Below is the model bullying policy made available by the Indiana State Department of Education for school districts within Indiana to use when crafting their own bullying and cyberbullying policies. Each state’s policies vary when it comes to how they: define bullying, harassment, threats, intimidation, and violence; expect reporting and investigating to be carried out, specify response strategies, define penalties, and prescribe certain types of prevention programs and practices.
We recommend that you review and consider updating your own bullying policy on an annual basis with input from educators, administrators, counselors, mental health professionals, parents, and students themselves. That will optimize the likelihood that the policy you implement achieves its goals.
Last Updated: August 1, 2019
URL of Source: https://www.doe.in.gov/school-improvement/anti-bullying-school-policy
Note: Careful consideration of all issues must inform the final policy and practices of the school corporation. The sample provided is meant to provide guidance to school corporations in the development of their own plan and policy and is not intended to be used in its entirety as a definition of compliance with P.L. 285-2013.
School Corporation XXXXXX
The following policy has been established by the school board of Corporation XXXX regarding anti-bullying.
- Policy Statement
The school board of Corporation XXXX prohibits acts of bullying of a student. The school board has determined that a safe and civil environment in school is necessary for students to learn and achieve high academic standards. 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 and disciplined environment. Since students learn by example, school administrators, faculty, staff and volunteers should be commended for demonstrating appropriate behavior; treating others with civility and respect; and refusing to tolerate harassment, intimidation or bullying.
- As defined by the school corporation, bullying means aggressive behaviors that involve unwanted negative actions that are repeated over time and involve an imbalance of power.
- As defined by IC 20-33-8-.2, bullying means overt, unwanted, repeated acts or gestures, including verbal or written communications or images transmitted in any manner (including digitally or electronically), physical acts committed, aggression, or any other behaviors, that are committed by a student or group of students against another student with the intent to harass, ridicule, humiliate, intimidate, or harm the targeted student and create for the targeted student an objectively hostile school environment that:
- Places the targeted student in reasonable fear of harm to the targeted student’s person or property;
- Has a substantially detrimental effect on the targeted student’s physical or mental health;
- Has the effect of substantially interfering with the targeted student’s academic performance; or
- Has the effect of substantially interfering with the targeted student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, and privileges provided by the school.
- This term may not be interpreted to impose any burden or sanction on, or include in the definition of the term, the following:
- Participating in a religious event.
- Acting in an emergency involving the protection of a person or property from an imminent threat of serious bodily injury or substantial danger.
- Participating in an activity consisting of the exercise of a student’s rights protected under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution or Article I, Section 31 of the Constitution of the State of Indiana, or both.
- Participating in an activity conducted by a nonprofit or governmental entity that provides recreation, education, training, or other care under the supervision of one or more adults.
- Participating in an activity undertaken at the prior written direction of the student’s parent.
- Engaging in interstate or international travel from a location outside Indiana to another location outside Indiana.
2. Policy Provisions
- The school corporation shall adopt discipline rules in compliance with IC 20-33-8-13.5 that prohibit bullying and include provisions concerning education, parental involvement and intervention. These discipline rules shall apply regardless of the location in which the bullying occurred when the bully and the targeted student are students at a school within the school corporation, or disciplinary action is reasonably necessary to avoid substantial interferences with school discipline or prevent an unreasonable threat to the rights of others to a safe and peaceful learning environment.
- The principal at each school within the school corporation shall implement procedures that ensure both the appropriate consequences and remedial responses for students who commit one or more acts of bullying, consistent with the code of student conduct, as well as the consequences and remedial responses for staff members who commit one or more acts of bullying. Appropriate consequences and remedial actions are those that are graded according to the severity of the offenses and consider both the developmental ages of the student offenders and students’ histories of inappropriate behaviors, per the code of student conduct.
- The principal at each school within the school corporation shall be responsible for designating a member of his/her staff to receive all complaints alleging violations of this policy.
- All corporation and school employees, volunteers and contracted service providers who have contact with students are required to verbally report alleged violations of this policy to the principal or the principal’s designee on the same day that an incident was witnessed or reliable information regarding the occurrence of an incident was received. A written report of the incident shall also be submitted to the school principal or principal’s designee within one (1) school day of submitting the verbal report.
- Students, parents and visitors of a school within the school corporation are encouraged to submit a written report of alleged violations of this policy to the principal (or principal’s designee) on the same day that an incident was witnessed or reliable information regarding the occurrence of an incident was received. Such a report may be made anonymously. Formal action for violations of the code of student conduct may not be taken solely on the basis of an anonymous report.
- Any corporation and school employee, volunteer or contracted service provider who promptly reports an incident of harassment, intimidation or bullying, and who makes this report in compliance with the procedures of this policy, is immune from a cause of action for damages arising from any failure to remedy the reported incident.
- The principal or designee shall conduct a thorough and complete investigation for each report of an alleged incident of bullying received. The investigation shall be initiated by the principal or the principal’s designee within one school day of the report of the incident. The principal may appoint additional personnel to assist the in the investigation. The investigation shall be completed and the written findings submitted to the principal as soon as possible, but not later than five school days from the date of the report of the alleged incident of harassment, intimidation, or bullying. The principal shall submit the report to the superintendent of the school corporation within ten (10) school days of the completion of the investigation. The superintendent or his/her designee shall report the results of each investigation to the board of education on a quarterly basis during regularly scheduled board meetings.
- Each school within the school corporation shall record the frequency of bullying incidents in the following categories: verbal bullying, physical bullying, social/relational bullying and electronic or written communication bullying. Each school shall report this information to the school corporation superintendent, school board, and the Indiana Department of education. Information shall be submitted to the Indiana Department of Education by July 1 of each year.
- The principal shall provide the parents of the students who are parties to the investigation with information about the investigation, in accordance with Federal and State law and regulation. The information to be provided to parents includes the nature of the investigation, whether the corporation found evidence of bullying, and whether consequences were imposed or services provided to address the bullying incident if the evidence of bullying was substantiated. This information is to be provided in an expedited manner.
- Any corporation and school employee, volunteer or contracted service provider who receives a report of harassment, intimidation, or bullying from a student, parent, visitor or colleague, and fails to initiate or conduct an investigation, or who witnesses or observes a bullying incident and fails to take sufficient action to minimize or eliminate the harassment, intimidation, or bullying, may be subject to disciplinary action.
- The superintendent of the school corporation is authorized to define the range of ways in which school staff and the principal or the principal’s designee shall respond once an incident of bullying is confirmed, according to the parameters described in the corporation’s code of student conduct. The school board recognizes that some acts of bullying may be isolated incidents requiring that the school officials respond appropriately to the individuals committing the acts. Other acts may be so serious that they require a response either at the school corporation level or by local law enforcement officials. Consequences and appropriate remedial actions for a student who commits an act of bullying may range from positive behavioral interventions up to and including suspension or expulsion.
- The principal shall proceed in accordance with the code of student conduct, as appropriate, based on the investigation findings. As appropriate to the investigation findings, the principal shall ensure the code of student conduct has been implemented, and provide intervention and/or relevant support services (i.e., refer to counseling, establish training programs to reduce bullying and enhance school climate, enlist parent corporation and involvement or take other appropriate action). Intervention and support implemented by the principal or his/her designee should include follow up services to both the targeted student and the bully. The principal shall inform the parents of all students involved in alleged incidents, and, as appropriate, may discuss the availability of counseling and other intervention services.
- The principal of each school within the school corporation is authorized to acknowledge and respond to instances of false reporting of alleged bullying incidents. The principal is expected to respond with consequences and remedial actions regarding any person found to have falsely accused another as a means of bullying as permitted under P.L. 285-2013 for:
- Students – Consequences and appropriate remedial action for a student could range from positive behavioral interventions up to and including suspension or expulsion.
- School Employees – Consequences and appropriate remedial action for a school employee or contracted service provider who has contact with students could entail discipline in accordance with corporation policies, procedures and agreements.
- Visitors or Volunteers – Consequences and appropriate remedial action for a visitor or volunteer could be determined by the school administrator after consideration of the nature, severity, and circumstances of the act, including law enforcement reports or other legal actions, removal of building or grounds privileges, or prohibiting contact with students or the provision of student services.
- The superintendent of the school corporation shall annually disseminate this policy to all parents who have children enrolled in a school within the school corporation. The superintendent shall post a link to the policy that is prominently displayed on the home page of the school corporation’s website. The superintendent shall ensure that notice of the corporation’s policy appears in the student handbooks and all other publications of the school corporation that set forth the comprehensive rules, procedures and standards for schools within the school corporation.
- Each school within the school corporation shall disseminate the anti-bullying policy and bullying prevention instruction to all students in grades 1-12 within the school no later than October 15th of each school year. It is expected that anti-bullying information will be part of a more comprehensive bully prevention effort communicated to the students throughout the school year, and that the age appropriate, research based instruction for all students in grades 1-12 be delivered by a school safety specialist, school counselor or other person with training and expertise in the area of bullying prevention and intervention.
- Each school within the school corporation shall provide annual training on this policy and bullying prevention and intervention instruction to corporation and school employees, volunteers and contracted service providers who have direct and on-going contact with students.
- The school board of the school corporation understands that the characteristics and resultant needs of each school within the corporation will continue to evolve, and that the existing base of knowledge regarding bullying prevention and intervention will continue to grow. Research on bullying prevention practices will continue to emerge, and the date on the nature of bullying behaviors will continuously change. It is essential that school corporation administrators and school officials regularly review available bullying prevention and intervention data. Additionally, school administrators are expected to collect and analyze in-house data regarding bullying incident investigations, incident frequency and the effects of the corporation’s efforts to address bullying behaviors. Through data-driven practice, administrators will be best qualified to determine the need for changes to policies and procedures and to institute improvements to prevention and intervention programs and approaches.
Source: This document is modeled, in part, on information provided through the following website: www.state.nj.us/education/parents/bully.htm