The Highline School District is committed to a safe and civil educational environment for all students, employees, parents/legal guardians, volunteers, and community members that is free from harassment, intimidation, or bullying. “Harassment, intimidation, or bullying” means any intentionally written message or image - including those that are electronically transmitted - verbal, or physical act, including but not limited to one shown to be motivated by race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation including gender expression or identity, mental or physical disability, or other distinguishing characteristics, when an act:
- Physically harms a student or damages the student’s property;
- Has the effect of substantially interfering with a student’s education;
- Is so severe, persistent, or pervasive that it creates an intimidating or threatening educational environment; and/or
- Has the effect of substantially disrupting the orderly operation of the school.
“Other distinguishing characteristics” can include but are not limited to physical appearance, clothing or other apparel, socioeconomic status, and weight.
“Intentional acts” refers to the individual’s choice to engage in the act rather than the ultimate impact of the action(s).
This policy recognizes that ‘harassment,’ ‘imitation,’ and ‘bullying’ are separate but related behaviors and may also not occurred simultaneously. Each must be addressed appropriately. Nothing in this section requires the affected student to actually possess a characteristic that is a basis for the harassment, intimidation, or bullying.
Harassment, intimidation, or bullying can take many forms including, but not limited to, slurs, rumors, jokes, insinuations, demeaning comments, drawings, cartoons, pranks, gestures, physical attacks, threats, or other written, oral, physical, or electronically transmitted messages or images.
This policy is not intended to prohibit expression of religious, philosophical, or political views, provided that the expression does not substantially disrupt the educational environment. Many behaviors that do not rise to the level of harassment, intimidation, or bullying may still be prohibited by other district policies or building, classroom, or program rules.
This policy is a component of the district’s responsibility to create and maintain a safe, civil, respectful, and inclusive learning community and shall be implemented in conjunction with comprehensive training of staff and volunteers.
The district will provide students with strategies aimed at preventing harassment, intimidation and bullying. In its efforts to train students, the district will seek partnerships with families, law enforcement and other community agencies.
Interventions are designed to remediate the impact on the targeted student(s) and others impacted by the violation, to change the behavior of the aggressor and to restore a positive school climate.
The district will consider the frequency of incidents, developmental age of the student, and severity of the conduct in determining intervention strategies. Interventions will range from counseling, correcting behavior and discipline, to law enforcement referrals.
Students with Individual Education Plans or Section 504 Plans
If allegations are proven that a student with an Individual Education Plan (IEP) or Section 504 Plan has been the aggressor or target of harassment, intimidation or bullying, the school will convene the student’s IEP or Section 504 team to determine whether the incident had an impact on the student’s ability to receive a free, appropriate public education (FAPE). The meeting should occur regardless of whether the harassment, intimidation or bullying incident was based on the student’s disability.
During the meeting, the team will evaluate issues such as the student’s academic performance, behavioral issues, attendance, and participation in extracurricular activities. If a determination is made that the student is not receiving a FAPE as a result of the harassment, intimidation or bullying incident, the district will provide additional services and supports as deemed necessary, such as counseling, monitoring and/or reevaluation or revision of the student’s IEP or Section 504 plan, to ensure the student receives a FAPE.
Retaliation is prohibited and will result in appropriate discipline. It is a violation of this policy to threaten or harm someone for reporting harassment, intimidation, or bullying, or for participating in an investigation, including but not limited to students, parents/guardians, employees, community members and others.
It is also a violation of district policy to knowingly report false allegations of harassment, intimidation, and bullying. Students or employees will not be disciplined for making a report in good faith. However, persons found to knowingly report or corroborate false allegations will be subject to appropriate discipline.
The Superintendent or designee will appoint a compliance officer as the primary district contact to receive copies of all formal and informal complaints and ensure policy implementation. The name and contact information for the compliance officer will be communicated throughout the district's webpage. The district compliance officer will participate in at least one mandatory training opportunity offered by OSPI.
The Superintendent or designee is authorized to direct the implementation of procedures addressing the elements of this policy.
Special Education and Related Services - Board Policy 2161
Rights and Responsibilities - Board Policy 3200
Nondiscrimination - Board Policy 3210
Gender Inclusive Schools - Board Policy 3211
Student Conduct - Board Policy 3240
Sexual Harassment - Board Policy 5262
WSSDA Cross Reference:
Harassment, Intimidation & Bullying - Policy 3207
Prohibition on Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying - RCW 28A.600.477
Harassment, intimidation and bullying prevention policy and procedure-school districts - WAC 392-190-059
Policy and Legal News; Helping School Districts Translate Law into Action - Policy News, July 2019
Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying Policy Strengthened - Policy News, December 2010
Cyber Bullying Policy Required - Policy News, April 2008
Legislature Passes an Anti-Bullying Bill - Policy News, April 2002
Highline School District 401
Adopted by the Board: May 2003
Revised by the Board: 3.09, 8.11, 2.15, 6.20