Bullying and harassment of students can create an atmosphere of fear and anxiety for all members of the school community. Bullying can affect the ability of a student to attend school; to learn and progress effectively in school; and to participate in activities inside and outside of school, including traveling to and from school, walking in the corridors, eating in the school cafeteria, playing in the school yard and participating in special or extracurricular activities. Bullying behaviors that are not addressed can lead to serious adverse consequences for students, including academic, attendance or psychological problems. The failure to address bullying behaviors also gives other students the message that it is permissible to engage in negative behaviors.
Reporting Bullying, Harassment and Retaliation
Please follow the link to find the entire Melrose Public Schools Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan with guidance on reporting incidents of bullying or harassment.
Reports of bullying or retaliation may be made by staff, students, parents or guardians, or others, and may be oral or written. Oral reports made by or to a staff member shall be recorded in writing. A school or district staff member is required to report immediately to the principal or designee any instance of bullying or retaliation the staff member becomes aware of or witnesses. Reports made by students, parents or guardians, or other individuals who are not school or district staff members, may be made anonymously. The district has made a variety of reporting resources available to the school community including, but not limited to: a Harassment Incident Report Form (see link below), a voicemail box at each school, a district dedicated mailing address, and an email address at each school. Contact information for Hoover Elementary School is as follows:
- Hoover Elementary School: Jenny Corduck at [email protected]
- The district mailing address is as follows: Melrose Public Schools –c/o Cyndy S. Taymore, 360 Lynn Fells Pkwy, Melrose, MA 02176
Use of the Harassment Incident Report Form is not required as a condition of making a report. The school or district will:
1) Include a copy of the Harassment Incident Report Form in the beginning of the year packets for students and parents or guardians;
2) Make it available in the school’s main office, the counseling office, the school nurse’s office, and other locations determined by the principal or designee; and
3) Post it on the school’s website.
The Harassment Incident Report Form will be made available in the most prevalent language(s) of origin of students and parents or guardians. At the beginning of each school year, the school or district will provide the school community, including administrators, staff, students, and parents or guardians, with written notice of its policies for reporting acts of bullying and retaliation. A description of the reporting procedures and resources, including the name and contact information of the principal or designee, will be incorporated in student and staff handbooks, on the school or district website, and in information about the Plan that is made available to parents or guardians.
Reporting by Staff:
A staff member will report immediately to the principal or designee when he/she witnesses or becomes aware of conduct that may be bullying or retaliation. The requirement to report to the principal or designee does not limit the authority of the staff member to respond to behavioral or disciplinary incidents consistent with school or district policies and procedures for behavior management and discipline.
Reporting by Students, Parents or Guardians, and Others:
The school or district expects students, parents or guardians, and others who witness or become aware of an instance of bullying or retaliation involving a student to report it to the principal or designee. Reports may be made anonymously, but no disciplinary action will be taken against an alleged aggressor solely on the basis of an anonymous report. Students, parents or guardians, and others may request assistance from a staff member to complete a written report. Students will be provided practical, safe, private and age-appropriate ways to report and discuss an incident of bullying with a staff member, or with the principal or designee.
See link to Harassment Incident Report Form.
Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan
Bullying is defined by M.G.L. c. 71, § 37O. It can be direct or indirect and can have serious emotional and/or physical effects on its victims. Bullying is a continuum of behavior that involves the attempt to gain power and dominance over another. Typically, bullying is repeated over time. It may involve physical aggression such as fighting, shoving, kicking, and other such acts. It may also involve verbal and/or emotional aggression such as name calling or more indirect acts such as spreading rumors, deliberate social isolation, and/or other such acts.
Aggressive behavior will not be tolerated at Melrose Public Schools. In order to prevent bullying or aggressive behavior in its earliest stages, there will be consequences for observable acts of aggressive behavior regardless of intent. Besides having the potential to cause harm, aggressive behavior is inappropriate in school.
On May 3, 2010, Governor Patrick signed into law a comprehensive legislation to address bullying in schools. “An Act Relative to Bullying in Schools”, Chapter 92 of the Acts of 2010, requires all schools to create and implement strategies to prevent bullying, and to address bullying promptly and effectively when it occurs.
Melrose Public Schools has a Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan as required by law that prohibits bullying, cyberbullying, and retaliation. Provisions of the Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan mandate that all school employees are required to report immediately any instance of bullying or retaliation that they witness or become aware of to the principal or assistant principal who shall promptly conduct an investigation. If the principal(s) determines bullying has occurred:
1) The Melrose Police Department and/or School Resource Officer will be notified if the principal believes criminal charges may be pursued against the perpetrator.
2) The principal(s) will take appropriate disciplinary action.
3) The principal(s) will notify parents or guardians of the victim.
4) The principal(s) will notify parents or guardians of the perpetrator and provide them with the action taken to prevent further acts of bullying.
Bullying is prohibited on school grounds, property adjacent to school grounds, at school-sponsored events or school-related events. Bullying that does not take place on school grounds is also prohibited when such bullying creates a hostile environment at school for the victim, infringes on the victim’s rights at school, or materially and substantially disrupts the educational process or the orderly operations of the school. Retaliation against a person who reports bullying, provides information during an investigation of bullying, and/or witnesses or has reliable information is also prohibited.
Parents (both the victim’s parents and the aggressor’s parents) will be notified. Consequences for the infraction of aggressive behavior and/or bullying are listed in the “Aggressive Behavior Consequences Rubric” located in the rules for behavior and discipline of students section of this handbook.