Maine School Administrative District No. 31
The Board believes that bullying, including cyberbullying, is detrimental to student well-being and to student learning and achievement. It interferes with the mission of the schools to educate their students and disrupts the operations of the schools. Bullying affects not only students who are targets but also those who participate in and witness such behavior.
Bullying, including “cyberbullying,” harassment and sexual harassment are not acceptable conduct in MSAD 31 and are prohibited.
Retaliation for the reporting of incidents of such behavior is also prohibited.
In adopting this policy, it is not the Board’s intent to prohibit students from expressing their ideas, including religious, political and philosophical views that may offend the sensibilities of others, or from engaging in civil debate. However, the Board does not condone and will take action in response to conduct that directly interferes with students’ rights at school under applicable laws or with the educational mission, operations, discipline or general welfare of the schools.
“Bullying” and “cyberbullying” have the same meaning in this policy as in Maine law:
“Bullying” includes, but is not limited to a written, oral or electronic expression or a
physical act or gesture or any combination thereof directed at a student or students that:
A. Has, or a reasonable person would expect it to have, the effect of:
1. Physically harming a student or damaging a student’s property; or
2. Placing a student in reasonable fear of physical harm or damage to his/her property;
B. Interferes with the rights of a student by:
1. Creating an intimidating or hostile educational environment for the student; or
2. Interfering with the student’s academic performance or ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities or privileges provided by the school; or
C. Is based on:
a. A student’s actual or perceived characteristics identified in 5 MRSA § 4602 or 4684-A (including race; color; ancestry; national origin; sex; sexual orientation; gender identity or expression; religion; physical or mental disability) or other distinguishing personal characteristics (such as socioeconomic status; age; physical appearance; weight; or family status); or
b. A student’s association with a person with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics or any other distinguishing characteristics; and that has the effect described in subparagraph A. or B. above.
Under Maine law:
“Sexual orientation” means a person’s actual or perceived heterosexuality, bisexuality, homosexuality, or gender identity or expression.
“Gender identity” means gender-related identity, appearance, mannerisms, or other gender-related characteristics of an individual, regardless of the individual’s assigned sex at birth.
“Cyberbullying” means bullying through the use of technology or any electronic communication, including but not limited to, a transfer of signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data or intelligence of any nature transmitted by the use of any electronic device including, but not limited to, a computer, telephone, cellular telephone, text messaging device or personal digital assistant.
Retaliation means an act or gesture against a student for asserting or alleging an act of bullying. Retaliation also includes reporting that is not made in good faith on an act of bullying.
Application of Policy
This policy applies to bullying that:
A. Takes place at school or on school grounds, at any school-sponsored or school-related activity or event or while students are being transported to or from school or school-sponsored activities or events; or
B. Takes place elsewhere or through the use of technology, but only if the bullying also infringes on the rights of the student at school as set forth in the definition of “bullying.”
Consequences for Policy Violations
Students who violate this policy may be subject to disciplinary action which may include suspension, expulsion or a series of graduated consequences including alternative discipline or other behavioral interventions.
The Board retains the right to impose disciplinary consequences for bullying and other conduct that occurs at any time or place that substantially disrupts the instructional program, operations of the schools or welfare of students.
Any student violating this policy may also be subject to civil or criminal penalties.
School Employees and Others
Administrators, professional staff and all other employees who violate this policy may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal, and in accordance with any applicable collective bargaining agreements.
Volunteers, contractors and visitors who violate this policy will be excluded or barred from school property until the Superintendent is satisfied that the person will comply with Maine’s bullying law and this policy.
Any person violating this policy may also be subject to civil or criminal penalties.
Any school-affiliated organization that authorizes or engages in bullying or retaliation is subject to forfeiture of Board approval/sanctioning and/or suspension or revocation of its permission to operate on school grounds.
MSAD 31 will provide professional development and staff training in bullying prevention and response.
Delegation of Responsibility
The Superintendent/designee will be responsible for developing and implementing procedures in accordance with applicable law to implement this policy.
The Superintendent will designate the school principal and/or other school personnel to be responsible for implementation/enforcement of this policy and associated procedures on the school level.
A student or his/her parent/guardian who is dissatisfied with a decision of the
Superintendent or designee may appeal, in writing, to the Superintendent within 10 school days of notice of the decision.
The Superintendent’s decision shall be final.
Dissemination of Policy
The Superintendent will be responsible for providing this policy, any associated administrative procedures and the names of the person(s) responsible for implementing the policy/procedure at the school level in writing to students, parents, school employees and volunteers in handbooks, on the school unit’s website and by such other means (if any) as may be determined by the Superintendent.
Legal Reference: 20-A M.R.S.A. § 1001(15), 6554
Cross Reference: AC - Nondiscrimination, Equal Opportunity
ACAA-R - Harassment and Sexual Harassment of Students
ACAD – Hazing
AD – Educational Philosophy/Mission
ADAA – School System Commitment to Standards for Ethical and
ADF - School District Commitment to Learning Results
CHCAA - Student Handbooks
GCI – Professional Staff Development
IJNDB-R - Student Computer and Internet Use and Internet Safety
JI - Student Rights and Responsibilities
JIC - Student Code of Conduct
JICC - Student Conduct on Buses
JICIA - Weapons, Violence and School Safety
JK - Student Discipline
JKD - Suspension of Students
JKE - Expulsion of Students
KLG - Relations with Law Enforcement Authorities
First Reading: 10/16/2019