The MASD community is committed to providing a safe, positive learning environment for district students. The Board of Directors recognizes that bullying creates an atmosphere of fear and intimidation, detracts from the safe environment necessary for student learning, and may lead to more serious violence. Therefore, the Board prohibits bullying by district students. Bullying is defined as an intentional electronic, written, verbal or physical act or series of acts directed at another student or students, which occurs in a school setting, that is severe, persistent or pervasive and has the effect of doing any of the following:
- Substantially interfering with a students education.
- Creating a threatening environment.
- Substantially disrupting the orderly operation of the school.
Bullying, as defined in this policy, includes cyberbullying.
In addition, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has made it a crime to participate in any form of cyber-harassment, in or out of school. Cyber-harassment is defined as the use of electronic technology to convey seriously disparaging statements or opinions about a child's physical characteristics, sexuality, sexual activity or mental or physical health or condition; or to threaten to inflict harm.
A student who violates this school policy shall be subject to appropriate disciplinary action, which may include counseling within the school; parental conference; loss of school privileges; transfer to another school building, classroom or school bus; exclusion from school-sponsored activities; detention; suspension; expulsion; counseling/therapy outside of school; and referral to law enforcement officials.
The policy, in its entirety, may be found in the MASD Policy Manual, policy # 249.
Concerns regarding bullying, or other similar inappropriate interactions between students should be reported to an adult in the school right away.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services describes bullying as follows:
Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Both kids who are bullied and who bully others may have serious, lasting problems.
In order to be considered bullying, the behavior must be aggressive and include:
- An Imbalance of Power: Kids who bully use their power such as physical strength, access to embarrassing information, or popularity to control or harm others. Power imbalances can change over time and in different situations, even if they involve the same people.
- Repetition: Bullying behaviors happen more than once or have the potential to happen more than once.
Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.