Anti Harassment, Bullying & Intimidation Policy
Merit Prep prohibits acts of harassment, intimidation or bullying. "Harassment, intimidation or bullying" is any gesture or written, verbal or physical act that takes place on school property, at any school-sponsored function or on a school bus and that:
is motivated 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; and a reasonable person should know, under the circumstances, that the act(s) will have the effect of harming a student or damaging the student's property, or placing a student in reasonable fear of harm to his person or damage to his property; or has the effect of insulting or demeaning any student or group of students in such a way as to cause substantial disruption in, or substantial interference with, the orderly operation of the school.
In determining the appropriate response to students who commit one or more acts of harassment, intimidation or bullying, school leadership should consider the following factors: the developmental and maturity levels of the parties involved, the levels of harm, the surrounding circumstances, the nature of the behaviors, past incidences or past or continuing patterns of behavior, the relationships between the parties involved and the context in which the alleged incidents occurred. Concluding whether a particular action or incident constitutes a violation of this policy requires a determination based on the facts and surrounding circumstances. Considering these factors, an appropriate consequence will be determined.
School leadership is responsible for receiving complaints alleging violations of this policy. All school employees are required to report alleged violations of this policy to school leadership. All other members of the school community, including students, parents, volunteers and visitors, are encouraged to report any act that may be a violation of this policy. Oral reports also shall be considered official reports. Reports may be made anonymously, but formal disciplinary action may not be based solely on the basis of an anonymous report. School leadership is responsible for determining whether an alleged act constitutes a violation of this policy. In so doing, school leadership shall conduct a prompt, thorough and complete investigation of the alleged incident.
Merit Prep prohibits reprisal or retaliation against any person who reports an act of harassment, intimidation or bullying. The consequence and appropriate remedial action for a person who engages in reprisal or retaliation shall be determined by school leadership after consideration of the nature and circumstances of the act, in accordance with case law, federal and state statutes and regulations.
Consequences and appropriate remedial action for any school member found to have falsely accused another as a means of harassment, intimidation or bullying range from positive behavioral interventions up to and including suspension or expulsion, as permitted under N.J.S.A. 18A:37-1, Discipline of Pupils. Consequences and appropriate remedial action for a school employee found to have falsely accused another, as a means of harassment, intimidation or bullying shall be disciplined in accordance with school policies, procedures and agreements. Consequences and appropriate remedial action for a visitor or volunteer, found to have falsely accused another as a means of harassment, intimidation or bullying shall be determined by school leadership after consideration of the nature and circumstances of the act, including reports to appropriate law enforcement officials.
For any questions please contact Dannete Miller at 973-642-4400.