Bullying will not be tolerated in our community. Bullying is contrary to Catherine Cook’s policy and to Illinois State law.
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.
Harassment refers to unwelcome conduct or behavior that is offensive or threatening based on a student’s race, color, national origin, disability, religion, or other identifying characteristic which has the effect of interfering with a student’s educational performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational environment.
Sexual Harassment refers to harassment based on sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Sexual harassment is behavior that is uninvited and unwanted and is directed at a person because of their sex, sexual orientation or gender identity. Sexual harassment may include: coercion, physical touching; assault; inappropriate personal questions; sexual or suggestive remarks about a student’s clothing, body or sexual activity; other suggestive remarks or verbal abuse; display, sharing or distribution of explicit, offensive or demeaning photographs or other material; requiring a student to wear sexually revealing clothing; ogling a person’s body; lewd or sexual jokes; manipulation or coercion in the pursuit of physical intimacy; or demanding sexual favors, whether or not accompanied by promises, hints or threats concerning opportunities.
If a student believes they or a peer has been the victim of discrimination, harassment (including sexual harassment), or 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 Head of Middle School. 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.
Judy Wahl, Interim Head of Early Childhood
Kathy Gilmore, Head of Lower School
Corrine Stutts, Head of Middle School
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 and will work as quickly as is possible to ensure the safety of students, 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 taking into consideration additional relevant information received during the course of the investigation about the reported incident of discrimination, harassment (including sexual harassment), or bullying. Appropriate school personnel will be involved, as needed. When deemed appropriate, the School may refer reports of discrimination (including sexual harassment), harassment, or bullying to an independent investigator. Whether the investigation is conducted by a Catherine Cook administrator or an independent party, findings are presented to a selected group of administrators who determine School-based disciplinary and/or restorative next steps, when appropriate. Consistent with Catherine Cook’s policy on student privacy, school personnel will provide parents and students involved in the incident with information about the investigation and an opportunity to meet with the Head of School or other administrator to discuss the investigation, the findings, and the actions taken to address any discrimination, harassment, or bullying that is found to have occurred.
Interventions may be provided, as needed, to the parties involved in the discrimination, harassment (including sexual harassment), or bullying, including but not limited to school social worker services, restorative measures, counseling, and others.
In pursuing the investigation, the investigator will try to take the wishes of the reporting student into consideration but will investigate the matter in a manner deemed appropriate by the investigator, based on the facts and circumstances of each report.
To ensure the integrity of any investigation, all individuals interviewed are reminded that they are expected to treat both the fact that an investigation is being conducted, as well as any information they have to share in connection with that investigation, as confidential. Breach of confidentiality associated with the report, the investigation, and the resolution is grounds for disciplinary action.
Reprisal or retaliation against any person who reports an act of discrimination, harassment (including sexual harassment), or bullying is a violation of Catherine Cook’s policy and will be treated as misconduct for purposes of determining interventions and consequences according to this policy. A student will not be punished for reporting misconduct or supplying information, even if Catherine Cook’s investigation concludes that no discrimination, harassment, or 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.
If a student is determined to have engaged in discriminatory, harassing, or 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. In all cases, final decisions regarding the removal of a student from the school community, whether on a temporary or permanent basis, lie with the Head of School or his or her designee. All disciplinary decisions are final and not subject to appeal.
Regarding prohibited 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 students and parents 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.
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
Catherine Cook School denounces the use of words or images to harass individuals or groups based on gender, gender expression, race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other aspect of identity. “Hate speech” of this nature is contrary to Catherine Cook‘s Mission Statement, Diversity Statement, and Core Values. Individuals determined to have participated in such harassment, as outlined in the Anti-Bullying Policy, may be subject to consequences including suspension and expulsion.
Appropriate Boundaries Between Catherine Cook School Staffulty and Students
As employees of an educational institution, faculty and staff are held to a higher standard by parents, caregivers, students, colleagues, and members of the public. The information below is being provided in compliance with Illinois School Code provisions enacted under Public Act 102-0676, referred to as Faith’s Law. This document describes the expectations for Staffulty regarding maintaining a professional relationship with students, including but not limited to, expectations for staff-student boundaries, and recognizing the age and developmental level of students served.
The School supports and endorses a strict policy of respect toward students and expects employees to act at all times as adult role models. Students typically respond better to faculty and staff and evidence greater levels of respect when appropriate expectations are established from the beginning of the relationship. Therefore, faculty and staff members should not engage in any interaction or communication that may reflect even the appearance of impropriety or make students feel unsafe. If a faculty or staff member is not sure whether a particular comment or action may be appropriate, it is far better to avoid the behavior than risk negative consequences. All Staffulty must adhere to the core principles, values, and responsibilities applicable to Illinois educators outlined in the Code of Ethics for Illinois Educators, 23 Ill. Adm. Part 22. The expectations contained in this policy are in addition to all applicable federal and state law and regulations and other applicable policies and procedures.
All Staffulty are explicitly prohibited from engaging in grooming behaviors or sexual misconduct with students. Sexual misconduct is any act, including, but not limited to, any verbal, nonverbal, written, or electronic communication or physical activity, by an employee or agent of the School with direct contact with a student that is directed toward or with a student to establish a romantic or sexual relationship with the student. Such an act includes, but is not limited to, any of the following:
- A sexual or romantic invitation.
- Dating or soliciting a date.
- Engaging in sexualized or romantic dialog.
- Making sexually suggestive comments that are directed toward or with a student.
- Self-disclosure or physical exposure of a sexual, romantic, or erotic nature.
- A sexual, indecent, romantic, or erotic contact with the student.
The following are examples of inappropriate interactions and communications with students. This list is not all-inclusive, and other similar activities should also be avoided:
- Meeting with a student or contacting a student outside of the Staffulty member’s professional role and/or without express consent of their parents/guardians. Staffulty are strictly prohibited from using any form of communication with students (including but not limited to e-mails, letters, notes, text messages, phone calls, conversations) that includes any subject matter that would be deemed unprofessional and inappropriate between Staffulty and a student;
- Giving out any phone numbers or asking for other students’ phone numbers for use in situations other than for legitimate school reasons;
- Encouraging or allowing students to call faculty or staff members by an unapproved nickname;
- Touching students or their clothing in non-professional ways or inappropriate places;
- Making personal comments to students (about their clothing, appearance, expression, personal habits, etc.);
- Sending emails, texts, or notes to students of a personal nature;
- Inviting a student to visit social media sites and/or “friending” a student on social media;
- Giving students rides in a personal vehicle, except in emergency situations and with consent of parents/guardians and/or supervisor, documented in writing. If at all feasible, Staffulty should be accompanied by another Staffulty member when transporting a student. If it is not feasible to obtain advance permission or notify a parent/guardian prior to transporting the student (such as an emergency situation or when a parent/guardian cannot be contacted), Staffulty should take all reasonable steps to ensure the safety of the student. Within a reasonable period of time following transportation of a student, Staffulty should document what actions were taken and notify both their supervisor and the parents/guardians in a follow up communication;
- Taking or possessing a photo or video of a student for personal use;
- Discussing with students the personal affairs of other students or colleagues;
- Speaking with innuendo to suggest a relationship or sexual subjects;
- Flirting with students;
- Visiting students to “hang out” in their hotel rooms when on overnight events;
- Swearing, making inappropriate sexual/racial/or ethnic comments, or telling off-color jokes.
In addition, employees should never physically move, grab, or touch a student, or grab something from a student with aggression or because of frustration. A teacher or staff member should never treat a student with anything less than respect and dignity. If a student does not follow directions as expected, employees should communicate clearly the instructions and, if the student does not listen or respond properly, take appropriate action. This action could include any number of responses, such as separating the student from the group; walking up to the student and ensuring that the student clearly sees the employee communicate with them; removing the student from the activity; communicating with the parent after the event; writing a counseling report; reporting the student to another appropriate School authority, etc.
Moreover, any employee who is also a parent of a student at the School is expected, when acting in a parental role or capacity, to address perceived problems or alleged inequities by other students (bullying, etc.) in the same way all other parents are to address such actions. Generally, the employee should report the problem to the appropriate administrator and should not take personal action to address the situation.
A professional relationship must be maintained with students and families at all times. Care should be exercised, since some relationships (e.g. babysitting) may place faculty in an unintended – and possibly unprofessional – situation. In general, employees of the School, with the exception of Teaching Assistants, are prohibited from babysitting, house-sitting, or engaging in other work for current students and families of the School. Teaching Assistants may not babysit or house-sit for families whose children are currently in their classrooms. Teachers may not tutor students in their current grade or within their cohort. Employees should not invite students to their homes or engage in social activities with students outside of the School or in School-related activities, unless authorized by the Head of School.
All employees are expected to take responsibility for the safety and welfare of students. If a faculty or staff member observes any employee, parent/guardian, volunteer, or contractor engaging in any type of inappropriate or questionable behavior with a student or violating any aspect of this policy, they should report the information immediately to the student’s division head or Human Resources. In addition, as a part of every employee’s obligation to keep children and the campus safe, a teacher or staff member who receives information reflecting that any person who regularly or periodically visits the School’s campus (student, employee, parent, spouse of an employee, family member, volunteer, or contractor) has engaged in behavior that could constitute abuse or has been accused, arrested or convicted of any type of abuse or sexual misconduct toward any other person must immediately report such information to a division director or the Head of School. This reporting requirement is in additional to the individual’s requirements to report suspected child abuse under the Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act (ANCRA) and Title IX, if applicable.
Any employee who engages in behavior that violates this policy or who fails to report such activity by others will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.