Homeschoolers of Pinellas – Policy on Bullying and Harassment
Revised May 2016
This policy covers conduct that takes place on the premises of the HOP co-op (at the CSA Palm Harbor “The Centre”). It also covers conduct which occurs at any HOP-sponsored activity, regardless of location. This policy also pertains to usage of electronic technology and electronic communication that occurs at co-op and at HOP-sponsored functions and activities, and on computers, networks, forums, and mailing lists used at any HOP-sponsored activity, including the HOP Facebook Group and the HOP Semester Facebook Group. This policy applies to the entire HOP community, including teachers, the Planning Team, students, parents and volunteers.
This policy may be revised at any time and is reviewed by the Planning Team prior to the beginning of each semester. The policy will be given to teachers before the beginning of each semester and will be posted on our website for all families and volunteers to read before the semester begins.
Bullying: “Bullying” means written, verbal or physical conduct that adversely affects the ability of one or more people to participate in or benefit from the school’s educational programs or activities by placing the person(s) in reasonable fear of physical or psychological harm. This includes conduct that is based on a person’s ’s actual or perceived race, color, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, religion or any other distinguishing characteristics. This also includes association with a person or group with one or more of the abovementioned characteristics, whether actual or perceived.
Harassment: “Harassment” means written, verbal or physical conduct
that adversely affects the ability of one or more people to participate in or benefit from the school’s educational programs or activities because the conduct is so severe, persistent or pervasive. This includes conduct that is based on a person’s actual or perceived race, color, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, religion or any other distinguishing characteristics. This also includes association with a person or group with one or more of the abovementioned characteristics, whether actual or perceived.
Reporting Bullying and Harassment:
All allegations of bullying or harassment shall be reported
to a Planning Team member as soon as is reasonably possible. Planning Team members will investigate the allegation as soon as possible and will determine what action to take. (Actions described below in the section on Discipline and Remediation). Parents may or may not be notified, at the discretion of the Planning Team, according to the health, well-being, confidentiality, and safety of all involved parties. The Planning Team will be responsible for doing everything, within reason, to resolve the situation. The HOP Planning team posts their phone numbers on the door inside each class as well as the common room.
While reports may be filed anonymously, disciplinary action cannot be taken solely based on an anonymous report. Anonymous reports will be investigated with the same procedure, timeliness and vigor as other reports and disciplinary action can occur based on the results of the investigation.
People who file false reports of bullying or harassment will be subject to disciplinary action.
Who Can Report
Reports alleging bullying or harassment may be filed with a member of the Planning Team by parents/guardians, HOP volunteers, and students.
Responsibility of Students and Member Families
Any student or parent who observes an act of bullying or harassment should report the bullying or harassment to the Planning Team.
Teacher & Planning Team Responsibility
All staff members, including teachers and members of the Planning Team, will take reasonable measures to prevent bullying and harassment and are obligated to report any such acts that come to their attention. Staff members are expected to take action whenever they observe bullying, harassment, physical violence or hate language.
Retaliation or threats of retaliation meant to intimidate the victim of bullying or harassment or toward those investigating the incident (the Planning Team) will not be tolerated.
Investigation of Bullying or Harassment
Once reported, any allegation of bullying or harassment will be promptly investigated by the Planning Team. Disciplinary or other action will be taken immediately following the conclusion of the investigation.
Discipline and Remediation
We believe that enforcement of anti-bullying policies should ideally focus on education and prevention rather than exclusionary discipline. When all parties to the incident are amenable, mediation may be used as an alternative to, or in addition to, disciplinary action. The decision as to whether mediation or disciplinary action is used is at the discretion of the Planning Team, and depends on the severity of the incident and the safety of all involved.
Disciplinary actions for bullying and harassment may include, but are not limited to:
- a warning
- notification of parents
- the requirement of parental supervision during one or more class(es)
- the requirement of constant parental supervision while at HOP
- loss of the right to attend one or more class(es)
- loss of the right to attend the HOP co-op or other HOP-sponsored activities
- loss of membership to our HOP Facebook Group
The Planning Team’s goal is that consequences should be consistent, reasonable, fair, age appropriate and that they match the severity of the incident.
Training and Prevention
Teachers and volunteers are given a copy of this policy at the beginning of each semester and are given instructions on how to make a report. Families must read the short version of HOP’s Policy on Bullying and Harassment on the Policies page of our website prior to registering. This longer version of our policy is linked to and available to read on our site, in addition to being available in the files section of our Facebook Group page. Teachers are also given information on the prevention of bullying and on how to respond to hate language and anti-LGBTQ behaviors and language at the beginning of each semester.