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Bullying Policy

MPUSD Bullying Policy and Complaint Process

 

Monterey Peninsula USD

Board Policy

BULLYING

STUDENT SERVICES/Rights & Responsibilities

 

AR 5131.2

In accordance with Board Policy No. 5131.2 prohibiting bullying, the purpose of this administrative regulation is to provide procedures to process complaints of bullying, to investigate such complaints, to prohibit retaliation against victims of bullying, and to work toward the prevention of bullying.

 

Bullying Defined

 

Bullying, as defined by Education Code section 48900, subd. (r)(1), is any severe or pervasive physical or verbal act or conduct, including communications made in writing or by means of an electronic act, and including one or more acts committed by a pupil or group of pupils as defined in Education Code sections 48900.2, 48900.3, or 48900.4, directed toward one or more pupils that has or can be reasonably predicted to have the effect of one or more of the following:

1. Placing a reasonable pupil or pupils in fear of harm to that pupil’s or those pupils’ person or property.

2. Causing a reasonable pupil to experience a substantially detrimental effect on his or her physical or mental health.

3. Causing a reasonable pupil to experience substantial interference with his or her academic performance.

4. Causing a reasonable pupil to experience substantial interference with his or her ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or privileges provided by a school.

 

For these purposes, an “electronic act” means the transmission of a communication, including, but not limited to, a message, text, sound, or image, or a post on a social network Internet Web site, by means of an electronic device, including, but not limited to, a telephone, wireless telephone or other wireless communication device, computer, or pager. “Reasonable pupil” means a pupil, including, but not limited to, an exceptional needs pupil, who exercises average care, skill, and judgment in conduct for a person of his or her age, or for a person of his or her age with his or her exceptional needs.

 

“Cyberbullying” is bullying that includes the transmission of harassing communications, direct threats, or other harmful texts, sounds, or images on the Internet, social media, or other technologies using a telephone, computer, or any wireless communication device. Cyberbullying also includes breaking into another person’s electronic account and assuming that person’s identity in order to damage that person’s reputation.

 

Discipline for Bullying

Any student who engages in bullying of another student related to a school activity or during school attendance within a school under the jurisdiction of the District Superintendent, or in a manner that causes or is likely to cause a substantial disruption of a school activity or school attendance, whether on or off campus, may be subject to discipline, which may include suspension or expulsion, in according with District policies and regulations.

 

Retaliation Prohibited

It is the District’s policy not to discourage persons from filing bullying complaints. Retaliation against any student or other person for exercising the right to file a bullying complaint is strictly prohibited. To avoid retaliation and the appearance of retaliation, students are directed:

 

1. To refrain from taking any action which dissuades any person from exercising the right to file a bullying complaint.

2. To keep confidential the facts of any complaints or investigation made pursuant to this policy, including the identity of any witnesses or any facts which disclose the identity of the claimants or witnesses.

3. The person against whom a complaint has been filed is directed not to communicate with any complainant, witness or other person involved in the complaint either in person, by mail or telephone, or through any intermediary, in an attempt to discourage persons from cooperating in the investigation of a bullying complaint or to retaliate against them for their involvement with a bullying complaint.

 

Confidentiality

All matters pertaining to the filing, investigation, and resolution of bullying complaints shall be confidential, as appropriate. Files pertaining to bullying complaints shall not become public record to the extent allowed by law.

 

Notice to Students

Each site administrator or designee shall post a public notice, substantially in the form of the Notice Regarding Bullying which is listed as Exhibit No. 5131.2(1), in all school offices, schools, staff lounges and student government meeting rooms.

 

Responsible District Officer

Subject to the authority of the Governing Board and the Superintendent, the Associate Superintendent, School Leadership shall be responsible for overall implementation of policies and regulations prohibiting bullying. The site administrator, or designee, will conduct the investigation into formal complaints of bullying. The Associate Superintendent, School Leadership shall ensure that this policy and regulation is appropriately distributed to employees and students, and, with the consent of the Superintendent, may initiate training and education programs as appropriate to enable employees and students to better understand the problems and consequences of bullying.

 

Interdistrict Transfer

 

At the request of a parent/guardian, students who have been determined by school personnel to have been the victim of an act of bullying shall be given certain priority and/or consideration with regard to an interdistrict transfer agreement.

 

Intervention and Complaint Process

 

All school personnel who witness an act of discrimination, harassment, intimidation, or bullying, shall take immediate steps to intervene when safe to do so.

 

Students who witness an act of discrimination, harassment, intimidation, or bullying, or who suspect that another student is a victim of such acts, are encouraged to notify school staff. When the circumstances involve cyber bullying, individuals with information about the activity shall be encouraged to save and print any electronic or digital messages sent to them that they feel constitute cyber bullying and to notify staff of the same.

 

When a student is reported to be engaging in bullying off campus, the site administrator of the school the student attends, or designee, investigating the complaint may document the activity and shall identify specific facts or circumstances that explain any impact or potential impact on school activity, school attendance, or the targeted student’s educational performance.

 

Students who feel aggrieved because of conduct that may constitute bullying are encouraged, but not required, to directly inform the person engaging in such conduct that such conduct is unwelcome or offensive and should stop. However, if a direct discussion is uncomfortable or otherwise deemed inappropriate or dangerous by the individual aggrieved because of alleged bullying, then the individual aggrieved should file a complaint as described below, and the following steps shall be taken:

 

A. COMPLAINT PROCESS

1. Informal Complaint

The purpose of the informal complaint process is to allow an individual, who believes he or she has been bullied, to resolve the issue through a consultation process rather than the formal complaint process provided by this Regulation. This is an optional step. Pursuant to the Complaint Process Flow Chart (Section D), and if acceptable to the complainant, an informal complaint is initiated within five (5) business days of the alleged occurrence by discussing the incident or matter with the site administrator, or designee. The site administrator, or designee, will use his or her best efforts to resolve an informal complaint within seven (7) business days.

 

2. Formal Complaint

If the complaint cannot be resolved at the informal level, or if the complainant rejects the informal process or resolution, the complainant may complete a Complaint Form [Exhibit No. 5131.2(2)] and shall follow the process as set forth in the Complaint Process Flow Chart.

 

Within fifteen (15) business days of the alleged occurrence, the complainant should submit his or her Formal Complaint in writing using the District’s Complaint Form. The complainant shall type or print, sign, date and submit the Complaint Form to the site administrator or designee.

 

The complainant is not limited to only the Complaint Form. The complainant may write a letter of complaint or attach additional pages/documents to the Form. At a minimum, a Formal Complaint should provide the name of the complainant, the date of the complaint, the date of the alleged bullying, the name or names of the bullying student(s), where such bullying occurred, a detailed statement of the circumstances constituting the alleged bullying, and the requested remedy. The complainant may request assistance from District staff when filing the complaint, if needed. If necessary, a meeting will be scheduled to discuss the complaint with the complainant.

 

3. Appeal

If the complaint is not resolved to the complainant’s satisfaction the complainant may submit an appeal to the Associate Superintendent, School Leadership or designee within ten (10) business days by using the District’s Appeal Form [Exhibit No. 5131.2(3)]. A copy of the Complaint Form and the reply to the Formal Complaint should be attached when possible.

 

B. INVESTIGATION

1. When a Formal Complaint or an Appeal is filed, a thorough, objective, and equitable investigation will be conducted. The investigation may be assigned to staff or to outside persons or organizations. An outside investigator or investigators may be engaged by the Superintendent or designee depending on the nature and scope of the allegations. The term investigator includes a neutral fact finder or other professional knowledgeable about the law/programs that he or she is assigned to investigate.

2. The investigator(s) shall consult with all individuals reasonably believed to have relevant information, including the complainant and any witnesses to the misconduct, and victims of similar misconduct, if any, that the investigator(s) reasonably believes may exist. The parents of the complainant may be informed about the complaint, as appropriate deemed appropriate by the site administrator.

3. When determining whether the alleged misconduct constitutes a violation, the investigator(s) should consider the totality of the circumstances including, as appropriate, but not limited to:

a. The nature of the alleged misconduct or violation.

b. How often the alleged misconduct or violation occurred.

c. Whether there were past incidents or continuing patterns of misconduct or violation.

 

C. DECISION

 

1. Formal Complaint

The site administrator or designee shall respond in writing to the complainant within fifteen (15) business days from the date of the receipt of the Formal Complaint.

 

2. Appeal

The Associate Superintendent, School Leadership or designee shall respond in writing to the complainant within fifteen (15) business days from the date of the receipt of the Appeal.

 

The District’s decision shall be written in English and in the language of the complainant whenever feasible or as required by law.

 

D. COMPLAINT PROCESS FLOW CHART

 

LEVEL

PRESENTS

COMPLAINT TO

TYPE OF

COMPLAINT

NUMBER OF BUSINESS

DAYS TO FILE

NUMBER OF BUSINESS DAYS

TO RESPOND

INFORMAL

SITE ADMINISTRATOR OR DESIGNEE

INFORMAL DISCUSSION

WITHIN FIVE

(5) DAYS OF ALLEGED OCCURRENCE

 

N/A

FORMAL

AREA SUPT.

OR DESIGNEE

FORMAL

IN WRITING

WITHIN FIFTEEN (15) DAYS OF ALLEGED

 

 

OCCURRENCE

FIFTEEN (15) DAYS FROM FILING

APPEAL

ASSOCIATE SUPT., SCHOOL LEADERSHIP

OR DESIGNEE

APPEAL IN WRITING

WITHIN TEN

(10) DAYS OF REPLY TO FORMAL COMPLAINT

FIFTEEN (15) DAYS FROM FILING

 

Policy:  Monterey Peninsula Unified School District

Adopted:  September 4, 2012                     Monterey, California

BP 5131.2 Purpose

 

Monterey Peninsula USD

Board Policy

STUDENT SERVICES/ Rights & Responsibilities

BULLYING

 

BP 5131.2

 

PURPOSE: To establish a policy to ensure every student shall be free from bullying at school or

school-related activities.

 

The Board declares that it is the District’s policy to prohibit discrimination, harassment, intimidation and bullying based on actual or perceived characteristics described in Penal Code section 422.55, Education Code section 220, or association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics. This policy applies to all acts related to school activity or school attendance occurring within a school under the jurisdiction of the District Superintendent. The Board hereby authorizes the Superintendent to establish procedures in keeping with this policy that will ensure that students are free from discrimination, harassment, intimidation and bullying.

 

The Board further authorizes the Superintendent to provide a mechanism for receiving and investigating complaints of discrimination, harassment, intimidation and bullying based on actual or perceived characteristics described in Penal Code section 422.55, Education Code section 220, or association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics. Said complaint process must:

 

1. Require all school personnel who witness an act of discrimination, harassment, intimidation,            or bullying, to take immediate steps to intervene when safe to do so.

 

2. Set forth a timeline to investigate and resolve complaints of discrimination, harassment,

intimidation, or bullying that shall be followed by all schools under the jurisdiction of the District.

 

3. Include an appeal process afforded to the complainant should he or she disagree with the resolution of a complaint filed pursuant to this policy. 

 

All forms developed pursuant to the complaint process shall be translated in keeping with Education Code section 48985. All individuals making a complaint alleging discrimination, harassment, intimidation, or bullying pursuant to this policy shall be protected from retaliation and have their identity remain confidential, as appropriate.

 

The Board directs the Superintendent to publicize the District’s bullying policy, including a description of how to file a complaint, and to ensure that the policy is posted in school offices, schools, staff lounges and student government meeting rooms.

 

 

The Board identifies the Associate Superintendent, School Leadership as the responsible District

employee for ensuring compliance with this policy.

 

This policy shall not be construed to limit pupil rights to free speech as protected by the United States Constitution, the California Constitution, or other applicable law.

 

 

Policy:  Monterey Peninsula Unified School District

Adopted: September 4, 2012              Monterey, California

Complaint & Appeal Forms

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