SAFETY AND BEHAVIOR EXPECTATIONS
- Safety and Behavior Rationale
- Basic Safety Guidelines
- Bullying, Harassment, and Hate Speech
- Types of Bullying and/or Harassment
- Bullying Prevention
- Reporting and Filing of Complaints
- Investigations and Resolution of Complaints
- Restorative Practices
Hillview Middle School expects that all students will behave in a manner that is safe and respectful. All members of the Hillview community are responsible for reinforcing and teaching behavior that promotes safety, respect, and responsibility for all individuals on campus. Remember that our expectations apply not only at school, but also on the way to and on the way home from school.
For Hillview to be a safe place for everyone, we ask students to follow these basic guidelines:
- Keep your hands off other people.
- Keep your hands off other people’s stuff.
- Respect other people’s personal space and don’t crowd them.
- Keep track of your personal items and keep them secure.
There is no place for bullying, teasing, taunting, hate speech or harassment of any kind at Hillview. We work hard to eliminate this kind of treatment and show everyone our schools are safe and inclusive. While a student will sometimes say, “Oh, I was just joking,” or “I didn’t really mean it,” those words do not excuse any student from making others feel powerless. Whether the comments relate to one’s disability, race, gender, or sexual orientation, we simply do not tolerate this behavior.
If your child feels like they are being teased, taunted, harassed, bullied or are the target of hate speech, OR your child witnesses this type of behavior, we ask that they speak up. Let the other person know that this behavior is not acceptable. If the bullying continues, report the behavior immediately to a teacher or other adult on campus. We encourage your child to be an “upstander,” not a bystander; if your child sees bullying happen, they should take a stand against it by defending the victim, discouraging the bully, and reporting the incident. Further information regarding bullying and reporting can be found in the MPCSD Complete Board Policy 5131.2.
Under California law, “Bullying” is defined as any severe or pervasive physical or verbal act or conduct, including communications made in writing or by means of an electronic act, and including one or more acts committed by a pupil or group of pupils that constitutes sex harassment, hate violence or creates an intimidating or hostile educational environment, directed toward one or more pupils that has or can be reasonably predicted to have the effect of one or more of the following:
(A) Placing a reasonable pupil or pupils in fear of harm to that pupil’s or those pupils’ person or property.
(B) Causing a reasonable pupil to experience a substantially detrimental effect on his or her physical or mental health.
(C) Causing a reasonable pupil to experience substantial interference with his or her academic performance.
(D) Causing a reasonable pupil to experience a substantial interference with his or her ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or privileges provided by a school.
Hitting, kicking, pushing, biting, spitting, poking, throwing objects, taking personal belongings (such as a backpack), unwanted tickling, etc. “Table topping” and “five-starring” are considered physical bullying.
Taunting, teasing to hurt someone’s feelings, name-calling (can be swear words or racial slurs, but doesn’t have to be), threatening, gossiping, hurtful or harassing words, etc.
Spreading rumors (true or untrue), deliberately excluding someone from a group, extortion (getting money or belongings through threats), intimidation (making someone fearful), etc.
Exhibitionism, voyeurism, propositioning, sexual assault, “pantsing,” physical contact of a sexual nature, sexually explicit or suggestive comments, jokes, and/or conversations, inappropriate drawings, etc.
Verbal, psychological, and/or sexual bullying by electronic means, including, but not limited to, text messages, emails, postings on social media sites, etc.
Unwelcoming conduct such as verbal abuse, name calling, disability-based epithets, and/or slurs; graphic or written statements about one’s disability(ies); threats; physical assault; other conduct that may be physically threatening, harmful, or humiliating
To the extent possible, district schools shall focus on the prevention of bullying by establishing clear rules for student conduct and implementing strategies to promote a positive, collaborative school climate. Students shall be informed, through student handbooks and other appropriate means, of district and school rules related to bullying, mechanisms available for reporting incidents or threats, and the consequences for engaging in bullying.
As appropriate, the district shall provide students with instruction, in the classroom or other educational settings, that promotes effective communication and conflict-resolution skills, social skills, character/values education, respect for cultural and individual differences, self-esteem development, assertiveness skills, and appropriate online behavior.
Staff shall receive related professional development, including information about early warning signs of harassing/intimidating behaviors and effective response.
Students are encouraged to notify school staff when they are being bullied or suspect that another student is being victimized. In addition, the Superintendent or designee shall develop means for students to report threats or incidents confidentially and anonymously.
School staff who witness an act of bullying shall immediately intervene to stop the incident when it is safe to do so.
When appropriate based on the severity or pervasiveness of the bullying, the Superintendent or designee shall notify the parents/guardians of victims and perpetrators and may contact law enforcement.
The Superintendent, principal, or principal's designee may refer a victim, witness, perpetrator, or other student affected by an act of bullying to a school counselor, school psychologist, social worker, child welfare attendance personnel, school nurse, or other school support service personnel for case management, counseling, and/or participation in a restorative justice program as appropriate.
Reporting and Filing of Complaints
Any student, parent/guardian, or other individual who believes that a student has been subjected to bullying or who has witnessed bullying may report the incident to a teacher, the principal, a compliance officer, or any other available school employee. The staff member receiving such a report shall notify the principal of the report, whether or not a uniform complaint is filed. In addition, any school employee who observes an incident of bullying involving a student shall report his/her observation to the principal or a district compliance officer, whether or not the alleged victim files a complaint.
When a report of bullying is submitted, the principal or a district compliance officer shall inform the student or parent/guardian of the right to file a formal written complaint in accordance with AR 1312.3. The student who is the alleged victim of the bullying shall be given an opportunity to describe the incident, identify witnesses who may have relevant information, and provide other evidence of bullying.
When the circumstances involve cyberbullying, individuals with information about the activity shall be encouraged to save and print any electronic or digital messages that they feel constitute cyberbullying and to notify a teacher, the principal, or other employee so that the matter may be investigated. When a student uses a social media site or service to bully or harass another student, the Superintendent or designee may file a request with the media site or service to suspend the privileges of the student and to have the material removed.
Investigation and Resolution of Complaints
Any complaint of bullying shall be investigated and, if determined to be discriminatory, resolved in accordance with law and the district's uniform complaint procedures specified in AR 1312.3.
Consequences are determined following an investigation of the issue and the appropriate application of Education Code, MPCSD Board Policy, and Restorative Practices. They range from restorative circles and conflict mediation to suspension from school, for more severe cases.
For parents looking to file a formal complaint about bullying/harassment/otherwise, Menlo Park City School District has a Universal Complaint Procedure to follow, and parents are always welcome to follow this protocol. It can be found at: MPCSD Universal Complaint Procedure
Our district schools continue to use the methodology from the International Institute for Restorative Practices. Restorative Practices are aimed at creating human connection between adults and students on campus, as well as engendering an empathic school culture. Restorative Practices are woven throughout our campus culture, including in social-emotional learning lessons, community circles and our behavior management system. At Hillview, restorative practices are the foundation for our approach to behavior management. Our Restorative Justice model includes both our conflict resolution and suspension diversion programs.