Home » Namaste Charter School-Bully Prevention Policy

Namaste Charter School-Bully Prevention Policy

Namaste Charter School-Bully Prevention Policy

Everyone at Namaste Charter School committed to making our school a safe, inclusive and equitable environment for all. We treat each other with respect and we will refuse to tolerate inequities in any form at our school. We know that a “whole-school” approach, where all stakeholders are involved in supporting our students, helps create and maintain a positive school climate.

The Illinois General Assembly has found that a safe and civil school environment is necessary for students to learn and achieve and that bullying causes physical, psychological, and emotional harm to students and interferes with their ability to learn and participate in school activities. Bullying has been linked to other forms of antisocial behavior, such as vandalism, shoplifting, skipping and dropping out of school, fighting, using drugs and alcohol, sexual harassment, and violence. 

It is the goal of Namaste Charter School to create a learning environment in all its school communities where students are protected from bullying so they feel safe and supported in their efforts to succeed academically and develop emotionally into responsible, caring individuals. Namaste will not tolerate bullying of any type, including, but not limited, appearance, religion, ethnicity, disability, or sexual orientation.  Namaste asks that every student, with the support of his/her parent(s), guardian(s) and the adults at school, commit to the following principles, which will apply to everyone on school property and at school-related activities and events. Namaste's anti-bullying policy is contrary to state law.  

Definition of Bullying: 

  1. Bullying means any severe or pervasive physical or verbal act or conduct, including communications made in writing or electronically, directed toward a student or students that has or can be reasonably predicted to have the effect of one or more of the following: 

    1. placing the student or students in reasonable fear of harm to the student's or students' person or property;

    2. causing a substantially detrimental effect on the student's or students' physical or mental health; 

    3.  substantially interfering with the student's or students' academic performance; or 

    4. substantially interfering with the student's or students' ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or privileges provided by a school. 

Bullying, as defined in 105 ILCS 5/27- 23.7, may take various forms, including without limitation one or more of the following: harassment, threats, intimidation, stalking, physical violence, sexual harassment, sexual violence, theft, public humiliation, destruction of property, or retaliation for asserting or alleging an act of bullying. 

There are 4 types of Bullying 

Verbal bullying, or bullying with cruel spoken words, involves ongoing name-calling, threatening, and making disrespectful comments about someone's attributes (appearance, religion, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, etc.).


Physical bullying, or bullying with aggressive physical intimidation, involves repeated hitting, kicking, tripping, blocking, pushing, and touching in unwanted and inappropriate ways.


Relational bullying, or bullying with exclusionary tactics, involves deliberately preventing someone from joining or being part of a group, whether it's at a lunch table, game, sport, or social activity.

Cyberbullying, as defined in 105 ILCS 5/27- 23.7, is bullying through the use of technology or any electronic communication, including without limitation any transfer of signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data, or intelligence of any nature transmitted in whole or in part by a wire, radio, electromagnetic system, photo-electronic system, or photo-optical system, including without limitation electronic mail, Internet communications, instant messages, or facsimile communications.

Bullying is prohibited:

  1. during any school-sponsored or school-sanctioned program or activity;

  2. in school, on school property, on school buses or other provided transportation

  3. through the transmission of information from a Namaste computer or computer network, or other electronic school equipment;

  4. when communicated through any electronic technology or personal electronic device while on school property, on school buses or other Board-provided transportation, at bus stops, and at school-sponsored or school-sanctioned events or activities;

  5. when it is conveyed that a threat will be carried out in a school setting, including threats made outside school hours with intent to carry them out during any school-related or sponsored program or activity or on Board-provided transportation;

  6. when it is a Student Code of Conduct (“SCC”) Group 5 or 6 behavior that occurs off campus but most seriously disrupts any student’s education.

 Reporting Incidents of Bullying

Any staff, student, parent or guardian who witnesses or is notified of bullying has an obligation to contact the school immediately and report the incident to the Director of Culture and Engagement as quickly as practicable via jwalker@namasstecharterschool.org or 773-715-9558. 

Students are encouraged to report incidents of bullying to a trusted teacher or staff member as soon as possible. Bullying may be reported anonymously via the Namaste website www.namastecharterschool.org via the formal concerns process. 

 Responding to Bullying 

When responding to a bullying incident, Namaste Charter School will use a progressive discipline approach. Use of Progressive Discipline supports a safe, inclusive and accepting learning and teaching environment in which every student can reach his or her full potential. Strategies may range from early intervention to more intensive intervention in cases of persistent bullying, with possible referral to board support personnel, community or social service agencies. 

These may include but are not limited to: 

  • character development strategies and programs; 

  • providing students with the opportunity to learn life skills such as conflict resolution, anger management and communication skills; 

  • collaborative problem solving; 

  • utilizing models based on the concepts of peer mediation; 

  • documenting incidents requiring disciplinary measures; 

  • use of progressive discipline; 

  • consideration of mitigating factors;

  • ensuring that contact is made with the parent(s)/guardian(s) of students, under the age of 18, early in the disciplinary process and involving them in a plan to improve the behavior; 

  • referral to outside agencies 

  • restorative practices (e.g., written or verbal apology, community service)

Consequences are at the discretion of the Director of Cultural and Engagement. In the case of severe misbehavior, our format of progressive discipline consequences may be superseded. As incidents arise, it is recognized that each situation is unique. Mitigating circumstances will be considered for student age, frequency of incidents, nature and severity of incidents, student exceptionalities, extenuating circumstances, impact on the school climate. 

We are consistent with Federal and state laws and rules governing student privacy rights including procedures for promptly informing parents or guardians of all students involved in the alleged incident of bullying and discussing, as appropriate, the availability of social work services, counseling, school psychological services, other interventions, and restorative measures. 

 When an investigation determines that bullying occurred, the Principal/Designee shall explain the consequences in a non-hostile manner, and shall impose any consequence immediately and consistently. The Principal/Designee shall keep communicating and working with all parties involved until the situation is resolved. Some key indicators of resolution include:

  •  The perpetrator is no longer bullying and is interacting civilly with the target.

  •  The target reports feeling safe and is interacting civilly with the perpetrator.

  •  School staff notice an increase in positive behavior and social-emotional  competency in the perpetrator and/or the target. School staff notice a more positive climate in the areas where bullying incidents were high.

 Namaste prohibits reprisal or retaliation against any person who reports an act of bullying and the consequences and appropriate remedial actions for a person who engages in reprisal or retaliation. There will be consequences and appropriate remedial actions for persons found to have falsely accused another of bullying as a means of retaliation or a means of bullying.

The Director of Culture and Engagement may refer students who bully to positive-behavior small-group interventions (for anger management, trauma or social skills), social work, counseling or school psychological services within the school, if necessary, to reinforce the behavioral expectation they violated and increase their social-emotional competency. The targets of bullying need protection from bullies, but may also need support and help in changing their own behavior. The Director of Culture and Engagement shall ask a school mental health professional to refer these students to individual or group therapy where they can openly express their feelings about their bullying experience, social-skills training and/or groups where they can practice assertiveness and coping mechanisms, or social work, counseling or school psychological services available within the school.

 Interventions

  • Social emotional skill building

  • Social work circles

  • Restorative Reflections, asking student to consider: 

    • What happened? Who did it impact? How do you make it right?

  • Stop bullying projects

 School Bullying Prevention and Equity & Inclusive Goals(s): 

1. Increase common language around problem solving for students 

2. Increase parental voice in our school 

3. Increase the representation of our diverse school community in our displays, programs and events 

4. Increase involvement of school council to support objectives 

 Bullying Prevention and Equity & Inclusive, Education Programs and Activities

Our school currently implements or will implement the following bullying prevention and equity & inclusive education programs and activities that focus on developing healthy relationships and provide leadership opportunities for our students:

  • School wide events to increase positive connections to school and as an educational forum to share expectations and messages around how to get help

  • Implement Awards to recognize positive, inclusive behaviours 

  • Implement student conflict resolutions practices at recess 

  • Implement safety patrols before and after school to help identify and intervene with areas of need

 Namaste Charter School Staff Will:

  • Closely supervise students in all areas of the school and school grounds

  • Watch for signs of bullying and stopping it when it happens

  • Respond quickly and sensitively to bullying reports (Affirm, Ask, Assess, Act) 

  • Take seriously parents’ concerns about bullying incidents 

  • Assign consequences for bullying 

  • Teach students our procedures for reporting incidents of bullying 

  • Provide a safe environment for students who report bullying (protection from retaliation) 

  • Treat others respectfully

  • Model positive ways of getting along with others

 

Professional development will be offered to build the skills of all Namaste Charter School Staff to implement this Policy. The content of such professional development shall include, but not be limited to:

1) Developmentally appropriate strategies to prevent incidents of bullying and to intervene immediately and effectively to stop them;

2) Information about the complex interaction and power differential that can take place between and among a perpetrator, target, and witness to the bullying;

3) Research findings on bullying, including information about specific categories of students who have been shown to be particularly at risk, and any specific interventions that may be particularly effective for addressing bias-based bullying; and

4) Information about Internet safety issues as they relate to cyberbullying.

5) Online training for new employees 

 Students Will: 

  • Treat each other respectfully 

  • Refuse to bully others 

  • Refuse to let others be bullied 

  • Refuse to watch, laugh or join in when someone is being bullied 

  • Include everyone in play, especially those who are often left out 

  • Report bullying to an adult

Parents: 

  • Model positive ways of getting along with others 

  • Help their son/daughter find ways to express anger that do not involve hurting others physically or emotionally 

  • Teach problem solving skills 

  • Inform school staff if their child tells them about a bullying incident 

  • Support the schools bullying-prevention efforts 

  • Help their son/daughter understand the value of accepting and celebrating individual differences 

  • Be alert to signs their child is being bullied or may be bullying others

Intervention Strategies Our staff will use the following process when bullying is reported: 

  • Acknowledge the Incident / Affirm 

  • “You were right to report/get help from an adult.” 

  •  “I’m glad you asked for help with this.” Gather Information / Ask Questions

  •  “Tell me more about what happened.” 

  •  “Has this happened before?” 

  • “Did anyone try to help you?” 

  • “Are you telling me this is to get someone in trouble or to keep someone safe?”

  • Determine what the student needs to feel safe now 

  • What can the student do if the bullying continues

  • What steps need to be taken to limit the possibility of retaliation for the person reporting the bullying 

  • Who the student will tell if there is another incident

Act / Follow-up 

• Determine “next step” or refer the student to an administrator 

• Tell them what will happen next 

• Check with the student to determine the success of the intervention


The bullying policy or implementation procedure shall include a process to investigate whether a reported act of bullying is within the permissible scope of the district’s school jurisdiction.  Furthermore, it shall require that the district or school provide the victim with information regarding services that are available within the district and community, such as counseling, support services, and other programs.


Notification

The Bully Prevention and Awareness policy will be updated annually and placed on the school website.  Parents will be notified and sent a cognito form to review and sign off on that they have read the policy.  The policy will also be sent via school/classdojo for review.  Parents will be able to provide feedback and requested updates annually during the May, Parents Ignite meeting.  The policy will be a part of the Staff Handbook and all new employees will receive a copy during the on-boarding process. Annually the Parent's Ignite Committee along with teacher panel, will evaluate the policy process to assess the outcomes and effectiveness of the policy that includes, but is not limited to, factors such as the frequency of victimization; student, staff, and family observations of safety at a school; identification of areas of a school where bullying occurs; the types of bullying utilized; and bystander intervention or participation.

ADDRESSING ALLEGATIONS OF BIAS-BASED BEHAVIOR AND BULLYING

Note:  Namaste Charter School will follow Chicago Public School’s guidelines for reporting and investigating allegations of bullying or biased-based behavior.  
This policy is consistent with the policies and expectations of the Namaste School Board and Chicago Public Schools

Chicago Public Schools Bully Prevention Policy

 

 

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