Bullying

The Hamilton School District Board of Education supports an educational environment that is free of bullying. It is the policy of the District that its students, employees, or volunteers will not be allowed to engage in any form of bullying or intimidation toward other students, employees, or volunteers.

“Bullying” means, among other things, striking, shoving, kicking, throwing objects at, or otherwise subjecting another person to physical contact or attempting or threatening to do the same; name calling; or engaging in a course of conduct or repeatedly committing acts of intimidation which cause discomfort to, or humiliate another person or which interfere with the recipient’s academic or job performance. Bullying may involve an imbalance of power and may be motivated by an actual or perceived distinguishing characteristic such as, but not limited to: age; national origin; race; ethnicity; religion; gender; gender identity; sexual orientation; physical attributes; physical or mental ability or disability; and social, economic or family status.

“Intimidation” means to make timid or fearful, to frighten, or to compel or deter by or as if by threats.
Behaviors characterized as bullying or intimidation are prohibited in all schools, buildings, or property owned, leased, or used by the District, including school buses and school vehicles. Bullying or intimidation behavior is also prohibited at all school-sponsored and school-supervised events and activities.

Cyberbullying is prohibited and includes, but is not limited to, the use of information and communication technologies (e.g., cell phones, computers, websites, social media, and e-mail) to bully, intimidate, threaten, abuse, or harass a student. Cyberbullying is prohibited regardless of whether it is done on school property or at a school-sponsored or school-supervised event or activity.
If a student or a student’s parent/guardian believes the student has been subjected to bullying/intimidation, the student or parent/guardian should report the incident(s) to the classroom teacher or activity supervisor for informal investigation and resolution. The parent/guardian of a child involved in an alleged bullying incident will be notified.  If the issue is not resolved to the satisfaction of the student and/or student’s parent/guardian, the student and/or parent/guardian may appeal to the principal for informal investigation and resolution.

If an employee or volunteer believes they have been subjected to bullying/intimidation, they should report the incident to the principal or volunteer supervisor for an informal investigation.

Reports of bullying/intimidation may be made verbally or in writing.  The reports will be investigated promptly and kept confidential within the bounds of the District’s investigation and the law. Any teacher who receives an informal complaint of bullying shall prepare a written report summarizing the complaint, the findings of the investigation, and any action taken to resolve the matter.  This report shall be given to the principal.  At any time during the process, or upon receiving the teacher’s report, the principal may decide to further investigate the incident(s) or take further action.  The principal shall document any such investigation or action taken.  The principal shall also document any appeals made by a student or parent/guardian challenging the teacher’s findings/resolution.

If the investigation determines that the reported behavior was in fact bullying/intimidation, the offender will be subject to discipline, up to and including discharge, suspension, expulsion, and referral to social services or law enforcement agencies.  Cyberbullying, regardless of where it originated, will be subject to the same discipline if the investigation determines that it interfered with the educational process or endangered the property, health, or safety of another at school or under school supervision.

If a student or parent is not satisfied with the outcome of the informal investigation, the student or parent may request a formal investigation by submitting a written complaint pursuant to the District’s Discrimination and Harassment Complaint Procedures (411.2-Rule).

If an employee is not satisfied with the outcome of the informal investigation, the employee or volunteer may request a formal investigation by submitting a written complaint pursuant to the District’s Employee Discrimination and Harassment Complaint Procedures (511-Rule).

School employees are required to report incidents of bullying/intimidation that they witness or are made aware of.  Third party witnesses are strongly encouraged to report such incidents. Efforts will be made, when requested, to maintain the confidentiality of a witness’s identity unless the witness is requested to testify in a hearing.  Retaliation against any individual who reports bullying/intimidation or participates in a bullying/intimidation investigation is strictly forbidden by the District. Anyone who practices such retaliation will be subject to immediate discipline, up to and including discharge, suspension, expulsion, or referral to social services or law enforcement agencies.

Education, intervention and prevention shall exist for staff and students to ensure a learning environment free of bullying or intimidation toward and between students and staff. The Administration and staff will inform students and staff that the Hamilton School District does not tolerate bullying or intimidation and will take all necessary and appropriate action to eliminate it, up to and including discharge or expulsion of offenders.

This policy and complaint procedure will be made available to all students and their parents/guardians on an annual basis.  Employees will be informed of the policy on an annual basis. A copy of the policy will also be provided to any person who requests it.