Warren County School District is committed to providing a learning environment free from bullying, intimidation, hazing as well as discrimination or harassment based on the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, handicap/disability or gender, or any other illegal basis.1 A safe civil and supportive learning environment in each school is necessary for students to learn and achieve high academic standards. Warren County Board of Education expects all students and staff to treat each other with civility and respect and to not engage in behavior that is disruptive or violent. Discrimination, harassment, intimidation, bullying, cyberbullying and hazing are conducts that disrupts both a student’s ability to learn and a school’s ability to educate its students in a safe environment and will not be tolerated.2
This policy addresses conduct taking place on school grounds, at any school-sponsored activity, on school-provided transportation, or at any official school bus stop immediately before boarding and immediately following deboarding.3. Bullying that begins off-campus can be considered school-related if it interferes with school activities, causes a disruption at school or interferes with or limits a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities or opportunities offered by the school.
Bullying/Intimidation/Harassment: An act that substantially interferes with a student’s educational benefits, opportunities or performance and:
(i) physically harming a student or damaging a student’s property;
(ii) knowingly placing a student or students in reasonable fear of physical harm to the student of damage to the student’s property;
(iii)causing emotional distress to a student or students; or
(iv) creating a hostile educational environment; or
Hostile Environment: Unwelcome conduct that is sufficiently severe, pervasive or persistent so as to substantially interfere with or limit a student’s ability to participate in a program or activity.
Harassment: Unwelcome conduct based on a protected class under the federal civil rights laws that is severe, pervasive or persistent so that it creates a hostile environment. The unique effects of discriminatory harassment may demand a different response than would other types of bullying.
Sexual harassment: Unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that can on the basis of sex, deny or limit a student’s ability to participate in or receive benefits, services or opportunities in the school’s programs.
Hazing: An intentional or reckless act on or off Warren County school property; by a student acting alone or with others directed against another student; and that endangers the mental or physical health or safety of that student or induces or coerces a student to endanger that student’s mental or physical health or safety. Coaches and other employees of the school district shall not encourage, permit, condone or tolerate hazing activities.4 Hazing by students or organizations operating under the sanction of the district is strictly prohibited. Hazing is also a criminal offense.
Students shall be provided a safe learning environment. It shall be a violation of this policy for any student or employee to bully, intimidate, harass, haze or create a hostile educational environment for a student.
Bullying and intimidation may occur where conduct meets one or more of the following criteria: (1) act directed at one or more individuals that his intended to harm, humiliate or cause emotional distress; (2) repeated over time; and (3) involves an imbalance of physical, emotional or social power.
Although not all peer conflict is considered bullying, bullying can take many forms. It can be physical act/ gesture or a verbal, written or electronically communicated expression which creates an actual or reasonable expectation that the conduct will cause physical or emotional harm to a student.
Reporting and Investigation of Instances of Bullying, Intimidation, Discrimination, Harassment and/or Hazing5
Any person observing or subjected to the above described behavior or with reliable information that a student has been the victim of the above described behavior shall report the information immediately to a teacher, counselor, building administrator or the designated building level complaint manager.4 Conduct aimed at defining a student in a sexual manner or impugning the character of a student based on allegations of sexual promiscuity is not tolerated and should also be reported.
Information reported to a school employee or volunteer shall be reported immediately by that employee or volunteer to the building level complaint manager. Allegations shall be investigated to the fullest extent necessary by a building level complaint manager who shall also take immediate action to prevent further harm. An investigation will be initiated within 48 hours of receipt of a report. Appropriate intervention shall be instituted within 20 days of the incident.
Anonymous reporting is permitted. However, an anonymous report standing alone will not be the sole basis for disciplinary action. The privacy and anonymity of all parties and witnesses to complaints will be respected. However, because an individual’s need for confidentiality must be balanced with obligations to cooperate with policy investigations or legal proceedings, to provide due process to the accused, to conduct a thorough investigation or to take necessary action to resolve a complaint, the identity of parties and witnesses may be disclosed in appropriate circumstances to individuals with a need to know.
Disciplinary Action and/or Remedial Action 5
A substantiated charge against an employee shall result in disciplinary action up to and including termination and/or remedial action. A substantiated charge against a student shall result in corrective or disciplinary action up to and including suspension or expulsion and/or remedial action.
Students involved in an act of harassment, intimidation, bullying or cyber-bullying, shall be referred for appropriate counseling and support services when deemed necessary by the principal. The counseling and support services may be conducted by school counseling personnel who are appropriately trained, such as psychologists, social workers, school counselors, or any other personnel or resources available.
Notice to Parent or Legal Guardian
The principal, or the principal’s designee, shall immediately inform the parent or legal guardian of a student involved in an act of harassment, intimidation, bullying or cyber-bullying.
The principal or the principal’s designee shall inform the parents or legal guardians of the students of the availability of counseling and support services that may be necessary.
Prohibition of Retaliation and False Claims5
Retaliation against any person who reports or witnesses behavior prohibited by this policy or participates in an investigation is strictly prohibited and will subject the retaliator to separate disciplinary action. Further, any employee or student who refuses to cooperate or gives false information during the course of any investigation may be subject to disciplinary action.
The willful filing of a false report can constitute slander/libel. Such filing will itself be considered harassment/intimidation and shall be subject to disciplinary action.
Any person disciplined for violation of this policy may seek reconsideration of the decision in accordance with applicable disciplinary policies by contacting the principal of their school or the Equity and Legal Compliance Coordinator or the district complaint manager at the central office of WCSD. Questions or complaints regarding investigation of reports of conduct prohibited by this policy or other matters regarding enforcement of this policy may contact the principal of their school or the Equity and Legal Compliance Coordinator or the district complaint manager at the central office. Central Office personnel may be reached at 2548 Morrison St., McMinnville, TN 37110 or by calling (931) 668-4022.
Distribution of Policy5
This policy shall be published in the parent/student handbook distributed annually to every student.
Enforcement of Policy
Building administrators are responsible for educating and training their respective staff and students as to the definition and recognition of discrimination, hazing, harassment, bullying and intimidation. It shall be the responsibility of all system administrators to ensure that this policy is being implemented and enforced.
A report concerning the number of bullying cases shall be made to the Tennessee Department of Education annually in a format provided by the department as prescribed by law.6
The principal of a middle school, junior high or high school, or designee, shall investigate harassment, intimidation, bullying or cyber-bullying which a student reports to any principal, teacher or guidance counselor that physical harm or a threat of physical harm to the student’s person or property has occurred and shall report the findings and disciplinary action taken to the direct of schools and the chair of the local board of education. 7
1. Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
2. TCA Sec 49-6-4501 thru 49-6-4506 and TCA Sec. 49-2-120
3. TCA 49-6-4502
4. TCA 49-2-120
5. TCA 49-6-4503
6. TCA 49-6-4503
7. TCA 49-6-4503