In order to promote a safe learning environment for all students, the Ritenour School District prohibits all forms of bullying. The district also prohibits reprisal or retaliation against any person who reports an act of bullying among or against students.
- Bullying—In accordance with state law, bullying is defined as intimidation, unwanted aggressive behavior, or harassment that is repetitive or is substantially likely to be repeated and causes a reasonable student to fear for his or her physical safety or property; that substantially interferes with the educational performance, opportunities or benefits of any student without exception; or that substantially disrupts the orderly operation of the school. Bullying includes, but is not limited to: physical actions, including violence, gestures, theft, or property damage; oral, written, or electronic communication, including name-calling, put-downs, extortion, or threats; or threats of reprisal or retaliation for reporting such acts.
- Cyberbullying—A form of bullying committed by transmission of a communication including, but not limited to, a message, text, sound or image by means of an electronic device including, but not limited to, a telephone, wireless telephone or other wireless communication device, computer or pager. The district has jurisdiction over cyberbullying that uses the district's technology resources or that originates on district property, at a district activity or on district transportation. Even when cyberbullying does not involve district property, activities or technology resources, the district will impose consequences and discipline for those who engage in cyberbullying if there is a sufficient nexus to the educational environment, the behavior materially and substantially disrupts the educational environment, the communication involves a threat as defined by law, or the district is otherwise allowed by law to address the behavior.
- School Day—A day on the school calendar when students are required to attend school.
The principal of each building is hereby designated as the individual to receive and investigate reports of bullying. Each building principal shall designate at least two teachers or administrators in the building who are authorized to receive and investigate reports of bullying in the principal's absence or at the principal's discretion.
The district compliance officer appointed in policy AC will serve as the districtwide antibullying coordinator. The antibullying coordinator will receive all completed investigative reports from all buildings and analyze the reports to identify any information that would inform the district's antidiscrimination and antibullying education and training programs. In addition, the antibullying coordinator will assist in making any relevant reports as required by state and federal law.
School employees, substitutes or volunteers are expected to intervene to prevent student bullying, appropriately discipline the perpetrator, assist the victim and report the incident to the building principal or designee for further investigation and action. Any school employee, substitute or volunteer who witnesses or has firsthand knowledge of bullying of a student must report the incident to the building principal or designee as soon as possible, but no later than two school days after the incident.
Students who have been subjected to bullying, or who have witnessed or have knowledge of bullying, are encouraged to promptly report such incidents to a school employee. Any school employee receiving such a report shall promptly transmit the report to the building principal or designee.
If the bullying incident involves students from more than one district building, the report should be made to the principal or designee of the building in which the incident took place or, if more appropriate, to the principal or designee of the building attended by the majority of the participants in the incident.
Within two school days of receiving a report of bullying, the principal or designee will initiate an investigation of the incident. Reports that involve students from multiple buildings will be investigated cooperatively by the principals of each building involved, or those principals may request that the district's compliance officer designated in policy AC conduct the investigation. If at any time during the investigation the principal determines that the bullying involves illegal discrimination, harassment or retaliation as described in policy AC, the principal will report the incident to the compliance officer designated in that policy, who will assist in the investigation. If the alleged bullying involves a special education student or a student with disabilities, the principal will also notify the special education director.
The investigation shall be completed within ten school days of the date the report of bullying was received unless good cause exists to extend the investigation. Upon completion of the investigation, the principal will decide whether bullying or harassment occurred and, if so, whether additional discipline is warranted in accordance with the district's student discipline code. The principal will generate a written report of the investigation and findings and send a copy of the completed report to the district's antibullying coordinator.
The principal or designee will document the report in the files of the victim and the alleged or actual perpetrator of bullying. All reports will be kept confidential in accordance with state and federal law. If the incident involved allegations of illegal discrimination or harassment, the principal's decision may be appealed in accordance with policy AC. Student discipline may be appealed when allowed by law in accordance with Board policy. The principal or other appropriate district staff will work with victims and their families to access resources and services to help them deal with any negative effects that resulted from the incident.
Students who participate in bullying or who retaliate against anyone who reports bullying will be disciplined in accordance with the district's discipline code. Such discipline may include detention, in-school suspension, out-of-school suspension, expulsion, removal from participation in activities, exclusion from honors and awards, and other consequences deemed appropriate by the principal or superintendent. The district will also contact law enforcement when required by law or notify social media companies of inappropriate online activity when appropriate.
Even in situations where the district does not have jurisdiction to discipline a student for bullying, such as when the acts take place off campus and there is an insufficient nexus to the district, the principal or designee will take appropriate actions to assist student victims. Such actions may include, but are not limited to, contacting the parents/guardians of the victim and the alleged perpetrators, communicating that this behavior is not allowed on district grounds or at district activities, notifying the appropriate district staff to assist the victim, and taking additional action when appropriate, such as notifying law enforcement or social media companies of inappropriate online activity.
District employees and substitutes who violate this policy will be disciplined or terminated. Discipline may include suspension with or without pay, a negative evaluation, prohibition from being on district property or at district activities, mandated training or other appropriate remedial action. Volunteers who violate this policy will no longer be permitted to volunteer.
The district shall annually notify students, parents/guardians, district employees, substitutes and volunteers about this policy and the district's prohibition against bullying. A copy of this policy shall be included in student handbooks and posted on the district's website.
Training and Education
The district's antibullying coordinator will provide information and appropriate training designed to assist employees, substitutes and volunteers who have significant contact with students in identifying, preventing and responding to incidents of bullying.
The district will provide education and information about bullying and this policy to students every year. The principal of each school, in consultation with school counselors and other appropriate school employees, will determine the best methods for facilitating the discussion.
Methods may include, but are not limited to: assemblies; homeroom presentations; class meetings; team or club meetings; special presentations by counselors, social workers or mental health professionals; and open-house events. When practical, parents/guardians will be invited to attend.
In addition to educating students about the content of this policy, the district will inform students of:
- The procedure for reporting bullying, including the names of the teachers or administrators in their buildings who have been designated and authorized to receive and investigate reports of bullying. Students may also report bullying to any teacher, counselor or administrator in the building.
- The harmful effects of bullying.
- Any initiatives the school or district has created to address bullying, including student peer-to-peer initiatives.
- The consequences for those who participate in bullying or engage in reprisal or retaliation against those who report bullying.
School counselors, social workers, mental health professionals, school psychologists or other appropriate district staff will educate students who are victims of bullying about how to overcome the negative effects of bullying including, but not limited to:
- Cultivating the student's self-worth and self-esteem.
- Teaching the student to defend him- or herself assertively and effectively without violence.
- Helping the student develop social skills.
- Encouraging the student to develop an internal locus of control.
Additional School Programs and Resources
The Board directs the superintendent or designee to implement programs and other initiatives to address bullying, respond to such conduct in a manner that does not stigmatize the victim, and make resources or referrals available to victims of bullying. Such initiatives may include educating parents/guardians and families on bullying prevention and resources.