Cyber-bullying is bullying through the use of technology or any electronic devices such as telephones, cell phones, computers and the Internet. It includes, but is not limited to, email, instant messages, text messages, and Internet postings.
As is required by Massachusetts General Law, curriculum concerning the prevention of bullying and the fostering of a safe and nurturing school climate at each school shall be implemented in the Franklin Public Schools.
All reports of bullying will be promptly investigated and will subject the perpetrator(s) to disciplinary action in accordance with the student handbooks/policies and/or the collective bargaining agreement. Bullying actions will include, when appropriate, referral to law enforcement agencies or other state agencies. Franklin Public Schools will support this policy in all aspects of its activities, including its curricula, instructional programs, staff development, extracurricular activities and parental involvement.
This policy applies to all sites and activities under the supervision and control of the district, or where it has jurisdiction under the law, including school grounds, property immediately adjacent to school grounds, at a school-sponsored or school-related activity, function or program whether on or off school grounds, at a school bus stop, on a school bus or other vehicle owned, leased, or used by a school district or school, or through the use of technology or an electronic device owned, leased, or used by a school district or school.
Bullying is also prohibited at a location, activity, function or program that is not school-related or through the use of technology or an electronic device that is not owned, leased or used by the district, if the act or acts in question create a hostile environment at school for the target, infringe on the rights of the target at school or materially and substantially disrupt the education process or the orderly operation of the school.
The School Committee expects the Superintendent or his/her designees to make clear to students and staff members that bullying will not be tolerated and will be grounds for disciplinary action.
All staff members are required to report any bullying or harassment they see or learn about. The district will promptly and reasonably investigate allegations of harassment, including bullying. The Principal or his/her designee will be responsible for handling all complaints by students alleging harassment or bullying. Retaliation against a person who reports bullying, who provides information during an investigation of bullying, or who is a witness to or has reliable information about bullying, is prohibited.
Nothing in this policy is designed or intended to limit the District’s authority to discipline or take remedial action under General Laws Chapter 71, §37H or other statutes or regulations, or in response to violent, harmful, or disruptive behavior, regardless of whether this policy covers the conduct. Reports of cyberbullying by electronic or other means, occurring in or out of school will be reviewed and, when a connection to school exists, will prompt investigation and disciplinary action.
The Superintendent will develop administrative guidelines and procedures for implementation of this policy, consistent with the requirements of M.G.L. Chapter 71 §37O and related guidelines issued by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. The Superintendent in conjunction with principals will publish disciplinary polices in Student Handbooks, which shall prohibit bullying and shall include the bullying prevention and intervention plan required by Chapter 71, §37O of the Laws of the Commonwealth. Student handbooks shall include age-appropriate summaries of the student-related sections of the district’s bullying prevention and intervention plan.
The Superintendent and/or his/her designee shall develop, adhere to, and update a plan to address bullying prevention and intervention, in consultation with district stakeholders. The plan shall be reviewed and updated at least biennially. The bullying intervention plan school will recognize that certain students may be more vulnerable to become a target of bullying and harassment based on actual or perceived differentiating characteristics, including “race, color, creed, religion, ancestry, national origin, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, genetic information, disability, pregnancy or a related condition, socioeconomic, homelessness, physical appearance, academic standing, mental, physical development or sensory disability or by association with a person who has or is perceived to have 1 or more of these characteristics.” The District’s bullying intervention plan will include the specific steps that each school will take to support these vulnerable students and to provide all students with the skills, knowledge and strategies needed to prevent or respond to bullying or harassment.
LEGAL REFERENCE: MGL General Laws Chapter 71, §37 O
LEGAL REFERENCE: Massachusetts Equal Educational Opportunities Regulations, 603 CMR 26.00
CROSS REFERENCE: Student Handbooks
School Committee Policy JICFA, JICFA-E, JICFA-E1, JICFA-E2 Hazing
FRANKLIN PUBLIC SCHOOLS Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan
FRANKLIN PUBLIC SCHOOLS Bullying Flowchart