Appendices

Table of Contents

  1. National School Climate Standards
  2. Assessing School Climate using Multiple Measures
  3. School Climate Improvement Process
  4. Fairfield Public Schools - Incident Report
  5. Fairfield Public Schools - Bullying Determination Form
  6. Fairfield Public Schools - School Safety and Intervention Plan - Victim
  7. Fairfield Public Schools - School Safety and Intervention Plan - Perpetrator
  8. Frequently Asked Questions
  9. Suggested Timeline for Implementation
  10. Resources

Appendices

National School Climate Standards

In 2009, the National School Climate Council developed five school climate standards. The standards state that a school community with a healthy school climate should:

  • Have a vision and plan for promoting, enhancing, and sustaining a positive school climate.
  • Set policies and practices that specifically promote: (a) the development and sustainability of social, emotional, ethical, civic and intellectual skills, knowledge, dispositions and engagement, and (b) a comprehensive system to address barriers to learning and teaching, including re-engaging student who have become disengaged.
  • Identify, prioritize, and support practices that: (a) promote the learning and positive social, emotional, ethical and civic development of student, (b) enhance engagement in teaching, learning, and school-wide activities; (c) address barriers to learning and teaching and re-engage those who have become disengaged; and (d) develop and sustain an appropriate operational infrastructure and capacity-building mechanisms for meeting this standard.
  • Create a school and classroom environment where ALL members are welcomed, supported, and feel safe: socially, emotionally, intellectually, and physically;
  • Develop meaningful/engaging practices, activities, and norms that promote social and civic responsibilities and a commitment of social justice.


Assessing School Climate using Multiple Measures

 

 

The National School Climate Center’s 5 Stage School Climate Improvement Process

Stage One: Preparation and Planning

  • Forming a representative SC improvement leadership team and establishing ground rules collaboratively.
  • Building support and fostering "Buy In" for the SC Improvement Process.
  • Establishing a "no fault" framework and promoting a culture of trust.
  • Ensuring your team has adequate resources to support the process.
  • Celebrating successes and building on past efforts
  • Reflecting on Stage One work

Stage Two: Evaluation

  • Systematically evaluating the school's strengths, needs and weaknesses with any number of school climate as well as other potential measurement tools
  • Developing plans to share evaluation findings with the school community
  • Reflecting on our Stage Two work
    Stage Three: Understanding the findings, Engagement & developing an action plan
  • Understanding the evaluation findings
  • Digging into the findings to understand areas of consensus and discrepancy in order to promote learning and engagement.
  • Prioritizing Goals
  • Researching best practices and evidence-based instructional and systemic programs and efforts
  • Developing an action plan
  • Reflecting on Stage Three work

Stage Four: Implementing the Action Plan

  • Coordinating evidence-based pedagogic and systemic efforts designed to (a) promote students' social, emotional and civic as well as intellectual competencies; and (b) improve the school climate by working toward a safe, caring, participatory and responsive school community.
  • The instructional and/or school-wide efforts are instituted with fidelity, monitored and there is an ongoing attempt to learn from successes and challenges.
  • The adults who teach and learn with students work to further their own social, emotional and civic learning.
  • Reflecting on Stage Four work.

Stage Five: Reevaluation and Development of the Next Phase

  • Reevaluating the school's strengths and challenges
  • Discovering what has changed and how.
  • Discovering what has most helped and hindered the SC Improvement Process
  • Revising plans to improve the school climate.
  • Reflecting on Stage Five work

 

Fairfield Public Schools - Incident Report

This info is coming soon. Please check back with us periodically for updated content in the future.

Thank you.

 

Fairfield Public Schools - Bullying Determination Form

This info is coming soon. Please check back with us periodically for updated content in the future.

Thank you.

 

Fairfield Public Schools - School Safety and Intervention Plan - Victim

This info is coming soon. Please check back with us periodically for updated content in the future.

Thank you.

 

Fairfield Public Schools - School Safety and Intervention Plan - Perpetrator

This info is coming soon. Please check back with us periodically for updated content in the future.

Thank you.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

How do we define bullying in Connecticut?

Connecticut General Statute 10-222d defines bullying as:
The repeated use by one or more students of a written, verbal, or electronic communication, such as cyber-bullying, or a physical act or gesture repeatedly directed at or referring to another student attending school in the same school district that:

  • Causes physical or emotional harm to the student or damage to the student’s property;
  • Places the student in reasonable fear of harm to himself or herself, or of damage to the student’s property;
  • Creates a hostile environment at school for such student (definition: bullying among students is sufficiently severe and pervasive as to alter the conditions of the school climate
  • Infringes on the rights of the student at school; or
  • Substantially disrupts the educational process or the orderly operation of the school.

Bullying explicitly includes, but is not limited to: Written, verbal, or electronic communications or physical acts or gestures that are based on any actual or perceived differentiating characteristics, such as race, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, socioeconomic status, academic status, physical appearance, mental physical, developmental or sensory disability, or by association with an individual or group who is perceived to have one or more of such characteristics.

 

How do we define cyber-bullying in Connecticut?

Connecticut General Statute 10-222d defines cyber-bullying as:

Any act of bullying using the internet, interactive and digital technologies, cellular mobile telephones or other mobile electronic devices, or any electronic communications.

 

When must school officials investigate bullying?

The School Climate Specialist is required to investigate or supervise the investigation of any and all reports to suspected or alleged bullying (including anonymous reports) when it occurs:

  • on school grounds,
  • at a school-sponsored or school-related activity, function or program whether on or off school grounds,
  • at a school bus stop,
  • on a school bus or other vehicle owned, leased or used by a local or regional board of education, or
  • through the use of an electronic device or an electronic mobile device owned, leased or used by the local or regional board of education, and

Outside of the school setting if such bullying:

  • creates a hostile environment at school for the student against whom such bullying was directed,
  • infringes on the rights of the student against whom such bullying was directed at school, or
  • substantially disrupts the education process or the orderly operation of a school.

 

Who may report bullying?

Students:

  • Written reports.
  • Anonymous reports.

NOTE: There are two kinds of anonymous reports – those when the student wishes to remain anonymous and those that are truly anonymous.

The safe school climate specialist must review anonymous reports, but no disciplinary action may be taken solely on the basis of any anonymous report.

Parents:

  • Written reports only.

 

Who MUST report bullying?

School employees who witness acts of bullying or receive reports of bullying.

"School employee” means:

  • a teacher, substitute teacher, school administrator, school superintendent, guidance counselor, psychologist, social worker, nurse, physician, school paraprofessional or coach employed by a local or regional board of education or working in a public elementary, middle or high school; or
  • any other individual who, in the performance of his or her duties, has regular contact with students and who provides services to or on behalf of students enrolled in a public elementary, middle or high school, pursuant to a contract with the local or regional board of education.

 

How are students, staff and families notified of the Safe School Climate Plan?

  • Student codes of conduct must include language concerning bullying.
  • Students and parents or guardians of students must be notified annually of
  • The process by which they may file complaints of bullying.
  • No later than thirty days after the local or regional board of education approves its safe school climate plan as specified by the statute (no later than January 1, 2012), the plan must be (a) published on the Internet website of the school district and of each individual school, and (b) included in the school district’s publication of the rules, procedures and standards of conduct for schools and in all student handbooks.
  • At the beginning of each school year, each school must provide all school employees with a written or electronic copy of the school district's safe school climate plan.

 

Who may receive Incident Reports and/or Bullying Complaints?

Any school employee (as defined above) may receive and must report any incident report and/or bullying complaint received, whether anonymous or by an identified parent or student.

 

What must be done upon receipt?

The school employee who receives a bullying complaint must orally notify the safe school principal/school climate specialist of the complaint as soon as possible, but not later than one school day after such school employee witnesses or receives a report of bullying; AND must file a written report (Fairfield Public Schools – Incident Report) as soon as possible, but not later than two school days after such school employee witnesses or receives a report of bullying.

 

How will incidents be investigated?

  • School officials will conduct reasonable investigations that may include, but is not limited to: interviews with complainant, alleged perpetrator, and witnesses, review security video tape (if available), review of previously reported incidents, disciplinary history, etc.
  • The identity of the student (or parent) as the complainant is personally-identifiable information that can be disclosed only with the consent of the parent (or eligible student).
  • Student statements may be appropriate, depending on the age of the students.
  • All parties to the investigation will be admonished that the investigation is a confidential matter that they should not discuss with other students.
  • Anonymous reports must be reviewed, and they may be investigated, provided that no disciplinary action may be taken solely on the basis of an anonymous report.

 

How complaints of cyber bullying investigated?

The focus of an investigation of cyber bullying will always begin with the question, what is the impact of the behavior on the victim in school? The following questions might assist:

  • Does the cyber bullying create a hostile environment for the student atSchool?
  • Does the cyber bullying infringe on the rights of the victim at school?
  • Does the cyber bullying substantially disrupt the educational process or the orderly operation of a school?
  • To the extent available printouts of any IMs or postings or other related information should be requested as part of the investigation.

 

What is the timeline for the completion of the investigation?

The statute provides that the investigation must be completed "promptly.” While no specific timeline is outlined in this statute, other federal, state and local guidelines speak to schools taking "prompt and effective action calculated to end the harassment (bullying), prevent its recurrence and, as appropriate, remedy its effects.” In order to limit the harm to all parties dealing as immediately as possible once an allegation has been made is critical. Expediency, however, does not mean doing less than is required to complete a thorough investigation.

 

What constitutes a "Verified Act of Bullying”?

Focus on the statutory definition of bullying:

  • Was the conduct repeated?
  • Did the conduct cause physical or emotional harm to the student or damage to the student’s property?
  • Did the conduct place the student in reasonable fear of harm to him or herself, or of damage to his/her property?
  • Did the conduct create a hostile environment at school for such student?
  • Did the conduct infringe on the rights of the student at school?
  • Did the conduct substantially disrupt the educational process or orderly
  • Operation of the school?

NOTE: Cyber bullying should be verified only if one or more of the last three questions are answered yes.

NOTE: The statute defines "hostile environment” as "a situation in which bullying among students is sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of the school climate.”

NOTE: The statute defines "school climate” as "the quality and character of school life with a particular focus on the quality of the relationships within the school community between and among students and adults.”

 

Will there be a written report?

The statute requires that the district’s safe school climate plan must "establish a procedure for each school to document and maintain records relating to reports and investigations of bullying in such school and to maintain a list of the number of verified acts of bullying in such school and make such list available for public inspection.”
Consistent with district obligations under state and federal law regarding student privacy, the list will not contain any personally identifiable student information, or any information that alone or in combination would allow a reasonable person in the school community to identify the students involved. The list will be limited to basic information such as the number of verified acts, name of school and/or grade level and relevant date.

 

Can written reports be shared with the parents of the victim and/or of the perpetrator?

The statute requires that parents of perpetrators and victims be "notified” if bullying is verified. Any written report would likely include personally-identifiable student information. Disclosure of information such as might be contained in an investigation report would likely violate FERPA and is therefore not to be provided.

 

What be done to notify parents of the results of the investigation?

Within forty-eight hours of the completion of the investigation, school officials must notify parents of any student who commits a verified act of bullying and the parents of any student against whom any such act of bullying was committed. Such parents must be invited to a meeting "to communicate to such parents or guardians the measures being taken by the school to ensure the safety of the student against whom such act was directed and to prevent further acts of bullying.” This meeting will result in the creation of a written School Safety and Intervention Plan for both the victim and the perpetrator. A copy of their child’s plan will be provided to the parent and shared with the student.

Note: Each of the meetings should be held separately. At no time would it be appropriate for the parents of the perpetrators to meet with the parents of the victims.

Annually, the number of verified acts of bullying in a school district must be reported to the State Department of Education in such manner as the Commissioner of Education may prescribe.

 

What will the school do to prevent repeated acts of bullying?

When an act(s) of bullying are verified, school officials must develop School Safety and Intervention Plans for both the victim and the perpetrator.
For the victim this plan must:

  • Include a school safety plan that describes what school staff will do to ensure safety in the school environment.
  • Include an intervention strategy to teach the skills and dispositions necessary to decrease the likelihood of further victimization
  • Identify a case manager
  • Be provided to the parent and shared with the student
  • Be monitored by the School Climate Specialist or his/her designee (to be identified in the plan) to ensure implementation fidelity and adjusted as necessary to provide a safe environment

For the perpetrator the plan must:

  • Include any disciplinary action to be taken,
  • Include next steps should bullying occur again (repeated acts of bullying may lead to suspension and/or expulsion in accordance with Board of Education Policy #5119)
  • Clearly state that retaliation against the victim, the reporter, or any individual participating in the investigation is prohibited;
  • Identify a case manager
  • Be provided to the parent and shared with the student
  • Include an intervention strategy designed to teach the skills and dispositions necessary for participation in a safe school climate
  • Include actions to be taken to restore the student into the community (Restorative Discipline)

 

When must school officials report student behavior to the police?

CT General Statute 10-222d requires that "when the principal or his/her designee believes that any acts of bullying constitute criminal conduct, he/she must notify the appropriate local law enforcement agency.”

 

What training will school employees receive?

All school employees must complete training on the prevention, identification and response to school bullying and the prevention of and response to youth suicide. Such training may include, but not be limited to, (1) developmentally appropriate strategies to prevent bullying among students in school and outside of the school setting, (2) developmentally appropriate strategies for immediate and effective interventions to stop bullying, (3) information regarding the interaction and relationship between students committing acts of bullying, students against whom such acts of bullying are directed and witnesses of such acts of bullying, (4) research findings on bullying, such as information about the types of students who have been shown to be at-risk for bullying in the school setting, (5) information on the incidence and nature of cyber bullying, (6) Internet safety issues as they relate to cyber bullying, or (7) information on the incidence of youth suicide, methods of identifying youths at risk of suicide and developmentally appropriate strategies for effective interventions to prevent youth suicide. Such training may be presented in person, offered in state-wide/district-wide workshops or through on-line courses.

 

What is a prevention and intervention strategy?

The safe school climate plan must include a "prevention and intervention strategy,” as defined in Conn. Gen. Stat. § 10-222g. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 10-222g provides that the term "prevention and intervention strategy” may include, but is not limited to, (1) implementation of a positive behavioral interventions and supports process or another evidence-based model approach for safe school climate or for the prevention of bullying identified by the Department of Education, (2) school rules prohibiting bullying, harassment and intimidation and establishing appropriate consequences for those who engage in such acts, (3) adequate adult supervision of outdoor areas, hallways, the lunchroom and other specific areas where bullying is likely to occur, (4) inclusion of grade-appropriate bullying education and prevention curricula in kindergarten through high school, (5) individual interventions with the bully, parents and school employees, and interventions with the bullied child, parents and school employees, (6) school-wide training related to safe school climate, (7) student peer training, education and support, and (8) promotion of parent involvement in bullying prevention through individual or team participation in meetings, trainings and individual interventions.


What are the rights of students, parents and staff who report bullying?

Safe school climate plans must include a prohibition against discrimination and retaliation against a person who reports or assists in the investigation of bullying complaint.

 

Suggested Timeline for Implementation

Suggested Timeline for Implementation

Deadline

Suggested

Completed as of 1/10/12

Appoint School Climate Coordinator

7/1/12

Yes

Appoint School Climate Specialist(s) at each site

7/1/12

Yes

Establish and Train District School Climate Team

7/1/12

January 2012

In Progress

Establish and Train School Climate Team at each site

7/1/12

In Progress

Train School Climate Specialists

In Progress

Develop School Climate Plan - District

1/1/12

Yes

BOE Approve School Climate Plan – District

1/10/12

In Progress

Submit School Climate Plan – District to CSDE

Draft Submitted to CSDE 12/28/11

Publish School Climate Plan – District on District and Each School Website

Within 30 days following BOE Approval

Implement Reporting Process/Forms

9/1/2012

Inform Students, Parents, Staff of Reporting Process/Forms

Summer/Fall 2012

Investigate and Select process of "online” Reporting

In Progress

Create Training Modules for ALL School Employees

7/1/12

Spring 2012

Train All School Employees

12-13 School Year

Select Perception Survey for students, parents, and employees

Spring 2012

In Progress (subject to budget)

Conduct Initial Perception Survey

October 2012

Publish Results of Initial Perception Survey

Within 30 days following completion

School Climate Team review data and submit initial School Climate Plan for review

November 1, 2012

 

Resources

Connecticut State Department of Education - www.sde.ct.gov

National School Climate Center - www.schoolclimate.org

Office of Civil Rights – www.ed.gov

Character Counts - www.charactercounts.org

National Association of School Psychologists – www.naesp.org

Stop Bullying Now! - www.stopbullying.gov

Peace Builders - www.peacebuilders.com

Stop Bullying Now! - www.stopbullyingnow.com

Kids Health - www.kidshealth.org

Anti-Bullying – www.antibullying.net

Kids Against Bullying – www.pacerkidsagainstbullying.org

Olweus Bullying Prevention – www.olweus.org

John Halligan – www.ryanpatrickhalligan.org

National PTA – www.pta.org