A Culture of Safety: Bullying and Harassment Policy
Harassment and bullying are against federal, state and local policy, and are not tolerated by the board. The board is committed to providing a safe and civil school environment in which all members of the school community are treated with dignity and respect. To that end, the board has in place policies, procedures, and practices that are designed to reduce and eliminate bullying and harassment as well as processes and procedures to deal with incidents of bullying and harassment. Bullying and harassment of students, staff, and/or volunteers who have direct contact with students will not be tolerated in the school or school district.
The Board of Education prohibits harassment, bullying, hazing, or any other victimization based on any of the following actual or perceived traits or characteristics, including but not limited to, age, color, creed, national origin, race, religion, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical attributes, physical or mental ability or disability, ancestry, political party preference, political belief, socioeconomic status, or familial status.
This policy is in effect while students are on property within the jurisdiction of the board; while on school-owned, leased or school-operated vehicles; while attending or engaged in school-sponsored activities; and while away from school grounds if the misconduct directly affects the good order, efficient management and welfare of the school or school district.
If, after an investigation, a student is found to be in violation of this policy, the student shall be disciplined by appropriate measures including, but not limited to, suspension, exclusion, and expulsion. All reports of bullying/harassment will be documented and reported to the Iowa Department of Education.
Harassment and bullying mean any electronic, written, verbal, or physical act or conduct which is based on any actual or perceived trait or characteristic and which creates an objectively hostile school environment that meets one or more of the following conditions:
- Places the person in reasonable fear of harm to the person or property
- Has a substantially detrimental effect on the person’s physical or mental health
- Has the effect of substantially interfering with the person’s academic or work performance
- Has the effect of substantially interfering with the person’s ability to participate in, provide or benefit from the services, activities, or privileges provided by a school
“Electronic” includes, but is not limited to, communication via electronic mail, internet-based communications, cell phones, electronic text messaging or similar technologies.
Harassment and bullying may include, but are not limited to, any of the following behaviors and circumstances:
- Verbal, nonverbal, physical or written harassment, bullying, hazing, or other victimization that have the purpose or effect of causing injury, discomfort, fear, or suffering to the target
- Implied or explicit threats concerning one’s grades, achievements, property, etc. that have the purpose or effect of causing injury, discomfort, fear, or suffering to the target
- Demeaning jokes, stories, or activities directed at the student that have the purpose or effect of causing injury, discomfort, fear, or suffering to the target
- Repeated remarks of a demeaning nature that have the purpose or effect of causing injury discomfort, fear, or suffering to the target
- Unreasonable interference with a person’s performance or creation of an intimidating, offensive, or hostile environment
Sexual harassment means unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:
- Submission to the conduct is made either implicitly or explicitly a term or condition of the student’s education or benefits.
- Submission to, or rejection of, the conduct by a school employee is used as the basis for academic decisions affecting that student.
- The conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with the academic or work performance by creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive education environment.
In situations between students and school officials, faculty, staff, or volunteers who have contact with students, bullying and harassment may also include the following behaviors:
- Requiring that a student submit to bullying or harassment by another student, either explicitly or implicitly, as a term or condition of the targeted student’s education or participation in school programs or activities
- Requiring submission to or rejection of such conduct as a basis for decisions affecting the student
School employees, volunteers, parents or guardians, and students will assist with the enforcement of this policy, including, but not limited; to assisting with educational and preventative measures, reporting, and investigations of harassment or bullying. Any person who promptly, reasonably, and in good faith reports an incident of bullying or harassment under this policy to a school official or supervisor shall be immune from civil or criminal liability relating to such report and to the person’s participation in any administrative, judicial, or other proceeding relating to the report. Individuals who knowingly file a false complaint or give false statements in an investigation may be subject to appropriate disciplinary action.
Retaliation against any person filing a bullying or harassment complaint or assisted or participated in a harassment investigation or proceeding is also prohibited. Any student found to have retaliated in violation of this policy shall be subject to measures including, but not limited to, suspension, exclusion and expulsion.
The school or school district will promptly and reasonably investigate allegations of bullying or harassment. The school district will promptly and reasonably investigate allegations of bullying or harassment upon receipt of a written complaint. The Superintendent or Superintendent’s Designee will be responsible for handling all complaints alleging bullying or harassment. Investigators will consider the totality of circumstances presented in determining whether conduct objectively constitutes harassment or bullying.