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Harassment, Intimidation, & Bullying

Definitions

When someone says or does something unintentionally hurtful, and they do it once, that’s RUDE.

When someone says or does something intentionally hurtful, and they do it once, that’s MEAN.

Sometimes people don’t get along, and they engage in “mean behavior.” Mean behavior does not always rise to the level of harassment, intimidation, or bullying. Mean behavior should be reported to school officials, but it will be addressed differently than harassment, intimidation, or bullying (HIB).

A key characteristic that differentiates “mean behavior” from harassment, intimidation, or bullying is that HIB creates a hostile environment for the victim:

Hostile Environment: an environment created when the conduct is so severe that it limits a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the school’s services, activities, and opportunities. Physical illness, anxiety about going to school, or a decline in grades or attendance could signal a hostile environment.

In addition to defining “hostile environment,” the following definitions are provided to help you determine whether the behavior of concern should be reported to school authorities as an incident of harassment, intimidation, and/or bullying:

  • Harassment: Any one-sided act which causes physical or mental harm, damages another’s property, or which threatens a person or group and puts them in reasonable fear of harm to person or property. It does not have to involve repeated incidents. It occurs when conduct is based on a student’s protected class (sex, race, creed, religion, color, national origin, age, veteran or military status, sexual orientation, gender expression, gender identity, disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal) OR other distinguishing characteristics (for example, physical appearance, clothing or other apparel, socioeconomic status, or weight). There is no requirement that the targeted student actually possess the characteristic that is the basis for the harassment. Harassment creates a hostile environment at school.
  • Intimidation: Implied or overt threats of physical violence that substantially interfere with a student’s education and create a hostile environment at school.
  • Bullying: Unwanted aggressive behavior by another person or group who are not siblings or current dating partners that involve an observed or perceived power imbalance and is repeated multiple times or is highly likely to be repeated. It results in physical, psychological, social, or educational harm. It creates a hostile environment at school.
    • Cyberbullying: Willful and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices.  Examples include text messages or emails, rumors posted on social networking sites, sexted or other embarrassing pictures, videos, websites, or fake profiles. Because cyberbullying messages can be rapidly sent to many people, they can cause considerable damage to children.
  • Sexual Assault: In the case of sexual assault, the victim is encouraged to contact 911 immediately to report the incident to the police. If sexual assault is reported to any school official and the police have not been notified, that official must follow mandated reporting laws and notify law enforcement of the alleged assault. According to Washington State Law (RCW 70.125.030), “sexual assault” means one or more of the following:
    • Rape or rape of a child;
    • Assault with intent to commit rape or rape of a child;
    • Incest or indecent liberties;
    • Child molestation;
    • Sexual misconduct with a minor;
    • Crimes with a sexual motivation;
    • Custodial sexual misconduct;
    • Sexual exploitation or commercial sex abuse of a minor;
    • Promoting prostitution;
    • An attempt to commit any of the aforementioned offenses.

Reporting

Anyone who experiences or sees harassment, intimidation, or bullying behavior must report it to school counselors, teachers, or administrators. School administrators will act. The report can be verbal or put in writing using the online Incident Reporting form (below) or in the school office (return the paper form to the school or district office).

Report HIB

If you need assistance completing this form or would prefer to report verbally, please contact the Office of Student Achievement at studentachievement@nthurston.k12.wa.us.

School staff will investigate the incident, communicate findings to the parent/guardian, and create a plan to stop the harassment, intimidation, or bullying.

Unresolved, severe, or persistent harassment, intimidation, or bullying may require an extensive investigation. Our district will investigate these reports with reasonable promptness. During the investigation, the District will take appropriate measures to ensure that no further incidents of harassment, intimidation, or bullying occur between the reporter and the alleged aggressor. If necessary, the District will implement a safety plan for the student(s) involved.

Retaliation is prohibited and will result in appropriate discipline. It is a violation of district policy to threaten or harm someone for reporting harassment, intimidation, or bullying or for participating in an investigation.

It is also a violation of district policy to knowingly report false allegations of harassment, intimidation, and bullying. Students or employees will not be disciplined for making a report in good faith. However, persons found to knowingly report or corroborate false allegations will be subject to appropriate discipline.

Compliance Officer for Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying:
Kirsten Rue
Director of Student Achievement
360-412-4899
studentachievement@nthurston.k12.wa.us
305 College Street NE
Lacey, WA 98516.

Right to Appeal

If the complainant or parent/guardian is dissatisfied with the results of the investigation, they may appeal to the Superintendent’s designee, Kirsten Rue (HIB Compliance Officer), by filing a written notice of appeal within five (5) business days of receiving the written decision. The appeal can be emailed to studentachievement@nthurston.k12.wa.us or dropped off at the District Office (305 College Street NE, Lacey, WA).