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AP 418

Bullying and Harassment

Background


The Abbotsford School District is committed to fostering an environment where all individuals are treated with respect. The district considers bullying and harassment in general and sexual harassment, in particular, to be violations of generally accepted standards of behaviour and the District’s Code of Conduct.

In its efforts to eliminate bullying and harassment, the Abbotsford School District will provide a working and learning environment that will encourage respect for and fair treatment of all individuals within the community.

Procedures


1. Definition

  • 1.1 Bullying and harassment is any unwanted or unwelcome comment or conduct that is known to be, or reasonably known to be considered offensive, threatening, degrading or coercive, thereby creating a hostile, intimidating or offensive work or study environment.
  • 1.2 Sexual harassment is further defined as specifically including unwanted and unwelcome sexual attention toward another person, which has an adverse effect on the emotional wellbeing, work or academic performance of an individual.
  • 1.3 Intent does not determine whether the behavior is bullying or harassment.
  • 1.4 Bullying and harassment does not include conduct or comments made in good faith in the exercise of supervisory rights and responsibilities.

2. Examples of Harassment

2.1 Harassment may occur:
• between students (e.g. bullying)
• student to adult
• adult to student
• adult to adult

2.2 Harassment can include, but is not limited to:
• persistent teasing or leering
• repeated jokes or innuendoes
• false accusations
• verbal or physical abuse (which may also need reporting to the Ministry of Children and Families.
• stalking
• spreading malicious gossip or rumors
• offensive or inappropriate comments, gestures, materials
• unwelcome sexual advances
• use of sexually suggestive or demeaning language, especially when another person indicates that it is offensive
• the promise of reward or threat of reprisal attached to sexual favour

2.4 Bullying is considered a significant issue at all age ranges. School district staff are encouraged to actively pursue specific anti-bullying strategies.

2.5 The Abbotsford School District adopts a zero tolerance with respect to bullying. Students who commit acts of bullying shall be subject to disciplinary action, which may include suspension from attendance at school.

3. Complaint Procedures - Students

3.1 Students deserve to feel safe at school. If a student is being bullied or harassed, he/she should take the following steps to try and stop the bullying and harassment or prevent it from happening again.

  • 3.1.1 Report all incidents to a person of authority at your school, your parent, or a trusted adult. It is important to for students to tell their parents of any incidents of bullying or harassment that may occur at school, at school functions or on your way to and from school.
  • 3.1.2 If the bully or harasser is an adult from within the school, then it is important for students to report this immediately to their parents/guardian or a trusted adult outside of school. You and the adult you have told, should contact either the principal or one of the Assistant Superintendent of Schools.
  • 3.1.3 While it is important to report all incidents of bullying or harassment, false allegations are a serious matter and can damage a person’s reputation so are not acceptable in any way.

3.2 Staff shall ensure all students are aware of the complaint procedure. This should be put into the student handbook that schools provide to students. ( AP 418-1 Guidelines to Managers and Principals - Student Complaints of Harassment and Bullying.pdf )

4. Complaint Procedures – Adults (non-employee)

4.1 Adults who believe they are being harassed should take the following steps to stop the bullying and harassment and prevent re-occurrences.

  • 4.1.1 Whenever possible make your disapproval or unease known to the alleged harasser immediately.
  • 4.1.2 If there is more than one incident, keep a written record of dates, times, the nature of the behaviour, and witnesses, if any.
  • 4.1.3 If you feel uneasy about approaching the alleged harasser OR, if the incidents do not stop after you have spoken to the alleged harasser, speak to the manager of the department, or principal of the school or the appropriate assistant superintendent at the School Board Office. Confirm your conversation in a confidential letter. Ensure that the alleged harasser is advised you have taken the above steps. Information for parents is available at: www.bccpac.bc.ca

5. Complaint Procedures – Staff

Note: All School District staff should refer to AP 418-2 Guidelines - Staff Complaints of Harassment and Bullying; Teaching staff should additionally refer to Article E.2 of their Collective Agreement for procedures.

5.1 Staff who believe they are being harassed and/or bullied should take the following steps to stop the bullying and harassment and prevent re-occurrences.

5.2 Whenever possible make your disapproval or unease known to the alleged harasser immediately.

5.3 If there is more than one incident, keep a written record of dates, times, the nature of the behaviour, and witnesses, if any.

5.4 If you feel uneasy about approaching the alleged harasser, or if the incidents do not stop after you have spoken to the alleged harasser, speak to your manager or supervisor. If your manager or supervisor is the alleged harasser, speak immediately to the Associate Superintendent, Human Resources. If you are comfortable, communicate the process taken to the alleged harasser.

5.5 The manager will take steps to bring the parties together to resolve the issue. If, after meeting with the manager and the alleged harasser, the issue has not been resolved, provide a written statement of the alleged bullying and harassment to either your manager or the Associate Superintendent, Human Resources.

5.6 Employees may seek the help of an authorized representative of the union when reporting the complaint to the above district representative.

5.7 While it is important to report all incidents of bullying or harassment, false allegations are a serious matter and can damage a person’s reputation so are not acceptable in any way.

Reference


(Last Revised: March 2015)

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