Harassment, intimidation, bullying, or cyber-bullying, like other disruptive or violent behavior, is conduct that disrupts a student’s ability to learn and a school’s ability to educate its students in a safe environment. Because students learn by example, school administrators, faculty, staff and volunteers shall demonstrate appropriate behavior, treating others with civility and respect and refuse to tolerate harassment, intimidation, bullying, or cyber-bullying and encourage others to do so as well. Students shall be provided a safe and civil environment in which to learn and achieve high academic standards. It shall be a violation of this policy for any student, school employee, volunteer, or any other person to harass, intimidate, bully, or cyber-bully a student.
1. “Cyber-bullying” means bullying undertaken through the use of electronic devices;
2. “Electronic devices” include, but are not limited to, telephones, cellular phones or other wireless telecommunication devices, personal digital assistants (PDAs), computers, electronic mail, instant messaging, text messaging, and web sites;
3. “Harassment, intimidation, or bullying” means any act that substantially interferes with a student’s educational benefits, opportunities or performance; and:
a. If the act takes place on school grounds, at any school sponsored activity, on school provided equipment or transportation or at any official school bus stop, the act has the effect of:
-Physically harming a student or damaging a student’s property;
-Knowingly placing a student or students in reasonable fear of physical harm to the student or damage to the student’s property;
-Causing emotional distress to a student or students; or
-Creating a hostile educational environment; or
-Conduct aimed at defining a student in the sexual manner or conduct impugning the character of a student based on allegations of sexual promiscuity; or
b. If the act takes place off school property or outside of a school-sponsored activity, it is directed specifically at a student or students and has the effect of creating a hostile educational environment or otherwise creating a substantial disruption to the education environment or learning process.
Murfreesboro City School students are expected to:
- Demonstrate appropriate behavior
- Treat others with civility and respect.
- Refuse to tolerate harassment, intimidation, bullying, or cyber-bullying and encourage others to do so as well.
A student who commits an act of harassment, intimidation, bullying, or cyber-bullying shall be subject to the consequences and remedial actions as listed in Board Policy STU 23 “Discipline Procedures.”
The level of remedial action as identified in Board Policy STU 23 “Discipline Procedures” will depend on the severity of the act, the age of the offender, the facts of the particular situation, and prior violation of this policy.
The Murfreesboro City School System hereby establishes the following procedure for reporting an act of harassment, intimidation, bullying, or cyber-bullying.
Filing a Complaint
Alleged victims of harassment, intimidation, bullying, or cyber-bullying or their parents/guardians shall report such incidents immediately to a teacher, guidance counselor or school principal or any adult employed by the school system. Such reports may be made anonymously by the student by letting a teacher, principal, guidance counselor or adult employed in the building know of the situation. However, nothing in this policy shall be construed to permit formal disciplinary action solely on the basis of an anonymous report.
Within twenty-four hours of receiving the student’s complaint, the Student Complaint Manager appointed by the principal of the school shall promptly investigate a report of an act of bullying, harassment, intimidation, or cyber-bullying. Such investigation shall include an interview of the alleged offender, the complainant, and/or the alleged victim and any possible witnesses. A written report summarizing the investigation shall be provided to the principal within fifteen (15) school days of the filing of the initial complaint.
Within five (5) days of receipt of the report, the principal shall issue a written response setting forth the consequences and any appropriate remedial action for the person found to have committed an act of bullying, harassment, intimidation, or cyber-bullying if the complaint is substantiated.
Reprisal or retaliation against any person who reports any act of bullying, harassment, intimidation, or cyber-bullying is strictly prohibited under this policy. Anyone who refuses to cooperate or gives false information during the course of an investigation may be subject to disciplinary action. The willful filing of a false report will itself be considered harassment and will be treated as such. A school employee, student, or volunteer shall not engage in reprisal or retaliation against a victim of, witness to, or person with reliable information about an act of harassment, intimidation, bullying, or cyber-bullying. A school employee, student, or volunteer who witnesses or has reliable information that a student has been subjected to an act of harassment, intimidation, bullying, or cyber-bullying is encouraged to report the act to the principal of the school. Pursuant to T.C.A. §49-6-1018(c), a school employee who promptly reports an act of harassment, intimidation, bullying, or cyber-bullying to the principal in compliance with this policy is immune from a cause of action for damages arising from any failure to remedy the reported act.
A student disciplined for violation of this policy may appeal the decision as set forth in accordance with Board Policy STU 23 “Discipline Procedures.” An employee disciplined for violation of this policy may appeal the decision by contacting the Human Resource Department for Murfreesboro City Schools. This policy shall be published in the parent/student handbook distributed annually to every student.
Principals are responsible for insuring this policy is implemented and are responsible for educating and training the respective staff and students as to the definition and recognition of harassment, intimidation, bullying, and/or cyber-bullying.
For addition information, go to Olweus Bullying Prevention.
Board Policy STU 53
T.C.A. §49-6-1014 through 1018
T.C.A. §49-6-1016 (b)(12 & 13)