POLICY ON BULLYING PREVENTION
Revised September 22, 2022
This Bullying Prevention Policy is created pursuant to and is in compliance with Section 27-23.7 of the Illinois School Code (105 ILCS 5/27-23.7). Arlyn School serves a unique population of students with disabilities and, therefore, the policy set forth herein is tailored to address the needs of Arlyn School’s student population.
Bullying on the basis of actual or perceived race, color, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, physical or mental disability, military status, sexual orientation, gender-related identity or expression, unfavorable discharge from military service, 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 Arlyn School.
No student 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, 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 the school if the bullying causes a substantial disruption to the education process or orderly operation of the school. This item (4) applies only in cases in which the school administrator or teacher receives a report that bullying through this means has occurred and does not require the school to staff or monitor any nonschool-related activity, function or program.
“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 the school.
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. This list is meant to be illustrative and non-exhaustive.
“Cyber-bullying” under this policy is defined as 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, photoelectric 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 in this policy. “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 per this policy.
Bullying is contrary to Illinois law and the policies of Arlyn School.
Anyone, including staff members and parents/guardians, having knowledge of any incident(s) considered to be acts of bullying as defined in this policy are asked to promptly report the bullying to the Executive Director, Educational Director, or Clinical Director. A report may be made by phone, in person, by e-mail or in writing to the individual(s) named below who is/are responsible for receiving such reports. Anonymous reports may also be made in writing and provided to the address below, however, this shall not be construed to permit formal disciplinary action solely on the basis of an anonymous report.
Judith Goldstein, Executive Director
Arlyn School, 2789 Oak Street, Highland Park, Illinois, 60035
E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Consistent with federal and state laws and rules governing student privacy rights, as applicable to Arlyn School, and the policies of Arlyn School, the above-named Administrator, or her designee, will promptly inform the parents/guardians of all students involved in the alleged incident of bullying and discuss, as appropriate, the need for interventions and availability of services, which may include social work services, counseling, school psychological services, other interventions, including community-based services, and restorative measures.
Arlyn School serves a unique population of students with the following disabilities: Emotional Disabiity (ED), Specific Learning Disability (SLD), Other Health Impairment (OHI), Speech or Language Impairment (SLI), Visual Impairment (VI), Hearing Impairment (HI), and Autism AUT). Due to the nature of the population served by Arlyn School and the possibility that certain acts may be manifestations of a student’s disability rather than an intentional act of bullying, as part of determining whether a reported act of bullying is within the permissible scope of the school’s jurisdiction, each reported instance of bullying will be reviewed and assessed for the need to investigate on a case-by-case basis and as determined to be appropriate by Arlyn School’s Executive Director.
If determined to be appropriate for investigation and within the school’s jurisdiction, Arlyn School will comply with the following procedure for promptly investigating and addressing reports of bullying:
- Arlyn School will make all reasonable efforts to complete the investigation within 10 school days after the date the report of the incident of bullying was received and taking into consideration additional relevant information received during the course of the investigation about the reported incident of bullying.
- Any reports of bullying will be kept confidential to the extent possible given the need to investigate the reported claim.
- School support personnel and other staff members with relevant knowledge, experience and training on bullying prevention, as deemed appropriate, may be involved in the investigation process.
- As soon as possible after a report is received, the Executive Director, or her designee, will be notified of the report of the incident(s) of bullying.
- Consistent with the federal and state laws, as applicable to Arlyn School, and the policies governing student privacy rights and confidentiality, parents/guardians of the students who are parties to the investigation may be provided relevant information regarding the investigation, as deemed appropriate by the Executive Director, or her designee, and an opportunity to meet with the Executive Director, or her designee, to discuss the investigation, the findings of the investigation, and the actions taken to address the reported incident of bullying, as deemed appropriate.
Interventions that may be taken to address findings of incidents of bullying in the school, include, but are not limited to: school social work services, restorative measures, social-emotional skill building, counseling, school psychological services, and community-based services. Any student who is determined, after an investigation, to have engaged in an intentional act of bullying will be subject to disciplinary consequences as deemed appropriate and consistent with the school’s disciplinary policies, and/or the disciplinary policies of the student’s referring school district, as applicable and deemed appropriate. Arlyn School is a nonpublic, therapeutic school and an agent of Illinois placing school districts, as such, Arlyn School may share information regarding incidents of bullying with the referring school district(s) of those students involved in a bullying incident, and an individualized education program (“IEP”) meeting may be convened to discuss the impact, if any, on the student’s current educational program, placement, supports and services. Additional services that are available within the referring school district and community, such as counseling, support services, and other programs, should be discussed directly with the student’s referring school district by the parent/guardian.
Reprisal or retaliation against any person who reports an act of bullying per this policy is a violation of this policy and strictly prohibited. Anyone engaging in retaliation or reprisal against any person who reports an act of bullying may face consequences and appropriate remedial action as deemed necessary by Arlyn School and consistent with the school’s disciplinary policies. Appropriate consequences and remedial action, which are consistent with the school’s disciplinary policies, may also be taken against a person found to have falsely accused another of bullying as a means of retaliation or as a means of bullying.
Please also note the following related to the development, notification and publication, and evaluation of this policy:
- This policy is based on engagement with a range of school stakeholders, including students and parents/guardians.
- This policy can be found on the school’s existing website, is included in the student handbook, and, where the school’s other policies, rules, and standards of conduct are currently posted. A copy of this policy may also be requested from the Executive Director.
- This policy will also be distributed annually to parents/guardians, students, and school personnel, including new employees when hired.
- Arlyn School will periodically engage in the process of reviewing and re-evaluating this policy to assess the outcomes and effectiveness of this policy that includes, but may not be limited to, collecting and assessing the following information:
- the frequency of victimization;
- student, staff, and family observations of safety at a school;
- identification of areas of the school where bullying occurs;
- the types of bullying utilized; and
- bystander intervention or participation.
Arlyn School may use relevant data it already collects for other purposes in the policy evaluation. The information developed or collected as a result of the policy evaluation will be made available on the school’s website or otherwise will be provided to Arlyn School’s board, if applicable, administrators, school personnel, parents/guardians, and students.
Policy Evaluation Process:
The Arlyn School administrative team will oversee evaluation and assessment of the policy’s outcomes and effectiveness on an annual basis. This process shall include, 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 being acted out.
- Bystander intervention or participation.
The evaluation process may use relevant data such as internal incident reports collected for other purposes. The information developed as part of the evaluation process is presented to the Arlyn Board of Directors.
This policy is fully consistent with all Arlyn School policies and its mission statement and aligns with policies adopted by home district school boards. This policy will be posted on the Arlyn website, included in the Arlyn Student Handbook, and distributed annually to students, parents, and stakeholders.