Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan

  • AMESBURY INNOVATION HIGH SCHOOL BULLYING PREVENTION AND INTERVENTION PLAN 

    OVERVIEW

    Bullying is the use of power by one or more individuals over another to intentionally cause harm.  There are many ways that bullying can manifest itself in wrongful conduct at school.  The definition includes but is not limited exclusive to:

    • Physical
    • Verbal
    • Psychological

    For participants and observers, bullying and harassment interfere with learning and healthy growth – both emotionally and academically.  A safe learning environment is one in which every student develops emotionally, academically, and physically in a caring and supportive atmosphere free of intimidation and abuse.

    AIHS has a goal of enhancing and sustaining safe and health learning environments in part by reducing the reported incidence of bullying through a multi=-tiered strategy that includes prevention, effective and compassionate intervention and community-wide social promotion.

    The Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan (“Plan”) is a comprehensive approach to addressing bullying and cyber bullying, and the school or district is committed to working with students, staff, families, law enforcement agencies, and the community to prevent issues of violence.  In consultation with these constituencies, we have established this Plan for preventing, intervening, and responding to incidents of bullying, cyber bullying, and retaliation.  The principal is responsible for the implementation and oversight of the Plan.

    Prohibition

    Bullying, cyber bullying and retaliation are prohibited on school grounds, property immediately adjacent to school grounds, at school-sponsored or school-related activities, functions or programs (whether on or off school grounds), at bus stops, on school busses or other vehicles owned or operated by the Academy or their contractors, or through the use of technology or electronic devices owned, leased or used by the Academy.

    Bullying, cyber bullying and retaliation that creates a hostile environment at school for the target(s), infringes on the rights of the target(s) while at school, or materially and substantially disrupts the education process, or the orderly operation of a school – regardless of whether said bullying takes place on school grounds, nearby properties, at school functions or using school technology, shall also be prohibited.

    I.    LEADERSHIP

    A.   Biannual update of the Plan and community involvement:  This Bullying Plan will be reviewed and updated biannually by the Board of Trustees and Bullying Plan Subcommittee to (a) ensure its effectiveness, and (b) establish strategies and indicators of continuous improvement in the effort to promote a safe and supportive learning environment.  As required by M.G.L. c. 71, § 37O the Bullying Plan Subcommittee shall include representatives from the following groups:

    -          Teachers

    -          School staff

    -          Para-professional support personnel

    -          School administrator

    -          Community representatives

    -          Local law enforcement

    -          Students

    -          Parents/guardians

    A period of public comment will be open for at least two weeks soliciting    feedback on improvements to the Bullying Plan from members of the community who may not be able to or be comfortable with participating in a public meeting.

    B.  Assessing needs and resources:  The biannual update of the plan shall include a review of available data on social and emotional learning, the environment for the delivery of social emotional instruction in schools, and data on school climate.  This data includes:

    -          Youth Risk Behavior Survey data

    -          Social Competency Instruction Assessments completed by advisors to document the extent to which evidence-based social emotional learning programs utilized in the advisors’ programs are implemented with integrity

    -          Social Competency Program Checklists completed annually by Principals to document areas school capacity to support social emotional learning programs are (a) strong, and (b) need improvement

    -          Reality Therapy outcomes and/or other school climate data.

    -          Harassment/Bullying surveys and/other school climate data.

     

    This data shall be used to identify areas of programmatic strength, resource   gaps and the most significant areas of need.  Based on these findings, the Academy will revise or develop policies and procedures as needed; establish partnerships with community agencies, including law enforcement; and set priorities.

    C.  Planning and oversight.  The School Committee will be responsible for overseeing the implementation of Bullying Prevention Intervention Plan.  Specific planning and oversight responsibilities will include:

    -          Receiving reports on bullying

    -          Collecting and analyzing building-and/or school-wide data on bullying to assess the present problem and to measure improved outcomes

    -          Management of record keeping systems to track data related to targets, aggressor and incidents

    -          Planning support that respond to the needs of targets and aggressors

    -          Developing new or revising current policies and protocols under the Plan, including an Internet safety policy, and designating key staff to be in charge of implementation of them

    -          Amending parent/guardian and staff handbooks and codes of conduct.

    -          Leading family engagement efforts and drafting parent information materials

    -          Reviewing and updating the Plan biannually as required by law.

     

    D.  Priority statements.  Our vision in creating and implementing its bullying prevention and intervention strategies holds these priorities:

     

    The school expects that all members of the school community will treat each other in a civil manner and with respect for differences. 

     

    The school is committed to providing all students with a safe learning environment that is free from bullying and cyber bullying.  This commitment is an integral part of our comprehensive efforts to promote learning, and to prevent and eliminate all forms of bullying and other harmful and disruptive behavior that can impede the learning process.   

     

    We understand that members of certain student groups, such as students with disabilities, students who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender, and homeless students may be more vulnerable to becoming targets of bullying, harassment, or teasing.  The school or district will take specific steps to create a safe, supportive environment for vulnerable populations in the school community, and provide all students with the skills, knowledge, and strategies to prevent or respond to bullying, harassment, or teasing.

    II. PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND STAFF TRAINING

    A.  Annual staff training on the plan:  AIHS will annually offer      

    Professional staff training to all staff, relevant community partners and parents/guardians that includes the following topics:

    -          Orientation to the AIHS plan, including staff duties under the Plan,  an overview of the steps that the principal or designee will follow upon  receipt of a report of bullying or retaliation, and a Bullying Intervention – which shall include: (a) definition of bullying, cyber bullying, and retaliation; (b) orientation to the AIHS procedures for reporting, responding and intervening in incidents of bullying; and (c) signs and symptoms a student may be a target of bullying, cyber bullying or retaliation

    -          Cyber safety – which shall include: (a) information on the incidence   

                      and nature of cyber-bullying, and (b) strategies for promoting cyber-            

                   safety.

    -          Overview of the role of the AIHS advisor/advisee social emotional learning curriculum role in preventing/addressing bullying, cyber bullying and retaliation.

    Annual, mandatory, professional development will also address ways to prevent and respond to bullying or retaliation for students with disabilities that must be considered when developing students’ Individualized Education Programs (IEPs).  This will include a particular focus on the needs of students with autism or students whose disability affects social skills development.

    Staff members hired after the start of the school year shall 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.

    B. Ongoing professional development: The goal of professional development is to    establish a common understanding of tools necessary for staff to create a school climate that promotes safety, civil communication, and respect for differences.  Professional development will build the skills of staff members to prevent, identify, and respond to bullying.  As required by M.G.L. c. 71, § 37O, the content of school-wide professional development will be informed by research and will include information on:

     

    (i)  developmentally (or age-) appropriate strategies to prevent bullying;

    (ii) developmentally (or age-) appropriate strategies for immediate, effective interventions to stop bullying incidents;

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

    (iv) 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;        

    (v) information on the incidence and nature of cyber bullying; and

    (vi) Internet safety issues as they relate to cyber bullying. 

     

    Additionally, AIHS will, as resources will allow, offer additional professional development and staff training on topics intended to build the skills of staff members to prevent, identify, and respond to bullying.  This will include skills training in bystander empowerment – which shall include:

    (a) complex interaction and power differential that can take place between and among a perpetrator, target and witnesses, (b) research findings on bullying including categories about specific categories of students who have been shown to be particularly at risk for bullying in the school environment, and (c) developmentally appropriate strategies for intervening in stop bullying incidents.

     

    Other complementary professional development topics will be identified and developed annually.

     

    C.    Written notice to staff:  AIHS will provide all staff with an annual  

           written notice of the Plan through the print and electronic versions of the student 

           and staff handbooks.

    III.     ACCESS TO RESOURCES AND SERVICES

    The school-based Intervention Team (I Team) shall be responsible for helping to create and monitor the safe and supportive learning plan for targets and/or perpetrators of bullying/cyber bullying/retaliation.  This shall include monitoring referrals to counseling as needed to address underlying issues of trauma and other difficulties that may contribute to the problem.  Specific activities that will support the I Team efforts will include:

    A.     Referrals to youth and family support services: AIHS has strong   partnerships with a variety of health and human service providers that will be accessed as needed to assist families and youth with needs related to incidents of bullying. The Pettengill House social service agency is a member of the AIHS Intervention Team and the Community Collaboration Network facilitated monthly by the Essex County District Attorneys office. They will provide key referral functions related to the Plan.

    B.     Linkage to counseling and other services: The school will identify culturally and   linguistically appropriate resources within AIHS and the community. The school maintains a list of counseling professionals who serve adolescents and their families. Students may participate in a social skills group, individual counseling or psycho-social skills groups to learn effective strategies for prevention, intervention and safety. A Services Resource Manual is updated yearly by the Pettengill House to identify all resources that are easily accessible and cost effective.    

     

    C.   Students with disabilities:  As required by M.G.L. c. 71B, § 3, as amended by   Chapter 92 of the Acts of 2010, when the IEP Team determines the student has a disability that affects social skills development or the student may participate in or is vulnerable to bullying, harassment, or teasing because of his/her disability, the Team will consider what should be included in the IEP to develop the student’s skills and proficiencies to avoid and respond to bullying, harassment, or teasing.

    IV.   ACADEMIC AND NON-ACADEMIC SERVICES

    In the long term, preventing bullying from happening is the goal of AIHS. Instructional activities will focus on helping students develop healthy social relationships with adults and peers, and  on creating a positive school culture.  Activities will include:

    A.   Evidence based bullying prevention instruction:  A program of evidence-based social/emotional learning instruction is offered to all students in school.  The curricula used include those approved by the federal Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools for their effectiveness in addressing individual risk and protective factor associated with bullying.  These include:

    Counteract the following risk factors

    -          Negative labeling by teachers

    -          Antisocial behavior and alienation/delinquent beliefs/general delinquency involvement/drug dealing

    -          Early onset of aggression and/or violence

    -          Victimization and exposure to violence

    -          Poor refusal skills

    -          Lack of guilt and empathy

    -          Cognitive and neurological deficits/low intelligence quotient/hyperactivity

    -          Mental disorder/mental health problem/conduct disorder

    Enhance the following protective factors:

    -          Good relationships with peers

    -          Presence and involvement of caring, supportive adults in school

    -          High expectations of students

    -          High quality schools/Clear standards and rules

    -          Opportunities for pro-social school involvement

    -          Effective parenting


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