NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

November 26, 2012

Board adopts plan to deal with bullying

(Continued)

Under the plan, Pentucket staff are “required to report immediately” in written or oral form any instance of bullying or retaliation they witness or of which they are made aware.

“Our district sees faculty and staff’s obligation to report bullying as analogues to the mandate to report child abuse or neglect,” the policy states.

Students, parents and non-district employees may report incidents anonymously; however, the report notes that this type of complaint is difficult to investigate fully.

“Anonymous reporting from bystanders is encouraged as long as the participants are able to be identified,” the policy states. No disciplinary action will be taken against an alleged aggressor based solely on an anonymous report.

At the start of each school year students and parents will receive a copy of the district’s Incident Reporting Form. The form is also posted at www.prsd.org and available at each school’s main office and nursing and counseling offices.

The one-page form asks for the name, age, grade and school of the target and aggressor involved in the bullying; a description of the incident and who witnessed it; and whether the person reporting knows of other incidents of bullying. The person reporting may chose whether to include their name, relationship to the student and phone number.

The form is then returned to the school staff and reviewed by the principal or assistant principal. Forms may also be anonymously mailed to the superintendent’s office. Or incidents may be reported via email or voicemail.

According to the policy, “students will be provided practical, safe, private and age-appropriate ways to report and discuss an incident of bullying with a staff member or with the principal.”

However, students found to make knowingly false allegations of bullying or retaliation could face disciplinary action.

Once an incident is reported, an investigation consistent with school and district policies will begin within 48 hours.

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