Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying
Although the Bay Head School District has historically demonstrated a strong commitment to bullying prevention prior to the law’s inaction, the District has, as stipulated by law, taken additional, proactive steps aimed at eradicating bullying. Among the preventative measures employed in the district since September 2011 include, extensive professional development, continued student and staff education, implementation of positive behavior support programs grades K-8, a renewed emphasis on character education programs, as well as strategic outreaches, all of which combine to develop a comprehensive anti-bullying program.
A provision in the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act requires all New Jersey public schools and school districts complete in-depth self-assessment forms, measuring how well each individual school has met the law's requirements. Assessments were based on the 2014-2015 school year and measured adherence in eight categories, including, HIB Programs, Approaches or Other Initiatives; Training on the BOE-approved HIB policy; Other Staff Instruction on HIB and Related Information and Skills; HIB Personnel; School-Level HIB Incident Reporting Procedure; HIB Investigation Procedure; and HIB Reporting. Using the Department of Education's rubric, schools graded efforts in each category, for a combined score from 0 to 78, with a grade of 75 indicating that the school has met and exceeded all of the requirements stipulated by the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights. A school district's grade reflects the average grade of the district's respective schools.
Since the implementation of the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights in September 2011, parents have voiced some very important questions. We hope that the frequently-asked-questions below will help everyone have a more concrete, comprehensive understanding of the legislation and its impact on parents and students.
Why don’t administrators tell me anything about the incident when they make the initial call?
In the past, investigations were typically completed, or partially completed, before parent phone calls were made, to determine precisely what occurred. With the new legislation, administrators are required to contact parents before the investigation has been completed—preventing the delay of specific, accurate information to parents until the process has completed.
Why does the process take so long?
The state of New Jersey has given school districts a very specific timeline to follow regarding the investigation of incidents that may be harassment, intimidation or bullying. After receiving a report from the building principal, the anti-bullying specialist has ten school days in which to conduct his/her investigation. Once the investigation is completed and submitted to the building principal, it is then submitted to the Superintendent for review. The Superintendent then shares the results of the investigations, anonymously, with the Board of Education.
Are parents present during a student interview?
Anti-bullying specialists and principals conduct student interviews regarding a multitude of activities and incidents going on in school buildings each day. Parents are not involved in these interviews, but are entitled to receive information about the investigation, once the investigation is concluded.
What happens when my child is labeled a “bully” as a result of an investigation?
At no point in time are children labeled “bullies.” The purpose of the Harassment, Intimidation and/or Bullying (HIB) investigation is to determine if a student violated the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights. Although it may be determined that a child has violated this law, it in no way labels the child or gives the child a “record.”
What are the consequences for students who have violated the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights?
Consequences and intervention strategies that result from an investigation are highly variable and highly individualized. Consequences and intervention strategies may include but are not limited to, parent conferences, loss of privileges, school detentions, counseling, class lessons, etc. There is no pre-determined consequence for any child involved in a violation of the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights. All consequences are developmentally appropriate and take into consideration the whole child.
What happens when the results of an HIB investigation do not confirm a violation of the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights but do confirm a negative interaction or act took place?
When any incident is investigated, regardless of the findings as it pertains to the law itself, the district will take appropriate steps to address what took place and support our students. It is not uncommon for incidents to fail to meet the criteria for HIB, but still result in a Code of Conduct violation. In these instances, consequences and remediation actions are imposed that are individualized and appropriate to the specific student and/or incident. Action taken could include similar responses to a confirmed violation of the law, which includes but is not limited to counseling support, detention, suspension, loss of privileges, etc.
How will this affect my child's school record?
HIB Investigations are completely confidential and no record of the investigation is kept in a student’s file. The school principal or anti-bullying specialist may keep a file of past investigations for state reporting purposes, but student names are not made public in any way.
What information will I receive at the conclusion of the investigation?
Building principals are required to notify parents of the outcome of the investigation and whether or not consequences/remedial measures were imposed. Again, all information is confidential. Parents will receive a letter from the Principal after the Board meeting when the Superintendent presents the findings to the Board of Education. Parents will receive a second letter following the next Board meeting when the Board affirms, rejects, or modifies the Superintendent's decision.
Mr. Frank Camardo
145 Grove Street
Bay Head, NJ 08742
Phone:(732) 892-0668 ext. 3105
Mrs. Molly Contreras
Bay Head School
145 Grove Street
Bay Head, NJ 08742
Phone:(732) 892-0668 ext. 3125