By Kim Siebert MacPhail
At 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. https://z2policy.ctspublish.com/masc/Z2Browser2.html?showset=bedfordset