Statement of Policy:
The Jefferson Parish School Board (“Board”) strictly prohibits bullying and/or harassment, as defined herein. The Board shall take reasonable steps to end bullying/harassment, to prevent its future recurrence and to prevent retaliation against any individual who reports allegations of bullying/harassment or cooperates in the investigation of an alleged violation of this policy. This policy applies to students on school grounds, while traveling to and from school, or a school-sponsored activity, and during school-sponsored events.
Bullying/Harassment: Bullying and harassment may take many forms, including, but not limited to the following:
- Hurtful name-calling, teasing, gossiping, threats, intimidation, humiliation, making rude noises or gestures, or spreading hurtful rumors.
- Written, electronic, or verbal communication such as name-calling, threatening harm, taunting, malicious teasing, or spreading rumors.
- Physical acts such as hitting, kicking, pushing, tripping, choking, damaging personal property, or unauthorized use of personal property.
- Purposefully shunning or excluding from activities.
Bullying/harassment need not include intent to harm, be directed at a specific target, or involve repeated incidents. Bullying/harassment creates a hostile environment when the conduct is sufficiently severe, pervasive, or persistent so as to interfere with or limit a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or opportunities offered by the school. When bullying or harassment is based on race, religion, gender, age, national origin, color, disability, genetics, marital status, or sexual orientation, such conduct violates the victim’s civil rights and District anti-discrimination policy.
Reports of bullying/harassment by the victim, a witness or anyone else who has credible information that an act of bullying/harassment has occurred shall be handled in accordance with these procedures.
- Conduct in violation of this policy must be promptly reported to the school principal or designee, preferably in writing. Verbal reports will be recorded by the receiving official at the time of the report.
- All school employees and parents chaperoning or supervising school-sponsored functions and events are required to report alleged violations of this policy to the principal/designee.
- The principal/designee shall initiate a prompt, thorough and impartial investigation which shall include:
a. Interview of the reporter, the alleged victim(s), the alleged offender(s) and all witnesses or others with relevant information.
b. The interviews will be reduced to writing, signed and dated by the interviewee and interviewer.
c. Collection and review of any physical evidence such as photographs or audio-visual evidence.
- The parent or legal guardian of the alleged victim(s) and alleged offender(s) must be notified and given the opportunity to attend the interview. Notification shall be consistent with the student privacy rights under the applicable provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA).
- Interviews shall be conducted privately, separately, and confidentially. At no time will the alleged offender and victim be interviewed together.
- The parents or legal guardian of the alleged victim(s) and alleged offender(s) shall be informed of the potential consequences, penalties, or other remedial actions that the school may take.
- The principal/designee will make reasonable efforts to complete the investigation promptly after receiving notice of the harassment/bullying, and shall take interim measures as necessary while the investigation is pending to prevent further harassment/bullying.
Resolution of the Investigation
- Upon completion of the investigation, the principal/designee shall complete an investigation report which shall include pertinent facts, findings and recommended remedial action, if any.
- If there is finding of a disciplinary code violation, school officials shall take prompt and appropriate disciplinary action pursuant to La. R.S. 17:416 and 17:416.1. Criminal conduct will be reported to law enforcement.
- The school may take other remedial action, as deemed appropriate under the circumstances, to end prohibited conduct and prevent its recurrence. The appropriate remedial action will depend on the particular circumstances, but may include the following:
a. Taking steps to end bullying/harassment such as separating the accused harasser and the target, providing counseling for the target and/or harasser, or taking disciplinary action against the harasser.
b. Provide training or other interventions to ensure that students, their families, and school staff can recognize harassment/bullying if it occurs and know how to respond.
c. Provide additional services to the victim in order to address the effects of the bullying or harassment.
d. Issuance of new policies prohibiting harassment/bullying and new procedures by which students, parents, and employees may report allegations of harassment/bullying.
e. Dissemination of existing policies and procedure and notice of the District’s Title IX and Section 504/Title II coordinators.
- The principal/designee shall notify the complainant, victim and offender of the findings and remedial action, to the extent allowed under FERPA.
- After completion of the investigation, the school shall continue to take steps to prevent further bullying or harassment and to prevent any retaliation against the complainant or any person who cooperated in the investigation of a complaint.