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UPDATE: I’m postponing this community event for now. The district wants to focus more on the overall discipline policy and will be having regional meetings with community. This is a good development, because the district knows you mean business about discipline. I’ll keep you posted.

Community, the Board of Education will be addressing the issue of bullying in our schools, and we’re reviewing a suggested new draft of the bullying policy.  Of course, I don’t make any moves without consulting as many of you as possible, so I’ve scheduled a meeting for us to go through it together.

Date:  May 15, 2013

Time: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Location: Henry World School, 3005 S Golden Way  Denver, CO 80227 (here’s a map: http://goo.gl/maps/yHuF5)

The proposed new policy is as follows:

Policy JICDE- Bullying Prevention and Education

The Board of Education supports a secure school climate, conducive to teaching and learning that is free from threat, harassment and any type of bullying behavior. The purpose of this policy is to promote consistency of approach and to help create a climate in which all types of bullying are regarded as unacceptable.

Bullying is the use of coercion or intimidation to obtain control over another person or to cause physical, mental or emotional harm to another person. Bullying can occur through written, verbal or electronically transmitted expression or by means of a physical act or gesture.

Bullying Shall Not Be Tolerated
Bullying is prohibited against any student for any reason, including but not limited to any such behavior that is directed toward a student on the basis of his or her academic performance or any basis protected by federal and state law or District policy, including race, color, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, transgender status, religion, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, veteran status, or disability, whether such characteristic(s) is actual or perceived.

Bullying is prohibited on District property, at District or school-sanctioned activities and events, when students are being transported in any vehicle dispatched by the District or one of its schools, or off school property when such conduct has a nexus to school or any District curricular or non-curricular activity or event.

A student who engages in any act of bullying, and/or a student who takes any retaliatory action against a student who reports in good faith an incident of bullying, is subject to appropriate disciplinary action including but not limited to suspension, expulsion and/or referral to law enforcement authorities. The severity and pattern, if any, of the bullying behavior shall be taken into consideration when disciplinary decisions are made. Bullying behavior that constitutes unlawful discrimination or harassment shall be subject to investigation and discipline under related Board policies and procedures. Students targeted by bullying when such bullying behavior may constitute unlawful discrimination or harassment also have additional rights and protections under Board policies and procedures regarding unlawful discrimination and harassment.

Bully Prevention
The District shall maintain a comprehensive program to address bullying at all school levels. The program shall be aimed toward accomplishing the following goals:

1. To send a clear message to students, staff, parents and community members that bullying and retaliation against a student who reports bullying will not be tolerated.

2. To train staff and students in taking pro-active steps to prevent bullying from occurring.

3. To implement procedures for immediate intervention, investigation, and confrontation of students engaged in bullying behavior.

4. To initiate efforts to change the behavior of students engaged in bullying behaviors through re-education on acceptable behavior, discussions, counseling, and appropriate negative consequences.

5. To foster a productive partnership with parents and community members in order to help maintain a bully-free environment.

6. To support victims of bullying by means of individual and peer counseling.

7. To help develop peer support networks, social skills and confidence for all students.

8. To recognize and praise positive, supportive behaviors of students toward one another on a regular basis.
(Adoption date)

LEGAL REF.: C.R.S. 22-32-109.1 (2)(a)(I)(K) (policy required as part of safe schools plan)
CROSS REFS.: AC, Nondiscrimination/Equal Opportunity
JB, Equal Educational Opportunities
JBB*, Sexual Harassment
JK, Student Discipline

What I’m really  hoping you all will do is help prescribe some remedies that are not contained here.  Here is a link to the current district behavior policy, which would make for good preparatory reading before the meeting.

Will I see you on May 15 at Henry?