Iredell-Statesville Schools Bullying Policy
As Adopted by the Iredell-Statesville Board of Education, August 8, 2005
Policy Code # 4020
The Iredell-Statesville Board of Education recognizes its responsibility to promote and maintain a healthy, safe, orderly, and caring learning environment in the public schools, an environment that is free from bullying, and is inclusive of all students and employees. This policy includes, but is not limited to, the following types of acts: bullying based on an individual’s race, color, sex, religion, creed, ethnicity, political belief, age, national origin, linguistic and language differences, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, socioeconomic status, physical characteristics, marital status, or disability.
It is possible for bullying to occur at various levels; between fellow students or co-workers, between supervisors and subordinates, between employees and students, or imposed by non-employees, including visitors, on employees and/or students. The Iredell-Statesville Board of Education prohibits acts of bullying.
Like other disruptive or violent behaviors bullying or discrimination is conduct that impedes both a student’s ability to learn and a school’s ability to educate its students in a safe environment; and since students learn by example, school administrators, faculty, staff, student leaders, and volunteers are to be commended for demonstrating appropriate behavior, treating others with civility and respect, and refusing to tolerate bullying.
Bullying is deliberately hurtful behavior repeated often over a period of time or on isolated occasions, by which somebody deliberately intimidates or harasses another. Some acts of bullying are simply one person or group of people exercising power and control over another person or group of people either in isolated incidents or through patterns of harassing or intimidating behavior. Bullying can take many forms including any combination of physical, emotional, and verbal abuse.
Specific acts of bullying may include but are not limited to name calling, teasing, physical abuse (e.g., hitting, pushing, pinching, or kicking), threats, taking of personal possessions, sending abusive text messages, instant messages, Internet e-mails, and phone messages, forcing others to hand over money, forcing others to do things against one’s will, ignoring or leaving others out, attacking others in any way.
Application of the Policy:
All persons, agencies, vendors, contractors and organizations doing business with or performing services for the school district must comply with all applicable federal and state laws and regulations regarding nondiscrimination. Visitors also are expected to comply with applicable laws, including the prohibition against harassment and bullying of students or harassment of employees.
This policy will apply, including but not limited to, the following circumstances:
1. while in any school building or on any school premises before, during or after school hours;
2. while on any bus or other vehicle as part of any school activity;
3. while waiting at any bus stop;
4. during any school function, extracurricular activity or other activity or event;
5. when subject to the authority of school personnel; and
6. any time or place when the behavior has a direct and immediate effect on maintaining order and discipline in the schools.
The principal shall oversee the development and implementation of, as part of the School Improvement Plan, to identify, to prevent, and to notify parents of acts of bullying. This school plan shall address consequences, effective interventions, reprisals, retaliations, or false accusations associated with acts of bullying. All forms of abuse are unacceptable in our schools.
Active or passive support for bullying is prohibited. All school employees are required to report and act upon alleged acts of bullying promptly. Students are encouraged to walk away from observed acts of bullying, constructively attempt to stop them, or report them to the designated authority.
Procedures for Reporting an Act of Bullying:
At the school, the principal or the principal’s designee is responsible for receiving complaints from any individual or group alleging violations of this policy. All school employees are required to report alleged violations of this policy to the principal or the principal’s designee. Since some acts of bullying may be bias-related acts and potentially hate or bias crimes, school officials must report to law enforcement officials either serious acts or a pattern of acts.
The initial report can be oral, but the formal report shall be written and include the written statement of the target individual(s) and the alleged perpetrator(s), and the time, location, and context of the incident including the names and statements of witnesses and/or those involved. Patterns of bullying, if they exist, should be included in the report.
All members of the school community, including students, parents, volunteers, and visitors, are encouraged to officially report, orally, in writing, or anonymously, any act that may be a violation of this policy to the principal or principal’s designee. All reasonable efforts shall be made to authenticate anonymous reports, but formal disciplinary action requires more than an anonymous report.
Prompt Investigation of Reports of Bullying:
The principal and/or the principal’s designee are responsible for determining whether an alleged act constitutes a violation of this policy. In so doing, the principal and/or the principal’s designee shall conduct a prompt, thorough, and complete investigation of the alleged incident.
Consequences and Remedial Actions for Students Who Commit Acts of Bullying:
In determining the appropriate response to students/employees who commit one or more acts of bullying, building level administrators shall consider the following factors: the developmental and maturity levels of the parties involved, the degree of harm, the surrounding circumstances, the nature of the behaviors, past incidences or past or continuing patterns of behavior, the relationships between the parties involved, and the context in which the alleged incidents occurred. Concluding whether a particular action or incident constitutes a violation of this policy requires a determination based on all the facts and surrounding circumstances. It is only after meaningful consideration of these factors that an appropriate consequence should be determined. Consequences for students and employees who commit acts of bullying may range from positive behavioral interventions up to and including suspension or expulsion.
School Response to Acts of Bullying:
Some acts of bullying may be isolated incidents requiring only that the school respond appropriately to the individuals committing the acts. Other acts may be so serious or parts of a larger pattern of bullying that they require a response either at the classroom, school building, or school district levels or by law enforcement officials. Consequences and appropriate remedial actions for students who commit an act of bullying range from positive behavioral interventions up to and including suspension or expulsion. The board recommends consequences that rise to the level of the infraction. Administrators shall report bullying data in reports to the superintendent either on a case-by-case basis (if warranted) or in the annual disciplinary data report.
In considering whether a response beyond the individual level is appropriate, the administrator should consider the nature and circumstances of the act, the level of harm, the nature of the behavior, past incidences or past or continuing patterns of behavior, and the context in which the alleged incident(s) occurred.
Any or all of the following responses may be appropriate:
Individual responses can include positive behavioral interventions (e.g., peer mentoring, short-term counseling, life skills groups and punitive actions (e.g., in-school suspension, expulsion).
Classroom responses can include class discussions about an incident of bullying, role-playing activities, research projects, observing and discussing audio-visual materials on these subjects, and skill-building lessons in courtesy, tolerance, assertiveness, and conflict management. School-wide responses can include theme days, learning-station programs, parent programs, and information disseminated to students and parents.
Institutional (i.e., classroom, school building, school district) responses may include school and community surveys, mailings, focus groups, adoption of research-based bullying prevention program models, training for certified and non-certified staff, participation of parents and other community members and organizations, small or large group presentations for fully addressing the actions and the school’s response to the actions in the context of the acceptable student behavior and the consequences of such actions, and involvement of law enforcement officers, including school resource officers.
District-wide responses may include community involvement in policy review and development, professional development programs, adoption of curricula and coordination with community-based organizations (e.g., mental health, health services, health facilities, law enforcement, faith-based). Resources (e.g., counseling) will be made available to individual victims of bullying and responding to victims will be done in a manner that does not stigmatize victim(s).
Reprisal or Retaliation:
Retaliation or reprisal against any person who reports a bullying incident(s) is strictly prohibited. Likewise, students and staff are prohibited from knowingly or willfully falsely accusing one another of bullying as a means of retaliation, or reprisal. The consequence and appropriate remedial action for a person who engages in retaliation or reprisal shall be determined by the principal or his/her designee after consideration of the nature and circumstances of the act, in accordance with case law, Federal and State statutes and regulations, and district policies and procedures.
Consequences and Remedial Actions for False Accusations:
Consequences and appropriate remedial action for a student found to have falsely accused another as a means of retaliation or reprisal range from positive behavioral interventions up to and including suspension or expulsion. Consequences and appropriate remedial action for a school employee found to have falsely accused another, as a means of retaliation or reprisal, shall be disciplined in accordance with district policies, procedures, and agreements. Consequences and appropriate remedial action, including reports to appropriate law enforcement officials, for a visitor or volunteer found to have falsely accused another, as a means of retaliation or reprisal, shall be determined by the school administrator after careful consideration of the nature and circumstances of the act.
The policy shall be disseminated annually in the Student Code of conduct to all students, parents, and school staff, along with a statement explaining that the policy applies to all acts of bullying that occur on school property, at school-sponsored functions, or on a school bus. The Principal shall develop an annual process for discussing with students the school district policy on bullying. All employees, students, and parents will sign a written statement indicating that they have received, read, and understood the policy and that they agree to abide by the provisions of the policy.
Training on the school district’s bullying policy will be provided to all school employees and volunteers who have significant contact with students.
Iredell-Statesville Schools Attendance Policy
As Revised by the Iredell-Statesville Board of Education, February 2004
Policy Code # 4400
Attendance in school and participation in class are an integral part of academic achievement and the teaching-learning process. Regular attendance develops patterns of behavior essential to professional and personal success in life. Regular attendance by every student is mandatory: the State of North Carolina requires that every child in the State between the ages of seven (or younger if enrolled) and 16 years attend school. Parents or legal guardians have the responsibility for ensuring that students attend and remain at school daily.
A. Attendance Records
School officials will keep an accurate record of attendance, including accurate attendance records in each class. Such records will be maintained by the classroom teacher, principal, and SIMS data operator. Absences must be reported to the SIMS data operator. Attendance records will be used to enforce the Compulsory Attendance Law of North Carolina. If truancy is suspected, the case must be investigated by school personnel and may be referred to the school social worker. Violations of the Compulsory Attendance Law will be reported pursuant to legal requirements.
B. Attendance Standards
A student must attend school 50 percent of the school day in order to be counted present for the entire day. Also, a student must attend a specific class a minimum of 50 percent of the period in order to be counted present for the class.
C. Lawful Absences
When a student must miss school, a written excuse signed by a parent or guardian must be presented to the teacher on the day returning after an absence. If the student does not present a note within two days, the absence will be coded as unlawful. The school will code absences in accordance with state guidelines, which provide that an absence may be coded lawful for the following reasons:
1. personal illness or injury which makes the student physically unable to attend school
2. isolation ordered by the State Board of Health
3. death in the immediate family
4. medical or dental appointment
5. participation under suponea as a witness in a court proceeding
6. observance of an event required or suggested by the religion of the student or the student's parent(s) with prior approval by the principal
Extended illnesses may require a statement from a physician. Out-of-school suspensions will be counted as a lawful absence for attendance record-keeping purposes.
D. School-Related Activities
All classroom activities are important and difficult, if not impossible, to replace if missed. It is the intention of the Board of Education that classes missed be kept to
an absolute minimum through close scrutiny and a monitoring system on the part of the principal. School-related activities must be approved in advance by the
principal. The following school-related activities will not be counted as absences from either class or school:
1. field trips sponsored by the school
2. school-initiated and scheduled activities
3. athletic events requiring early dismissal from school
4. in-school suspension
Assignments missed for these reasons will be completed by students. The teacher will determine when work is to be made up. The student is responsible for finding out what assignments are due and completing them within the specified time period.
E. Excessive Absences
Class attendance and participation are critical elements of the educational process and may be taken into account in assessing academic achievement.
1. Compulsory Attendance Law Reporting
The principal will notify parents and take all other steps required by G. S. 115C-378 for excessive absences.
a. After a student has accumulated three unlawful absences, the principal or his/her designee shall notify the parent/guardian of the child's excessive absences.
b. After not more than six unlawful absences, the principal shall notify the parent/guardian that he/she may be in violation of the Compulsory Attendance Law and may be prosecuted if the absences cannot be justified under the established attendance policies of the state and the Board of Education. Once the parents are notified, the
school social worker may work with the child and his/her family to analyze the causes of the absences and determine the steps to eliminate the problem. The school social worker may request that a law-enforcement officer accompany him/her if the counselor believes that a home visit is necessary.
c. After 10 accumulated unlawful absences in a school year, the principal whall review any reports to or investigations produced by the school social worker pursuant to G. S. 115C-381. The principal shall confer with the student and his/her parent/guardian to determine whether the parent/guardian has been notified of the student's absences and has made a good faith effort to comply with the law. If the principal determines that the parent/guardian has not met his/her obligations, the principal or designee may notify the district attorney. Evidence that shows that the parent/guardian was notified and that the child has accumulated 10 absences which cannot be justified under the Board's established attendance policies shall constitute a prima facie case that the child's parent/guardian is responsible for the absences. If the principal determines that the parent has met his/her obligations the principal may file a complaint with the juvenile court counselor indicating that the student is habitually absent from school without a valid excuse.
2. Grades K through 5
Recognizing that regular school attendance is the foundation for learning and that North Carolina Attendance Law requires attendance of students between the ages
of seven (or younger if enrolled) and 16, students in Iredell-Statesville Elementary Schools are required to be in attendance at least 94.5% of the school year in order to be promoted to the next grade. A student absent more than 10 days shall be referred to the principal/designee for possible retention. Upon the 5th absence (lawful or unlawful) the principal or designee will notify the parent of the school's concern and of interventions necessary for student success.
If the principal determines retention is necessary based on attendance, the parent/guardian will be notified in writing. The parent/guardian will have five days to appeal the principal's decision. Written documentation must be provided to the principal and must be based on appropriate reasons for the absences and completion of make-up work. If summer school attendance is determed to be appropriate, a final decision regarding promotion will be made following the summer school session.
For the purpose of promotion and retention, 10 tardies and/or early dismissals equal one day's absence.
3. Middle School
As a local promotion standard, a middle school student may not miss more than 10 days of school a year or must be present more than 94.4% of the days he/she is enrolled in an ISS middle school. The student must make up time for each day of absence over 10 days during the school year. When a student accumulates more than 5 absences, he/she may begin to attend make up sessions/days as designated by the school. Makeup sessions/days could include before and after school learning labs, workdays, and summer school.
For the purpose of promotion and retention, 5 tardies and/or early dismissals equal one day’s absence.
When a student has been absent for more than 10 days and has failed to make up the time missed, he/she will be referred to the principal/designee as a candidate for retention.The principal/designee will notify the parent of the school’s concern and will inform the parent of the attendance requirements in regard to the local promotion standard.
If the student has accumulated more than 10 absences and has not made up the required time by the end of the last grading period, he/she will be retained in the
current grade.The decision to retain may be re-evaluated before the beginning of the fall term, based on the student’s participation in opportunities for make-up
time, such as summer school.If the student has fulfilled the make-up requirement, the decision may be made to promote him/her to the next grade level.
Parents/Guardians who feel that extenuating circumstances have resulted in their child missing more than 10 days, may request an attendance waiver through the school attendance committee.Waiver requests must be submitted within 5 days of return to school. The committee will review the waiver requests and determine if the student must make up the missed days.
4. High School
1. Students absent from school and/or individual classes more than three (3) times during any nine-week period (whether lawful or unlawful) will receive a code of FF (future failure) for the specific nine-week period. For the code FF (future failure) to be removed time and work must be made up by the time specified by the principal (in the student/parent handbook).
2. High school students must make up class time on an hour-for-hour basis. It is important for students to begin making up time immediately after each absence. Make-up classes are organized by the principal and may be offered before school, after school or on Saturday morning. The school system may provide additional make-up opportunities during an extended day and/or summer program. Make-up classes will be designed specific to student needs and/or to compensate for time missed due to absences.
3. Waiver request forms must be completed at least five (5) days before the end of the 90 day term. The waiver period may be extended at the discretion of the principal. The committee will review the waiver requests and determine if the student must make up missed time.
4. The total number of absences for a 90 day term cannot exceed six (6) lawful or unlawful). If a student is absent from school and/or individual classes more than six (6) times, he/she will not receive credit for the course(s) unless make-up classes are completed or the school attendance committee grants a waiver.
F. Make-Up Work Opportunities
Grades K through 12
All students are required to make up missed work regardless of whether the absence is lawful or unlawful. the school will determine when work is to be made up. The student is responsible for finding out what assignments are due and completing them within the specified time period. The principal will implement specific procedures for students to make up work.
Legal References:G.S. 115C-47, -84, -288(a), -378 to -383; Chapter 7B; 16 NCAC 6E.0100 through .0104; State Board of Education Policy Number
EEO-L-000 through -004
Adopted:September 9, 1996
Revised:August 9, 1999, June 10, 2002, February 9, 2004