Prevention and Response to Bullying
Bullying, intimidation, and harassment diminish a student’s ability to learn and a school’s ability to educate. Preventing students from engaging in these disruptive behaviors and providing all students equal access to a safe, non-hostile learning environment are important goals for the Hopewell Academy.
Bullying is contrary to Illinois state law and the policy of Hopewell Academy. However, nothing in this policy is intended to infringe upon any right to exercise free expression or the free exercise of religion or religiously based views protected under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution or under Section 3 of Article I of the Illinois Constitution.
Prohibited Bullying & Cyber-Bullying:
Bullying on the basis of actual or perceived race, color, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, physical or mental disability, military status, unfavorable discharge status from the military service, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender-related identity or expression, association with a person or group with one or more of the aforementioned actual or perceived characteristics, or any other distinguishing characteristic is prohibited at Hopewell Academy. No student at Hopewell Academy shall be subjected to bullying:
- During any school-sponsored education program or activity;
- While in school, on school property, on school buses or other school vehicles, at designated school bus stops waiting for the school bus, or at school-sponsored or school-sanctioned events or activities;
- Through the transmission of information from a school computer, a school computer network, or other similar electronic school equipment; or
- Through the transmission of information from a computer that is accessed at a nonschool-related location, activity, function, or program or from the use of technology or an electronic device that is not owned, leased, or used by Hopewell Academy if the bullying causes a substantial disruption to the educational process or orderly operation of the school. This Paragraph 4 applies only when a school administrator or teacher receives a report that bullying through this means has occurred and does not require Hopewell Academy, including its school personnel, to staff or monitor any nonschool-related activity, function, or program.
For purposes of this policy, bullying includes cyber-bullying and 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:
- Placing the student or students in reasonable fear of harm to the student’s or students’ person or property;
- Causing a substantially detrimental effect on the student’s or students’ physical or mental health;
- Substantially interfering with the student’s or students’ academic performance; or
- Substantially interfering with the student’s or students’ ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or privileges provided by Hopewell Academy.
Cyber-bullying means 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. Cyber-bullying includes the creation of a webpage or weblog in which the creator assumes the identity of another person or the knowing impersonation of another person as the author of posted content or messages if the creation or impersonation creates any of the effects enumerated in the definition of bullying. Cyber-bullying also includes the distribution by electronic means of a communication to more than one person or the posting of material on an electronic medium that may be accessed by one or more persons if the distribution or posting creates any of the effects enumerated in the definition of bullying.
Bullying 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. For purposes of this policy, this list is meant to be illustrative and non-exhaustive.
Prevention and Response Plan:
As required by the Illinois School Code, Hopewell Academy maintains a bullying prevention and response plan that advances the school’s goal of providing all students with a safe learning environment free of bullying and harassment.
Students are encouraged to immediately report bullying. A report may be made orally or in writing to the principal or assistant director or any staff member with whom the student is comfortable speaking. Anyone, including staff members and parents/guardians, who has information about actual or threatened bullying is encouraged to report it to the principal or assistant site director or any staff member. Anonymous reports are also accepted via phone or mail.
Consistent with applicable federal and state laws regarding students’ privacy rights, upon receipt of information of a student’s alleged involvement in an incident of bullying, the parent(s)/guardian(s) of that student will be informed promptly and, as deemed appropriate by the school, will be offered available services, including social work services, counseling, school psychological services, and/or other interventions.
Hopewell Academy will promptly investigate and address reports of bullying by:
- Determining first whether the reported act of bullying is within the permissible scope of the school’s jurisdiction;
- Making all reasonable efforts to complete the investigation within 10 school days after the date the report of a bullying incident was received and taking into consideration additional relevant information received during the course of the investigation about the reported bullying incident;
- Involving appropriate school support personnel and other staff persons with knowledge, experience, and training on bullying prevention, as deemed appropriate, in the investigation process;
- Notifying the Building Principal or Site Director or his/her designee of the reported incident of bullying as soon as possible after the report is received;
- Consistent with applicable federal and state laws regarding students’ privacy rights, providing parents/guardians of the students who are parties to the investigation information about the investigation and an opportunity to meet and/or discuss with the Building Principal or Site Director the investigation, the findings of the investigation, and the actions taken to address the reported incident of bullying.
- As deemed appropriate, Hopewell Academy shall inform the resident school district of the incident, in order for the resident school district to determine whether to provide the involved student(s) with information regarding services that are available within the resident school district and/or community, such as counseling, support services, and other programs, and/or to convene an IEP meeting, as determined appropriate by the resident school district.
Hopewell Academy offers the following interventions, which may be amended, altered or discontinued from time-to-time, to address bullying situations: social work services, social-emotional skill building, counseling, school psychological services, and community-based services.
Hopewell Academy strictly prohibits reprisal or retaliation against any person who reports an act of bullying. A student’s act of reprisal or retaliation will be treated as bullying for purposes of determining consequences or other remedial actions deemed appropriate by Hopewell Academy.
No student will be punished for reporting bullying or supplying information, even if the school’s investigation concludes that no bullying occurred. However, knowingly making a false accusation or providing knowingly false information will be treated as bullying for purposes of determining consequences or other remedial actions deemed appropriate by Hopewell Academy.
Suggestions and or feedback regarding this bullying prevention policy are welcomed and should be directed to Chad Kollross, Administrator, Hopewell Academy and Bridgepoint Academy, 100 Batson Court, Suite 102, New Lenox, IL 60451 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or 815-463-9655 x 7102.
Hopewell Academy shall conduct a review and reevaluation of this policy and make necessary and appropriate revisions every 2 years. This includes Hopewell Academy’s responsibility to evaluate and assess the outcomes and effectiveness including, but not limited to, 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. Information developed as part of the policy evaluation will be made available on school’s website, if any, or by other means to school administrators, school personnel, parents/guardians and students.