Schools’ Bullying Prevention Policy Expands

By Kim Siebert MacPhail

SC-NewsAt the October 22 meeting, Superintendent of Schools Jon Sills asked the School Committee to approve a district policy change to reflect the recent update in the Massachusetts Department of Education’s statute on bullying.

Sills read the following from Bedford’s current policy manual: “Bullying is the repeated use by one or more students of a written, verbal, or electronic expression, or a physical act or gesture, or a combination thereof, directed at a target that:

  • causes physical or emotional harm to the target or damage to the target’s property;
  • places the target in reasonable fear of harm to him/herself, or of damage to his/her property;
  • creates a hostile environment at school for the target;
  • infringes on the rights of the target at school; or
  • materially and substantially disrupts the education process or the orderly operation of a school;
  • represents a marked imbalance of power between bully and target. Bullying is a one-sided, unfair match.

The new policy adds faculty, administrators, and all manner of school staff to the text, so the policy will now start with the following words: “Bullying is the repeated use by one or more students, or by a member of a school’s staff including—but not limited to—an educator, administrator, school nurse, cafeteria worker, custodian, bus driver, athletic coach, coach of an extracurricular activity, or a paraprofessional…”

The School Committee voted unanimously in favor of the policy change.

To read Bedford’s full policy on Bullying Prevention, visit the webpage below and type “bullying” in the search window.

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