Dear WMTPS Community,
At the Board of Education meeting held last night, the Board approved the District calendar for 2019-2020 and 2020-2021; these calendars are posted on our website. Please note, due to unforeseen circumstances such as weather-related closures, these calendars are subject to change.
Also, there has been some confusion regarding incidents of Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying (HIB) and I would like to take a moment to clarify the District’s obligations as well as the role of the Board of Education. New Jersey’s Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act is commonly referred to as the Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying (HIB) law. HIB is defined as an act or communication motivated by a characteristic (e.g. race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, etc.) that occurs on school grounds, on the school bus, at a school sponsored event, or even off school grounds in certain circumstances that:
- a reasonable person should know will physically or emotionally harm the student or damage the student’s property, that the actions would place a student in reasonable fear of physical or emotional harm to his person or property, or
- has the effect of insulting or demeaning the student or groups of students, or
- interferes with the student’s education, or is severe or pervasive enough that it causes physical or emotional harm to the student.
However, not all altercations or incidents that occur between students fall under that aforementioned definition. During a conflict, name-calling, threats and other conduct that might look like bullying can occur, but there is a distinction between a “conflict” and “HIB.” Conflict is considered mutual, meaning all participants play some part in initiating, continuing or engaging in the disagreement. Bullying, on the other hand, is one-sided, and an investigation of any alleged HIB must reveal that the action meets all of the legal requirements in order to be substantiated.
A common misconception is that if a HIB investigation is unsubstantiated, no discipline occurs. This is simply not true. Although not all incidents will fall under the strict definition of HIB, this does not mean that the situation will not be dealt with appropriately. All conduct infractions are subject to the Student Code of Conduct.
If you have any questions about this, please do not hesitate to contact my office.
Alex Anemone, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools