#cyberbullying | #cyberbully | Glenbrook High Schools Consider Revisions To Bullying Policies

GLENVIEW, IL — The Glenbrook High School District 225 board is considering revisions to its policy on hazing and bullying. The proposed changes include the addition of an annual evaluation process to assess the effectiveness of the policy and its outcomes, a new bullying or hazing prevention and response plan and a more detailed procedure for promptly addressing and investigating reports of bullying.

New Superintendent Charles Johns’ policy committee met Sept. 24 to review the policy for possible revisions. The committee is made up of school administrators and two members of the District 225 school board. School districts are mandated by state law to review and re-evaluate their anti-bullying policies every two years to see if updates are needed.

“The draft of this policy directly encompasses cyberbullying among other types of bullying. It also lists detailed response procedures to reports of such instances,” Johns said, in a statement provided to Patch.

“It is our hope that by further communicating this proposed policy update, we can encourage students to be active reporters of bullying, and to act with a little more caution, whether their interactions be online or at school,” added Johns, who succeeded former Superintendent Mike Riggle at the helm of Glenbrook North and Glenbrook South high schools at the start of the 2018-19 school year.

The new draft policy has an expanded jurisdiction. It now covers the “transmission of information from any electronic device regardless of ownership or where it is accessed if the bullying causes a substantial disruption to the educational process or orderly operation of a school.” It applies when the administration gets a report of electronic hazing but does not require staff to monitor any extra activities outside of school.

It also updates the definition of bullying, eliminating the definition of “Aggressive Behavior” and replacing it with a new definition — “Cyber-bullying”:

Bullying through the use of technology or any electronic communication, including without limitation any transfer of signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data, or intelligence of any nature transmitted in whole or in part by a wire, radio, electromagnetic system, photoelectronic system, or photo-optical system, including without limitation electronic mail, internet communications, instant messages, or facsimile communications. Cyberbullying includes, among other things, the assumption of the identity of another person as the author of posted content or messages if such assumptions creates any of the effects described in the definition of bullying in this Section. Cyberbullying also includes the distribution or the posting of material on an electronic medium that may be received or accessed by one or more persons if the distribution or posting creates any of the effects described in the definition of bullying.

The proposed revisions add a bullying or hazing prevention and response place, which encourages students, parents and staff to immediately report any bullying or hazing. It aims to complete investigations within 10 days of reports and keep complaint confidential.

“Reprisal or retaliation (which does not include denial or disagreement, civilly stated) against any person who reports an act of bullying is prohibited. A student’s act of reprisal or retaliation will be treated as bullying for purposes of determining any consequences or other appropriate remedial actions,” it said.

“A student will not be punished for reporting bullying or supplying information in good faith, even if the District’s investigation concludes that no bullying occurred. However, knowingly or recklessly making a false accusation or knowingly or recklessly providing false information will be treated as bullying for purposes of determining any consequences or other appropriate remedial actions.”

In response to a public records request last month, District 225 provided the combined number of reported bullying incidents in each of the five years at Glenbrook North and Glenbrook South.

The number of bullying incidents across Glenbrook High Schools by year. (via District 225)

District 225 Communications Director Karen Geddeis told Patch the district works to address bullying through a combination of “prevention, intervention, investigation and resolution.” The district also offers ways to confidentially report bullying.

“We offer Text-A-Tip, the Spartan Concern Form, the Titan Concern Center, and other anonymous reporting tools to help students report incidents or concerns for themselves or others,” Geddeis said.

The board will review the recommended revisions to Board Policy 8480 for adoption at its meeting Tuesday.

Read more about anti-bullying policies at Northbrook and Glenview schools and how Northbrook and Glenview parents responded to our survey for Bullying Prevention Month.

No Bully/Patch News Partner

The Menace Of Bullies: Patch Advocacy Reporting Project

As part of a national reporting project, Patch has been looking at society’s roles and responsibilities in bullying and a child’s unthinkable decision to end their own life in hopes we might offer solutions that save lives.

Do you have a story to tell? Are you concerned about how your local schools handle bullies and their victims? Email us at bullies@patch.com or share your views in the comments.

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