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Harassment, Intimidation & Bullying (HIB)
New Jersey has been a leader in the establishment of a strong statutory, regulatory, policy, and program framework to strengthen standards and procedures for preventing, reporting, investigating, and responding to incidents of harassment, intimidation, and bullying (HIB) of students that occur on school grounds and off school grounds, under specified circumstances. On January 5, 2011, the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act (P.L.2010, c.122) was adopted, in part, in response to research on the incidence, prevalence, and effects of HIB that has emerged since the adoption of the original HIB law in 2002. 

The Medford Lakes School District believes that a safe and civil environment in school is necessary for students to learn and achieve high academic standards. Since students learn by example, school administrators, faculty, staff, and volunteers are required to demonstrate appropriate behavior, to engage others with civility and respect, and to refuse to tolerate harassment, intimidation, and bullying. HIB - like other disruptive or violent behaviors - is conduct that disrupts both a student's ability to learn and a school's ability to educate its students in a safe environment. Therefore, our school district will NOT tolerate acts of harassment, intimidation, or bullying.


District Anti-Bullying Specialists (ABS):
 Elizabeth Lembo (x500)
 Victoria Ley (x152)
 Hanna Stuby (x102) 

District Anti-Bullying Coordinator (ABC):
 Michael J. Lee (x101)


DEFINITIONS

Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying (HIB) means any gesture, any written, verbal or physical act, or any electronic communication, whether it be a single incident of a series of incidents, that:
  • Is reasonably perceived as being motivated either by an actual or perceived characteristic, such as race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, or a mental, physical or sensory disability, or by any other distinguishing characteristic;
  • Takes place on school property, at any school-sponsored function, or on a school bus; or off school grounds, as provided for in N.J.S.A. 18A:37-15.3,
  • Substantially disrupts or interferes with the orderly operation of the school or the rights of other students; and that
  • A reasonable person should know, under the circumstances, will have the effect of  physically or emotionally harming a student or damaging damaging the student's property, or placing a student in reasonable fear of physical or emotional harm to his/her person or damage to his/her property; or
  • Has the effect of insulting or demeaning any student or group of students; or
  • Creates a hostile educational environment for the student by interfering with a student's education or by severely or pervasively causing physical or emotional harm to the student.

CONFLICT vs. BULLYING

Bullying is NOT a phase young people must endure or outgrow. Bullying is not a conflict between students or among groups of students. Conflict is a mutually competitive or opposing action or engagement, including a disagreement, an argument or a fight which is a normal part of human development. Bullying is one-sided, where one or more students are victims of one or more person's aggression, which is intended to physically or emotionally hurt the victim(s).


TYPES OF BULLYING BEHAVIOR

Verbal - Includes taunting, name calling, malicious teasing or making threats (U.S. Department of Justice, 2001).

Psychological - Includes spreading rumors, purposefully excluding people from activities, breaking up friendships (U.S. Department of Justice, 2001).

Physical - Includes hitting, punching, shoving, spitting, or taking personal belongings (U.S. Department of Justice, 2001).

Cyberbullying - Includes using the telephone, cell/mobile phone, pager, Internet, or other digital technologies to harm others (DuPage County Anti-Bullying Model Policy and Best Practices, 2011).


FEELING SAFE IN SCHOOLS POWERFULLY PROMOTES STUDENT LEARNING AND HEALTHY DEVELOPMENT.

Bullying - which is a serious impediment to school safety - negatively affects the atmosphere of a school and disrupts the learning environment for students as well as for teachers, support staff, administrators, and the entire educational community. The effects of bullying on students includes -
  • Serious psychological and behavioral effects manifested in low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, suicide, violence, and criminal behavior;
  • Physical problems such as headaches, dizziness, and stomachaches; or
  • Poor grades.

Expected Behavior. Students should conduct themselves as appropriate to their levels of development & maturity and demonstrate capabilities with proper regard for the welfare of others including staff, volunteers, visitors to the school, and other students. Staff members are expected to model appropriate behavior and encourage best-practices of pro-active discipline, positive behavioral supports and growth in self-disciple. Severity of behaviors and history of other such behaviors will be considered when designing the consequences of infractions.


REPORTING
Incidents of HIB may be reported to school officials verbally and through submission of a completed MLSD form (available in our schools and on our website). An anonymous report of HIB WILL be accepted; however, school officials are NOT permitted to take formal disciplinary action solely based on the basis of an anonymous allegation.  


INVESTIGATING & MANDATED TIMELINES
MLSD ensures a procedure for the prompt investigation of reports of violations and complaints, in compliance with the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act (P.L.2010, c.122) and its amendment (P.L. 2012, c.1). Simultaneously, school officials may consider the violation of any Code of Conduct infraction, and THAT consequence may be applied, as necessary and appropriate, IN ADDITION TO the outcome of the HIB investigation.

The HIB investigation shall be initiated by the Principal (or designee) WITHIN ONE SCHOOL DAY of the report of the incident and shall be conducted by the School Anti-Bullying Specialist. The investigation shall be completed as soon as possible, but not later than TEN SCHOOL DAYS from the date of the written report of the incident of HIB. Parents or guardians of the students who are parties to the investigation shall be notified. 

The results of the investigation shall be reported to the Superintendent WITHIN TWO DAYS of the completion of the investigation. And, the results of each investigation shall be reported to the Board of Education no later than the date of THE NEXT MEETING of the Board.


INFORMATION & RESOURCES