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School Culture and Climate – Frequently Asked Questions

What is considered to be bullying, cyberbullying, harassment or intimidation?

Policy 1060 provides definitions and can be found here

How should bullying, cyberbullying, harassment or intimidation be reported?

There are multiple ways to report this:

  1. Students and families can use the Bullying Harassment and Intimidation (BHI) Reporting Form to report bullying.
  2. Sprigeo is an online reporting system that can be used. Reports are sent to a staff member at Central Office who in turn notifies the school administrator.
  3. Students can make an oral report to a school employee.

Where can I access the BHI form?

The principal/designee will ensure that all students know the location of the form (media center, health room, front office, counselor’s office, etc.). The BHI Reporting Form may also be accessed electronically on the school system’s website.

Can the BHI Reporting Form be used if the bullying occurs off school grounds?

When bullying, cyberbullying, harassment or intimidation interfere with a safe and respectful school climate and workplace, the reporting form should be completed.

Are reports kept in the student’s permanent educational record?

In accordance with Maryland law, the BHI Reporting Form is confidential and may not be made a part of the student’s permanent educational record.

Can bullying, harassment, or intimidation be reported if I do not have a form?

Upon notification of an incident, appropriate steps will be taken even if a student, an employee, a parent, or a close adult relative does not complete the BHI Reporting Form. School principals/supervisors will take immediate action to protect victims regardless of how the alleged bullying is reported. An administrator will complete the BHI Reporting Form in the HCPSS data system for documentation and reporting purposes.

What is the process that I can expect to see once the incident is reported?

Upon receipt of a BHI Reporting Form or any other report of bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, or intimidation, the following occurs:

  1. An administrator will take appropriate steps to address the incident
  2. The principal/designee will begin the investigation process within two school days.
  3. Notification to the parents of the accused in a timely manner
  4. The school administrator will provide notice to both sets of parents in writing of the outcome of the complaint and the basis for the decision within 30 calendar days of receipt of complaint by the school administrator, excluding extenuating circumstances.
  5. The school administrator or designee will conduct separate conferences with the target/victim and offender within two weeks after the conclusion of the investigation to determine whether the bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, or intimidation has continued and whether additional consequences need to be implemented. A follow up conference will be held after four weeks and/or until the issue is resolved.

Are counseling supports available within the school for students?

Support services will be made available to the victim, witness and bystander and to the student exhibiting bullying behaviors. Supports are implemented as appropriate based on context, situation, age and severity.

Will I be notified if a report of bullying is made regarding my child?

Yes, every effort will be made to notify the target/victim parent immediately, but no later than one school day, after a report is received. Parents of the accused will be notified of the investigation process in a timely manner.

After I make a report of bullying how long will the investigation take?

Upon receipt of a BHI Reporting Form or any other report of bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, or intimidation, the principal/designee will begin the investigation process within two school days. The school administrator will provide notice to both sets of parents in writing of the outcome of the complaint and the basis for the decision within 30 calendar days of receipt of complaint by the school administrator, excluding extenuating circumstances.

How will I know if the bullying, harassment, or intimidation matter has been resolved regarding my child?

The school administrator or designee will conduct separate conferences with the target/victim and offender within two weeks after the conclusion of the investigation to determine whether the bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, or intimidation has continued and whether additional consequences need to be implemented. Additionally, a follow-up conference will be held with the target/victim four weeks after the initial follow-up conference to determine if the bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, or intimidation has ceased. Communication with the parents of the target/victim and offender will continue until the issue is resolved.

Does the victim’s parent have the right to know what consequence the offender received?

No. Due to confidentiality, specific disciplinary corrective measures are not permitted to be shared.

Is it a violation of this policy if a student uses social media to humiliate, intimidate, harass, or threaten another student?

Utilizing any electronic communication to harass, humiliate, intimidate, or threatened another student is considered cyberbullying. Additionally, for acts of cyberbullying that are considered criminal, the administrator/designee will promptly report the incident to the responsible law enforcement agencies to determine if Grace’s law has been violated. (The Annotated Code of Maryland, Criminal Law Article, §3-805)

What should an individual do if a school system employee is bullying her/him?

A bullying report should be made to the school administrator/supervisor or Equity Assurance Manager. The school administrator/supervisor will collaborate with the Equity Assurance Manager. Either the school administrator/supervisor or Equity Assurance Manager will promptly conduct an investigation. The victim and the accused will be notified, in writing, of the results of the investigation.

What recourse does an employee have if he/she is being bullied by a supervisor?

If the alleged bully is the employee or service provider’s immediate supervisor, the employee or service provider may report the alleged incident to the Equity Assurance Manager.

What form should an employee use to make a bullying, harassment, or intimidation complaint and where can it be found?

The Bullying, Harassment, or Intimidation Complaint Form for employees and service providers can be accessed by contacting the Equity Assurance Manager or can be found on the school system’s website.

Do school system employees receive professional development regarding the bullying harassment, intimidation?

Employees and contract service providers will receive annual professional development on the substance of Policy 1060.

Is there an appeal process based on the results of the investigation?

If a family is unhappy with the results of the investigation and has discussed the issue with the principal, the family has the ability to follow the Formal Concern Process. This process can be accessed by visiting the school system’s website.