Thursday, February 2, 2017 Crisis intervention plans are in place to minimize the possibility of violence or disruption of the educational process All harassment incidents are carefully documented and incidents are reported to outside authorities as required District regularly assesses the effectiveness of its anti-harassment efforts Source: Protecting Students from Harassment and Hate Crime, A Guide for Schools, January 1999 Part I: The Fundamentals A Comprehensive Approach to Eliminating Harassment and Hate Crime To establish an educational environment free from discrimination and harassment will ordinarily require more than just punishing individual instances of misconduct. Students will benefit most from stopping harassment from happening at all. Therefore, an effective anti-harassment program must incorporate the kinds of strategies that will prevent harassment, not merely increase the chance of punishment. While building a strong program often starts with developing and enforcing written policies and procedures, all of a school district's programs and activities should support its anti-harassment efforts. The school's instructional program, calendar of events, extracurricular activities, professional development efforts, and parent involvement initiatives are key to establishing an environment in which respect for diversity can flourish. Successful prevention strategies depend on the coordinated efforts of all school employees, including individuals responsible for administration, curriculum, instruction, discipline, counseling, public relations, and personnel. Parents, students, law enforcement agencies, and other community organizations also play an important role. Schools should consider developing action plans both at the district level and at individual school sites that specify the steps each segment of the school community will take to implement a comprehensive anti-harassment program. By designing and implementing a comprehensive approach, schools can establish the framework for a safe environment conducive to learning for all students. The key components are as follows. Develop written policies that prohibit unlawful harassment At a minimum, a school's governing authority should adopt and disseminate written policies that:5 Set forth the school's commitment to protect students from harassment and violence and to maintain a nondiscriminatory environment Identify the types of harassment prohibited by the policy and give examples Require staff to report harassment that they learn about Explain how to report harassment and to whom to report it Describe the various steps the school will take to respond to reported incidents Include formal complaint procedures Prohibit retaliation against persons who report harassment or participate in related proceedings Ensure that all members of the school community are aware of their rights and responsibilities Student codes of conduct and personnel policies should also be examined to ensure that they contain rules of behavior, offense categories, and disciplinary procedures to address violations of the district's anti-harassment policies appropriately. For additional recommendations, see Part II: Developing Written Anti-Harassment Policies Identify and respond to all incidents of harassment and violence All staff and administrators should be taught to accurately and sensitively advise students and parents reporting harassment of the relevant school policies and the options for stopping the harassment. In all instances, students and parents reporting harassment should be told how to file a formal complaint. Reporting procedures should be easy to use and well publicized. At least one employee should be formally designated and trained to receive complaints. The names and positions of the persons designated should be made known to all members of the school community. Steps in a comprehensive approach Board members, district administrators, and the superintendent recognize the urgency of the problem of unlawful harassment and hate crime, identify people and agencies that can help them develop effective prevention and response strategies, and compile a library of useful materials School officials select personnel to work on creating an effective anti-harassment program in consultation with parents, students, and community groups Compliance coordinators are appointed and trained School personnel assess the school climate to determine the prevalence and types of harassment that may exist and the potential for hate-motivated violence School district adopts a written anti-harassment policy or reviews and revises existing policies for accuracy, clarity and legal compliance; the policy is clearly communicated to all members of the school community; and school personnel and students are held accountable for their actions School district develops a formal grievance procedure and takes steps to make sure it is working properly Instructional personnel use or supplement the district's curriculum and pedagogical strategies to foster respect and appreciation for diversity School sites institute, improve, or expand age appropriate student activities to prevent or reduce prejudice and conflict School district and individual school sites institute specific measures to respond immediately and effectively when harassment occurs to stop the harassment and prevent recurrence School officials flexibly apply response mechanisms to both the victim and the perpetrator, taking into account the parties' ages and the context of the behavior School personnel continually monitor the school climate and promptly address problems that could lead to harassment or violence or that indicate that harassment could be occurring Appropriate school officials become familiar with pertinent civil and criminal laws at the state, local, and federal levels, so that they are able to recognize possible civil rights violations, hate crimes and other criminal acts Schools develop guidelines and procedures for collaboration with law enforcement officials, make appropriate referrals to outside agencies, and designate liaison personnel Crisis intervention plans are in place to minimize the possibility of violence or disruption of the educational process District-level personnel and individual school sites form continuing partnerships with parents and the community to prevent hate crimes and harassing behaviors Staff training and professional development programs support the district's anti-harassment efforts All harassment incidents are carefully documented and incidents are reported to outside authorities as required District regularly assesses the effectiveness of its anti-harassment efforts Require all staff to report to a designated school official, who has authority to take corrective action, any harassment that students report to them or that the employees observe. School personnel should not overlook incidents that, viewed alone, may not rise to the level of unlawful harassment. Consistent enforcement of all disciplinary rules and meaningful interventions by staff to teach appropriate behavior will tend to discourage more severe misconduct and to help achieve an atmosphere of respect and courtesy. Consider all available resources to address instances of inappropriate behavior, including increased parental involvement. A repertoire of options that consider the nature of the conduct and the age and identity of the perpetrator and target of harassment are needed to respond to incidents of varying levels of severity, persistence, and pervasiveness. Top school officials or a designated coordinator may wish to screen all allegations of harassment to make sure that an appropriate course of action will be taken. In responding to incidents of harassment, schools should pay close attention to the possibility that harassers and their friends and associates may attempt to retaliate against persons who report harassment. Retaliation or reprisals can include threats, bribes, unfair treatment or grades and further harassment such as ridicule, pranks, taunting, bullying, and organized ostracism. Recognize that students may be harassed, not only because of their own race, sex, ethnicity or other characteristics, but also because of their association with individuals who are members of a targeted group.


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