

D. In addition to training for all school employees, students, employees, and volunteer coaches involved in any extra-curricular activity shall:

  1. participate in initial bullying and hazing prevention training prior to participation in the extra-curricular activity;
  2. participate in initial bullying, cyber-bullying, and hazing prevention training to be completed by every employee and repeated at least every three years thereafter;
  3. receive information annually of the prohibited activities list provided previously in this Policy and the potential consequences for violation of this Policy.

IV. Prohibitions A. A school employee or student shall not engage in bullying a school employee or student:

  1. on school property;
  2. at a school related or sponsored event;
  3. on a school bus;
  4. at a school bus stop; or
  5. while the school employee or student is traveling to or from a location or event described above in Subsection A (1) – (4)

B. A school employee or student shall not engage in hazing and/or cyber-bullying a school employee or student at any time or in any location.

C. A school employee or student shall not engage in retaliation against:

  1. a school employee;
  2. a student; or
  3. an investigator for, or witness of, an alleged incident of bullying, cyber-bullying, hazing, or retaliation

D. A school employee or student shall not make a false allegation of bullying, cyber-bullying, hazing, or retaliation against a school employee or student.

E. Any bullying, cyber-bullying, and/or hazing that is found to be targeted at a federally protected class is further prohibited under federal anti-discrimination laws and is subject to compliance regulations from the Office for Civil Rights.

V. Investigations

Schools within the Iron County School District will promptly and reasonably investigate allegations of bullying, cyber-bullying, and/or hazing. School and/or district administrators will be responsible for handling all complaints by students and employees alleging bullying, cyber-bullying, or hazing as outlined in the procedures below: - Gather reports (written if at all possible) from all parties involved Determine if statements from witnesses (and parents) are warranted and gather those statements - Determine if a violation of school or district policy has occurred - Determine if a violation of the law has occurred - If violations have occurred determine what consequences would be appropriate with the goals of: - ensuring all students are able to have access to the most appropriate education setting possible - ensuring all students are safe and able to attend school - correcting future inappropriate behaviors related to bullying, hazing, etc. - Verify all parties involved understand confidentiality and the need to not discuss the issues with others not outlined in this policy

In compliance with state and federal law, students have a limited expectation of privacy on the school’s Internet system, and routine monitoring or maintenance may lead to discovery that a user has violated district policy or law. Also, individual targeted searches will be conducted if there is reasonable suspicion that a user has violated policy or law. Personal electronic devices of any student suspected of violation of the above policy will be confiscated for investigation and may be turned over to law enforcement.

A. In accordance with State Board of Education Administrative Rule Subsection R277-613-4(1)(c), school administrators shall investigate allegations of incidents of bullying, cyber-bullying, hazing, and retaliation in accordance with this section.

B. ICSD schools are required to investigate allegations of incidents described in Subsection (A)(1) by interviewing at least the alleged victim and the individual who is alleged to have engaged in prohibited conduct.

  1. Schools may also interview the following as part of an investigation:
    • a. parents of the alleged victim and the individual who is alleged to have engaged in prohibited conduct;
    • b. any witnesses;
    • c. school staff; and
    • d. other individuals who may provide additional information.
  2. An individual who investigates an allegation of an incident shall inform an individual being interviewed that:
    • a. to the extent allowed by law, the individual is required to keep all details of the interview confidential; and
    • b. further reports of bullying may become part of the investigation.

C. The confidentiality requirement in Subsection (B)(2) does not apply to:

  1. conversations with law enforcement professionals;
  2. requests for information pursuant to a warrant or subpoena;
  3. a state or federal reporting requirement; or
  4. other reporting required by this rule.

D. In conducting an investigation under this section, school administrators and/or designees may:

  1. review disciplinary reports of involved students; and
  2. review physical evidence\, consistent with search and seizure law in schools\, which may include:
    • a. video or audio;
    • b. notes;
    • c. email;
    • d. text messages;
    • e. social media; or
    • f. graffiti.

E. Schools within ICSD will coordinate investigations of bullying, cyber-bullying and retaliation with School Resource Officers or appropriate law enforcement agencies if there is a possibility that the alleged behavior has in any way violated the law. Factors to consider when making the determination include the allegation, the impact on learning opportunities for all students and the possibility that a violation of the law has occurred.

Reports of hazing will require coordination with the appropriate SRO or law enforcement agency for investigation.

VI. Actions Required if Prohibited Acts are Reported A. Each reported complaint will include:

  1. the name of complaining party;
  2. the name of offender (if known);
  3. the date and location of incident(s); and
  4. a statement describing the incident(s)\, including names of witnesses (if known).

B. Each reported violation of the prohibitions noted previously will be promptly investigated by a school administrator or an individual designated by a school administrator. A report of bullying, cyber-bullying, hazing, and retaliation may be made anonymously, but a school will not take formal disciplinary action based solely on an anonymous report.

C. Verified violations of the prohibitions noted previously shall result in consequences or penalties. Consequences or penalties may include but are not limited to:

  1. use of a discipline plan consistent with State Board of Education Administrative Rule R277-609 or use of restorative justice practices consistent with State Board of Education Administrative Rule R277-613;
  2. notify the involved students’ parents of the restorative justice practice and obtain consent from the involved student(s)’s parent(s) before including victim in the process;
  3. support involved students through trauma-informed practices;
  4. use student suspension or removal from a school-sponsored team or activity
  5. including school sponsored transportation;
  6. use student suspension or expulsion from school or lesser disciplinary action;
  7. use employee suspension or termination for cause or lesser disciplinary action consistent with Utah Code Section 53G-11-512;
  8. use employee reassignment;
  9. take other actions against student or employee as appropriate; and
  10. use of established ICSD grievance policy GBM.

D. The school will notify a parent if the parent’s student threatens suicide, or if the student is involved in an incident of bullying, cyber-bullying, hazing, or retaliation.

  1. The school will produce and maintain a record that verifies that the parent was notified of the incident or threat.
  2. The school will not disclose the record described in D1 to anyone unauthorized to receive it and will not use the record for purposes not allowed under the law.

E. Compliance with the Office for Civil Rights when Civil Rights Violations Occur:

  1. the school is responsible for identifying bullying, cyber-bullying, and hazing incidents about which it knows or reasonably should have known when it involves a protected class. The school must take immediate and appropriate action to investigate or otherwise determine what occurred.
  2. these duties are the school’s responsibility to investigate regardless of whether a person makes a complaint, a person requests the school to take action, or a person identifies the bullying\, cyber-bullying or hazing as a form of discrimination
  3. if it is determined that the bullying, cyber-bulling, or hazing occurred as a result of the student-victim’s membership in a protected class, the school shall take prompt and effective steps reasonably calculated to:
    • a. end the bullying, cyber-bullying, or hazing
    • b. eliminate any hostile environment,
    • c. assess prevalence in school culture, physical facilities, and systemic practices to prevent its recurrence

F. Actions must also include, as appropriate:

  1. procedures for protecting the victim and other involved individuals from being subjected to:
    • a. further bullying, cyber-bullying, or hazing, and
    • b. retaliation for reporting the bullying, cyber-bullying or hazing;
  2. prompt reporting to law enforcement of all acts of bullying, cyber-bullying, hazing, or retaliation that constitute suspected criminal activity;
  3. procedures for a fair and timely opportunity for the accused to explain the accusations and defend his actions prior to student or employee discipline; and
  4. procedures for providing due process rights under Utah Code Section 53G-11-501 (licensed staff) and local employee discipline policies prior to employee discipline or Utah Code Section 53G-8-202 and local policies (students) prior to long term (more than 10 day) student discipline.

VII. Annual Reporting of Allegations of Bullying, Cyber-bullying, Hazing, and Retaliation A. ICSD is required by Utah Code Subsection 53E-3-401 (3) and State Board of Education Administrative Rule R277-613 to report the following annually to the State Superintendent:

  1. a copy of ICSD Bullying policy;
  2. implementation of the signed statement requirement described in Utah Code Subsection 53G-9-605 (3)(g);
  3. verification of ICSD’s training of school employees relating to bullying, cyber-bullying, hazing, and retaliation, and abusive conduct described in Utah Code Section 53G-9-607;
  4. incidents of bullying, cyber-bullying, hazing, and retaliation;
  5. the number of incidents described in Subsection (8)(d) required to be reported separately under federal law, including the reporting requirements in:
    • a. Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964;
    • b. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972; or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

VIII. Additional Notes A. This policy does not prohibit expressive activity protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. However, if off-campus speech that may constitute a bullying, cyber-bullying, or hazing incident creates a substantial disruption to the school environment, under Tinker v. Des Moines ( 393 U.S. 503 (1969)), ICSD Schools may take disciplinary action against the student who initiated the speech. Factors that a school may consider in determining whether a substantial disruption has occurred are:

  1. whether there is a verbal or physical confrontation over the incident at school;
  2. whether there is likely to be a verbal or physical confrontation based on evidence of a prior relationship between the victim and the student who initiated the speech;
  3. whether any part of the speech that gave rise to the incident was repeated at school;
  4. whether students are discussing the incident during class or if it otherwise is disrupting school work;
  5. whether there is a widespread whispering campaign or rumor sparked by the off-campus incident that disrupts the school environment and students’ abilities to focus on school;
  6. whether administrators who dealt with the incident were pulled from their ordinary tasks to address the incident and how much time it took out of an administrator’s day to do so;
  7. whether speech similar to the off-campus speech in this incident has occurred in the past and has resulted in violence or near violence at school;
  8. whether there is a negative effect on classroom activities as a result of the off-campus incident; or
  9. whether the speech was violent or whether there is a history of violence from the student/s who initiated the speech (Note: true threats are not protected by the First Amendment if it advocates “imminent” violence or unlawful conduct. Thus, a message that threatens physical harm, even if it isn’t mean to be serious, may not be protected by the First Amendment and the person who utters such a message may be disciplined by a school.).