The Henry County Board of Education believes that all students learn better in a safe school environment. Behavior that infringes on the safety of students, staff or volunteers will not be tolerated. Bullying, as the term is defined in Georgia law (O.C.G.A. § 20-2-751.4), is strictly prohibited. The Student Code of Conduct for all schools within the school system expressly prohibits bullying. If you or your student believes that a student is being bullied, please report it to a school staff member or administrator immediately.
Bullying is defined as follows: An act, that is:
(1) Any willful attempt or threat to inflict injury on another person, when accompanied by an apparent present ability to do so;
(2) Any intentional display of force such as would give the victim reason to fear or expect immediate bodily harm; or
(3) Any intentional written, verbal, or physical act, which a reasonable person would perceive as being intended to threaten, harass, or intimidate, that:
(a) causes another person substantial physical harm or visible bodily harm;
(b) has the effect of substantially interfering with a student's education;
(c) Is so severe, persistent, or pervasive that it creates an intimidating or threatening educational environment; or,
(d) has the effect of substantially disrupting the orderly operation of the school.
The term “bullying” applies to acts which occur on school property, on school vehicles, at designated school bus stops, or at school related functions or activities or by use of data or software that is accessed through a computer, computer system, computer networks, or other electronic technology of a local school system. The term “bullying” also applies to acts of cyberbullying which occur through the use of electronic communication, whether or not such electronic act originated on school property or with school equipment if the electronic communication:
(1) Is directed specifically at students or school personnel;
(2) Is maliciously intended for the purpose of threatening the safety of those specified or substantially disrupting the orderly operation of the school; and
(3) Creates a reasonable fear of harm to the students or school personnel’s person or property or has a high likelihood of succeeding in that purpose.
Electronic communication includes, but is not limited to any transfer of signs, signals, writings, 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.
Professional development and training opportunities for school staff on how to respond appropriately to acts of bullying, victims of bullying, and bystanders, who report bullying, shall be in place. Procedures may be developed at each school encouraging a teacher or other school employee, student, parent, guardian, or other person who has control or charge of a student, either anonymously or in the person’s name, at the person’s option, to report or otherwise provide information on bullying activity. Any teacher or other school employee who, in the exercise of his or her personal judgment and discretion, believes he or she has reliable information that would lead a reasonable person to suspect that someone is a target of bullying shall immediately report it to the school principal. Any report will be appropriately investigated by the administration based on the nature of the complaint in a timely manner to determine whether bullying has occurred, whether there are other procedures related to illegal harassment or discrimination that should be implemented and what other steps should be taken.
Any report of retaliation for reporting bullying will also be investigated and addressed as called for in this policy and in accordance with school procedures.
Acts of bullying shall be punished by a range of consequences through the progressive discipline process, as stated in the Code of Conduct. Such consequences shall include, at the minimum and without limitation, disciplinary action or counseling, as appropriate under the circumstances. However, upon a finding by the disciplinary hearing officer that a student in grades 6-12 has committed the offense of bullying for the third (3rd) time in a school year, the student shall be assigned to the alternative school. Depending on the severity of the bullying allegation, school administrators have the discretion to send a student to a disciplinary hearing for the first (1st) or second (2nd) bullying offense whereby the student, if found guilty, will be subject to disciplinary action pursuant to the student and parent handbook, including but not limited to, suspension or expulsion.
Upon a finding by a school administrator that a student has committed an act of bullying or is a victim of bullying, the administrator or designee shall notify the parent, guardian, or other person having control or charge of the student by telephone call or through written notice, which may be done electronically.
Students and parents will be notified of the prohibition against bullying and the penalties for violating the prohibition by posting information at each school and by including such information in the student/parent handbooks. Please see local board policy JCDAG for additional information.Please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Earlene Crump, the Director of Student Conduct and Safety and our staff if you're having problems or would like assistance in this area (770) 957-6601.Thank you,Earlene Crump, Ed. D.