Bullying Prevention Policy

Policy: Bullying Prevention and Intervention

The Campus School at Boston College (BCCS) provides educational, therapeutic and healthcare services to students ages 3-21 with severe multiple disabilities.  Due to the nature of the students’ disabilities, bullying is an unlikely occurrence within our program.  However, BCCS is committed to ensuring the establishment of a safe learning environment in which all community members treat each other with respect.  BCCS also strives to ensure that all students develop to their full potential and have the opportunity to lead enriched and engaged lives in society.

BCCS will not tolerate any unlawful or disruptive behavior including bullying or cyber-bullying within our school or any school related activities.  Any reports of bullying will be promptly investigated and there will be appropriate measures taken to end that behavior.  If necessary, if an action were to be unlawful, appropriate referral to a law agency will be made.  BCCS will not tolerate any retaliation against individuals who are targets, reporters or witnesses of bullying.

BCCS develops curriculum and instructional programs to ensure that all members of its community are treated with respect and dignity.  This policy is supported by a Bullying Prevention and Intervention plan as an approach to address all forms of bullying.  The plan ensures that students, their families, staff and school administration work together to prevent all forms of bullying.  This policy applies to all activities within the school as well as activities outside of the school, including school related transportation.

Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan

M.G.L.c. 71, § 370(b) requires that all school systems in Massachusetts develop a Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan that prohibits and responds to acts of bullying, including cyber-bullying, as follows:

  • The purpose of this Plan is to ensure that BCCS prohibits all forms of bullying of all school community members for reasons related to their race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, age, or disability.  The rights of all school community members are guaranteed by law, and the protection of those rights is of utmost importance and priority to our program.
  • Our program director will annually assess the adequacy of current bullying prevention policies and procedures.
  • As part of our annual orientation at the start of the school year, we will provide anti-bullying training to all staff.  Staff members hired  after the start of the school year will be required to participate in school-based training during the year in which they are hired.
  • We will provide ongoing professional development to establish a common understanding of the tools necessary to create a school climate that promotes safety and respect.  Professional development will build the skills of staff members to prevent, identify, and respond to bullying. Professional development will also address ways to prevent and respond to bullying or retaliation for students with disabilities that must be considered when developing student’s Individualized Education Plans (IEPs).  BCCS will provide annual training for all school staff on our plan that will include staff duties, and an overview of the steps that the Director or designee will follow upon receipt of a report of bullying or retaliation. Training sessions will be conducted within the first two weeks of the school year.  Staff members hired after the start of the school year will be required to participate in school-based training during the school year in which they are hired, unless they can demonstrate participation in an acceptable and comparable program within the last two years.
  • In order for bullying prevention strategies to succeed, it is imperative that all staff, including but not limited to, educators, administrators, counselors, school nurses, custodians, and paraprofessionals, are trained on the overall scope of the our bullying prevention plan and in their specific roles and responsibilities as described in our bullying prevention plan.
  • As required by M.G.L.c. 71, § 370, the content of school wide professional development will be informed by research and will include information on:

a)     developmentally appropriate strategies to prevent bullying

b)    developmentally appropriate strategies for immediate, effective interventions to stop bullying incidents

c)     information regarding the complex interaction and power differential that can take place between and among an aggressor, target, and witnesses to the bullying

d)    research findings on bullying, including information about specific categories of students who have been shown to be particularly at risk for bullying in the school environment

e)     information on the incidence and nature of cyberbullying, and

f)     internet safety issues as they relate to cyberbullying

  • BCCS employs the following teaching strategies that underscore the importance of our bullying prevention and intervention initiatives:

o   Creating safe school and classroom environments for all students

o   Using positive behavioral supports

o   Utilizing responsive teaching methods

o   Encouraging adults to develop positive relationships with students

o   Providing civil rights training

  • BCCS will work closely with families and the Parent Advisory Council to promote a caring and respectful environment within our program.  We also will work closely with families to increase the capacity of the school to prevent and respond to bullying.  Resources for families and communication with them are essential aspects of effective collaboration.  BCCS will work collaboratively with our Special Education Parent Advisory Council to offer education programs for parents and guardians that are focused on the parental components of the anti-bullying curricula and any social competency curricula used by BCCS including:

a)     the dynamics of bullying

b)    how parents and guardians can reinforce the curricula at home and support the school plan

c)     online safety and cyberbullying

  • BCCS Bullying Intervention and Prevention policy will be provided to parents at the start of each school year (July 1) as part of the BCCS “intake” documentation (yearly update of permissions granted/denied, and provision of emergency medical transport).  Parents will be required to sign and return an acknowledgment of receipt of the Bullying policy.  All signed acknowledgments will be maintained in the student’s record. 

  • In addition to curricula based and school wide activities that promote the goals of this policy to the whole school population, BCCS provides resources and services that address the underlying emotional needs of targets, aggressors, families and others.  Among the responses to incidences of bullying are protocols to refer students to school based counseling resources that can provide services to both targets and aggressors.
  • Incidents may be reported by parents, guardians, staff, and others.  It is not required that the Incident Reporting Form be used.  Report may be made to the program director in writing, telephone, or personal conversation.  Reports may be made anonymously but no disciplinary action will be taken solely on the basis of an anonymous report.
  • The program director will take steps to assess the need to restore a sense of safety to the alleged target and/or protect the target from further incidents.
  • The program director will promptly investigate all reports of bullying.  If necessary, the program director will consult with legal counsel about the investigation.  The program director will maintain a written record of the investigation. 
  • The Program Director or designee will promptly notify the parents or guardians of the target and the aggressor about the results of the investigation and, if bullying or retaliation is found, what action is being taken to prevent further acts of bullying or retaliation.  All notice to parents must comply with applicable state and federal privacy laws and regulations.  Because of the legal requirements regarding the confidentially of student records, the Director or designee cannot report specific information to the target’s parent or guardian about the disciplinary action taken unless it involves a “stay away” order or other directive that the target must be aware of in order to report violations.
  • Any disciplinary actions for our students with disabilities would comply with IDEA.
  • Any reported incident will be provided to the student’s sending school district.

It the program director determines that criminal charges may be pursued against the aggressor, he will notify the local law enforcement agency.  Notice will be consistent with the requirements of 603 CRM 49.00.

M.G.L. c. 71, § 370 provides specific definitions of terms that are used in the Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan, as follows:

Aggressor is a student who engages in bullying, cyber-bullying, or retaliation.

Bullying as defined in M.G.L. c. 71, §370 is 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 target that:

·      Causes physical or emotional harm to the target or damage to the target’s property;

·      places the target in reasonable fear of harm to himself or herself or of damage to his or her property;

·      creates a hostile environment at school for the target;

·      infringes on the rights of the target at school; or

·      materially and substantially disrupts the education process or the orderly operation of a school.

Cyber-bullying is bullying through the use of technology or electronic devices such as telephones, cell phones, computers, and the Internet.  See M.G.L.c. 71 § 370 for the legal definition of cyber-bullying.

Hostile Environment is a situation in which bullying causes the school environment to be permeated with intimidation, ridicule, or insult that is sufficiently severe or pervasive as to alter the conditions of a student’s education.

Retaliation is any form of intimidation, reprisal, or harassment directed against a student who reports bullying, provides information during an investigation of bullying, or witnesses or has reliable information about bullying.

Staff includes, but is not limited to, educators, administrators, counselors, school nurses, cafeteria workers, custodians, bus drivers, athletic coaches, advisors to extracurricular activities, support staff, or paraprofessionals.

Target is a student against whom bullying, cyber-bullying, or retaliation has been perpetrated.