District 156 Handbook Language on Bullying

District 156 Handbook Language on Bullying

III – Q.  Page 26  Threats/Harassment

It is the policy of McHenry High School District #156 to provide an educational environment free from bullying, hazing, harassment, and cyber-bullying.  The School District is committed to protecting its students from any form of physical, verbal, or mental abuse.

Bullying is defined to include, but is not limited to, any aggressive or negative gesture, electronic communication, or written, verbal or physical act that places another student in reasonable fear of harm to his or her person or property, or that has the effect of insulting or demeaning any student in such a way as to disrupt or interfere with the school’s educational mission or the education of any student.  Bullying most often occurs when a student asserts physical or psychological power over, or is cruel to, another student perceived to be weaker. Such behavior may include but is not limited to: pushing, hitting, threatening, name-calling or other electronic, written, physical or verbal conduct of a belittling or browbeating nature.

Hazing is any act that subjects a student to electronic, written, physical, or verbal harassment, mental or physical discomfort, intimidation, embarrassment, ridicule, or demeaning activity committed by an individual student or group of students for the purpose of initiation, maintaining membership, or holding office in any organization, club, or athletic team.

Harassment includes any unwelcome electronic, written, physical, or verbal conduct, contact or communication that is motivated by or related to individual characteristics such as race, color, national origin, gender, economic status, disability, religion, religious affiliation or sexual orientation and that creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive educational environment.  Although harassment that creates a hostile environment may take many different forms, some examples include name calling and other derogatory comments, jokes, gestures or looks, posting or distribution of derogatory pictures, notes or graffiti, blocking, pushing, hitting or other forms of physical aggression.  Where harassment is sexual, it may also include such conduct as persistent unwelcome attempts to interact with someone, spreading of rumors, aggressive physical contact such as kissing, touching or pulling at clothes in a sexual way.

Sexual Harassment
Sexual Harassment also includes unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors when such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of the receipt of educational or other school-related benefits, or such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for educational or other school-related decisions affecting that individual.

Cyber-bullying is a subset of bullying, hazing, and harassment.  For purposes of this policy, cyber-bullying is defined as the use of e-mail, instant messaging, chat rooms, pagers, cell phones, or other forms of information technology to deliberately bully, haze, harass, threaten, or intimidate someone.  Cyber-bullying can include, but is not limited to, such acts as making threats, provocative insults, racial or ethnic slurs, sexting or demeaning remarks about one’s sexual orientation.

Sexting is electronically distributing or disseminating any material that depicts another minor nude or engaged in any sexual or lewd conduct. Electronic transfers include transfers via computer or any other electronic communication device, including cellular phones.  It is a violation of Illinois law for a minor under the age of 18 to electronically distribute or disseminate any material that depicts another minor nude or engaged in any sexual or lewd conduct.  The District prohibits students from imaging in sexting, including possessing sexually explicit photographs or images on any electronic device regardless of whether the depiction violates State law.  Any cellular phone or other electronic device may be searched upon reasonable suspicion of sexting.  All students involved in sexting may be disciplined. In all cases where sexting is suspected, school administrators will contact the police.