Bullying: Hermon School District Policy
The Hermon School Committee believes that bullying, including cyberbullying, is detrimental to student well-being and to student learning and achievement. It interferes with the mission of the schools to educate their students and disrupts the operations of the schools. Bullying affects not only students who are targets but also those who participate in and witness such behavior.
Bullying, including “cyberbullying,” is not acceptable conduct in the Hermon School Department and is prohibited.
Retaliation for the reporting of incidents of such behavior is also prohibited.
In adopting this policy, it is not the School Committee’s intent to prohibit students from expressing their ideas, including religious, political and philosophical views that may offend the sensibilities of others, or from engaging in civil debate. However, the School Committee does not condone and will take action in response to conduct that directly interferes with students’ rights at school under applicable laws or with the educational mission, operations, discipline or general welfare of the schools.
Definition of Bullying
“Bullying” and “cyberbullying” have the same meaning in this policy as in Maine law:
“Bullying” includes, but is not limited to a written, oral or electronic expression or a physical act or gesture or any combination thereof directed at a student or students that:
1. Has, or a reasonable person would expect it to have, the effect of:
A. Physically harming a student or damaging a student’s property; or
B. Placing a student in reasonable fear of physical harm or damage to his/her property;
2. Interferes with the rights of a student by:
A. Creating an intimidating or hostile educational environment for the student; or
B. Interfering with the student’s academic performance or ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities or privileges provided by the school;
3. Is based on:
A. student’s actual or perceived characteristics identified in 5 MRSA § 4602 or 4684-A (including race; color; ancestry; national origin; sex; sexual orientation; gender identity or expression; religion; physical or mental disability) or other distinguishing personal characteristics (such as socioeconomic status; age; physical appearance; weight; or family status); or
B. A student’s association with a person with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics or any other distinguishing characteristics;
and that has the effect described in subparagraph A. or B. above.
“Cyberbullying” means bullying through the use of technology or any electronic communication, including but not limited to, a transfer of signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data or intelligence of any nature transmitted by the use of any electronic device including, but not limited to, a computer, telephone, cellular telephone, text messaging device or personal digital assistant.
What Bullying Is Not
For the purpose of this policy, bullying does not mean mere teasing, put-downs, “talking trash,” trading of insults, or similar interactions among friends, nor does it include expression of ideas or beliefs so long as such expression is not lewd, profane or does not interfere with students’ opportunity to learn, the instructional program or the operations of the schools. This does not preclude teachers or school administrators from setting and enforcing rules for civility, courtesy and/or responsible behavior in the classroom and the school environment.
The determination whether particular conduct constitutes bullying requires reasonable consideration of the circumstances, which include the frequency of the behavior at issue, the location in which the behavior occurs, the ages and maturity of the students involved, the activity or context in which the conduct occurs, and the nature and severity of the conduct.
Application of Policy
This policy applies to bullying that:
A. Takes place at school or on school grounds, at any school-sponsored or school-related activity or event or while students are being transported to or from school or school-sponsored activities or events; or
B. Takes place elsewhere or through the use of technology, but only if the bullying also infringes on the rights of the student at school as set forth in the definition of “bullying”.