Bullying and Cyberbullying Policy

Bullying and Cyberbullying Policy

At Montessori Children’s House, we are committed to providing a caring, friendly, and safe environment for our students so they can learn in a relaxed and secure atmosphere. Bullying and Cyberbullying are contrary to Montessori Children’s House school policy and to Illinois state law.

Bullying and other forms of peer mistreatment are detrimental to the school environment, as well as student learning, achievement, and well-being. Peer mistreatment interferes with the mission of the school to educate students and disrupts the operations of the school. Bullying and other forms of peer mistreatment affect not only students who are targets, but also those who participate in and witness such behavior. These behaviors must be addressed to ensure student safety and an inclusive learning environment.

It is not our intent to prohibit students from expressing their ideas or from engaging in civil debate. However, the school does not condone and will take action in response to
conduct that interferes with students’ opportunity to learn, our educational mission, and the operation of the school.

Prohibited Behavior

The following behaviors are prohibited:

  1. Bullying;
  2. Cyberbullying;
  3. Harassment;
  4. Retaliation against those reporting such defined behaviors; and
  5. Making knowingly false accusations of bullying behavior.

Any person who engages in any of these prohibited behaviors that constitutes bullying shall be subject to appropriate disciplinary actions.

“Bullying”, is defined as use of strength or influence to intimidate (someone), typically to force him or her to do what one wants. This includes tormenting, threatening, harassing, humiliating, embarrassing or otherwise targeting a child by another child.

Bullying may take many forms but is not limited to harassment, threats, intimidation, stalking, physical violence, sexual harassment, sexual violence, theft, public humiliation, destruction of property, or retaliation for asserting or alleging an act of bullying.

“Cyberbullying” is defined as the act of tormenting, threatening, harassing, humiliating, embarrassing or otherwise targeting a child by another child using the internet,
interactive and digital technologies or mobile phones. The methods used are limited only by the child’s abilities and access to technology. This is not a one time occurrence; it involves a pattern of behavior. The bully holds the power or perceived power.

  1. Placing the student in reasonable fear of harm to their person or property;
  2. Causing a substantially detrimental effect on the student’s physical or
    mental health;
  3. Substantially interfering with the student’s academic performance;
  4. Substantially interfering with the student’s ability to participate in or
    benefit from the services, activities, or privileges provided by the school.

Cyberbullying may take various forms, including, but not limited to, the following actions
on any electronic medium:

  1. Posting slurs or rumors or displaying any defamatory, inaccurate,
    disparaging, violent, abusive, profane, or sexually oriented material about a
    student on a website, an app, in social media, or any other electronic
    platform;
  2. Posting misleading or fake photographs or digital video footage of a
    student on websites or creating fake websites or social networking profiles
    in the guise of posing as the targeted student;
  3. Impersonating or representing another student through the use of that other
    student’s electronic device or account to send e-mail, text messages,
    instant messages (IM), phone calls, or other messages on a social media
    website;
  4. Sending e-mail, text messages, IM, or leaving voice mail messages that are
    mean or threatening, or so numerous as to bombard the target’s e-mail
    account, IM account, or cell phone; and
  5. Using a camera phone or digital video camera to take and/or send
    embarrassing photos or “sexting” photographs of other students.

“Sexting” is defined as a form of cyberbullying that involves sending nude or sexually explicit pictures through mobile phones, social networks or other electronic devices. It is
a crime to send or forward these messages. If received, they should be reported to authorities immediately.

“Retaliation” means an act or gesture against a student for asserting or alleging an act of bullying. “Retaliation” also includes knowingly falsely reporting an act of bullying.

“Alternative discipline” means disciplinary action other than suspension or expulsion from school that is designed to correct and address the root causes of a student’s specific
misbehavior while retaining the student in class or school, or restorative school practices to repair the harm done to relationships and persons from the student’s misbehavior.

The school cannot control the bullying behavior of students through the transmission of information from a computer that is accessed at a non-school related location, activity, function, or program, or from the use of technology or an electronic device that is not owned, leased, or used by the school. If the out-of-school bullying causes a substantial disruption to the educational process or orderly operation of school, parents of all parties will be contacted, and the school will determine the appropriate consequences. This
applies if a school administrator or teacher receives a report that bullying through this means has occurred.

Bullying and Cyberbullying have become a tremendous problem experienced by school age children. As technology becomes more prevalent, the ways that children can intimidate is no longer only in the hallways and playgrounds of our schools and neighborhoods. They can now use text messaging, phone calls, emails, and social
networking sites. Parents must be diligent in checking on their children to ensure they are not bullying others nor are they a victim of a bully.

If you suspect your child is being bullied, please report this to a teacher, administrator, social worker, or counselor. Some symptoms that your child might be a victim of a bully includes avoiding school through headaches or stomach aches, frequent loss of personal items, or a change in sleeping or eating habits. Also watch for isolating behaviors, loss of friends and spending a lot of time alone, especially with electronic devices. Any change of behavior warrants discussion with your child.

Reporting

Students and parents can report bullying to the school by calling, emailing, or coming to the office.

Jane Connell, Assistant Principal, montessori792@gmail.com, 618-467-3154.

The person reporting the offense will be asked to fill out an incident report. The person reporting the allegation will be kept confidential.

Students who are believed to have been bullied or are aware of incidents of bullying are strongly encouraged to report this behavior to a staff member or school administrator.

Parents and other adults who believe that an incident of bullying has occurred are encouraged to report this behavior to a staff member or school administrator.

Acts of reprisal or retaliation against any person who reports an alleged incident of bullying are prohibited. Any student who is determined to have knowingly falsely accused another of bullying shall be subject to disciplinary consequences. This may include restorative measures, social-emotional skill building, counseling, psychological
services, community based services, suspension or expulsion by the school board. When criminal acts are committed on school property, the appropriate law enforcement officials will be contacted.

Responding

The Administrative Coordinator will investigate the alleged incident and report the information to the school board. The school board will decide if the reported act of bullying is within the permissible scope of the school’s jurisdiction and the appropriate action to be taken. This may include restorative measures, social-emotional skill building, counseling, psychological services, community based services, suspension or expulsion by the school board. When criminal acts are committed on school property, the appropriate law enforcement officials will be contacted.

An administrator from the school will respond to allegations of bullying behavior;

Promptly (usually within ten school days) investigate and respond to allegations of bullying behavior;

Keep written documentation of all allegations of bullying behavior and outcomes of the investigations, and report alleged and substantiated incidents to the School Board;

Following Federal and state laws and rules governing student privacy rights the school will inform parent(s) or guardian(s) of the student(s) who was alleged to have bullied AND of the student(s) who was believed to have been bullied that a report of an alleged incident of bullying has been made;

Communicate to the parent(s) or guardian(s) of a student(s) who was believed to have been bullied the measures being taken to ensure the safety of the student(s) who was
believed to have been bullied and to prevent further acts of bullying;

Inform parent(s) or guardian(s) of the students involved, the findings of the investigation and actions to be taken;

This policy is reviewed annually through a policy evaluation process. The policy evaluation process involves collecting and reviewing data from teachers, parents, and students to assess the outcomes and effectiveness of the policy that includes, but is not limited to the following:the frequency of victimization, students, staff and family observations of safety at school, identification of areas of the school where bullying is occurring, and bystander intervention or participation. Information regarding the evaluation process is available and accessible to school administrators, school board members, school personnel, parents, guardians, and students upon request.

This policy is included in our school handbook and is distributed annually to parents, guardians, students, and school personnel, including new employees. This policy is posted where other school policies are posted in the facility. This policy is in alignment with the other policies of the school board.