The Utica Community Schools Board of Education approved a new anti-bullying policy Monday evening that will go into effect by the beginning of the next school year.
The new policy is aligned with an anti-bullying bill that was signed into law last December by Governor Rick Snyder.
“This legislation sends a clear message that bullying is wrong in all its forms and will not be tolerated,” Snyder said in a news release. “No child should feel intimidated or afraid to come to school.”
All Michigan school districts have six months from the time the bill was signed into law to develop their anti-bullying policy.
UCS' policy states that after an investigation into allegations of bullying, the victim and the offender's parents would be notified of the incident and recorded in a discipline log.
UCS' policy is consistent with the new state laws and includes the following provisions:
- "A statement prohibiting bullying of a pupil.
- A statement prohibiting retaliation or false accusation against a target of bullying, a witness, or another person with reliable information about an act of bullying.
- A provision indicating that all pupils are protected under the policy and that bullying is equally prohibited without regard to its subject matter or motivating animus.
- The identification by job title of school officials responsible for ensuring that the policy is implemented.
- A statement describing how the policy is to be publicized.
- A procedure for providing notification to the parent or legal guardian of a victim of bullying and the parent or legal guardian of a perpetrator of the bullying.
- A procedure for reporting an act of bullying.
- A procedure for prompt investigation of a report of violation of the policy or a related complaint, identifying either the principal or the principal’s designee as the person responsible for the investigation.
- A procedure for each public school to document any prohibited incident that is reported and a procedure to report all verified incidents of bullying and the resulting consequences, including discipline and referrals, to the board of the school district or intermediate school district or board of directors of the public school academy on an annual basis."
- A requirement for educational programs for pupils and parents on preventing, identifying, responding to, and reporting incidents of bullying and cyberbullying."
- A requirement for annual training for administrators, school employees, and volunteers who have significant contact with pupils on preventing, identifying, responding to, and reporting incidents of bullying.
A copy of UCS' anti-bullying policy will be published in the 2012-2013 parent handbook and on the website.