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STANDARDS FOR STUDENT BEHAVIOR

Belief Statement

student-ccThe Pinckney Community Schools is committed to promoting mutual respect, tolerance, and acceptance of and by all students, staff, and parents and believes that all students have a right to a safe and healthy school environment. The Board of Education has determined that a safe and civil environment in school is necessary for students to learn and achieve high academic standards.

The Pinckney Community Schools Board of Education expects students to conduct themselves in a manner in keeping with their levels of development, maturity, and demonstrated capabilities with a proper regard for the rights and welfare of other students, school staff, and volunteers. The Pinckney Community Schools will address behavior that infringes on the safety of any student or staff member.

The Pinckney Community Schools Board of Education believes that standards for student behavior must reflect community values, producing an atmosphere that encourages students to grow in self-discipline. The development of this atmosphere requires respect for self and others, as well as for the district and community property.

The Pinckney Community Schools Board of Education believes that it is the responsibility of staff to use disciplinary situations as opportunities for helping students learn to assume responsibility for and consequences of their behavior. Staff members shall apply best practices designed to prevent discipline problems and encourage students’ abilities to develop self-discipline.

Standards and Procedures

Any reported behavior that intimidates another person will be addressed appropriately by school staff. Such behavior may range from peer conflict to ongoing harassment/bullying. Generally, the differences between “conflict” and “bullying” are defined by a difference in the balance of power, the continued or repeated nature of the threat, and the intent of the parties.

Peer Conflict:

Peer conflict is a naturally occurring part of life as students grow and mature. It is characterized by a disagreement (often between friends or former friends) and is characterized by a balance of power between the parties involved, often with a desire to resolve the conflict.

Harassment:

Harassing conduct may take many forms, including verbal acts and name-calling; graphic and written statements, which may include the use of cell phones or the Internet; or other conduct that may be physically threatening, harmful, or humiliating. Harassment does not have to include the intent to harm, be directed at a specific target, or involve repeated incidents. 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 a school. When such harassment is based on race, color, national origin, sex, or disability, it violates the civil rights laws.

Bullying:

Bullying is, as reasonably perceived by the student, the severe, pervasive, repetitive and objectively offensive behavior that substantially interferes with the educational opportunities of the student(s). It is conduct that adversely affects the ability of a pupil to participate in or benefit from the school district’s educational activities or programs by placing the student in reasonable fear of physical harm or by causing emotional distress. Bullying is characterized by an imbalance in power between the parties with the goal to intimidate and control. There is no desire by the bullying party to resolve the conflict.

Bullying may include any or all of the following patterns of behavior:

  • Physical bullying – refers to interactions where there is direct harm to another person’s body or property, or a gesture is used to convey negative, threatening or demeaning intent. Physical bullying may include pushing, hitting, tripping, kicking, shouldering, and slapping among other aggressive actions. It may also refer to gestures with negative meaning and taking or damaging personal belongings or teasing another with his/her personal belongings.
  • Relational bullying – refers to group generated efforts to emotionally harm one or more targets for reasons that are arbitrary or cruel. Relational (or social) bullying includes, but is not limited to, verbal and written gossip, making personal information public, and exclusion.
  • Verbal and written bullying – refers to words, spoken and written, that are intended to demean and hurt another. Verbal bullying may include name-calling, placing frightening and repeated telephone calls, practicing extortion, making repeated insulting remarks, sharing embarrassing stories, and “put downs.” Written bullying includes, but is not limited to, ostracizing using notes, emails, instant messaging, etc., posting slander in public places, writing graffiti with bias against the target, and cyber-bullying.
    • Cyber-bullying – refers to using the Internet or mobile devices to send or post harmful or cruel text or images to bully another. Cyber-bullying is generally anonymous and is conducted without conversation or physical proximity allowing it to take place outside the field of awareness of many adults.

Since bystander support of bullying can intensify these behaviors, the district discourages both active and passive support for the acts of bullying. The staff should encourage students who witness acts of bullying to constructively attempt to stop them, or report them to the designated authority.

The Pinckney Community Schools Board of Education directs the Superintendent and administration to develop administrative guidelines to implement this policy and to identify and implement age-appropriate programs at each school building to minimize the incidents of bullying. Such programs must give specific attention to developing the appropriate culture within each school building that will teach students how to stop bullying others and/or reduce the risk of becoming a target. Such educational strategies may include:

  • Teaching students positive social skills to increase self-confidence and problem solving abilities
  • Educating staff about bullying: recognizing signs and symptoms of targeted students
  • Teaching staff to respond effectively to bullying between students
  • Ensuring that the school has a staff member who knows how to help targeted students
  • Instructing parents
    • Of the risk factors for becoming a target of bullying, and
    • How to reduce fighting among their own children at home.

The Pinckney Community Schools Board of Education requires the principal and/or the principal’s designee at each school to be responsible for receiving complaints alleging violations of this policy. All school employees are required to report alleged violations of this policy to the principal or principal’s designee. All other members of the school community, including students, parents, volunteers, and visitors, are encouraged to report any act that may be a violation of this policy. Reports may be made anonymously, but formal disciplinary action may not be based solely on the basis of an anonymous report.

The Pinckney Community Schools Board of Education requires the principal and/or the principal’s designee to be responsible for determining whether an alleged act constitutes a violation of this policy. In doing so, the principal and/or the principal’s designee shall conduct a prompt, thorough and complete investigation of each alleged incident. Depending upon the outcome of such an investigation, consequences may range from supportive interventions up to and including suspension or expulsion.

The Pinckney Community Schools Board of Education prohibits any person from falsely accusing another as a means of bullying. The consequences for a student found to have falsely accused another as a means of bullying may range from supportive interventions up to and including suspension or expulsion.