Flow Chart for Responding to Incidents of Bullying and Harassment


1. Does the incident involve cybertechnology?

If YES:
Proceed to question #2.
If NO:
Proceed to question #3.

 

2. Did it occur off school grounds or after school hours?

If YES:
Refer to school/district policy “JICK: Bullying” or “JICIA: Weapons, Violence and School Safety” to see what authority your school policies grant you in addressing this incident.

  • If your policy is JICK, look for the section titled “Application of Policy.”  This section should explicitly state where and when the policy applies.
  • If your policy is JICIA, look for the section titled “Prohibited Conduct.”  Immediately following that title and before the listed behaviors there should be a section explicitly stating where and when the policy applies.

If your policy includes language to the effect that it applies to behavior “that occurs at any other time or place that substantially disrupts the instructional program, operations of the school, or welfare of students,” then the behaviors should be addressed regardless of where and when they occurred.
(Get help from school’s IT staff in terms of collecting evidence.)
Proceed to question #3.

If NO:
Address the behavior in the same way you would if it did not involve cybertechnology. 
(Get help from school’s IT staff in terms of collecting evidence.  Refer to school’s “Acceptable Use” policies.)
Proceed to question #3.

 

3. Does the incident involve issues of race, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, physical or mental disability, sex, or sexual orientation?

(Red flags: derogatory language, slurs, or jokes, written comments, and pictures related to the categories listed above, regardless of your judgment of perpetrator(s) intent.)

If YES:
Proceed to question #4.
If NO:
Proceed to question #7.

 

4. Does it involve threats, violence, or property damage?

(Graffiti is often property damage. It does not matter whose property it is.)

If YES:
This is a potential violation of the Maine Civil Rights Act.  It should be referred to your school resource officer, local law enforcement, and the Attorney General’s Office. 
It is also important that you address the issue in your school.  Proceed to question #5.

If NO:
Proceed to question #5.

 

5. Is there reason to believe that this behavior is motivated by bias?

(Based on the actual words, content of the behavior, and a focus on actual or perceived race, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, physical or mental disability, sex, or sexual orientation?  Consider: details of the incident, history, target and witness perceptions.)

If YES:

  • Refer to school/district policy ACAA: “Harassment and Sexual Harassment of Students”
  • Notify parents of the perpetrator(s) and target(s)
  • Notify relevant staff (including guidance, teachers, bus drivers, coaches, staff with supervision responsibilities, etc.) so that they are aware of the incident
  • File a formal report with your Affirmative Action Officer
  • Bring together a team of relevant staff to develop and implement a safety plan to support the targeted student(s)  (LINK TO SAMPLE PLAN)
  • Educate offending student(s) about the damaging nature and harm caused by their behaviors and include information about potential consequences for repeated violations
  • Provide support to target(s) and family; check in with them later to see if the behavior has continued or changed
  • Document steps and measures taken to address this incident (ongoing)
  • Consider minimizing contact between the perpetrator(s) and target(s) by adjusting the perpetrator(s) schedule, activities, seating, etc.
  • DO NOT: Mediate, have students sit down together, or ask the targeted student(s) to change their behaviors, activities, or schedules.

Also, proceed to question #6.

If NO:
Review the school/district’s harassment policy (ACAA) with the offending student(s) to make sure they understand that such behavior is harmful, even if they don’t intend it to be.
Also, proceed to question #6.  (You will also want to consider the possibility that while this is not discriminatory harassment, it may be bullying behavior.  Go to question #7 for that possibility.)

 

6.  Is this an isolated incident/occurrence or is it part of an overall school climate issue related to bias?

Do not assume answers to this question: you have to investigate to find out.  You are looking for a pattern of bias-based behaviors.  The reason why this is important is because if it’s a hostile environment and your school is not addressing that environment, your school is potentially liable under the Maine Human Rights Act and federal legislation.

If YES:

  • Address specific and relevant bias behaviors and the overall school environment with ALL students and staff.  Refer to policy ACAA: “Harassment and Sexual Harassment of Students” and any other relevant policies. This should be done as soon as possible
  • Conduct training with all staff on policy and procedures in place to address bias behaviors and ensure a safe school environment for all students.

Relevant and Recommended Resources:
(We offer links for recommended resources.)

If NO:
Be on the lookout for similar incidents.  It may be part of a larger school climate issue.

 

7.  Is there a power imbalance between the offending student(s) and targeted student(s)?

(Power imbalances can be based on physical size, social status, socioeconomics, age, cognitive abilities, number of offending students, etc.)
(Is the behavior one-way, repeated, and intended to do harm?)

If YES:
This should be addressed as bullying behavior.  You should:

  • Refer to school/district policy JICK: “Bullying” or JICIA: “Weapons, Violence and School Safety”
  • Notify parents of the perpetrator(s) and target(s)
  • Notify relevant staff (including guidance, teachers, bus drivers, coaches, staff with supervision responsibilities, etc.) so that they are aware of the incident
  • File a formal report with your Affirmative Action Officer
  • Bring together a team of relevant staff to develop and implement a safety plan to support the targeted student(s)  (LINK TO SAMPLE PLAN)
  • Educate offending student(s) about the damaging nature and harm caused by their behaviors and include information about potential consequences for repeated violations
  • Provide support to target(s) and family; check in with them later to see if the behavior has continued or changed
  • Document steps and measures taken to address this incident (ongoing)
  • Consider minimizing contact between the perpetrator(s) and target(s) by adjusting the perpetrator(s) schedule, activities, seating, etc.

Also, proceed to question #8.

If NO:
You still need to…

  • Meet with both students
  • Address the specific behaviors and repair harm
  • Follow up to see if the behavior is repeated or increases in severity or impact
  • Depending on the severity of the behaviors, communicate with relevant staff and parents

8.  Is this an isolated incident/occurrence of is it part of an overall school climate issue?

(Do not assume answers to this question: you have to investigate to find out.) 

If YES:

  • Address specific and relevant bullying behaviors and the overall school environment with ALL students and staff.  Refer to school/district policy JICK: “Bullying” or JICIA: “Weapons, Violence and School Safety” and any other relevant policies.  This should be done as soon as possible.
  • Conduct training with all staff on policy and procedures in place to address bullying behaviors and ensure a safe school environment for all students.

Relevant and Recommended Resources:
(We offer links for ways to address the school environment here.)

If NO:
Be on the lookout for similar incidents.  It may be part of a larger school climate issue.