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An Act Relative to Bullying in Schools MGL c 71, Section 370

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Presentation on theme: "An Act Relative to Bullying in Schools MGL c 71, Section 370"— Presentation transcript:

1 An Act Relative to Bullying in Schools MGL c 71, Section 370
Presentation Watertown Public Schools September 2010

2 Focus of Legislation: Prevention and Intervention

3 Support for this approach:
In 1983, 3 boys in Norway committed suicide after being seriously bullied Norway’s Ministry of Education initiated an anti-bullying campaign 2500 students in 42 schools were followed for 2 ½ years by researcher Dan Olweus

4 Norwegian Results: Students & teachers noted bullying incidents were reduced by half There was less stealing & fighting Classes were more orderly Relationships in school improved

5 In the US, ABC News reported
A Principal in Ohio took another approach. He conducted an anonymous survey asking students to identify bullies in the Middle School… Did not report the results, but intervened with 8 identified bullies Resulted in a significant reduction in bullying

6 Why this focus? Students who bully do so for a variety of reasons:
They may be being bullied themselves outside of school They may be experiencing hardships at home They may be experiencing specific emotional/cognitive/psychiatric disorders They may be trauma victims These problems can lead to poor impulse control and anger management problems

7 Helping the bully to stop bullying is thought to be more effective than punishment alone
In addressing bullying, it is essential to change the climate/culture of the school!

8 What does the new law mean for schools?
Time Lines Definitions District Plan Student Education Parent/Guardian Education Staff Education Reporting System

9 Time Lines May 3, 2010 Anti-bullying Law enacted
August 24, DESE Model Plan released Sept. 30, DESE Regulations due to Districts December 30, District Plans due to DESE HOWEVER, in Watertown Handbook language and preliminary reporting systems should be operational in Sept 2010.

10 Definition: Bullying Bullying
“the repeated use by one or more students of a written, verbal or electronic expression or a physical act or gesture or any combination thereof, directed at a victim that

11 (i) causes physical or emotional harm to the victim or damage to the victim’s property;
(ii) places the victim in reasonable fear of harm to himself or of damage to his property;

12 (iii) creates a hostile environment at school for the victim;
(iv) infringes on the rights of the victim at school;

13 Or, (v) materially and substantially disrupts the education process or the orderly operation of a school.” (“Bullying” includes cyber-bullying in the law)

14 Definition: Cyber-bullying
“bullying through the use of technology or any electronic communication, which shall include but shall not be limited to, any transfer of signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data or intelligence of any nature transmitted in whole or in part by a wire, radio, electromagnetic, photo electronic or photo optical system, including, but not limited to, electronic mail, internet communications, instant messages or facsimile communications.”

15 More “Cyber-bullying shall also include
(i) the creation of a web page or blog in which the creator assumes the identity of another person or (ii) the knowing impersonation of another person as the author of posted content or messages, if the creation or impersonation creates any of the conditions enumerated in clauses (i) through (v), inclusive of the definition of bullying.”

16 More “Cyber-bullying shall also include the distribution by electronic means of a communication to more than one person or the posting of material on an electronic medium that may be accessed by one or more persons, if the distribution or posting creates any of the conditions enumerated in clauses (i) to (v), inclusive, of the definition of bullying.”

17 Bullying is prohibited
on school grounds, property immediately adjacent to school grounds, At any school-sponsored or school-related activity, function or program on or off school grounds At a school bus stop, on a bus or other school vehicles Through the use of technology of device owned, leased or used by the district or school AND

18 Bullying is prohibited
Off school grounds or with non-school technology/devices… “if the bullying creates a hostile environment at school for the victim, infringes on the rights of the victim at school, or materially and substantially disrupts the education process or the orderly operation of a school.”

19 What is a “hostile environment”?
“…a situation in which bullying causes the school environment to be permeated with intimidation, ridicule or insult that is sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of the student’s education.”

20 Retaliation “…against a person who reports bullying, provides information during an investigation of bullying, or witnesses or has reliable information about bullying SHALL BE PROHIBITED”

21 In general, the new law: Requires reporting of all incidents of bullying by all school personnel Designates the Principal as the major compiler and investigator of such incidents and or patterns of incidents Requires reporting of certain incidents to the police Requires education of students, parents, staff, community

22 DESE Model Bullying Prevention & Intervention Plan
Released 8/24/2010 Details requirements of plans to be established by each District

23 I. Leadership Public Involvement in developing the Plan
Assessing needs and resources Planning and oversight Developing priority statements

24 II. Training & Professional Development
Annual staff training plan Ongoing professional development Annual written notice to the staff

25 III. Access to Resources & Services
Identifying Resources Counseling & other services Students with Disabilities Referral to outside services

26 IV. Academic & Non-Academic Activities
Specific bullying prevention approaches General teaching approaches that support bullying prevention efforts

27 V. Policies & Procedures for Reporting and. Responding to Bullying &
V. Policies & Procedures for Reporting and Responding to Bullying & Retaliation Reporting bullying & retaliation Reporting by Staff Reporting by students, parents or guardians, and others

28 Responding to a report of bullying or retaliation
Safety Obligation to notify others Notice to parents or guardians Notice to another school or district Notice to law enforcement

29 Investigation Determinations by the Principal or designee
Made by the Principal or designee

30 Responses to Bullying Teaching appropriate behavior through skill building Taking disciplinary action Promoting safety for the target and others

31 VI. Collaboration with Families
Parent Education Notification requirements

32 VII. Prohibition Against Bullying & Retaliation
“The law requires each Plan to include a statement prohibiting bullying, cyberbullying, and retaliation.” “The statement must be included in the Plan and included in the student code of conduct, the student handbook, and the staff handbook.”

33 The Plan must also include:
VIII. Definitions of Aggressor, bullying, cyberbullying, hostile environment, retaliation, staff, target IX. Information about the relationship of this law to other laws Anti-discrimination laws Anti-harassment laws

34 Thus far in Watertown: Student curriculums have been established at Elementary and Middle School levels The High School will select a curriculum this fall All student handbooks include preliminary information about the Plan School Committee Policy formation is in process

35 In process in Watertown:
Work is being done to establish a computer-based reporting system with IMG Specific plans which meet all the law’s requirements are due December 30, 2010 and will be developed over the fall. Education for staff, parents and community is being developed

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