Bullying Prevention & Intervention

On December 8, 2010 two documents were unanimously approved by the School Committee for review: 1) a School Committee policy on bullying prevention and intervention and 2) a district bullying prevention and intervention plan.

The Massachusetts Legislature recently passed an amendment to the anti-bullying law that requires school district anti-bullying policies and plans to specifically indicate that they apply to staff members as well. On October 23, 2013 the School Committee once again unanimously approved two updated documents, an updated policy and plan that address the requirements of this new amendment to the anti-bullying law, were approved by the School Committee.These documents may be downloaded by clicking on the links below. Also posted below is a summary of the plan.

Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan Summary

  1. The purpose of the Plan is to meet the district’s goal of continuous improvement of learning environments through the effective prevention and intervention related to bullying, cyberbullying, and retaliation.
  2. The district and school administration is responsible for ensuring that the plan is communicated and coordinated. Administrators and all other staff collectively are responsible for implementing the Plan.
  3. Annual training in the requirements of the Plan will be provided to staff. Staff will also participate in ongoing professional development in best practices for preventing bullying and intervening when it occurs.
  4. Schools will develop protocols for determining when students will be provided access to counseling within the school setting and for helping families access community based social services, counseling, or mental health services in order to address root issues related to bullying. Each school will utilize an intervention team to be proactive in addressing student concerns that are related to or could result in bullying behaviors.
  5. The district will update its instructional programming to comply with the mandate that bullying prevention education take place in every grade. This will be done incrementally as the district awaits guidance in June 2011 from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). Current programming will be reviewed and new elements will be introduced as the appropriate portions of the Plan are communicated to students in age appropriate ways.
  6. Schools will develop policies and procedures for reporting possible bullying and retaliation, including for staff, students, parents/guardians, and others. Ways to report anonymously will be provided to all groups except staff. Steps that will be taken to investigate reports, make determinations, and communicate with students and families regarding the findings are outlined in the Plan, including requirements regarding confidentiality.
  7. A range of responses to bullying and retaliation, including a range of disciplinary measures and ways to keep the target safe are included in the Plan.
  8. The Plan includes a required statement prohibiting bullying and retaliation that is in accordance with the law.
  9. The Plan includes definitions utilized in the law and by the DESE.
  10. The Plan includes references to other laws governing the rights of students not to be harassed or discriminated against and the attendant school’s responsibilities and authority.