Procedures

The new law requires that all schools must document, investigate and respond to incidents of bullying and cyberbullying. These procedures must include written documentation of reported incidents, outcomes of the investigation and how the incident was remediated.

SAUs must report substantiated incidents of bullying and cyberbullying to the Maine DOE on an annual basis. The reporting system is being currently created by the data management team and will be shared by the Department when it is completed.

This section will provide some helpful tools and procedures for documenting and responding to incidents of peer mistreatment.

  • Maine's Best Practices in Bullying & Harassment Prevention (PDF, 455KB). Maine's Best Practices in Bullying and Harassment Prevention Guide was created by a Climate Design team of both Maine state agency staff and bullying prevention professionals. The guide offers specific, effective, training and implementation strategies to assist Maine schools and communities in reducing bullying and harassment and its lasting trauma, thereby improving the academic, social, physical and emotional lives of Maine youth.

 

Data

Understanding bullying starts with collecting data around the climate and culture of the school. A survey of all students and staff should be done at the beginning and end of the school year. Then a school is better able to respond appropriately to the areas of concern that are highlighted in the survey and to better assess whether new approaches they implement are working.

  • Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey (MIYHS). The purpose of the MIYHS is to quantify the health of Kindergarten and grade 3 students through parent interviews, and the health-related behaviors and attitudes of 5th through 12th graders by direct student survey. On this website, you will find important information including data from schools, counties and public health districts on bullying and harassment.
  • Student & Staff Survey Tools. The Maine Best Practice Team offers Maine-based survey tools to better understand current climate realities in our schools.
  • Youth Voice Project. Large-scale research project that solicits students' perceptions about strategy effectiveness to reduce peer mistreatment in our schools. Students' voices are an invaluable resource to increase our understanding of effective prevention and intervention efforts. Find nationwide data on this website.
    • Maine Youth Voice Project Study (PDF, 601KB). The Youth Voice Project conducted a study in Maine with 14 schools and over 3,000 students. The data is included here and highlights procedures that students say really work in the area of bullying and harassment prevention.

 

Reporting

Law mandates that each school record incidents of bullying on Incident Report Forms.? These report forms can be handwritten or electronic. Having a district-wide electronic reporting system allows the data to be collected and analyzed in a more comprehensive way to assess who, what, when and where bullying is occurring. Below are several examples of Incident Report Forms.

 

Investigating

Schools are required by law to investigate all reports of bullying. This section provides you with guidelines, flowcharts and investigation forms from the Office of Civil Rights, Maine Attorney General’s Office , Maine School Management Association and Maryland Department of Education. These guidelines and forms will provide you with best practice approaches in investigating a bullying incident.

 

Responding

Schools are also required to respond in a timely manner to all bullying incidents. This section provides schools with approaches to better understand the different levels of peer mistreatment and how to develop a staff consensus rubric to address these different levels. The section also gives schools guidance in how to dialogue with the bully to increase an understanding of their behavior, the impact on others and how to repair the harm.?One of the most helpful tools in this section is the Student Safety and Support Plan that needs to be created by staff, parents and the victim of bullying to help the student feel safe at school.

  • Student Safety and Support Plan. This student safety and support plan is an essential part of the requirements of the new law, which include "the measures being taken to ensure the safety of the student who has been bullied and to prevent further acts of bullying" This plan should be created by a team of staff members , parent and student and reviewed and revised every 2-3 months. This process ensures that there is a written plan and everyone knows the plan and the best ways to support the student.
  • How Staff Should Respond to Bullying (DOC, 873KB). School staff can learn to structure in-the moment interventions so learning and change are likely. Creating a staff-wide consensus about which behaviors to report to the principal, which behaviors staff will deal with themselves, and which behaviors are seen as acceptable even if the targets of those
    behaviors do not enjoy them will help the school react consistently to reports of aggressive behavior. Courtesy of Stan Davis.
  • Restorative Intervention Implementation Toolkit. A comprehensive approach to bullying prevention that utilizes the Restorative Practices Approach. The Toolkit contains tools and resources for school staff and other adults trained to facilitate conferences and circles to repair harm in educational settings.
  • MSMA? Documentation of Action Taken (DOC, 28KB). Document disciplinary and remedial action that has been taken on a student.