Reporting Acts of Bias,
Harassment and Bullying
As a school district we stand in unity against any form of bias, harassment, discrimination, or hurtful treatment of individuals based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, ethnicity, national origin, alienage, ancestry, disability, or any other protected class.
Diversity is a significant strength of our school community and we are committed to ensuring that every student feels respected and included in the social and academic aspects of their daily lives in school.
If you feel your child has been treated with disrespect, bullied, harassed, or otherwise denied an opportunity because of their race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, ethnicity, disability or any other protected characteristic, please promptly communicate with your child’s teacher, counselor, or a school administrator to report the situation.
While most issues concerning inappropriate student behavior are initially dealt with at the classroom level, concerns about bias, harassment or discrimination should be shared directly with a building administrator. Below are links to reporting forms that can be used to share concerns about behavior related to potential bias, harassment or discrimination.
Once completed, a report should be shared directly with a school administrator. All reports will be reviewed and responded to in accordance with the district’s anti-discrimination and other policies, which clearly prohibit behavior that may constitute bullying, harassment, or discrimination against any individual on the basis of race, sex, disability or other protected characteristics.
Complete copies of relevant policies and the procedures for responding to complaints may be found on on the district’s website using the following links:
- Prompt Reply – Once an administrator receives a report, parents/students will be contacted to further discuss and better understand the concerns. Depending on the specific details of the concerns, the administrator will discuss next steps, including whether any further investigation is needed.
- Safety First – The school will take immediate steps as needed to ensure your child’s physical and/or emotional safety, even if the complaint is still being investigated. Should the nature of the issue demand external law enforcement, the proper authorities would be contacted.
- Investigation-If further investigation is needed, the school will determine the process that will be followed based on the nature of the concerns. For example, concerns about racial bias or harassment will generally be investigated following the district’s Non-Discrimination policy. However, if the behavior might also constitute bullying, the concern may simultaneously be investigated as a potential incident of bullying as well.
- Intent vs Impact – Although there are times, especially with young children, when a student says or does something without intent to hurt or harm, we nevertheless respond to the impact of those words or actions when determining an appropriate course of action, consequence, or corrective measure. In determining appropriate interventions, the district takes into account the totality of the circumstances, including the ages of the students involved, nature of the misconduct, whether behavior is intentional, and/or whether a student has any limitations that might impact their ability to understand the impact of their actions.
- Closure – Once a concern has been appropriately investigated and the school has a good understanding of what occurred, it will determine how best to respond and/or intervene. This may include corrective or remedial measures or other consequences such as formal discipline, depending on the situation. Disciplinary decisions are always guided by school policy as well as state law. At the conclusion of the process, however, you will be contacted and made aware of any actions that will impact your child. Please understand that the district is not permitted to disclose any information about other children, including specific disciplinary consequences should they be imposed on any other child(ren).
- Learning – We are in the business of educating children. We regard these incidents as important learning moments and therefore will often assign re-teaching or restorative conversations as a follow up where appropriate..
- Follow Through – In accordance with school policies, if there is a finding that bullying or harassment occurred, part of the school’s follow up will include the development of a safety plan. A school administrator will typically follow up with a student and/or their family to check in on how the safety plan is working and we encourage families to let us know if any further further incidents or retaliatory actions occur.
- Prevention – We take seriously any / all incidents of bias, discrimination, harrassment, or bullying behavior. While the district has taken, and will continue to take steps to educate our students regarding appropriate behavior and to prevent incidents of bullying, bias or harassment, we recognize that should they occur, it is our responsibility to use these situations as opportunities for reflection and growth. The district continually reviews strategies for strengthening the school’s climate and culture, including providing professional development for the faculty and staff in order to uphold and maintain the standards of respect and caring we have established.
- Support – We want to encourage and support students and their families who may be experiencing incidents of bias, harassment or similar conduct. If at any point you have any questions or concerns regarding our policies or procedures related to concerns of bullying, bias, harassment or discrimination, you may always reach out to Dr. Laurie Singer (email@example.com) Director of Special Services, or Kim Wynne (firstname.lastname@example.org) Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, who can serve as additional resources.
What is an incident of bias?
A bias incident is conduct, speech, expression, or a physical act that demonstrates unfair or prejudicial distinctions about someone based on their actual or perceived race, ethnicity, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, alienage, ancestry, disability or any other protected class. Bias incidents may violate existing school policies, including those that prohibit harassment or discrimination, as well as our anti-bullying or student discipline policies. Regardless of whether an incident of bias violates our policies, the district recognizes that such incidents have a negative impact on our school culture and is committed to intervening to address such incidents should they occur.
Can a report of an incident be anonymous?
Reports of any concerning behavior may be made anonymously. To the extent possible, FPS will strive to honor requests for anonymity; however, this is not always possible. Anonymous reports are more difficult to investigate and respond to, so whenever possible, we encourage concerned community members to speak directly to a staff member with their concerns, knowing that we are always sensitive to the need for confidentiality of victims and reporters in any investigation.
Who can support me in making a report?
You are welcome to have another family member, neighbor, or friend with you when making a report. If you need translation services, the district will provide them for you.
How do administrators create safety plans for students experiencing harm?
We seek consultation from specialists and experts within the district such as social workers, English language learner coordinators, our equity and inclusion coordinator, special education teachers, school psychologists, family school liaisons, and anyone else who may lend an important perspective that is most supportive of the students involved. The goal of a safety plan is to provide supports for a student and to minimize the chances that the harmful conduct will recur.
Why can’t the administrators tell me what the consequences are for other students?
We are required by law to maintain confidentiality of student information, including information about specific disciplinary consequences, and can not reveal personally identifiable student information to others.
Helpful Resources about Social Media and Technology:
11 Social Media Red Flags Parents Should Know About – CommonSense Media
Parenting, Media, and Everything in Between – CommonSense Media
Parents’ Ultimate Guides (by platform) – CommonSense Media
Safety Information for Families – Internet Safety Concepts, Scott Driscoll