Bullying, Harassment, Intimidation, and Threats

  • Realizing that the care, welfare, safety and security for all students and staff are fundamental to success and achievement in the academic environment, the St. Mary Parish School System has adopted a zero-tolerance stance regarding acts of bullying, harassment, intimidation, and threats.

     In accordance with ACT 861, “Bullying” is defined as pattern of any one or more of the following:

    1. Gestures, including but not limited to obscene gestures and making faces,

    2. Written, electronic, or verbal communications, including but not limited to calling names, threatening harm, taunting, malicious teasing, or spreading untrue rumors. Electronic communication includes but is not limited to a communication or image transmitted by email, instant message, text message, blog, or social networking website through the use of a telephone, mobile phone, pager, computer, or other electronic device,

    3. Physical acts, including but not limited to hitting, kicking, pushing, tripping, choking, damaging personal property, or unauthorized use of personal property,

    4. Repeatedly and purposefully shunning or excluding from activities,

    Where the pattern of behavior . . . 

    1. Is exhibited toward a student, more than once, by another student or group of students and occurs, or is received by, a student while on school property, at a school sponsored or school-related function or activity, in any school bus or van, at any designated school bus stop, in any other school or private vehicle used to transport students to and from schools, or any school-sponsored activity or event,

    2. Has the effect of physically harming a student, placing the student in reasonable fear of physical harm, damaging a student’s property, placing the student in reasonable fear of damage to the student’s property, or must be sufficiently severe, persistent, and pervasive enough to either create an intimidating or threatening educational environment, have the effect of substantially interfering with a student’s performance in school, or have the effect of substantially disrupting the orderly operation of the school.

    Reporting Incidents

    1. Any student, who believes that he/she has been, or is currently, the victim of bullying, or any student, or any parent or guardian, who witnesses bullying or has good reason to believe bullying is taking place, may report the situation to a school official. A student, parent, or guardian, may also report concerns regarding bullying to a teacher, counselor, other school employee, or to any parent chaperoning or supervising a school function or activity.  Any report of bullying shall remain confidential.

    2. Any teacher, counselor, bus driver, or other school employee, whether full or part time, and any parent chaperoning or supervising a school function or activity, who witnesses bullying or who learns of bullying from a student shall report the incident to a school official. A verbal report shall be submitted by the employee or the parent on the same day as the employee or parent witnessed or otherwise learned of the bullying incident, and a written report shall be filed no later than two days thereafter.

    3. Retaliation against any person who reports bullying in good faith, who is thought to have reported bullying, who files a complaint, or who otherwise learned of the bullying incident, a written report must be filed no later than two days thereafter.

    4. False Reports. Making false reports about bullying to school officials is prohibited conduct and will result in disciplinary action.

    Investigation Procedure

    1. Timing. The investigation should begin the next school day following the day on   which the written report was received and shall be completed no later than 10 school days after receipt of the report. If additional information is received after the end of the 10-day period, the school official shall amend all documents and reports to reflect such information.
       
    2. Parental Notification of Allegation of Bullying

      1. Upon receiving a report of bullying, the school shall notify the parents or legal guardians of the alleged offender and the alleged victim no later than the following day.

      2. Under no circumstances shall the delivery of this notice to the parent or legal guardian, be the responsibility of an involved student. Delivery of notice by an involved student shall not constitute notice as is required by this Section.

      3. Before any student under the age of 18 is interviewed, his parents or legal guardians shall be notified of the allegations made and shall have the opportunity to attend any interviews conducted with their child as part of the investigation. *NOTE: The school district is required to do a minimum of three (3) written attempts to the parents informing them of the interview.

      4. All meetings with the parents or legal guardians of an alleged victim or an alleged offender shall be in compliance with the following:

        1. Separate meetings with the parents or legal guardians of the alleged victim and the alleged offender.

        2. Parents or legal guardians of the alleged victim and alleged offender must be notified of the potential consequences, penalties and counseling options.

      5. In any case where a school official is authorized to require apparent or legal guardian of a student under the age of 18 to attend, the principal or designee shall file a complaint with the court of a competent juvenile jurisdiction, pursuant to Children’s Code Article 730(8) and 731.

      6. A principal or designee may file a complaint pursuant to Children’s Code Article 730(1) or any other applicable ground when, in his judgment, doing so is in the best interests of the student.

     Disciplinary Action

     If, after a thorough investigation, the school determines that an act of bullying has occurred, inclusive of a meeting with the parent or legal guardian of the students involved, the school official shall:

    1. Take prompt and appropriate disciplinary action, pursuant to R.S. 17:416 and 416.1, against the student that the school official determines has engaged in conduct which constitutes bullying, if appropriate.

    2. Report criminal conduct to law enforcement, if appropriate.

    3. Disciplinary action will be in accordance with the St. Mary Parish School Board’s CODE OF CONDUCT.

     Parental Relief 

    1. If a parent, legal guardian, teacher, or other school official has made four or more reports of separate instances, the parent or legal guardian with responsibility for decisions regarding the education of the victim may exercise an option to have the student enroll in or attend another school within the district in which the student was enrolled on the dates when at least three of the reports were submitted. 
    1. The parent shall file a request with the superintendent/designee for the transfer of the student to another school within the district. 

    The St. Mary Parish School System will exhaust all of its authority, ensuring that appropriate action is taken regarding acts of bullying. Furthermore the district, following a thorough investigation, will submit written communication to all parties (i.e. victim and perpetrator), parents or guardians of the investigation’s results along with any remedial action taken, as applicable.

     

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