CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF TOLEDO
BULLYING PREVENTION POLICY AND PLAN FOR SCHOOLS
The Diocese of Toledo and the Catholic Schools Office believe that all of our Catholic schools must be aware that their purpose is rooted in the mission of the Church and the message of Jesus Christ.
It is essential that a safe, positive and productive educational environment be established where students can achieve the highest academic standards, where no student shall be subjected to bullying, intimidation or harassment.
Pastors, principals, faculty, counselors, school nurses, custodians, bus drivers, athletic coaches, advisors to extracurricular activities, and any other school support staff, are to expect that all students and staff behave appropriately and treat others with civility and respect.
Bullying, harassment or intimidation will not be tolerated in any of our Catholic schools in the Diocese of Toledo.
A. Bullying by Definition:
Bullying, harassment or intimidation means any of the following: Any intentional written, verbal, electronic (cyber-bullying), physical act, or any other similar behavior that a student or staff member has exhibited toward another student which:
(1.) Causes physical or emotional harm to the target or damage to the target’s property.
(2.) Places another student in reasonable fear of harm or of damage to property.
(3.) Creates a hostile environment at school for another student.
(4.) Infringes on the rights of another student at school.
(5.) Disrupts the education process or the orderly operation of a school or classroom and alters
the conditions of another student’s education.
(6.) Is a form of “retaliation” meaning any form of intimidation, reprisal, or harassment directed
against a student who reports any misconduct, provides information during an investigation of bullying, witnesses or has reliable information about bullying.
(7.) Is considered electronic bullying (cyber-bullying) meaning 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, or data 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.
b) The creation of a web page or blog in which the creator assumes the identity of another person or knowingly impersonates another person as author of posted content or messages, if the creation or impersonation creates any of the conditions enumerated in the definition of bullying.
c) 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 the definition of bullying.
B. Bullying is Prohibited:
(1.) On school grounds owned/ leased/used by school or on property immediately adjacent to school grounds.
(2.) At any school-sponsored or related activity, function or program whether on or off school grounds.
(3.) At a location, activity, function or program that is not school-related, when there are possible
ramifications for students or adults in the school.
(4.) At a school bus stop, on a school bus or any other vehicle owned, leased or used by the school.
(5.) Through the use of technology or electronic device owned, leased or used by the school.
(6.) Through the use of technology or an electronic device not owned, leased or used by the school if the
act or acts in question:
a. Create a hostile environment at school for the target.
b. Infringe on the rights of the target at school.
c. Materially and substantially disrupt the education process or the orderly operation of a school.
C. Prevention and Intervention Plan:
(1.) Students, faculty, counselors, school nurses, custodians, bus drivers, athletic coaches, extracurricular advisors and all other school support staff may report bullying directly to the principal either in writing or verbally or may choose to report through the TIPS website link on www.saintpatrickschoolbryan.org website anonymously.
(2.) Reports of bullying, harassment, intimidation may be made anonymously. No disciplinary action shall be taken against a student solely on the basis of an anonymous report.
(3.) School (and parish if appropriate) personnel (listed in item 1) are obligated to report prohibited incidents of which they are aware to the school principal or other administrator designated by the principal.
(4.) In cases where the aggressor or target is not a student at this school, information shall be disclosed to
the principal or appropriate administrator of the public, private or charter school in which the student
(5.) The custodial parent(s) or guardian(s) of any student involved in a prohibited incident shall be notified.
(6.) Reported incidents and responses to incidents including steps taken to investigate reported incidents shall be documented in writing and kept in a file with the principal of the school.
(7.) Victims or other people reporting incidents shall not be subject to new or additional harassment, intimidation, or bullying, and from retaliation following a report, including any means by which a person may report an incident anonymously.
(8.) Referrals to appropriate outside counseling will be made for aggressors, targets and family members of students as needed.
(9.) Any student guilty of harassment, intimidation, or bullying, that infringes on any student's rights will be disciplined to the full extent of Student Conduct and Student Discipline policies outlined in the Student/Parent Handbook of St. Patrick Catholic School beginning with citations and including but not limited to suspension and possible expulsion.
(10.) A range of disciplinary actions may be taken against an aggressor for bullying or retaliation.
The disciplinary actions shall balance the need for accountability with the need to teach appropriate behavior and may include:
a.) Complete Bullying Incident Form.
b.) Make principal aware of occurrence.
c.) One-on-one counseling/mediation with principal and/or appropriate counselor.
d.) Separation from peers within classroom to extent possible.
e.) In-school suspension.
f.) Out-of-school suspension.
+++NOTE: Disciplinary actions will NOT necessarily be taken immediately solely on the basis of a report made by a student or a parent/guardian. Investigation of the report will take place prior to any disciplinary action.+++
(11.) Students deliberately making false reports of harassment, intimidation, or bullying and for any student responsible for deliberately making a false report will be disciplined according to the Student Conduct, Student Discipline and Bullying Prevention policies of St. Patrick Catholic School to include but not limited to citations, suspension and possible expulsion.
(12.) The Bullying Prevention Policy is included in the Student/Parent Handbook that all school families will receive at the beginning of the school year and is also included on the website of St. Patrick Catholic School: www.saintpatrickschoolbryan.org.
(13.) By signing the Acknowledgement and Signature Page of the Student/Parent Handbook, students and parents/guardians acknowledge they have read the handbook and all policies included therein.
D. Plan Review and Updates:
The plan shall be reviewed and updated preferably every year, but at least every two years and the principal is responsible for the implementation and oversight of the anti-bullying prevention and implementation plan within the school.
Regular training on the plan shall be provided for students, faculty, staff, parents, and all other school support staff including volunteers.
Such anti-bullying training may include, but not be limited to:
(1.) Developmentally appropriate Biblical teachings about caring for the welfare of each other.
(2.) Developmentally appropriate strategies to prevent bullying incidents.
(3.) Developmentally appropriate strategies for immediate, effective interventions to stop bullying incidents.
(4.) Information regarding the complex interaction and power differential that can take place between and among an aggressor, target and witnesses to the bullying.
(5.) 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.
(6.) Information on cyber-bullying emphasizing Internet safety.
F. Publication and Notice:
The plan shall be posted on the school’s website and included in student/parent and employee handbooks.
A member of the staff shall immediately report any instance of bullying or retaliation the staff member has witnessed or becomes aware of to the school principal or administrative assistant.
H. Minimum Required Actions:
If the principal or his/her designee determines that bullying or retaliation has occurred, he/she shall:
(1.) Take appropriate disciplinary action as stated in the plan.
(2.) Notify the parents or guardians of the aggressor and target and inform them of the disciplinary action
and action to be taken to prevent any further acts.
If an incident of bullying or retaliation occurs on school grounds and involves a former student under the age of 21 who is no longer enrolled in school, the principal or his/her designee informed of such incident shall contact the local law enforcement agency if he/she has a reasonable basis to believe that criminal charges may be pursued against the aggressor.
I. Policy Questions and / or Concerns:
If any staff member has questions concerning this policy, he or she is encouraged to contact the Catholic Schools Office at 419.244.6711.