|8/31/2009 2:19:00 PM|
|MEMORANDUM NO. 002-2009-10 –Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying policy and procedures|
|TO: School District Superintendents
FROM: Nancy Latini, Assistant Superintendent, Oregon Department of Education
RE: Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying
Summary: School districts and charter schools must update their Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying policy and procedures with the passage of HB 2599.
The 2009 Legislature enacted House Bill 2599 which first applies to the 2009-2010 school year. All Oregon school districts and charter schools must update their harassment, intimidation, and bullying policy and procedures to be in compliance with this new law. Specifically, harassment, intimidation and bullying may include acts based on the protected class status of a person. In addition, districts and schools are now required to not only adopt a policy on harassment, intimidation and bullying but also to include specific requirements in the policy.
What is “harassment, intimidation and bullying?
“Harassment, intimidation or bullying” means any act that:
(a) Substantially interferes with a student’s educational benefits, opportunities or performance;
(b) Takes place on or immediately adjacent to school grounds, at any school-sponsored activity, on school-provided transportation or at any official school bus stop;
(c) Has the effect of:
(A) Physically harming a student or damaging a student’s property;
(B) Knowingly placing a student in reasonable fear of physical harm to the student or damage to the student’s property; or
(C) Creating a hostile educational environment, including interfering with the psychological well-being of a student; and
(d) May be based on, but not be limited to, the protected class status of a person.
“Protected class” means a group of persons distinguished, or perceived to be distinguished, by race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, marital status, familial status, source of income or disability.
What must a school district or public charter school policy include?
ORS 339.356, as amended by HB 2599, requires districts and schools to include the following in their policies:
(a) A statement prohibiting harassment, intimidation or bullying and prohibiting cyberbullying.
(b) Definitions of “harassment,” “intimidation” or “bullying” and of “cyberbullying” that are consistent with ORS 339.351.
(c) Definitions of “protected class” that are consistent with ORS 174.100 and 339.351.
(d) A statement of the scope of the policy, including a notice that the policy applies to behavior at school-sponsored activities, on school-provided transportation and at any official school bus stop.
(e) A description of the type of behavior expected from each student.
(f) A statement of the consequences and appropriate remedial action for a person who commits an act of harassment, intimidation or bullying or an act of cyberbullying.
(g) A procedure that is uniform throughout the school district for reporting an act of harassment, intimidation or bullying or an act of cyberbullying. A procedure established under this paragraph shall identify by job title the school officials responsible for receiving such a report at a school and shall allow a person to report an act of harassment, intimidation or bullying or an act of cyberbullying anonymously. Nothing in this paragraph may be construed to permit formal disciplinary action solely on the basis of an anonymous report.
(h) A procedure that is uniform throughout the school district for prompt investigation of a report of an act of harassment, intimidation or bullying or an act of cyberbullying. A procedure established under this paragraph shall identify by job title the school officials responsible for investigating such a report.
(i) A procedure by which a person may request a school district to review the actions of a school in responding to a report of an act of harassment, intimidation or bullying or an act of cyberbullying or investigating such a report.
(j) A statement of the manner in which a school and a school district will respond after an act of harassment, intimidation or bullying or an act of cyberbullying is reported, investigated and confirmed.
(k) A statement of the consequences and appropriate remedial action for a person found to have committed an act of harassment, intimidation or bullying or an act of cyberbullying.
(L) A statement prohibiting reprisal or retaliation against any person who reports an act of harassment, intimidation or bullying or an act of cyberbullying and stating the consequences and appropriate remedial action for a person who engages in such reprisal or retaliation.
(m) A statement of the consequences and appropriate remedial action for a person found to have falsely accused another of having committed an act of harassment, intimidation or bullying or an act of cyberbullying as a means of reprisal or retaliation, as a means of harassment, intimidation or bullying or as a means of cyberbullying.
(n) A statement of how the policy is to be publicized within the district. At a minimum, a school district shall make the policy:
(A) Annually available to parents, guardians, school employees and students in a student or employee handbook; and
(B) Readily available to parents, guardians, school employees, volunteers, students, administrators and community representatives at each school office or at the school district office and, if available, on the website for a school or the school district.
(o) The identification by job title of school officials and school district officials responsible for ensuring that policy is implemented.
What are the consequences for noncompliance with HB2599?
Districts that do not comply with the requirements of ORS 339.351 to 339.364 (as amended by HB 2599) are considered nonstandard under ORS 327.103.
What else does HB2599 recommend for districts and schools?
Districts are encouraged to incorporate into existing training programs for students and school employees, information related to the prevention of, and the appropriate response to, acts of harassment, intimidation, bullying, and cyber bullying.
In Oregon we have a strong evidenced based approach to behavioral practices that includes a focus on Positive Behavior Supports (PBS). Many Oregon schools are implementing PBS which allows a framework for decision making that guides the implementation of appropriate interventions and results in significant improvement in social outcomes. The PBS website has a Bully Prevention Manual that attends to reducing bullying behavior through blending school wide PBS and explicit instruction. These resources are available for elementary and middle schools. Materials are located at www.pbis.org. We strongly suggest districts consider these materials.
Districts are encouraged to form task forces, and to implement programs and other initiatives that are aimed at the prevention of, and the appropriate response to, acts of harassment, intimidation, bullying, and cyberbullying, and that involve school employees, students, administrators, volunteers, parents, guardians, and community representatives.
How does HB 2599 apply to public charter schools?
Public charter schools are required to comply with all health and safety laws that apply to school districts and other public schools. Laws such as HB 2599 that contain requirements relating to harassment, bullying and intimidation are considered to be health and safety laws.
See ORS 339.351 to 339.364 and ORS 338.115.
See enrolled HB 2599 (2009) at: http://www.leg.state.or.us/09reg/measpdf/hb2500.dir/hb2599.en.pdf
Contacts: Scott Hall at email@example.com or Cindy Hunt at Cindy.L.Hunt@state.or.us .
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