What is "HIB" or Bullying?
In order for an event to be considered an incident or harassment, intimidation, or bullying, there are specific criteria and ALL criteria must be met for it to be affirmed as a HIB event. Those criteria are:
- An event can be any gesture, written, verbal, or physical act, or electronic communication , whether it is a single incident or a series of incidents.
- The event must be seen by a reasonable as being motivated either by any actual or perceived characteristic such as race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, or a mental, physical, or sensory disability, or by any other distinguishing characteristic.
- The event takes place on school property, at any school sponsored function, on a school bus, or off school grounds that substantially disrupts or interferes with the orderly operations of the school.
- One of the following criteria must be met:
- The event has the effect of physically or emotionally harming a student or damaging the student's property, or placing a student in reasonable fear of physical or emotional harm to his person or damage to his property; OR
- The event has the effect of insulting or demeaning any student or group of students; OR
- Creates a hostile educational environment for the student by interfering with a student's education or by severely or pervasively causing physical or emotional harm to the student.
Why does the process take so long?
The state of New Jersey has given school districts a very specific timeline to follow regarding the investigation of incidents that may be harassment, intimidation, or bullying. After receiving a report from the building principal, the anti-bullying specialist has ten school days in which to conduct their investigation. Once the investigation is completed and submitted to the building principal, it is then submitted to the Superintendent for review. The Superintendent is required to review cases, anonymously, with the Board of Education, before final decision can be processed and parent notification is completed.
Are parents present during a student interview?
Anti-bullying specialists and principals conduct student interviews regarding a multitude of activities and incidents going on in school buildings each day. Parents are not involved in these interviews, but are updated on the content of these conversations as the investigation is concluded.
What happens when my child is labeled a "bully" as a result of an investigation?
At no point in time are children labeled as "bullies". The purpose of the Harassment, Intimidation, and/or Bullying (HIB) investigation is to determine if a student violated the Anti-Bully Bill of Rights. Although it may be determined that a child has violated this law, it in no way labels the child or gives the child a "record".
What are the consequences for students who have violated the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights?
Consequences and intervention strategies that result from an invesigation are highly variable and highly individualized. Consequences and intervention strategies may include, but are not limited to, parent conferences, loss pf privileges, school detentions, counseling, class lessons, etc. There is no pre-determined consequence any child involved in a violation of the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights. All consequences are developmentally appropriate and take into consideration the whole child.
How will this affect my child's school record?
HIB Investigations are completely confidential and no record of the investigation is kept in a student's file. The school principal or anti-bullying specialist may keep a file of past investigations for state reporting purposes, but student names are not made public in any way.
What information will I receive at the conclusion of the investigation?
Building principals are required to notify parents of the outcome of the investigation and whether or not consequences/remedial measures were imposed. Again, all information is confidential.