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In accordance with Miss. Code Ann. §37-11-69, MSA recognizes “the fundamental right of every student to take reasonable actions as may be necessary to defend himself or herself from an attack by another student who has evidenced menacing or threatening behavior through bullying or harassing.” The purpose of this policy is to assist the Mississippi School of the Arts in preventing and responding to acts of bullying, intimidation, violence, and other similar disruptive behavior. MSA strives to maintain a safe and civil learning environment for students to attain high academic and artistic achievement and to promote healthy human relationships. As a residential school, it is imperative to do everything possible to prevent bullying and take action to investigate, respond, remediate, and discipline those acts of bullying which have not been successfully prevented.

Definition: Bullying or harassing behavior is any pattern of gestures or written, electronic or verbal communications, or any physical act or any threatening communication, or any act reasonably perceived as being motivated by any actual or perceived differentiating characteristic, that takes place on school property, at any school-sponsored function, or on a school bus. BULLYING includes, but is not limited to; conduct by a student/employee/parent/other person against a Special State School student that one can reasonably believe has the effect of: (a) Harming a student; (b) Damaging a student’s property; (c) Placing a student in actual and reasonable fear of harm to his or her person or property; or, (d) Creating a hostile* environment for a student.

*Hostile environment means that the victim subjectively views the conduct as bullying or harassing behavior and the conduct is objectively severe or pervasive enough that a reasonable person would agree that it is bullying or harassing behavior.

An act of bullying or harassing, by an individual student, a group of students, parents, employee or other person is expressly prohibited on school property, online, at school-related functions, or on a school bus. This policy applies not only to those directly engaged in an act of bullying but also to anyone who, by their indirect behavior, condones or supports an act of bullying.

No employee of the Special State School shall permit, condone, or tolerate bullying. Retaliation against a victim, good faith reporter, or a witness of bullying is prohibited. False accusations or reports of bullying are prohibited.

Reporting: Any person who believes he or she has been the victim of bullying or anyone with knowledge that a student or school employee has been subjected to bullying or harassing behavior shall report the alleged acts immediately to an appropriate school official. A student may report bullying anonymously. However, the school district’s ability to take action based solely on an anonymous report may be limited. All Special State School employees shall be alert to possible situations, circumstances, or events that might include bullying. 

  • Reports of bullying are classified as private educational and/or personnel data and/or confidential investigative data and will not be disclosed except as permitted by law. 
  • Submission of a good faith complaint or report of bullying will not affect the complainant’s or reporter’s future employment, grades, or work assignments, or educational or work environment. 

The Special State Schools will annually provide education and information to students regarding bullying or harassing, including this policy, the harmful effects of bullying, and other applicable initiatives to prevent bullying.

Action:

  1. Upon receipt of a complaint or report of bullying, Special State School officials or a designated third party will act to investigate all complaints of bullying within 24 hours of the report and will discipline or take appropriate action against anyone who is found to have violated this policy. 
  2. Investigation and action taken will be consistent with the school’s policy on harassment, violence, or other action causing harm to another. 
  3. Consequences of students may include suspension and/or dismissal. 
  4. Consequences for employees who permit, condone, or tolerate bullying or intentional false reporting of bullying may result in disciplinary action up to termination or discharge. 
  5. Consequences for other individuals engaging in prohibited acts of bullying may include, but not be limited to, exclusion from school district property and events. Harassment