The AIU's Board of Directors recognizes the need to maintain a learning and working environment that is free from bullying and harassment. The AIU prohibits any and all forms of bullying as it violates the basic right of students and staff to be in a safe, orderly learning environment. This policy promotes positive interpersonal relationships among all members of the AIU community.
It is a violation of this policy for a student to bully another while on AIU property (leased or owned), in school buildings, on school buses, including bus stops and routes of travel to and from the bus stops or school property or school-sponsored events and/or activities whether occurring on or off campus. It is a violation of this policy for any AIU staff member to tolerate bullying.
The AIU will promptly and thoroughly investigate reports of bullying whether of a physical or of a nonphysical form. If it is determined that bullying has occurred, appropriate action will be taken within the discipline codes of the AIU to end the bullying.
Definition of Bullying
Bullying may be a single incident or may involve a pattern of repeated harmful behaviors by a person with physical or social power toward a (person who is perceived as) less powerful person. This may include a variety of behaviors, direct or indirect, physical or nonphysical, which hurts, intimidates, threatens, embarrasses or humiliates the person(s). Bullying includes, but is not limited to, physical, verbal, psychological or relational, and cyber bullying.
Interplay with Other School District Policies
Nothing in this policy prevents AIU employees from enforcing, imposing discipline or fulfilling their professional responsibilities under other school district policies or student disciplinary rules.
Determining Acts of Bullying
Acts of bullying may include but are not limited to:
- Physically harming a student, e.g., hitting, kicking, spitting, pushing, tripping or invading one´s personal space in an aggressive manner
- Damaging, extorting or taking a student´s personal property
- Placing a student in reasonable fear of physical harm
- Taunting, malicious teasing, name-calling, intimidating remarks, threats and making faces
- Creating verbal statements, gestures, or written remarks that are taunting, malicious, threatening or sexual
Psychological or Relational
- Spreading rumors, posting graffiti, manipulating relationships, and engaging in social exclusion, isolation or intimidation.
- Upsetting a student by spreading rumors, manipulating social relationships or environment, engaging in social exclusion, isolation, extortion, intimidation and ridicule.
- Creating an intimidating or hostile environment that interferes with a student´s educational opportunities.
- Undermining or destroying personal relationships.
- Verbal and psychological bullying via the Internet, e-mail, instant messaging or personal profile websites, e.g., My-Space.
- Misuses of technology for harassing, teasing, intimidating, threatening, or terrorizing another student, teacher or employee of the AIU.
- Sending and posting inappropriate or derogatory e-mail messages, instant messages, digital pictures or images or website postings (including blog forms) to the extent that such activities disrupt the educational process.
Mutual “teasing” should not be confused with bullying behavior. The term bullying is not interpreted to infringe upon a student´s right to engage in legally protected speech or conduct.
Responsibility for Action
Staff and students of the AIU will review the Bullying Policy annually. The policy and procedure will be available on the AIU's website and will be included in all parent and student handbooks that are distributed at the beginning of the school year.
The AIU Board of Directors expects employees and students who observe or become aware of an act of bullying to take immediate appropriate steps to intervene. The employee should notify his/her supervisor of the incident(s) and actions taken. An Incident Report Form should be completed. If an employee fails to report a bullying incident(s), the AIU reserves the right to impose discipline on the employee as deemed appropriate under the circumstances.
Students who experience bullying are encouraged to report it to any adult employee of the Allegheny Intermediate Unit including their teachers, building principal, bus driver, or other school employees supervising school-sponsored activities. Parents/guardians may contact the school or the AIU to report acts of bullying.
Each supervisor/building principal or designee is authorized to investigate reports of bullying brought to their attention by students, parents/guardians, school employees or bus drivers. Any investigation of a report may include meetings with students, parents/guardians or employees, a review of student records and other reasonable efforts to understand the facts surrounding a reported incident.
Any retaliatory behavior directed against complainants, victims, witnesses and/or other individuals who participate in the investigation of allegations of bullying is prohibited.
Consequences for students who are found to have bullied others may include counseling, a parent conference, detention, suspension, expulsion, a loss of school privileges and/or exclusion from school-sponsored activities as defined in the Code of Student Conduct. Depending upon the severity of a particular situation, the supervisor/building principal may also take the appropriate steps to ensure students´ safety. Such steps may include separating and supervising the students involved, providing employee support for students as needed, reporting incidents to law enforcement if appropriate and the implementation of a safety plan and/or a supervision plan with parents/guardians.
Students are prohibited from knowingly or willfully falsely accusing one another of bullying. Disciplinary action will be taken.
The AIU Board of Directors recognizes the need to maintain the confidentiality of the allegations and related information. The privacy of the complainant, the individual(s) against whom the complaint is filed, and the witnesses will be respected as much as possible, consistent with legal obligations to investigate, to take appropriate actions, and to comply with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and any discovery or disclosure obligations. As limited by FERPA protections, the administrator or his/her designee may inform the complaining student/parents/guardians of the outcome of the investigation.