Whether it’s done in the schoolyard or by smartphone, bullying will not be tolerated at Western Boone schools.
Definitions of what is — and what is not — bullying, and procedures to investigate and respond to bullying, were adopted by the Western Boone County Community School Corp. board of trustees Monday.
A state law gave public schools until mid-October to provide anti-bullying training to students; Western Boone met that requirement, Tricia Reed, the corporation’s director of curriculum, said Monday.
Every school staff member is required to report any incident if they believe it is bullying, but it is not up to staff to do the investigation — that’s the responsibility of administrators, Reed said.
“We’ve told our staff they have to report immediately,” she said. “It is not their job to investigate.”
An important piece of that training is clarifying what is and what is not bullying, she said.
A heightened state of alertness to bullying is required by the state law, Western Boone Jr.-Sr. High School Principal Rob Ramey said.
Bullying, in the definition adopted by the school board Monday, is defined “overt, unwanted, repeated acts or gestures, including verbal or written communications or images transmitted in any manner (including digitally or electronically); physical acts committed; aggression; or any other behaviors committed by a student or group of students against another student with the intent to harass, ridicule, humiliate, intimidate, or harm the targeted student.”
The new policy, based on state standards is longer, and the definition of bullying is much broader, Western Boone Superintendent Dr. Judi Hendrix said.
“It’s also what bullying isn’t,” Hendrix said.
Bullying is broken into four categories:
• Physical, which can include pushing, hitting, kicking, tripping, spitting, rude hand gestures, or taking or breaking someone’s things;
• Verbal, which includes taunting, name-calling, teasing, inappropriate comments, or threats of injury;