Safe School Climate Committee
Safe School Climate Committee
Solterra Academy is dedicated to providing a safe and comfortable environment for every child. We are committed to creating and maintaining an educational environment free from bullying, harassment and discrimination. Our Safe School Climate Committee oversees the school’s Safe School Climate Plan. The committee works to provide education to the entire school community and to actively support and promote positive interactions throughout the building, based on our school wide positive behavior intervention system (PBIS).
Bullying is prohibited at the Solterra Academy. Incidents of suspected and or/confirmed bullying are closely investigated, monitored and addressed. Per state law, “Bullying” means an act that is direct or indirect and severe, persistent, or pervasive, which:
(A) causes physical or emotional harm to an individual
(B) places an individual in reasonable fear of physical or emotional harm
or (C) infringes on the rights or opportunities on individual at school.
“Bullying” shall include, but need not be limited to, all written, oral, or electronic communication or physical act or gesture based on any actual or perceived differentiating characteristic, such as race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, socioeconomic status, academic status, physical appearance, or mental, physical, developmental or sensory disability, or by association with an individual or group who has or is perceived to have one or more of such characteristics (e.g., Race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, socioeconomic status, academic status, physical appearance, or mental, physical, developmental, or sensory disability).
Cyber bullying means any act of bullying through the use of the Internet, interactive and digital technologies, cellular mobile telephone or other mobile electronic devices, or any electronic communications.
Bullying is prohibited. Whether it is (1) on school grounds, at a school sponsored or school – related activity, function, or program, whether on or off school grounds, or (2) the school setting. If the bully creates a hostile environment at school for the student against whom the bullying was directed or it meets similar criteria.
“Teen dating violence” means any act of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, including stalking, harassing and threatening, that occurs between two students who are currently in, or who have recently been in a dating relationship.
Students and/or parents/guardians should report acts of bullying and teen dating violence to school staff and may remain anonymous. Parents/guardians of students who engage in unkind acts or verified acts of bullying and teen dating violence will be notified within 48 hours of the completion of an investigation. Parents/guardians of students against whom unkind acts of bullying and teen dating violence are directed will be informed of the incident, as well as the school’s response to such acts. If the behavior continues, parents/guardians of both students may be invited to participate in separate meetings to discuss specific interventions to prevent further bullying and teen dating violence.
Solterra Academy Safe School Climate Plan
Under the direction of the Solterra Academy Principal, a Safe School Climate Coordinator performs the following duties:
Monitoring and implementing the Safe School Climate Plan
Collaborating with staff/parents and community partners on issues pertaining to bullying
Providing data to the School Principal, and Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) regarding verified acts of bullying
Biannually reviewing of the Safe School Climate Plan to make recommendations for changes/ amendments
Investigating or supervising the investigation of reported acts of bullying in accordance with the Safe School Climate Plan
Collecting and maintaining records of reports and investigations of bullying in the school
Coordinating annual in-service training on the prevention, identification, and response to bullying, collaboratively with the Safe School Climate Committee
Chairing the Safe School Climate Committee
Solterra Academy’s Safe School Climate Committee is responsible for developing and fostering a safe school climate and addressing issues related to bullying in school, school related activities, on transportation vehicles to and from school sponsored activities. The Safe School Climate Coordinator is the chair of the committee.
The Safe School Climate Committee:
Receives copies of completed forms from bullying investigations
Identifies and addresses patterns of student bullying
Reviews and amends school practices related to bullying
Reviews and makes recommendations to the Safe School Climate Coordinator regarding the Safe School Climate Plan, biannually
Educates students, school employees, parents/guardians on issues related to bullying
Collaborates with the Safe School Climate Coordinator in the collection of data (allegations and verified acts of bullying; school climate assessment results)
Performs other duties determined by the Principal related to the identification, prevention and response to school bullying
Solterra Academy provides annual in-service training to all school employees that includes information addressing the prevention of, identification of, and response to bullying and youth suicide. This professional development is determined collaboratively by the Safe School Climate Committee and the school’s Professional Development Committee. Topics covered may also include:
Classroom management that promotes a positive climate/culture
Positive youth development
Positive relationship building
Managing the cyber world
Cultural and gender diversity training
Violence prevention/teen dating violence
Biennially (every two years) the Solterra Academy completes a school climate assessment, so that the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) can monitor bullying prevention efforts over time and compare state trends. Data is collected by polling staff, students and parents. (The Solterra Academy utilizes an assessment aligned with the National School Climate Standards that provides a comprehensive and standards-based approach to overall school climate.)
The Essential Requirements of the Safe School Climate Plan
The Safe School Climate Plan:
Is approved by the School Principal and submitted to the Connecticut State Department of Education
Is provided to all school employees at the beginning of each school year
Prohibits discrimination and retaliation against an individual who reports, or assists in the investigation of, an act of bullying
Prohibits bullying on school grounds; at a school-sponsored or school-related activities, whether on or off school grounds; waiting for or on a school bus, or other transportation vehicle owned, leased, or used for students transported to/from Solterra Academy, through the use of an electronic device or electronic mobile device owned, leased, or used by the Solterra Academy
Prohibits bullying outside of the school setting if bullying creates a hostile environment for the victim, infringes on the rights of the victim in school, substantially disrupts the educational process or the orderly operation of the school
Students will know that they can report acts of bullying to any school employee. Our high staff to student ratio allows for close monitoring and immediate response to potential bullying situations
Parents will be encouraged to call school employees or school/program administrators if they feel bullying has occurred and will be asked to submit a written request to initiate an investigation
School employees who witness acts of bullying or receive reports of bullying must immediately contact the Safe School Climate Coordinator not later than one school day and must then submit a written report not later than two school days after making their oral report
The Safe School Climate Coordinator will investigate or supervise the investigation of all reports of bullying promptly after the receipt of the written report
The Safe School Climate Coordinator will review all anonymous reports provided that no discipline or action is issued solely on the basis of an anonymous report
School/program administrators or designee must notify the appropriate law enforcement agency when they believe any act of bullying constitutes criminal conduct
A program administrator or designee will notify parents/guardians of any student who commits any verified acts of bullying and parents/guardians of students against whom such acts were directed not later than 48 hours after the completion of the investigation
A program administrator or designee will invite the parents/guardians of the perpetrator and victim of the bullying to separate meetings to communicate the measures being taken to ensure the student’s safety and prevent further acts of bullying
The Solterra Academy will document and maintain records related to reports and investigations of potential bullying and will maintain a list of the number of verified acts of bullying
Verified acts of bullying will be submitted to the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) annually
The Solterra Academy Discipline Policy (See parent/student handbook) contains guidelines for appropriate disciplinary action related to verified acts of bullying
The timely, thorough, supportive and consistent actions of the staff and administrators will contribute to building a social climate in which students feel that they can trust that all adults are involved in their safety. Therefore, consistent steps of intervention must be taken upon awareness of an incident, or continued threatening situation.
Steps for intervention may include the following:
Staff will intervene immediately to stop unkind behavior to prevent the repetition of this behavior
Staff will talk to the student who engaged in the unkind behavior and the student who was victim of this behavior separately. If there are several students who engaged in unkind behavior, separate them also
Staff will inform the student who engaged in the unkind behavior and the student who was victim of this behavior of the unacceptable nature of the behavior and the consequences imposed through the school discipline plan
Staff will inform the parents of both the student who engaged in the unkind behavior and the student who was victim of this behavior, invite them to at least one meeting to discuss the matter, and construct a plan of action to prevent the reoccurrence
If peer mediation is deemed appropriate, staff will give special consideration to the intimidating nature of this situation and preserve a balance of power
If students are frequent victims, staff will involve this student in social skills groups, or assertiveness skills development sessions
Staff will monitor the behavior of the student who engaged in the unkind behavior and the student who was victim of this behavior and the victim regularly as intimidation may continue unseen
If the circumstances do not change, despite concerted efforts by school staff, consideration will be given to options such as, change in class assignment, rearrangement of transportation, etc…as consequence, he/she, not the victim, may be removed from the class or situation
On a case by case basis, interventions will be developed for students, who are repeatedly unkind, who are frequent victims of unkind behavior, such as discipline or counseling