Rockdale Defines Bullying as any type of conduct that may:
1. Reflect a coercive imbalance of power; AND
2. Is severe, pervasive and often purposeful and repeated; AND
3. Places an individual in (a) reasonable fear of substantial detrimental effect to his or her person or property; or (b) to otherwise substantially interfere in a student’s academic performance or ability to participate in any school related activity.
Furthermore, the Illinois legislature defines “Bullying” as:
“Any severe or pervasive physical or verbal act or conduct, including communications made in writing or electronically, directed toward a student or students that has or can be reasonably predicted to have the effect of one or more of the following:
(1) placing the student or students in reasonable fear of harm to the student’s or students’ person or property;
(2) causing a substantially detrimental effect on the student’s or student’s physical or mental health;
(3) substantially interfering with the student’s or students’ academic performance; or
(4) substantially interfering with the student’s or students’ ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or privileges provided by a school.” 105 ILCS 5/27-23.7(b)
The Illinois legislature also authorizes school boards to establish appropriate behavioral standards for their respective schools, which take into consideration but are not limited to conduct prohibited by State and federal laws. See, 105 ILCS 5/10-20.14(d).
“Conduct” may include:
• Physical acts, such as inappropriate, unwanted, uninvited, or injurious physical contact with another; stalking; sexual assault; and destruction or damage to property of another;
• Written and electronic communication of any type that incorporates language or depictions that would constitute bullying, using any medium (including, but not limited to, cell phones, computers, websites, electronic networks, instant messages, text messages and emails);
• Verbal threats made to another, blackmail, or demands for protection money;
• Non-verbal threats or intimidation such as aggressive or menacing gestures;
• Direct or indirect, relationally aggressive behavior such as social isolation, rumor spreading, or damaging someone’s reputation;
• Any of the above conduct which occurs off school grounds when such conduct creates, or reasonably can be expected to create, a substantial disruption in the school setting and/or at school sponsored activities and events.
In addition to that conduct described above, examples of conduct that may constitute bullying include the following:
• Blocking access to school property or facilities;
• Stealing or hiding or otherwise defacing books, backpacks or other personal possessions;
• Repeated or pervasive taunting, name-calling, belittling, mocking putdowns, or demeaning humor relating to a student’s race, color, gender, sexual orientation, ancestry, religion, disability, or other personal characteristics, whether or not the student actually possesses them, that could reasonably be expected to result in the disruption of school activities or that results in a hostile educational environment for the student.
Prevention of and Response to Bullying, Intimidation, and Harassment
Bullying, intimidation, and harassment diminish a student’s ability to learn and a school’s ability to educate. Preventing students from engaging in these disruptive behaviors and providing all students equal access to a safe, non-hostile learning environment are important school goals.
Bullying on the basis of actual or perceived race, color, national origin, immigration status, military status, unfavorable discharge status from the military service, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender-related identity or expression, ancestry, age, religion, physical or mental disability, order of protection status, status of being homeless, or actual or potential marital or parental status, including pregnancy, association with a person or group with one or more of the aforementioned actual or perceived characteristics, or any other distinguishing characteristic is prohibited in each of the following situations:
- During any school-sponsored education program or activity.
- While in school, on school property, on school buses or other school vehicles, or at school-sponsored or school-sanctioned events or activities.
- Through the transmission of information from a school computer, a school computer network, or other similar electronic school equipment.
- Through the transmission of information from a computer that is accessed at a non-school-related location, activity, function, or program or from the use of technology or an electronic device that is not owned, leased, or used by the school district or school if the bullying causes a substantial disruption to the educational process or orderly operation of a school.
Bullying includes cyber-bullying (bullying through the use of technology or any electronic communication) and means any severe or pervasive physical or verbal act or conduct, including communications made in writing or electronically, directed toward a student or students that has or can be reasonably predicted to have the effect of one or more of the following:
- Placing the student or students in reasonable fear of harm to the student’s or students’ person or property;
- Causing a substantially detrimental effect on the student’s or students’ physical or mental health;
- Substantially interfering with the student’s or students’ academic performance; or
- Substantially interfering with the student’s or students’ ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or privileges provided by a school.
Examples of prohibited conduct include name-calling, using derogatory slurs, stalking, sexual violence, causing psychological harm, threatening or causing physical harm, threatened or actual destruction of property, or wearing or possessing items depicting or implying hatred or prejudice of one of the characteristics stated above.
Students are encouraged to immediately report bullying. A report may be made orally or in writing to the principal or any staff member with whom the student is comfortable speaking. Anyone, including staff members and parents/guardians, who has information about actual or threatened bullying is encouraged to report it to the principal or any staff member. Anonymous reports are also accepted by phone call or in writing. A formal report may be made using the District Unlawful Harassment and Violence Report Form (see back of Handbook for copy).
A reprisal or retaliation against any person who reports an act of bullying is prohibited. A student’s act of reprisal or retaliation will be treated as bullying for purposes of determining any consequences or other appropriate remedial actions.
A student will not be punished for reporting bullying or supplying information, even if the school’s investigation concludes that no bullying occurred. However, knowingly making a false accusation or providing knowingly false information will be treated as bullying for purposes of determining any consequences or other appropriate remedial actions.
Sexual Harassment Prohibited
Sexual harassment of students is prohibited. A person engages in sexual harassment whenever he or she makes sexual advances, requests sexual favors, and/or engages in other verbal or physical conduct, including sexual violence, of a sexual or sex-based nature, imposed on the basis of sex, that:
- Denies or limits the provision of educational aid, benefits, services, or treatment; or that makes such conduct a condition of a student’s academic status; or
- Has the purpose or effect of:
- Substantially interfering with a student’s educational environment;
- Creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational environment;
- Depriving a student of educational aid, benefits, services, or treatment; or
- Making submission to or rejection of such conduct the basis for academic decisions affecting a student.
The terms intimidating, hostile, and offensive include conduct that has the effect of humiliation, embarrassment, or discomfort. Examples of sexual harassment include touching, crude jokes or pictures, discussions of sexual experiences, teasing related to sexual characteristics, and spreading rumors related to a person’s alleged sexual activities. The term sexual violence includes a number of different acts.
Teen Dating Violence Prohibited
Engaging in teen dating violence that takes place at school, on school property, at school-sponsored activities, or in vehicles used for school-provided transportation is prohibited. For purposes of this policy, the term teen dating violence occurs whenever a student who is 13 to 19 years of age uses or threatens to use physical, mental, or emotional abuse to control an individual in the dating relationship; or uses or threatens to use sexual violence in the dating relationship.
Submitting a Complaint
Students are encouraged to report claims or incidents of bullying and other prohibited conduct to the social worker & building principal. A student may choose to report to a person of the student’s same sex. Complaints will be kept confidential to the extent possible given the need to investigate. Students who make good faith complaints will not be disciplined. Any person making a knowingly false accusation regarding prohibited conduct will likewise be subject to discipline.
Anonymous reports are also accepted by phone call or in writing. A formal report may be made using the District Unlawful Harassment and Violence Report Form: Harassment and Violence Report Form
Related Resources and Support
PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center®: (Information Sheets)
U.S. Health and Human Services Website: Bullying Prevention & Response for students, educators and parents. Includes resources, games and activities for children, parents and educators.
U.S. Health and Human Services Website: Girls Health - Providing information for girls, educators and parents about bullying, safety, relationships, body image and issues, feelings, nutrition, substance abuse issues, etc. Includes games, quizzes and activities.
Bully Free: It starts with me - National Education Association Initiative.
Connect for Respect Initiative - National Parent Teachers Association providing information for parents.
A Brain Works Project: Coping Skills for Kids - Promoting the development of coping skills in pre-teens by providing information and activities and provides resources and information for educators and parents.