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Frequently Asked Questions


Q: WHAT IS CONSIDERED BULLYING?

A: Every incident will be evaluated on a case by case basis and treated seriously. That said, it’s important to remember that not every situation is, in fact, bullying. Sometimes misunderstandings and miscommunications will result in one party feeling that they were a target of bullying. Generally, an action is considered bullying if it:

  • demonstrates a pattern of repeated behaviors
  • causes physical or emotional harm to the target student or damage to his or her property
  • is based on an imbalance of power in the relationship between aggressor and victim.

 Q: WHAT ABOUT TEASING? HOW DOES THAT FIT IN?

A: It is sometimes hard to know when a behavior crosses the line from “teasing” to bullying. Is eye rolling bullying? What about name-calling? We all need to learn to discern between teasing/joking/talking back kind of behaviors and actual bullying behaviors. Sometimes it's hard to tell and often depends on the situation. However, parents and teachers alike should continue to go back to the points above when evaluating: if there is a power imbalance and repeated acts of aggressive, belittling and/or shunning behavior, it is bullying. It is important to keep in mind age and gender differences as well. Sometimes children are simply experimenting with their own social power. It’s okay, as a parent or educator, to say to a child, “Hey, what was that? I’m not sure I liked that look (that comment, etc.).” Having a discussion about it helps kids learn more about the boundaries of acceptable behavior.

Q: WHAT ARE THE RULES IN THE NEWTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS AGAINST BULLYING

A:  In keeping with the Massachusetts Law regarding bullying (including cyberbullying), bullying is prohibited:

  • At school-sponsored or school-related functions
  • At school and at all school facilities
  • On school buses and school bus stops
  • Through the use of technology or an electronic device owned, licensed or used by a  school; and
  • At non-school-related locations and through non-school technology or electronic devices, if the bullying affects the school environment.

Encouraging others to target a student with any of the behaviors listed above may also be considered bullying. 

Q: DOES IT INCLUDE ACTIVITIES OUTSIDE OF SCHOOL?

A: Yes. Whether on or off school grounds, in person, in writing, by text, email, or on the computer, if an action creates a hostile environment at school or infringes on the rights of another person at school, it is considered bullying.

Q: WILL I BE TOLD THE DISCIPLINARY OR OTHER ACTION TAKEN AFTER THE INVESTIGATION?

A: Confidentiality laws prohibit educators from telling a student or parent specifics about any action taken against another student. Though you will not get specific information about how NPS has followed up on your report, the person investigating the incident will keep you informed. No report will be ignored.

Q: WHAT IS THE POLICE INVOLVEMENT IF BULLYING HAS OCCURRED?

A: Filing a Bullying Incident Report triggers an investigation into the specific incident(s). In the event that the act is considered to be bullying, the school will determine the consequences or action plan. Police will only be called if the incident has specifically violiated a law (such as discrimination, stalking or assault).

Q: MY CHILD HAS SPECIAL NEEDS?  HOW DOES THIS LAW EFFECT HIM/HER?

A: If a child has a disability that affects social skills development or the child is vulnerable to bullying (be it as a target or aggressor) because of his/her disability, the Indvidualized Education Plan (IEP) will address the skills and proficiencies needed to avoid and/or respond to bullying behaviors. 

 

Before filing an incident report, we strongly encourage you to also explore other pages on this website to learn more about bullying prevention and intervention. 

 I want more information on how to report bullying!

Before filing an incident report, we strongly encourage you to also explore other pages on this website to learn more about bullying prevention and intervention.