Bullying Prevention Statement for West Suburban Montessori School

Peace is what every human being is craving for, and it can be brought about by humanity through the child.” –Dr. Maria Montessori

 

At West Suburban Montessori School, we work to model and encourage students to use respectful behavior and interactions with other students and staff by using kind language and actions.  We are proactive in our approach to bullying by actively helping children navigate social and emotional relationships.  We realize that mistakes will be made by children as they navigate relationships with peers.  We work on the development of respect for others and self-respect.  In this way, we strive to prevent bullying by helping our students to understand healthy interactions in their relationships.  We also work on peaceful conflict resolution between students by allowing each child to be heard and a resolution discussed and executed. 

 

In accordance with 105 ILCS 5/27-23.7, WSMS affirms:

 

Bullying (including cyberbullying) means any severe or pervasive physical or verbal act or conduct, including communications made in writing or electronically, directed toward a student or students that has or can be reasonably predicted to have the effect of one or more of the following: (1) placing the student or students in reasonable fear of harm to the student’s or students’ person or property; (2) causing a substantially detrimental effect on the student’s or students’ physical or mental health; (3) substantially interfering with the student’s or students’ academic performance; or (4) substantially interfering with the student’s or students’ ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or privileges provided by a school.

 

Bullying (including cyberbullying) may take many forms, including but not limited to harassment, threats, intimidation, stalking, physical violence, sexual harassment, sexual violence, theft, public humiliation, destruction of property, or retaliation for asserting or alleging an act of bullying.

Bullying (including cyberbullying) is contrary to State law and to the policies of West Suburban Montessori School (WSMS). Children or adults who experience or witness bullying at WSMS must report the incident verbally or in writing as soon as is reasonably possible to the Head of School (peggerding@wsms.org or 708-848-2662). Individuals wishing to make an anonymous report may place a written/printed document in the silver mailbox next to the Head of School’s office. If an incident is reported to a teacher or other staff member, they will consult with the Head of School as soon as is reasonably possible.

Within 10 school days of receiving a report of bullying, the Head of School will consider the details of the report and, when appropriate, make a reasonable effort to discuss the incident with all relevant individuals. These discussions (the “investigation”) are intended to aid her in determining whether an alleged incident is, in fact, bullying and what further steps may be necessary. When appropriate, she will confer with children, other staff members, colleagues, the school’s attorney, and other individuals that she may identify with experience in bullying prevention.

 

When appropriate and consistent with federal and state laws and rules governing student privacy rights, the Head of School will contact the parents or guardians of all students involved in the alleged incident to discuss relevant interventions and services. Parents/guardians of the students involved have the right to meet with the Head of School to discuss the investigation, the findings of the investigation, and the actions taken to address the reported incident.

The Head of School will determine any appropriate disciplinary action for a student who is found to have committed an incident of bullying. Information about consequences or other corrective action may be shared with the school community as deemed appropriate by the Head of School. Resources such as counseling or referral to appropriate services are available to all students during and after an investigation.

 

Reprisal or retaliation against any person who reports an act of bullying will not be tolerated. If the Head of School determines that an act of retaliation has been committed, she will evaluate the situation and determine an appropriate consequence up to and including the possibility of dismissal from WSMS.

If a person has been found to have made a false accusation of bullying as a means of retaliation or as a means of bullying, the Head of School will evaluate the situation and determine an appropriate consequence up to and including the possibility of dismissal from WSMS.

 

All incidents of bullying shall be documented and maintained in a file in the Secretary’s office. At least once every two years, the Head of School will evaluate this policy and report the following information to the Board of Directors:

  1. The frequency of victimization.

  2. Student, staff, and family observations of safety at the school.

  3. Identification of areas of the school where bullying occurs.

  4. The types of bullying that are common or occurring.

  5. Bystander intervention and participation.

 

This policy serves as an appendix to the WSMS Family Handbook. In accordance with State and Federal laws, the Head of School will report to DCFS and/or local authorities any egregious incidents that seriously affect an individual’s safety.  Any questions about this policy should be directed to the Head of School.

 

Originally published 2019

Reviewed/approved by Board of Directors Sept. 2021