BHESA Bullying Plan 2019-2020
BULLYING (AND CYBERBULLYING)
Benton Heights Elementary School of the Arts, together with Union County Public Schools, strives to preserve a safe and welcoming learning environment where all students can reach their fullest potential. To that end, bullying of any form is expressly prohibited at any Union County Public School. Upholding North Carolina law, Union County Public Schools also recognizes that all students should be protected on the basis of race, religion, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity. Therefore, any violation of this law is unacceptable and will be addressed according to state law and Board of Education Policy (BOE Policy 4-7).
Definition of Bullying Behavior
Bullying behavior, under North Carolina Law, is defined as any pattern of gestures, or written, electronic, or verbal communications, or any physical act or any threatening communication that takes place on school property.
Bullying can occur in various forms including: physical, verbal, social, psychological, and cyber-bullying.
Bullying behavior may include, but is not limited to: physical aggression (i.e. kicking, hitting, pushing, pinching, biting), verbal harassment (i.e. taunting, name calling, spreading rumors, threats), social intimidation/exclusion, stealing, and cyber-bullying.
Cyber-bullying is when a child, preteen or teen is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another child, preteen or teen using the Internet, interactive and digital technologies or mobile phones.
At Benton Heights Elementary School of the Arts, teachers and staff will work together to promote positive, respectful relationships. The school community as a whole will recognize shared responsibilities among one another and take the appropriate steps towards identifying, preventing, and addressing bullying.
Many programs/activities have been implemented at BHESA to promote the development of respectful relationships, positive character traits, healthy coping skills, and behaviors that result in academic and social success. The components of our bullying plan listed below affect students on a school-wide, classroom, and individual level to provide a safe learning environment for all students.
- Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS))
- Leader in Me (7 Habits)
- Terrific Kids Program
- Principal Awards
- Classroom Guidance Lessons
- Small Counseling and Psycho-educational Groups
- Individual Counseling
- School to Home Communication
- PBIS – A school-wide program that promotes positive behaviors in students. Appropriate student behavior is taught and reinforced consistently throughout the school both in and outside of classroom settings.
- Leader in Me (7 Habits) – We are focused on building the future leader by establishing a strong foundation of interpersonal skills.
- Terrific Kids – Four celebrations are held throughout the school year in which students are recognized in front of peers and family members for exemplifying positive behavior. Teachers nominate students to receive a Terrific Kid award whom they feel is a positive role model to other students. Through partnering with the Kiwanis Club in the community, this program is possible.
- Classroom Guidance – Lessons are provided by the School Counselor to all students in K – 5 on a regular basis. Age-appropriate lessons are presented that focus on bullying. The lessons teach students what bullying is, why students bully, assertion skills and how to seek help for bullying. Students in upper grades are also taught about cyber-bullying and are informed of possible consequences for cyberbullying should it affect school. Students are informed of a confidential way to report bullying to the counselor.
- Counseling and Psycho-educational Groups - Small groups will be provided to those students who have been identified through our PBIS program. The topics of these groups will vary and will be developed to meet students’ needs, but will help the students develop necessary skills to be successful in school. Topics and strategies help students develop positive coping skills and relationships through discussions, role-plays, experiential activities, etc.
- Individual Counseling – Individual counseling will be provided to those students who are being affected by bullying behaviors as identified through PBIS, teacher and staff observations, and student referrals.
- Parent Communications – Parents receive frequent communications to help ensure that they are aware of efforts to promote positive, non-bullying behaviors at BHESA. Teachers, administrators and counselors communicate concerns regarding bullying behaviors to parents to help reduce bullying behaviors and help ensure all students feel safe at BHESA.
The bullying plan is posted on the school website and in each student’s handbook. Students and parents are asked to review these policies and procedures that the beginning of each school year or at the time of enrollment.
Reporting Procedures for Staff and Students
Students: Students are instructed to report bullying behaviors to their teacher or any staff member/adult at school. They are able to do so verbally or in written form and can choose to remain anonymous. They are taught the importance of reporting dangerous/hurtful behaviors immediately so that the proper course of action can be followed to address any bullying.
Staff: All staff members are responsible for monitoring student behavior at all times and are responsible for addressing bullying behavior immediately when it is observed/when they become aware of it. Teachers follow the consequences as outlined in the bullying policy. Cyberbullying should also be immediately communicated to school administration. Although we may not be able to punish what happens outside of school, BHESA administration will contact authorities and report any incidents of cyberbullying.
NOTE: All infractions must be documented in Educator’s Handbook for accurate records.
Parents/Guardians: Incidents of bullying should be reported to school administration when parents or other stakeholders are made aware. BHESA administration welcomes the opportunity to partner with community stakeholders to promote a healthy, welcoming and positive community for all students.
Consequences for Bullying at Benton Heights Elementary
In an effort to recognize when a pattern exists, all bullying behavior needs to be written on an office referral and entered in PowerSchool. When an incident is reported or witnessed, please write on the referral in (PARENTHESIS) before describing the incident (BULLYING BEHAVIOR). Then describe the incident.
1st offense: Parent contact by the teacher. (Administration may be involved due to the severity)
2nd offense: Same as above. Conference with parent may be necessary. Alert school counselor. School counselor may need to monitor more closely and may observe within the learning environment.
3rd offense: Teacher and/or school counselor will contact the parent. Possible conference needed. Parent notified of consequence of the 4th offense (1-3 days of suspension.)
4th offense: Administration makes contact with parent. Parent conference is required with school counselor and teacher present as well. 1-3 day suspension may occur.
5th offense: Administration, school psychologist, school resource officer and school counselor meet with parent. Possible PEP for behavior is developed. Possible 3-5 day suspension.
Monitoring and Evaluating
The effectiveness of the strategies, programs and procedures that are in place to address bullying at Benton Heights Elementary are monitored and evaluated through data collection and collaboration. Details of the bullying plan are communicated by the counselor at a staff meeting at the beginning of the year.
Teachers track student behavior daily and this data is collected by the School Counselor every six weeks. In addition, our students set goals and monitor their own learning with Leadership notebooks. This allows for student behaviors to be tracked, monitored and addressed on a regular basis and is done as a part of the PBIS program. Bullying behaviors that result in an immediate office referral are also documented by administration and then communicated to the counselor.