5516 Student Hazing
Hazing activities of any type are inconsistent with and disruptive to the educational process, and prohibited at any time in school facilities, on school property, and/or off school property if the misconduct is connected to activities or incidents that have occurred on school property. No administrator, faculty member, or other Board of Education employee shall encourage, permit, authorize, condone, or tolerate any hazing activities. No student shall plan, encourage, or engage in any hazing.
Hazing is defined as performing any act or coercing another, including the victim, to perform any act of initiation into any class, team, or organization that causes or creates a substantial risk of causing mental or physical harm. Permission, consent, or assumption of risk by an individual subjected to hazing shall not lessen the prohibitions contained in this policy.
Administrators, faculty members, and other employees of the Board shall be alerted to possible situations, circumstances, or events, which may include hazing. If hazing or planned hazing is discovered, the students involved shall be informed by the discoverer of the prohibitions contained in this policy and shall be ordered to end all hazing activities or planned activities immediately. All hazing incidents shall be reported immediately to the Superintendent. Students, administrators, faculty members, and other employees who fail to abide by this policy may be subject to disciplinary action and may be held personally liable for civil and criminal penalties in accordance with law.
The Superintendent shall distribute this policy to all students and Board employees, and shall incorporate it into building, staff, and student handbooks. It shall also be the subject of discussion at employee staff meetings or in-service programs.
Administrators, staff members and volunteers shall not intentionally remain ignorant of hazing or potential hazing activities.
R.C. 2307.44, 2903.31, 3313.661
It is the policy of the Board of Education to maintain an education and work environment which is free from all forms of unlawful harassment, including sexual harassment. This commitment applies to all School District operations, programs, and activities. All students, administrators, teachers, staff, and all other school personnel share responsibility for avoiding, discouraging, and reporting any form of unlawful harassment. This policy applies to unlawful conduct occurring on school property, or at another location if such conduct occurs during an activity sponsored by the Board.
The Board will vigorously enforce its prohibition against harassment based on sex, race, color, national origin, religion, disability, or any other unlawful basis, and encourages those within the School District community as well as third parties, who feel aggrieved to seek assistance to rectify the problems. The Board will investigate all allegations of harassment and in those cases where unlawful harassment is substantiated, the Board will take immediate steps to end the harassment. Individuals who are found to have engaged in unlawful harassment will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action.
For purposes of this policy, “School District community” means students, administrators, teachers, staff, and all other school personnel, including Board members, agents, volunteers, contractors, or other persons subject to the control and supervision of the Board.
For purposes of this policy, “third parties” include, but are not limited to, guests and/or visitors on School District property (e.g., visiting speakers, participants on opposing athletic teams, parents), vendors doing business with, or seeking to do business with, the Board, and other individuals who come in contact with members of the School District community at school-related events/activities (whether on or off School District property).
Other Violations of the Anti-Harassment Policy
The Board will also take immediate steps to impose disciplinary action on individuals engaging in any of the following prohibited acts:
A. Retaliating against a person who has made a report or filed a complaint alleging harassment, or who has participated as a witness in a harassment investigation.
B. Filing a malicious or knowingly false report or complaint of harassment.
C. Disregarding, failing to investigate adequately, or delaying investigation of allegations of harassment, when responsibility for reporting and/or investigating harassment charges comprises part of one’s supervisory duties.
5517.1 Bullying and Other Forms of Agressive Behavior
The Board of Education is committed to providing a safe, positive, productive, and nurturing educational environment for all of its students. The Board encourages the promotion of positive interpersonal relations between members of the school community.
Harassment, intimidation, or bullying toward a student, whether by other students, staff, or third parties is strictly prohibited and will not be tolerated. This prohibition includes aggressive behavior, physical, verbal, and psychological abuse. The Board of Education will not tolerate any gestures, comments, threats, or actions which cause or threaten to cause bodily harm or personal degradation. This policy applies to all activities in the District, including activities on school property or while enroute to or from school, and those occurring off school property if the student or employee is at any school-sponsored, school-approved or school-related activity or function, such as field trips or athletic events where students are under the school’s control, in a school vehicle, or where an employee is engaged in school business.
This policy has been developed in consultation with parents, District employees, volunteers, students, and community members as prescribed in R.C. 3313.666 and the State Board of Education’s Model Policy.
Harassment, intimidation, or bullying means any intentional written, verbal, graphic, or physical act that a student or group of students exhibits toward another particular student(s) more than once and the behavior both causes mental or physical harm to the other student(s) and is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive that it creates an intimidating, threatening, or abusive educational environment for the other student(s). Aggressive behavior is defined as inappropriate conduct that is repeated enough, or serious enough, to negatively impact a student’s educational, physical, or emotional well being. This type of behavior is a form of intimidation and harassment, although it need not be based on any of the legally protected characteristics, such as sex, race, color, national origin, marital status, or disability. It would include, but not be limited to, such behaviors as stalking, bullying/cyberbullying, intimidating, menacing, coercion, name-calling, taunting, making threats, and hazing.
Harassment, intimidation, or bullying also means electronically transmitted acts (i.e., internet, e-mail, cellular telephone, personal digital assistance (PDA), or wireless hand-held device) that a student(s) or a group of students exhibits toward another particular student(s) more than once and the behavior both causes mental and physical harm to the other student and is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive that it creates an intimidating, threatening, or abusive educational environment for the other student(s).
Any student or student’s parent/guardian who believes s/he has been or is the victim of aggressive behavior should immediately report the situation to the building principal or assistant principal, or the Superintendent. The student may also report concerns to teachers and other school staff who will be responsible for notifying the appropriate administrator or Board official. Complaints against the building principal should be filed with the Superintendent. Complaints against the Superintendent should be filed with the Board President.
Every student is encouraged, and every staff member is required, to report any situation that they believe to be aggressive behavior directed toward a student. Reports may be made to those identified above.
All complaints about aggressive behavior that may violate this policy shall be promptly investigated. The building principal or appropriate administrator shall prepare a written report of the investigation upon completion. Such report shall include findings of fact, a determination of whether acts of harassment, intimidation, and/or bullying were verified, and, when prohibited acts are verified, a recommendation for intervention, including disciplinary action shall be included in the report. Where appropriate, written witness statements shall be attached to the report.
If the investigation finds an instance of harassment, intimidation, and/or bullying has occurred, it will result in prompt and appropriate remedial and/or disciplinary action. This may include up to expulsion for students, up to discharge for employees, exclusion for parents, guests, volunteers, and contractors, and removal from any official position and/or a request to resign for Board members. Individuals may also be referred to law enforcement officials.
Retaliation against any person who reports, is thought to have reported, files a complaint, or otherwise participates in an investigation or inquiry concerning allegations of aggressive behavior is prohibited and will not be tolerated. Such retaliation shall be considered a serious violation of Board policy and independent of whether a complaint is substantiated. Suspected retaliation should be reported in the same manner as aggressive behavior. Making intentionally false reports about aggressive behavior for the purpose of getting someone in trouble is similarly prohibited and will not be tolerated. Retaliation and intentionally false reports may result in disciplinary action as indicated above.
If a student or other individual believes there has been aggressive behavior, regardless of whether it fits a particular definition, s/he should report it and allow the administration to determine the appropriate course of action.
This policy shall not be interpreted to infringe upon the First Amendment rights of students (i.e., to prohibit a reasoned and civil exchange of opinions, or debate, that is conducted at appropriate times and places during the school day and is protected by State or Federal law).
The complainant shall be notified of the findings of the investigation, and as appropriate, that remedial action has been taken. If after investigation, acts of bullying against a specific student are verified, the building principal or appropriate administrator shall notify the parent/guardian of the victim of such finding. In providing such notification care shall be taken to respect the statutory privacy rights of the perpetrator of such harassment, intimidation, and/or bullying.
If after investigation, act of harassment, intimidate, and/or bullying by a specific student are verified, the building principal or appropriate administrator shall notify in writing the parent/guardian of the perpetrator of that finding. If disciplinary consequences are imposed against such student, a description of such discipline shall be included in the notification.
Students and/or their parents/guardians may file reports regarding suspected harassment, intimidation, or bullying. Such reports shall be reasonably specific including person(s) involved, number of times and places of the alleged conduct, the target of suspected harassment, intimidation, and/or bullying, and the names of any potential student or staff witnesses. Such reports may be filed with any school staff member or administrator, and they shall be promptly forwarded to the building principal for review, investigation, and action.
Students, parents/guardians, and school personnel may make informal complaints of conduct that they consider to be harassment, intimidation, and/or bullying by verbal report to a teacher, school administrator, or other school personnel. Such informal complaints shall be reasonably specific including person(s) involved, number of times and places of the alleged conduct, the target of suspected harassment, intimidation, and/or bullying, and the names of any potential student or staff witnesses. A school staff member or administrator who receives an informal complaint shall promptly document the complaint in writing, including the information provided. This written report shall be promptly forwarded by the school staff member and/or administrator to the building principal for review, investigation, and appropriate action.
When a student making an informal complaint has requested anonymity, the investigation of such complaint shall be limited as is appropriate in view of the anonymity of the complaint. Such limitation of investigation may include restricting action to a simple review of the complaint subject to receipt of further information and/or the withdrawal by the complaining student of the condition that his/her report be anonymous.
The School District will respect the privacy of the complainant, the individual(s) against who the complaint is filed, and the witnesses as much as possible, consistent with the Board’s legal obligations to investigate, to take appropriate action, and to conform with any discovery or disclosure obligations. All records generated under this policy and its related administrative guidelines shall be maintained as confidential to the extent permitted by law.
At least semi-annually, the Superintendent shall provide to the President of the Board a written summary of all reported incidents and post the summary on the District web site (if one exists). The list shall be limited to the number of verified acts of harassment, intimidation, and/or bullying, whether in the classroom, on school property, to and from school, or at school-sponsored events.
Allegations of criminal misconduct and suspected child abuse will be reported to the appropriate law enforcement agency and/or to Child Protective Services in accordance with statute. District personnel shall cooperate with investigations by such agencies.
A School District employee, student, or volunteer shall be individually immune from liability in a civil action for damages arising from reporting an incident in accordance with this policy and R.C. 3313.666 if that person reports an incident of harassment, intimidation, and/or bullying promptly, in good faith, and in compliance with the procedures specified in this policy. Such immunity from liability shall not apply to an employee, student, or volunteer determined to have made an intentionally false report about harassment, intimidation, and/or bullying.
Notice of this policy will be annually circulated to and posted in conspicuous locations in all school buildings and departments within the District and discussed with students, as well as incorporated into the teacher, student, and parent/guardian handbooks. State and Federal rights posters on discrimination and harassment shall also be posted at each building. All new hires will be required to review and sign off on this policy and the related complaint procedure.
Education and Training
In support of this policy, the Board promotes preventative educational measures to create greater awareness of aggressive behavior, including bullying. The Superintendent or designee shall provide appropriate training to all members of the School District community related to the implementation of this policy and its accompanying administrative guidelines. All training regarding the Board’s policy and administrative guidelines and aggressive behavior and bullying in general, will be age and content appropriate.
The Superintendent is directed to develop administrative guidelines to implement this policy. Guidelines shall include reporting and investigative procedures, as needed. The complaint procedure established by the Superintendent shall be followed.
R.C. 3313.666, 3313.667
State Board of Education Model Policy (2007)
8400 School Safety
The Board of Education is committed to maintaining a safe and drug-free environment in all of the District’s schools. The Board believes that school crime and violence are multifaceted problems that need to be addressed in a manner that utilizes all available resources in the community through a coordinated effort of School District personnel, law enforcement agencies, and families. The Board further believes that school administrators and local law enforcement officials must work together to provide for the safety and welfare of students while they are at school or a school-related event. The Board also believes that the first step in addressing school crime and violence is to assess the extent and nature of the problem(s), and then plan and implement strategies that promote school safety and minimize the likelihood of school crime and violence.
School Safety Plan
To that end, the Superintendent shall develop a School Safety Plan with input from representatives of the local law enforcement agency; the local Fire Marshall(s) or his/her designee(s); representative(s) from emergency medical services; parent; and/or staff.
The School Safety Plan shall be comprehensive and consider each school building under the Board’s control. Thereafter, the Superintendent shall convene a meeting at least every three (3) years for the purpose of reviewing the School Safety Plan, and making modifications as deemed necessary and proper; identifying additional training that might be needed; and discussing any other such related matters as may be deemed to be necessary by the participants. The Superintendent shall also convene a meeting whenever a major modification to a school building requires changes in the procedures outlined in the School Safety Plan. Participants in this meeting shall include the Superintendent; representatives of the local law enforcement agency; the local Fire Marshall(s) or his/her designee(s); representative(s) from emergency medical services; and building administrators.
Upon approval and adoption of the School Safety Plan by the Board, the Superintendent shall file a copy of such Plan and a blueprint of each building with the following:
A. each law enforcement agency that has jurisdiction over the school building
B. upon request, the local fire department serving the area in which the school district is located
Additionally, the Superintendent shall file a copy of the School Safety Plan and a copy of each building floor plan with the Attorney General, who will post the information on the Ohio Law Enforcement Gateway. If the Board revises the School Safety Plan, building blueprint or building floor plan, it shall file a copy of such revised document with the above-referenced entities within ninety-one (91) days of the Board’s adoption of the revision.
Copies of the School Safety Plan and blueprints shall not be considered public records, however, building floor plans are subject to public disclosure.
Copies of the School Safety Plan and blueprints shall not be considered public records.
The Board shall grant access to each school building to law enforcement personnel in order to enable such personnel to conduct training sessions for responding to threats and emergency events affecting the School District and/or a school building. Such access shall be provided outside of student instructional hours and an employee of the Board shall be present in the building during the training sessions.
Safe and Drug Free Schools
As a part of the School Safety Plan, the Board shall verify that it has procedures in place for keeping schools safe and drug-free that include (see also, Form 8330 F15 entitled Checklist of Policies and Guidelines Addressing No Child Left Behind Act of 2001):
A. appropriate and effective school discipline policies that prohibit disorderly conduct, the illegal possession of weapons and the illegal use, possession, distribution, and sale of tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs by students;
B. security procedures at school and while students are on the way to and from school;
C. prevention activities that are designed to maintain safe, disciplined and drug-free environments;
D. a code of conduct or policy for all students that clearly states the responsibilities of students, teachers, and administrators in maintaining a classroom environment that:
1. allows a teacher to communicate effectively to all students in the class;
2. allows all students in the class the opportunity to learn;
3. has consequences that are fair, and developmentally appropriate;
4. considers the student and the circumstances of the situation; and
5. is enforced accordingly.
Persistently Dangerous Schools
The Board recognizes that State and Federal law requires that the District report annually incidents which meet the statutory definition of violent criminal offenses that occur in a school, on school grounds, on a school conveyance, or at a school-sponsored activity. It is further understood that the State Department of Education will then use this data to determine whether or not a school is considered “persistently dangerous” as defined by State policy.
Pursuant to the Board’s stated intent to provide a safe school environment, the school administrators are expected to respond appropriately to any and all violations of the Student Code of Conduct, especially those of a serious, violent nature. In any year where the number of reportable incidents of violent criminal offenses in any school exceed the threshold number established in State policy, the Superintendent shall discuss this at a meeting for the purpose of reviewing the School Safety Plan so that a plan of corrective action can be developed and implemented in an effort to reduce the number of these incidents in the subsequent year.
In the unexpected event that the number of reportable incidents in three (3) consecutive school years exceeds the statutory threshold and the school is identified as persistently dangerous, students attending the school shall have the choice option as provided in Policy 5113.02 and AG 5113.02.
In addition, the Superintendent shall discuss the school’s designation as a persistently dangerous school at a meeting for the purpose of reviewing the School Safety Plan so that a plan of corrective action can be developed and implemented in an effort to reduce the number of these incidents in the subsequent year.
Victims of Violent Crime
The Board further recognizes that, despite the diligent efforts of school administrators and staff to provide a safe school environment, an individual student may be a victim of a violent crime in a school, on school grounds, on a school conveyance, or at a school-sponsored activity. In accordance with Federal and State law the parents of the eligible student shall have the choice options provided by Policy 5113.02 and AG 5113.02.
Title IX, Section 9532 of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001
20 U.S.C. 6301 et seq.
Public Law 107-110
8462 Student Abuse or Neglect
The Board of Education is concerned with the physical and mental well-being of the students of this District and will cooperate in the identification and reporting of cases of child abuse or neglect in accordance with law.
Every Board official and employee who, in connection with his/her position, knows or suspects child abuse or neglect must immediately report that knowledge or suspicion to a public children’s services or local law enforcement agency. Such reporting shall be required in every case that reasonably indicates that a child under the age of eighteen (18) or a physically or mentally disabled child under the age of twenty-one (21) has been abused (physically or mentally) or neglected or faces the threat of being abused or neglected.
Board officials and employees must report suspected abuse to a public children’s services or local law enforcement agency even when the suspected abuser is another official or employee.
The identity of the reporting person shall be confidential, subject only to disclosure by consent or court order. Information concerning alleged child abuse of a student is confidential information and is not to be shared with any unauthorized person. A staff member who violates this policy may be subject to disciplinary action and/or civil and/or criminal penalties.
In accordance with law, the Board will provide appropriate instruction on personal safety and assault prevention to all students in grades K-6. In order to develop programs that are appropriate and effective, the Superintendent is authorized to consult with public and/or private agencies or individuals involved in child abuse prevention and intervention. In addition, the Superintendent shall provide a program of in-service education on child abuse prevention for all elementary school staff members. All newly-employed professional staff shall complete at least four (4) hours of in-service training within three (3) years of the date of employment.
A law enforcement officer or children’s services agency investigating child abuse or neglect may interview a student on school grounds only in accordance with Board Policy 5540.
R.C. 2151.421, 3313.60, 3319.073