Prevention and Intervention Plan
At Oak Meadow School (“Oak Meadow”), we want all members of our school
community to treat each other with respect and courtesy. As stated in our mission statement, “We
cultivate confident, independent and compassionate human beings.” Confidence, independence and compassion are
necessary attributes to attain the goal of a better and more peaceful
future. Confident students are willing
and able to voice their opinions.
Independent students know they can, through their own efforts, change
the world. Compassionate students care
for the welfare of others. Oak Meadow
strives to cultivate responsible citizens of the world. Oak Meadow shares Maria Montessori’s belief
that “the child is both hope and promise for mankind.”
It is the policy of Oak Meadow to strive to provide and maintain a safe
learning environment for all members of its community; one that is free from
bullying, cyber-bullying, retaliation, unlawful discrimination, harassment, or
any other verbal, physical or emotional misconduct that disrupts the learning
environment or makes it unsafe.
The Oak Meadow Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan (the “Plan”) is
published in response to the Massachusetts law against bullying and is an
integral part of Oak Meadow’s efforts to promote learning and to prevent
behavior that can impede the learning process.
This Plan spells out Oak Meadow’s comprehensive approach to addressing
bullying, cyber-bullying, and retaliation, as required by the law.
Oak Meadow recognizes that certain students may be more vulnerable to
become targets of bullying, harassment, or teasing based on actual or perceived
characteristics, including race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin,
sex, socioeconomic status, homelessness, academic status, gender identity or
expression, physical appearance, pregnant or parenting status, sexual
orientation, mental, physical, developmental or sensory disability, or by
association with a person who has or is perceived to have one or more of these
This Plan is consistent with broader protections at Oak Meadow against
discrimination, harassment, bullying and retaliation that appear in the Parent/Student Handbook and the Employee Handbook.
It is important that this Plan be understood by all members of the Oak
Meadow community. The Head of School is
responsible for its implementation and administration. The Head of School may delegate authority for
implementation and administration of this policy. Questions and concerns related to this Plan
may be referred to the Head of School or his designee.
Several of the following definitions are drawn directly from the
Massachusetts law against bullying, M.G.L. c. 71, §
37O. In some instances, Oak
Meadow has added language to these definitions to clarify them, but not to
alter their meaning or scope.
An aggressor is a student or a
member of a school faculty/staff who engages in bullying, cyber-bullying, or
retaliation, as defined, towards another person.
Bullying is the use by one or more students or by a
member of a school faculty/staff of a written, verbal, or electronic expression
or a physical act or gesture or any combination thereof, directed at a target
or emotional harm to the target or damage to the target’s property;
target in reasonable fear of harm to himself or herself or damage to his
or her property;
hostile environment at Oak Meadow for the target;
infringes on the
rights of the target at Oak Meadow; or
substantially disrupts the educational process or the orderly operation of
Bullying includes cyber-bullying as defined below.
Cyber-bullying is bullying
through the use of technology or any electronic communication, which may
include, but not be limited to, 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, photo electronic or photo optical
system, including, but not limited to, electronic mail, internet
communications, instant messages or facsimile communications. Cyber-bullying also includes:
the creation of
a web page or blog in which the creator assumes the identity of another
impersonation of another person as the author of posted content or
messages, if the creation or impersonation creates any of the conditions
listed in the bullying definition.
Cyber-bullying shall also include 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 conditions listed in the definition
hostile environment is a situation in which bullying causes the Oak Meadow
environment to be permeated with intimidation, ridicule or insult that is
sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of a student’s
education or a member of the faculty/staff’s work.
A parent is a student’s mother, father, or guardian.
Retaliation is any form of intimidation, reprisal or
harassment directed against a person who reports bullying, provides information
during an investigation about bullying, or witnesses or has reliable
information about bullying.
Faculty/staff members include,
but are not limited to, teachers, administrators, counselors, school
nurses, cafeteria workers, custodians, bus drivers, athletic coaches, advisors
to an extracurricular activity, support staff, or a paraprofessional.
A target is a student or a member of the
faculty/staff, against whom bullying, cyber-bullying, or retaliation has been
Oak Meadow Community Expectations and Legal
It is important to bear in mind that stricter
standards of behavior may apply under Oak Meadow’s policies in order to prevent
inappropriate verbal and physical conduct before a person has been subject to
harm that may result from bullying or cyber-bullying as it is defined under the
Massachusetts law. For example, although
the law defines bullying as “repeated use” of certain expressions, acts, or gestures,
Oak Meadow may impose disciplinary measures and other corrective action in a
case of a single expression, act or gesture, if Oak Meadow determines that it
is of sufficient severity to warrant disciplinary measures or other remedial
action or that the repetition of that expression, act, or gesture might result
Against Bullying, Cyber-Bullying, And Retaliation.
Oak Meadow expressly prohibits any form of bullying, including
cyber-bullying, and retaliation against a person who reports bullying, provides
information during an investigation about bullying, or witnesses, or has
reliable information about bullying.
This policy applies to all of Oak Meadow students and faculty/staff; it
also may apply if one of Oak Meadow’s current students is subjected to bullying
by a former student who comes on Oak Meadow grounds or who engages in
cyber-bullying against one of Oak Meadow’s current students.
Bullying and cyber-bullying are prohibited at Oak Meadow, at Oak
Meadow-sponsored activities, functions, or programs, on Oak Meadow’s grounds,
on grounds adjacent to Oak Meadow’s grounds, at Oak Meadow-sponsored or Oak
Meadow-related activities (whether on or off Oak Meadow’s grounds), on vehicles
owned, leased, or used by Oak Meadow, or through use of technology owned,
leased, or used by Oak Meadow.
Bullying and cyber-bullying are also prohibited at a location, activity,
function, or program that is not Oak Meadow-related, or through the use of
technology or an electronic device that is not owned, leased, or used by Oak
Meadow, if the bullying creates a hostile environment at Oak Meadow for the
target, infringes on the rights of the target at Oak Meadow, or materially and
substantially disrupts the education process or the orderly operation of Oak
For Students, Faculty, Staff, Parents, Or Others To Report Bullying Or
A target of bullying, cyber-bullying or retaliation, or a student or
parent who has witnessed an incident of bullying, cyber-bullying or
retaliation, or who is made aware of bullying, cyber-bullying or retaliation or
otherwise has relevant information about bullying, cyber-bullying, retaliation
or related conduct prohibited by this policy, is urged to promptly report the
matter in person, in writing, electronically by email, or through a telephone
message to the Head of School or his designee.
The Head of School or his designee will acknowledge receipt of the
report and generally will memorialize the report in writing if it was made
Faculty/staff members who witness or otherwise become aware of
bullying or cyber-bullying in violation of this policy, or any retaliation
against a student in violation of this
policy, is required to report it immediately to the Head of School or his
designee. Any faculty/staff member who witnesses or
otherwise becomes aware of bullying, cyber-bullying or retaliation but does not
report it, may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including
termination of employment.
may not make reports under this policy anonymously. Oak Meadow also urges students and their
parents/guardians not to make reports anonymously, but anonymous reports by
parents/guardians or students of either bullying, cyber-bullying or retaliation
are permitted, although they will not be guaranteed anonymity in the event that
law enforcement becomes involved.
Although there are circumstances in which an anonymous report can
sometimes be better than none at all, it is more difficult to determine the
facts of what occurred if complaints are made anonymously, and no disciplinary
action will be taken against a student solely
on the basis of the anonymous report.
While Oak Meadow cannot promise strict confidentiality, because
information must be shared in order to conduct an effective investigation, Oak
Meadow releases information concerning complaints and investigations of
bullying, cyber-bullying and retaliation only on a legitimate need-to-know
If a member of the
faculty/staff witnesses an act of bullying, cyber-bullying, or retaliation in
progress, the faculty/staff member is expected to take reasonable steps to stop
the act by communicating directly with the person whose behavior is considered
unacceptable, offensive, or inappropriate.
V. Response To
A Report Of Bullying, Cyber-Bullying, Or Retaliation.
Before fully investigating the allegations of bullying, cyber-bullying,
or retaliation, the Head of School or his designee will take steps to assess
the need to restore a sense of safety to the alleged target and/or to protect
the alleged target from possible further incidents. Responses to promote safety may include, but
are not limited to, creating a personal safety plan, pre-determining seating
arrangements for the target and/or the aggressor in the classroom, at lunch, or
on the bus; identifying a faculty/staff member who will act as a “safe person”
for the target; and altering the alleged aggressor’s schedule and/or access to
the target. The Head of School or his
designee will take additional steps to promote safety during the course of and after
the investigation, as may be appropriate, including implanting protocols for
protecting individuals who report or witness bullying, or who are interviewed
The Head of School or his designee may, at their sole discretion, work
with faculty/staff, or other persons to restore a sense of safety. The Head of School or his designee may, at
their sole discretion, work with faculty/staff, or other persons to protect
from bullying or retaliation a person who reports bullying, provides information
during an investigation of bullying, or witnesses or has reliable information
about an act of bullying.
The Head of School or his designee will promptly investigate the alleged
bullying, cyber-bullying, or retaliation.
Steps may include, but are not limited to, interviewing the alleged
target(s) and aggressor(s), other students, faculty/staff members, parents, or
other persons who may have knowledge of the alleged bullying or alleged
retaliation. The Head of School or his
designee will remind the alleged aggressor, alleged target, and witnesses that
retaliation is strictly prohibited. To
the extent practicable, given the obligation to investigate and address the
matter, the Head of School or his designee will maintain confidentiality during
the investigative process. The Head of
School will maintain a written record of the investigation.
All persons involved in an investigation should understand that false or
exaggerated accusations can be extremely damaging to innocent persons;
therefore, all claims require the honest and full disclosure of acts by all
involved persons. Any student found to
have made a false allegation of bullying, cyber-bullying, or retaliation may be
subject to disciplinary action. If, as
the result of an investigation, the Head of School determines that
faculty/staff should also be subject to disciplinary action, such disciplinary
action will be handled in accordance with the policies set forth in the Employee Handbook.
If the Head of School or his designee determines that bullying or
retaliation has occurred, the Head of School or his designee will:
the parents of the target and the aggressor of the determination and Oak
Meadow's procedures for responding to the bullying or retaliation; and
inform the target's
parent of actions that Oak Meadow personnel will take to prevent further
acts of bullying or retaliation.
Nothing prohibits the Head of School or his designee from
contacting a parent of an alleged target or alleged aggressor about a report of
bullying or retaliation prior to a determination that bullying or retaliation
There are a range of disciplinary actions that may be taken (from
educating to suspending or dismissing the aggressor) in the event that the Head
of School or his designee determines that bullying or retaliating has
occurred. The Head of School or his
designee may, at their sole discretion, consult with teachers, staff members,
or other persons when determining appropriate disciplinary actions. The disciplinary actions shall balance the
need to teach appropriate behavior with the need for accountability.
At any point after receipt of a report of bullying or retaliation,
including after an investigation, the Head of School or his designee will notify
the local law enforcement agency if the Head of School or his designee has a
reasonable basis to believe criminal charges may be pursued against the
aggressor. In appropriate circumstances, such as when a
crime may have been committed or a child may have been abused or neglected as
reportable under M.G.L. c. 119, § 51A, law enforcement or another
appropriate government agency may be notified.
completion of the investigation, the Head of School (or other designee of the School
who conducted the investigation) will meet individually with the target(s) of
the alleged incident, the alleged aggressor(s) and relevant parents/guardians
(if the target was a student) to report the results of the investigation and,
if disciplinary or other corrective action has been determined to be
appropriate, to inform the parties of the steps that will be
taken to correct the
situation. The amount of information
provided in these meetings, however, may be limited by confidentiality laws
protecting student and employee records.
Follow-up contacts may be made with any student or other person found to
have been targeted in violation of this policy and his/her relevant
parents/guardians (if the target was a student) to inquire as to whether there have
been any further incidents.
The Head of School or his designee may refer aggressors or targets and
appropriate family members to counseling or other appropriate services.
In order to maintain confidentiality of records, the
Head of School or his designee
may not disclose to a parent any student record information regarding an
alleged target or alleged aggressor who is a student and who is not the
parent’s child. The amount of
information provided, however, may be limited by confidentiality laws
protecting student and employee records.
Follow-up contact may be made with any student or
other person found to have been targeted in violation of this policy and
his/her relevant parents/guardians (if the target was a student) to inquire as
to whether there have been any further incidents.
Meadow receives a report of bullying, cyber-bullying, or retaliation involving
students from another school, the Head of School may notify the appropriate
administrator of the other school so that both may take appropriate action.
of Bullying, Cyber-Bullying And Retaliation.
at Oak Meadow are taught that as members of the community, they have a right to
be treated with civility and respect and are expected to treat others in the
manner. Our curriculum emphasizes respect for
differences, and teachers are clear in their expectations for student
behavior. Furthermore, parents/guardians
are notified and asked to reinforce standards for membership in the Oak Meadow
Parent/Student Handbook is reviewed with students and
shared with parents/guardians each
fall. This Handbook includes, among
other rules of conduct, explicit policies regarding prohibitions against
bullying, harassment and retaliation, as well as the acceptable use of
technology at the school.
of all students and teachers are used by the Head of School to help students be
about what is expected of them and to reinforce positive conduct. Health
classes focus on peer relationships and help empower students to take action if
they feel targeted or if they witness other students engaging in bullying or
other unacceptable behavior.
administration and faculty recognize that expectations for student conduct
extend to corridors,
locker rooms, lunch, recess, carpool, buses, and the like. Oak Meadow strives to ensure that ample adult supervision is provided on the school’s
premises, including in the corridors and locker rooms, at lunch and at recess,
and on transportation throughout the school day as well as at events
sponsored by Oak Meadow.
Oak Meadow conducts an annual training for faculty/staff (and more
often, as deemed necessary by the Head of School), which includes: (a) developmentally appropriate strategies to
prevent bullying incidents;
(b) developmentally appropriate strategies for immediate,
effective interventions to stop bullying incidents; (c) information regarding
the complex interaction and power differential that can take place between and
among a perpetrator, victim and witnesses to the bullying; (d) research
findings on bullying, including information about students who have been shown
to be particularly at risk for bullying in the school environment; (e)
information on the incidence and nature of cyber-bullying; and (f) internet
safety issues as they relate to cyber-bullying.