Bullying will not be tolerated in our community. Bullying is contrary to Catherine Cook’s policy and to Illinois State law.
Bullying is prohibited:
- during any school-sponsored or school-sanctioned program or activity;
- in school, on school property, on school buses or other Catherine Cook provided transportation, and at designated locations for students to wait for buses;
- through the transmission of information via electronic communication from a Catherine Cook computer or computer network, or other electronic school equipment;
- when the behavior or communication occurs off campus or through the transmission of information from a computer that is accessed at a non-school related location, activity, function, or program or from the use of technology or an electronic device that is not owned, leased or used by the school if the bullying causes a substantial disruption to the educational process or orderly operation of a school and has one of the effects enumerated in the bullying definition. This paragraph applies only in cases in which a school administrator or teacher receives a report that bullying through this means has occurred and does not require Catherine Cook to staff or monitor any non-school-related activity, function, or program.
"Bullying," including "cyberbullying," means any severe or pervasive (repeated over time) physical or verbal act or conduct, including communications made in writing or electronically (i.e., cyberbullying), directed toward a student or students, that has or can be reasonably predicted to have one or more of the following effects:
- placing the student in reasonable fear of harm to the student's person or property;
- causing a substantially detrimental effect on the student's physical or mental health;
- substantially interfering with the student's academic performance; or
- substantially interfering with the student's ability to participate in or benefit from the services activities, or privileges provided by a school.
Bullying may take various forms, including without limitation, one or more of the following: cyberbullying, harassment, threats, intimidation, stalking, physical violence, sexual harassment, sexual violence, theft, public humiliation, ostracism, destruction of property, or retaliation for asserting, opposing or alleging an act of bullying. This list is meant to be illustrative and non-exhaustive.
Cyberbullying means 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, photo-electronic system, or photo-optical system, including without limitation electronic mail, Internet communications, instant messages, or facsimile communications. Cyberbullying includes the creation of a webpage or weblog in which the creator assumes the identity of another person or the knowing impersonation of another person as the author of posted content or messages if the creation or impersonation creates any of the effects enumerated in the definition of bullying in this Section. Cyberbullying also includes the distribution by electronic means of a communication to more than one person or the posting of material on an electronic medium that may be accessed by one or more persons if the distribution or posting creates any of the effects enumerated in the definition of bullying in this Section.
If a student believes they or a peer has been the victim of bullying, they should report the situation to an advisor, teacher, or school administrator. Parents should report the situation directly to the Head of Early Childhood, Head of Lower School, or the Dean of Students (Middle School). A small box in a central area of the school (Main Office) is provided for all anonymous reporting and is easily identifiable. Anonymous reports are also accepted. No disciplinary action will be taken solely on the basis of an anonymous report that has not been substantiated in the course of an investigation. Students and parents/guardians should also report violations of the bullying policy to school personnel.
Lisa Zimmer, Head of Early Childhood
Sunni Kitson, Head of Lower School
Jeff Edmonds, Middle School Dean of Students
School Phone: 312-266-3381
When a report is received, school personnel will collaborate with parents and students to agree upon a course of action, working as quickly as possible to ensure students' safety, gather information, and clarify facts. School personnel will make all reasonable efforts to complete the investigation within 10 school days after the date of the report and consider additional relevant information received during the investigation about the reported incident of bullying. Appropriate school personnel will be involved, as needed. Consistent with federal and state laws and Catherine Cook's policy on student privacy, school personnel will promptly provide parents and students involved in the bullying incident with information about the investigation. School personnel will also give parents and students involved an opportunity to meet with the Head of Schools or other administrators to discuss the investigation, the findings, and the actions taken to address any bullying found to have occurred.
Interventions may be provided, as needed, to the parties involved in the bullying, including but not limited to school social worker services, counseling, school psychological services, restorative measures, and others. "Restorative measures" refers to a continuum of school-based alternatives to exclusionary discipline (e.g., suspensions and expulsions) that:
- are adapted to the particular needs of the school and community.
- contribute to maintaining school safety.
- protect the integrity of a positive and productive learning climate.
- teach students the personal and interpersonal skills they will need to succeed in school and society.
- serve to build and restore relationships among students, families, schools, and communities.
- reduce the likelihood of future disruption by balancing accountability with an understanding of students' behavioral health needs to keep students in school.
- increase student accountability if the bullying incident is based on religion, race, ethnicity, or any other category identified in the Illinois Human Rights Act.
Reprisal or retaliation against any person who reports an act of bullying is a violation of Catherine Cook's policy and will be treated as bullying for purposes of determining interventions and consequences according to this Policy. A student will not be punished for reporting bullying or supplying information, even if Catherine Cook's investigation concludes that no bullying occurred. However, knowingly making a false accusation or providing knowingly false information will be treated as bullying for purposes of determining and consequences or other appropriate remedial actions. However, knowingly making a false accusation or providing knowingly false information will be treated as bullying for purposes of determining and consequences or other appropriate remedial actions.
If a student is determined to have engaged in bullying behavior, they will be subject to disciplinary actions appropriate to the offense, the student's age and past behavior, and the circumstances surrounding the events. Disciplinary actions may include a series of graduated consequences and, in severe cases, suspension or expulsion. Disciplinary actions will be thoughtfully taken in an attempt to promote student safety and well-being, change and improve behavior, and uphold the school's Mission, Philosophy, and Core Values.
Regarding rude, mean, or bullying behaviors exhibited outside of school and among Catherine Cook students, teachers and administrators may get involved if students' actions impact the school experience, be it academic or social, for individuals or the community. In such instances, school personnel will work thoughtfully with a range of school stakeholders, including students and parents or guardians, to determine the best course of action.
The Head of School shall assist the Board of Trustees with its evaluation and assessment of the policy's outcomes and effectiveness. This process shall include, but is not limited to, factors such as:
- The frequency of victimization.
- Student, staff, and family observations of safety at a school.
- Identification of areas of a school where bullying occurs.
- The types of bullying being utilized.
- Bystander intervention or participation.
The evaluation process may use relevant data and information that Catherine Cook already collects for other purposes. The information developed as part of the evaluation process will be posted on Catherine Cook's website.
This policy is fully consistent with Catherine Cook's other policies, and can be found on the school's website, student handbook, and faculty/staff handbook.
ISBE Bullying Policy Requirements, http://www.iasb.com/law/ISBEBullyingPolicyRequirements.pdf
Model Policy for Bullying and Cyberbullying, http://maine.gov/doe/bullying/laws/modelpolicy.html