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Draft of anti-bullying policy unveiled in South Hadley

By WGGB Staff

SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. (WGGB) — The town’s Anti-Bullying Task Force formed in the wake of the suicide of Phoebe Prince has been reviewing a draft of an anti-bullying policy designed to curb bullying within the district.

The draft dated April 20 defines bullying as “the severe or repeated use by one or more students of written, verbal or electronic communication or a physical act or gesture, or exclusion, or any combination thereof, directed at another student that has the effect of:

  1. causing physical or emotional harm,
  2. placing the student in reasonable fear of harm to himself/herself or of damage to his/her property,
  3. creating an unwelcoming or hostile environment at school for another person,
  4. infringing on the rights of another person at school, or
  5. materially and substantially disrupting the education process or the orderly operation of a school.

The policy goes on to prohibit bullying on school grounds, property immediately adjacent to the school grounds, at school-sponsored or school-related activities, functions or programs whether on or off school grounds, at bus stops or on buses or through the use of technology or a school-owned electronic device. However, it goes on to prohibit bullying at locations that are not school-related, or through technology or electronic devices that the school does not own.

“The School Committee expects administrators to make clear to students and staff that bullying will not be tolerated and will be grounds for disciplinary action up to and including suspension and expulsion for students, and termination for employees,” states the draft of the policy.

One task force member said he thought the draft could be improved, but he has yet to find anything wrong and thinks they’re nearing completion of a great policy.

Also included in the draft is a section about educating parents about the bullying prevention curriculum at each school, and how they can reinforce it at home.


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