Both the Waterford and West Bloomfield school districts have passed revised policies in regards to bullying.
The West Bloomfield Schools Board of Education approved its updated policy at its Monday, April 30 meeting, while the Waterford Schools Board of Education followed suit at its Thursday, May 4 meeting.
The policies were being updated to follow Public Act (PA) 241 of 2011, which requires all districts to adopt a policy prohibiting bullying at school no later than June 6.
“While the district previously had a policy prohibiting bullying at school, the new statutory requirements call for significant additions, as well as reorganization of content,” said Mike Batten, Waterford Schools’ Assistant Superintendent of Instruction and Accountability. “This replacement policy will support our continued efforts to make the best possible learning environment for all students.”
Bullying is defined in both policies as any gesture or written, verbal, graphic or physical act (including through electronic devices) that is intended to harm a student.
Both policies state that bullying will be strictly prohibited. They also both apply to all school activities in the districts, including school-run activities held outside the districts.
In complying with PA 241, otherwise known as Matt’s Safe School Law, both policies now prohibit retaliation or a false accusation against a victim of bullying, a witness or another person with reliable information about an act of bullying.
The policies also include a procedure for providing notification to the parents or legal guardians of a victim of bullying and a perpetrator of bullying, as well as a procedure for a prompt investigation of a report of a violation of the policy or a related complaint with the school’s principal or principal’s designee in charge of the investigation.
Confidentiality will also be maintained as legally permitted during an investigation.