East Mountain School
Policies and Procedures
It is the policy of East Mountain School at Carrier Clinic to help reinforce and maintain a safe and orderly environment; to prevent acts of harassment, intimidation, and bullying among students; and to establish reporting procedures and consequences for violations of this policy (as per NJSA 18A:37-14 et seq.). This policy applies to all school activities which occur on or off grounds during regular or special school hours, and on the school bus. In order for our students to learn and benefit from our program, they need to feel that they are in a safe environment. This policy is one among several that are intended to create a safe and orderly school environment and to facilitate a student’s ability to learn while at East Mountain School.
I. Harassment, intimidation, and bullying of a student are strictly prohibited.
A safe, civil and orderly school environment is necessary for learning and achievement to occur. Disruptive and violent behaviors such as harassment, intimidation, and bullying interfere with the teaching/learning process and disrupt the school’s ability to provide a safe and orderly environment for students. All individuals associated with the school should treat others with civility and respect, and refuse to tolerate acts of harassment, intimidation, and bullying. Students learn from example, school administrators, faculty, staff, and volunteers should be commended for demonstrating appropriate behavior, treating others with civility and respect and refusing to tolerate harassment, intimidation, and bullying.
II. Definition (NJSA 18A:37-14, NJSA 18A:37-15(b)(2) and NJSA 18A:37-15.3)
Harassment, intimidation or bullying, by definition, is any gesture by way of written, electronic verbal or physical act, whether it be a single incident or a series of incidents that is:
a. Motivated by any actual or perceived characteristic, such as race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, or a mental, physical or sensory disability; or by any other distinguishing characteristic, and
b. Takes place on school property, at any school-sponsored function, on a school bus, or off school grounds as provided for in N.J.S.A. 18A:37-15.3, that substantially disrupts or interferes with the orderly operation of the school or the rights of other students.
c. A reasonable person should know, under the circumstances, that the act(s) will have the effect of physically or emotionally harming a student or damaging the student’s property, or placing a student in reasonable fear of harm to his person or damage to his property; or
d. Has the effect of insulting or demeaning any student or group of students in such a way as to create a hostile educational environment for the student by causing substantial disruption in, or substantial interference with a student’s education by severely or pervasively interfering with the orderly operation of the school.
e. Electronic communication is defined as a means of communication transmitted by an electronic device, including but not limited to a telephone, cellular phone, computer, tablet or pager.
f. The motivating factors related to the behavior in question will distinguish an act of harassment, intimidation or bullying from other behaviors. One student exercising power or control over another student either in an isolated event or a series or pattern of events is also considered harassment, intimidation or bullying and a violation of this policy.
III. Behavioral Expectations (NJSA 18A:37-15 (b)(3)
a. The East Mountain School administration expects students to conduct themselves in keeping with their levels of development, maturity and demonstrated capabilities with a proper regard for the rights and welfare of other students and school staff, the educational purpose underlying all school activities, and the care of school facilities and equipment, consistent with the code of student conduct.
b. The East Mountain School program has set standards for student behaviors that are facilitated cooperatively through interactions with school administrators, parents, school staff, organizational staff, volunteers and other students enrolled in the special school program that promote an environment of respect for self and others, as well as for the school and community at large.
Students are expected to behave in manner that creates a supportive learning environment and that the best disciplinary actions are self-imposed, and that it is the responsibility of the staff to use behavior management programs and positive incentives to help students act appropriately, accept responsibility and consequences for their behaviors and that the school’s practices will help prevent student conduct problems and foster an ability to grow in self-discipline.
d. It is understood that students placed in the East Mountain School are affected by emotional and behavioral disorders face a greater challenge than non-disabled students when trying to meet the behavioral expectations of a school. The staff of the East Mountain School recognizes, understands and accepts this reality. Anger control problems, aggressiveness, impulse control problems and a disregard for the rights of others are common characteristics of our students. Nevertheless, our mission is to help students improve their school behaviors and progress towards meeting the goals of their Individual Education Plans (IEP) through a combination of therapeutic-based counseling services, and an integrated behavior management program.
e. Behavioral expectations for our students are an integral part of the school program along with appropriate rewards, consequences, disciplinary measures, and other interventions as per each student’s IEP and the behavioral intervention plan. The goals of an IEP should include the development of behaviors that are conducive to learning; conform to reasonable standards of socially acceptable behavior; reinforce respect for people, property and the rights of others; and reinforce acceptance of and compliance with constituted authority. The school’s behavior management program shall include a process for recognizing, reinforcing and rewarding appropriate behaviors – behaviors that reflect good conduct, self-discipline, good citizenship and academic achievement.
f. Due Process procedures are in place, should a student disagree with a staff member regarding the staff’s determination that behavioral expectations were not met and that consequences/discipline should be applied, the student may do one or more of the following:
- Review the matter with the staff member directly;
- Ask a counselor or other staff member to intervene on their behalf;
- Ask a supervisor/administrator to intervene on their behalf;
- Ask a parent/guardian to intervene on their behalf. When a matter of discipline is being reviewed, the student
should have an opportunity to present his/her side. The staff member initiating the complaint should be able to present his/her side as well. Other staff or students may be interviewed as needed. The student’s current behavioral status, progress towards current goals, strengths and weakness, social and emotional issues, the student’s IEP and behavioral intervention plan and other relevant information should be taken into consideration before determining that a violation occurred and what if any consequences should be applied.
g. Bystanders: Research has shown that bystanders play a crucial role in the dynamics of bullying, harassment and intimidation. The act of watching one student bully another can support and reinforce this aggressive behavior. Active or passive support of bullying harassment or intimidation is prohibited and subject to disciplinary action up through and including suspension from school. Consequences for ‘bystander’ behavior shall be determined after a careful review of the incident, the student’s behavior and the student’s history. When appropriate, an intervention for ‘bystander’ behavior may be considered for inclusion in the student’s IEP behavioral intervention plan. Bystander behavior shall be documented and tracked via the school’s behavior management program.
Discouraging Bystanders: Students will be encouraged to walk away from bullying situations, to encourage others to walk away from a bullying situation, to try to constructively stop the inappropriate behavior, and to report any incident of bullying, harassment or intimidation of a student. Appropriate recognition and rewards shall be included in the school’s behavior management program.
IV. Consequences and Remedial Actions
a. East Mountain School Administration and Staff are required to develop and implement procedures that ensure that both the appropriate consequences and remedial responses for students who commit one or more acts of harassment, intimidation or bullying as consistent with the student code of conduct and the consequences and remedial responses for staff members who commit one or more acts of harassment, intimidation or bullying.
b. Any student found to be engaging in harassment, intimidation or bullying shall be subjected to consequences and/or remedial actions. The consequences/remedial actions shall be determined by the East Mountain School Program Supervisor in consultation with the East Mountain School School Safety Team, School Resource Officer- Anti-Bulling Coordinator, Anti-Bullying Specialist (school counselor), parent/guardian and other staff members as needed. The consequences/remedial actions shall be consistent with the school’s behavior management program and with the student’s IEP.
Before determining the consequences/ remedial actions the East Mountain School Program Supervisor, in conjunction with the East Mountain School School Safety Team, school counselor and other staff shall take into consideration the following factors in determining consequences:
- Age, developmental and maturity levels of the students involved
- Level, degree of harm
- Surrounding circumstances
- Nature and severity of the behaviors
- Past incidences or past/continuing patterns of behavior
- Relationship between the students involved
- Context in which the alleged incident occurred
- Psychiatric, social/emotional factors
- Behavioral intervention plans
Personal Factors to be considered during remediation include:
- Life skills deficiencies
- Social relationships
- Strengths and talents, traits and interests;
- Hobbies; extra curricular activities
- Classroom participation
- Academic performance
- Relationships to other students and the school program
Environmental Factors to be considered during remediation include:
- School culture
- School climate
- Student and Staff relationships; staff behavior toward the student
- General staff management of the classroom and learning environment
- Staff ability to prevent and manage difficulty or inflammatory situations
- Social, emotional and behavioral supports
- Social relationships
- Community activities
- Neighborhood and family situations
All facts and circumstances surrounding an incident must be considered before determining that a violation of this policy occurred. Consequences need to be consistent with case law, federal and state regulations, school and organizational policies and procedures, student code of conduct, and the student’s individual IEP.
V. Reporting and Investigating Alleged Incidents (NJSA 18A:37-15 (b) (5)
The East Mountain School Administration requires a thorough and complete investigation to be conducted for each report of an alleged incident of harassment, intimidation or bullying. All complaints must be forwarded to the East Mountain School Program Supervisor alleging violations of this policy. The investigation will be initiated by the Director/Principal, or designee;
East Mountain School Program Supervisor. An investigation will be conducted by the East Mountain School anti-bullying specialist appointed by the Director/Principal. The Director/Principal may appoint additional personnel as members of the anti-bullying committee to assist the school’s anti-bullying specialist to assist in the investigation.
a. Any act of harassment, intimidation or bullying shall be reported to the Program Supervisor(s) responsible for the students involved on the same day that the school employee or service provider witnesses or received reliable information regarding any such incident.
b. All staff are required to report alleged violations of this policy to the East Mountain School Program Supervisor, whether they have direct or indirect knowledge of an incident. The report shall be documented on an appropriate Bullying Incident Report Form. The Supervisor will report the incident to the Director/Principal. The Director/Principal will then report the incident to parents of involved students.
c. Students, either victims of or witnesses to acts of harassment, intimidation or bullying, are encouraged to report these incidents to the Program Supervisor as well. They may make their report directly to the East Mountain School Program Supervisor or through another staff member. These reports can be made orally or in writing, and they can be made anonymously.
d. Parents, bus drivers or any other individual with knowledge of an alleged violation of this policy are also encouraged to report an incident. These reports can be made orally or in writing and may be made anonymously. VI.
Investigations of Allegations NJSA 18A:37-15 (b) (6) & NJSA 18A:37-16 (a)
a. The Director/Principal or designee (East Mountain School Program Supervisor) shall initiate an investigation of any identified incident of harassment, intimidation or bullying within one day of the verbal report of an incident, .in conjunction with the appointed anti-bullying specialist.
b. The investigation shall include at least the interviewing of all students involved – victims, witnesses, bystanders, etc.
c. All East Mountain School School Employees, volunteers and contractual service providers who have contact with students shall also submit in writing a report to the Director/Principal or designee (East Mountain School Supervisor) within 2 days of a verbal report.
d. An investigation will be completed and written findings submitted to the Director/Principal as soon as possible, but not longer than 10 school days from the date of the written report of the alleged incident of harassment, intimidation or bullying. The report if submitted and received after the 10 day period will be reviewed and amended by the Director/Principal, Supervisor or Anti-Bullying Specialist to ensure that the record of facts and activities in the report are accurate.
e. The Director/Principal shall receive a report based on the investigative findings within 2 days of completion of the investigation. In accordance with the Administrative Procedures Act (NJSA 52:14B-1 et seq.)
f. The Director/Principal shall also receive information on any consequences imposed under the student code of conduct, intervention services provided, counseling provided, training established or other actions taken or recommended by the Director/Principal.
g. The Director/Principal shall provide information about the investigation to the parents of students who are parties to the incident in accordance with Federal and Staten laws and regulations. This information includes; nature of the investigation, found evidence of harassment, intimidation, or bullying, or whether consequences were imposed or services provided to address the incident of harassment, intimidation, or bullying. This information must be provided to the parents in writing within 5 days after the results of the investigation are reported.
h. The parent or guardian may request a hearing with administration after receiving the information. The hearing shall be held within 10 school days of the request. Information for the hearing may include testimony from the anti-bullying specialist and others as appropriate in review of the findings of the incident, recommendations for consequences or services, and any programs instituted to reduce such incidents, prior to rendering a final determination.
i. Any East Mountain School administrator who received a report of harassment, intimidation, or bullying from an East Mountain School school employee and fails to initiated or conduct an investigation, or should have known of an incident of harassment, intimidation, or bullying, and fails to take sufficient action to minimize or eliminate the harassment, intimidation, or bullying, may be subject to disciplinary action.
j. In the event that there is information relative to the investigation that is anticipated but not yet received by the end of the 10 day period, East Mountain School and the bullying specialist may amend the original report of the results of the investigation to reflect the information.
VII. School Response
a. The East Mountain School administration and Director/Principal define the range of ways in which school staff will respond once an incident of harassment, intimidation, or bullying is confirmed.
b. The Director/Principal and school administration will respond to confirmed harassment, intimidation, or bullying according to the parameters described below and in this policy.
c. Consequences and/or remedial actions shall be applied as described above (Section IV).
d. In considering a response, East Mountain School school administration shall consider the nature and circumstances of the act, the degree of harm, the nature and severity of the behavior, past incidences or past or continuing patterns of behavior, and the context in which the alleged incident(s) occurred.
e. East Mountain School responses can range from school and parent surveys, mailings, implementation of researched-based HIB prevention models, to training for both certificated and non- certificated staff, involvement by parents, community group presentations in fully addressing the actions the East Mountain School’s response to the actions in the context of acceptable student and staff behaviors, and the follow-up consequences to the actions and the involvement of the school’s resource office as well as law enforcement officers as appropriate.
f. This policy as well as the student code of conduct shall apply to instances when a school employee is made aware of alleged harassment, intimidation or bullying occurring off school grounds under the following tenets:
- Alleged incident of harassment, intimidation or bullying has substantially disrupted or interfered with the orderly operation of the school, or rights of other students.
- A reasonable person should know, under the circumstances that the alleged behavior will have the effect of physically or emotionally harming a student or damaging the student’s property.
- Having the effect of placing a student in reasonable fear of physical or emotional harm to his person or damage to his property.
- The alleged behavior has the effect of insulting or demeaning any student or group of students.
- The alleged behavior creates a hostile educational environment for the student by interfering with a student’s education or by severely or pervasively causing physical or emotional harm to the student.
g. It is recognized that some incidents may be isolated acts and other acts may be so serious or parts of a larger pattern of harassment, intimidation, or bullying that they require a response either at the classroom, building level, district level, by the School Resource Officer and or by law enforcement officials.
VIII. Prohibition of Reprisal or Retaliation
a. The school prohibits reprisals or retaliation against any person who reports an act of harassment, intimidation or bullying. Consequences and/or remedial actions for a person who engages in acts of reprisal or retaliation shall be determined by the Program Supervisor(s) after consideration of the factors described in Section IV.
IX. False Accusations
a. The East Mountain School prohibits school employees, contracted service providers, school volunteers, anyone who has contact with students, or students from engaging in reprisal, retaliation of false accusations against a victim, witness, one with reliable information or any other person who has reliable information about an act of harassment, intimidation or bullying or who reports an act of harassment, intimidation or bullying.
b. Any person found to have made a false accusation as a means of harassing, intimidating or bullying another person shall be subject to consequences and/or remedial actions as described in Section IV.
c. Any employee found to be engaging in acts of harassment, intimidation or bullying in any form shall be subjected to disciplinary action as per East Mountain School & Carrier Clinic policies. Records shall be kept by the school’s Director/Principal or his/her designee of all incident reports related to alleged policy violations. These reports will be used to evaluate the school’s efforts to reduce incidents of harassment, intimidation and bullying.
X. Publicizing the Policy
The Director/Principal shall be responsible for making arrangements to inform all staff, students, parents/guardians and other individuals associated with the school of this policy and the reporting and investigating procedures contained therein on an annual basis. The policy will be distributed to school staff on an annual basis during orientation in September of each school year.
As part of the school’s training and supervision of staff, this policy, its reporting procedures and methods for detecting and preventing incidents of harassment, intimidation and bullying will be reviewed with staff at various times during the school year.
Parent/guardians and students will have a copy of the policy and procedure mailed to them at the start of each year. New students will be informed during the admissions process. Bus drivers will be informed at the start of each school year. This policy will be discussed in both individual and group counseling sessions and may play a prominent role in a student’s IEP and behavioral intervention plan. As has been our practice, we will continue to discuss with students the benefits of reporting incidents as opposed to not telling on someone.
The Director/Principal shall make it known that this policy applies to any and all acts of harassment, intimidation or bullying that occur on school property, at all school-sponsored activities on or off grounds, during or after school hours, and on school buses.
The Director/Principal will post the name, school phone number, school address, and school email address of the school’s anti-bullying specialist at the school’s office and on the East Mountain School’s website.
The Director/Principal shall provide training on the school’s harassment, intimidation or bullying policies to school employees, and volunteers who have significant contact with students. The training shall include instruction on preventing bullying on the basis of the protected categories as per NJSA 18A:37-14. and other characteristics that may incite incidents of discrimination, harassment, intimidation or bullying for all full and part-time staff, and school volunteers who have significant contact with students.
Other programs may be developed to address situations related to harassment, intimidation, and bullying as a result of the annual evaluation of the data related to this policy.
East Mountain School
252 County Road 601
Belle Mead, NJ 08502
Making sure our students are able to carry out their everyday activities in a healthy environment is also among our top priorities.
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