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Policy 9460 Implementation Procedures - Bullying, Cyberbullying, Harassment, and Intimidation Involving Students

Implementation Procedures

I. Announcement/Dissemination of Information

  1. School administrators/supervisors will provide annual written notice of the general provisions of this policy that states bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, and intimidation are prohibited in the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS). This notice will be provided to students, parents, and HCPSS employees in their school/offices during the first week of each school year, to new hires under their supervision during the first (2) two weeks of their start date, and to new students and their parents upon registration.

  2. School administrators/supervisors will provide additional notification by:

    1. Providing announcements over the school public address system and/or through online communication tools.

    2. Publishing a link to the policy in school newsletters, on the school website, and in student/parent handbooks.

    3. Posting notification in offices, classrooms, and other commonly used areas.

    4. Providing this policy in hard copy to any student, parent, or HCPSS employee upon request.

  3. School administrators/supervisors will annually ensure that students, parents, and HCPSS employees are aware of the Bullying, Cyberbullying, Harassment, or Intimidation (BCHI) Reporting Form and how to access it online and in hard copy. The BCHI Reporting Form will be readily available and accessible to students, parents, and HCPSS employees. At a minimum, hard copies of the BCHI Reporting Form will be available in the main office, staff workroom, school counseling office, media center, and health services office. Posters with information about the online reporting form will be displayed throughout all schools.

II. Professional Development

The HCPSS will provide annual professional development to ensure that HCPSS employees increase their awareness of the prevalence, causes, and consequences of bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, or intimidation.

  1. Professional development will include supports for targeted students, prevention education, interventions and supports for students exhibiting bullying, cyberbullying, harassing, or intimidating behavior, as well as procedures for reporting bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, and intimidation.

  2. Professional development will include strategies for teachers regarding the development of a safe, supportive, culturally responsive classroom system, integrating social/emotional learning and trauma-informed practices to help all students feel welcomed, included, and connected.

  3. Professional development will be provided for all HCPSS employees during the first month of school and within the first month of their start date for new HCPSS employees hired at any time during the school year.

  4. School administrators/supervisors will receive ongoing job embedded training opportunities to cover topics such as reporting, investigating, remediating and follow-up with students and families involved in bullying situations.

  5. All HCPSS employees and school bus contractors are required to complete professional development provided by the HCPSS on how to respond to students, parents, and employees regarding bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, and intimidation.

  6. Professional development will include strategies for increased awareness, the ability to identify and respond to bullying behaviors and identifying students vulnerable to bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, and intimidation.

Bullying data will be analyzed and if trends or patterns emerge as a result of this analysis, additional professional development will be provided to schools to address the identified needs.

III. Prevention Procedures

  1. HCPSS employees will implement school-wide, evidence-based anti-bullying programs as a part of a system of positive behavioral supports and school improvement efforts at all grade levels. Programs should have an emphasis on creating and maintaining a positive school climate where all students feel physically and emotionally safe. Components will include, but not be limited to, the following:

    1. Promotion of student involvement in anti-bullying efforts, peer support, and creating and maintaining a culture of mutual respect that encourages students to report incidents of bullying.

    2. Defined behavioral expectations.

    3. A plan for teaching behavioral expectations including understanding the impact of bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, intimidation, or retaliation.

    4. An ongoing system for encouraging and recognizing appropriate behaviors.

    5. A system for responding to problematic behavior.

    6. The continuous collection and analysis of data to identify and implement strategies for maintaining and/or improving a positive school climate.

  2. Elementary classroom/secondary health education teachers will implement the curriculum regarding prevention and intervention of bullying for all students in prekindergarten through grade 9 by teaching the health education standards.

  3. HCPSS school-based employees will provide lessons on prevention and intervention of bullying for all students. These lessons will include:

    1. Information about reporting systems such as the online BCHI Reporting Form and availability of paper copy forms.

    2. Instruction on how to support peers who may be targeted or vulnerable to bullying.

    3. Information related to potential consequences such as those defined by HCPSS policies and in Grace’s Law.

  4. School administrators/supervisors will ensure that collaboration occurs with families and the community to inform parents about the prevalence, causes and consequences of bullying and its central role as a public health hazard, and the means of preventing it. This information can be communicated through online communication tools, newsletters, PTA presentations, parent information nights, and other school activities.

  5. School administrators/supervisors and HCPSS school-based employees will collect, analyze, and use school-specific data on the number of incidents of bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, and intimidation to guide school improvement efforts that address safe, engaging, and supportive environments.

  6. As a part of a school-wide effort, school administrators/supervisors will share information with staff about the importance of adult visibility, especially during non-instructional activities such as lunch, recess, and hallway transitions.

IV. Reporting Procedures

The BCHI Form should be used to report alleged incidents of bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, and intimidation that occur at school or have a connection or nexus back to the school setting that create a risk of harm to other students while they are at school, or interfere with the educational environment.

  1. School administrators/supervisors will maintain a climate in which students, HCPSS employees, and families may report an incident without fear of retaliation. This includes reducing barriers that prevent both targeted students and student bystanders from reporting. Barriers may include feelings of powerlessness, fear of retaliation, and a lack of trust in the adults in the building.

  2. When a student reports that they are currently the target of bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, or intimidation, the HCPSS employee will:

    1. Respond quickly and appropriately to intervene;

    2. Report the incident to a school administrator; and

    3. Notify Student Services staff.

  3. If a student wishes to discuss the incident of bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, or intimidation with an HCPSS employee, the employee will make an effort to provide the student with a practical, safe, private, and age-appropriate way of doing so.

  4. A student, parent of a student, HCPSS employee, close adult relative of a student, or bystander, can complete and submit the BCHI Reporting Form to a school administrator/supervisor in person, by mail, or electronically, as soon as bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, or intimidation is known or suspected. In the event the reporting party does not complete a BCHI Reporting Form, school administrators/supervisors will take the appropriate steps to address and document the incident.

  5. A student, parent of a student, close relative of a student, and/or bystander will be provided assistance from an HCPSS employee, if needed, to complete the BCHI Reporting Form at school.

  6. The school administrator/supervisor/designee will make every effort to notify the parent of the targeted student as soon as possible, but not later than one school day after the report. Parents of the accused will be notified of the investigation process in a timely manner, but not later than three school days after the report.

    When the alleged motives are related to gender expression, gender identity or perceived sexual orientation, the administrator/supervisor will make every effort to speak with the targeted student prior to notifying the parent. Notification to the parent should include input from the targeted student.

  7. The school administrator/supervisor/designee will ensure the information from any report of known or suspected bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, or intimidation is entered into the designated data management system.

  8. Information obtained from the BCHI Reporting Form is confidential and may not be redisclosed except as otherwise provided under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and may not be made a part of a student’s permanent education record.

V. Investigation Procedures

  1. The school administrator will address incidents that occur at school or have a connection or nexus back to the school setting that create a risk of harm to other students while they are at school or interfere with the educational environment.

  2. The incident must be promptly and appropriately investigated by the school administrator, consistent with due process rights, using the BCHI Reporting Form in compliance with Maryland’s Model Policy To Address Bullying, Harassment, or Intimidation within two (2) school days after receipt of a reporting form.

  3. The school administrator will strive to maintain the confidentiality of the targeted student, the accused, and the witness(es) to the extent possible. The school administrator should not promise confidentiality to involved parties at the onset of an investigation. It cannot be predicted what will be discovered. Efforts should be made to increase the confidence and trust of the targeted student and any witnesses. Students should be informed that any information discussed and recorded will be confined to “need to know” status.

  4. The school administrator will make every effort to notify the parent(s) of the targeted student immediately, but no later than one (1) school day of the report. The parent(s) of the individual(s) who has/have been accused of participating in the incident will be notified in a timely manner, but no later than three (3) school days.

  5. The school administrator will conduct an adequate, reliable, and impartial investigation of the complaint, which may include interviewing the complainant and witnesses along with the opportunity to present witnesses and other evidence.

  6. The school administrator will comply with due process rights, which include:

    1. Notifying the accused of the allegations.

    2. Providing an explanation of the evidence if the accused denies the allegations.

    3. Allowing the accused an opportunity to respond to the allegations and encouraging them to provide a written response, when appropriate.

    4. Notifying the parent(s) of the accused promptly, in writing, of the violation and disciplinary consequence.

  7. The school administrator will inform all parties involved that they are prohibited from discussing or sharing any information regarding the incident in question, with the exception of their parents, appropriate HCPSS school-based employee, legal counsel, law enforcement personnel, or healthcare professional.

  8. The accused will be informed that retaliation, bullying, cyberbullying harassment, or intimidation against the targeted student or bystander/witness is strictly prohibited and that progressive consequences will occur if the activity continues.

  9. The school administrator will create a written record of the bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, or intimidation incident and any disciplinary actions taken, as well as the statements of the targeted student, witnesses, and accused. Discussions with all parties will be documented as soon as possible after the event. Any material records or evidence will be retained for a criminal investigation or prosecution resulting from the incident.

  10. The school administrator will provide notice to both sets of parents, in writing, of the outcome of the complaint and the basis for the decision within fifteen (15) calendar days of receipt of complaint by the school administrator, excluding extenuating circumstances.

  11. Any students and/or parents having concerns regarding the application of these procedures may refer to the formal concern process on the HCPSS website or in the HCPSS Student & Parent Handbook. Individuals may also contact the School Climate Initiatives Specialist with the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) at 410-767-0306.

VI. Violations of Policy

  1. Any school administrator who believes that a student has violated this policy must also consider the following: Policy 1010 Anti-Discrimination, Policy 1020 Sexual Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct, Policy 1025 Title IX Sexual Discrimination, Policy 1030 Child Abuse and Neglect, Policy 1040 Safe and Supportive Schools, Policy 8080 Responsible use of Technology, Digital Tools, and Social Media, Policy 9060 Rehabilitation Act of 1973 Compliance: Section 504, or Policy 9200 Student Discipline, the HCPSS Student Code of Conduct, or the HCPSS Threat Management Procedures.

  2. Consequences and remedial actions for students committing acts of bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, or intimidation, students engaged in retaliation, and students who have made false accusations will be consistently and fairly applied after an appropriate investigation has determined that such an offense has occurred. Guidelines on consequences and remedial actions include:

    1. Consequences for disciplinary infractions should be equitably, consistently, and fairly applied after an appropriate and thorough investigation has determined that an offense has occurred. The school administrator/designee will promptly implement one or more of the corrective actions outlined on the Bullying, Cyberbullying, Harassment, or Intimidation Investigation Form, consistent with the consequences outlined in the HCPSS Student Code of Conduct.

      1. Exclusionary discipline measures should be avoided and only used after all other available and appropriate behavioral interventions have been exhausted or if a student’s continued presence in school would pose a threat to the safety of others.

      2. School administrators/designees are encouraged to choose rehabilitative interventions designed to provide students the opportunity to learn from their mistakes.

    2. Student Services staff will provide appropriate individual interventions and supports to the targeted student and offender within two weeks.

    3. The school administrator/designee will hold separate conferences with the targeted student and offender within two (2) weeks after the investigation to determine whether the bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, or intimidation has continued and whether additional consequences need to be implemented.

    4. The school administrator/designee will hold a follow-up conference with the targeted student four weeks after the initial follow-up conference to determine if the bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, or intimidation has ceased.

    5. Communication with the parents of the targeted student and offender will continue until the issue is resolved.

  3. It is a violation of this policy for students to be engaged in retaliation. Consequences and/or remedial actions in accordance with HCPSS policies or the HCPSS Student Code of Conduct will be applied as a result of this policy violation.

  4. The Department of Program Innovation and Student Well-Being will annually report bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, and intimidation data to the MSDE in accordance with Maryland’s Model Policy to Address Bullying, Harassment, or Intimidation.

  5. Acts of bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, or intimidation may also be delinquent acts. If acts are deemed delinquent, the acts will be reported promptly to the responsible law enforcement agency in accordance with MSDE Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR 13A.08.01.15). Acts of cyberbullying that the school administrator/designee believes may be criminal will be reported promptly to the responsible law enforcement agencies to determine if Grace’s Law has been violated. (The Annotated Code of Maryland, Criminal Law Article, §3-805)

  6. Gang related activity, as defined in the HCPSS Student Code of Conduct and Policy 9290 Gangs, Gang Activity, and Similar Destructive or Delinquent Group Behavior as it relates to bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, and intimidation, is considered a violation of this policy.

  7. For acts of sexual harassment, sexual assault and/or sexual violence, the school administrator/designee will promptly follow Policy 1020 Sexual Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct, which addresses these offenses in accordance with Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 ensuring the rights of the targeted student are protected.

VII. Intervention and Supports

  1. School administrators will utilize a range of integrated tiered supports providing universal strategies for all students, targeted supports for both potentially vulnerable students and students exhibiting bullying behaviors, as well as individualized, intense supports for both the targeted student(s) and the student offenders(s).

  2. School administrators will ensure a continuum of positive behavior supports are implemented as part of their school wide behavioral plan.

  3. A student who violates this policy may be required by the school administrator/supervisor to participate in appropriate counseling/intervention to increase the student’s understanding of the offense and its impact on others.

  4. Support services available to the targeted student, the student exhibiting bullying behaviors, and witnesses or bystanders will be implemented as appropriate based on context, situation, age, and severity. Such supports may include, but are not limited to:

    1. School System

      1. Counseling

      2. Conflict resolution

      3. Restorative practices

      4. Problem-solving skills training

      5. Social skills training, including anger management/impulse control

      6. Peer support groups

      7. Schedule modifications

      8. Collaboration with school-based problem solving teams

    2. Community/Family

      1. Public or private community-based mental health services

      2. Community mediations

      3. Department of Juvenile Services

      4. Department of Social Services

      5. Law enforcement agencies

      6. Health Department programs

      7. Youth development organizations

      8. Faith-based services

  5. HCPSS employees who are trained in individual counseling will provide counseling, education, and intervention to students who have been found in violation of this policy. Education/counseling will include, but is not limited to teaching/counseling for:

    1. Mutual respect

    2. Replacement behaviors

    3. Anger management

    4. Impulse control

    5. Empathy

    6. Cultural proficiency/diversity training

    7. Assertiveness training

    8. Healthy relationships

    9. Resilience.

  6. When an incident is deemed to be bullying, mediation (an intervention used to bring two or more parties together to resolve a dispute) between the targeted student and offender is prohibited.

  7. Schools administrators/designees will collaborate, as needed, with community and mental health resources to assist students who continue to be involved in bullying behaviors as perpetrators, targeted students, or witnesses, and whose mental or physical health, safety, or academic performance has been impaired.

VII. Monitoring

Policy 1060 implementation procedures will be overseen by the Division of Academics and Division of School Management and Instructional Leadership.

VIII. History

ADOPTED: June 11, 2009

REVIEWED: December 21, 2015


  • June 12, 2014

  • August 14, 2014

  • August 17, 2017

  • March 10, 2022


  • November 5, 2009

  • June 8, 2017

  • June 8, 2023

EFFECTIVE: July 1, 2023

Policy History Key

  • Adopted-Original date the Board took action to approve a policy
  • Reviewed-The date the status of a policy was assessed by the Superintendent’s Standing Policy Group
  • Modified-The date the Board took action to alter a policy that based on the recommendation of the Superintendent/designee did not require a comprehensive examination
  • Revised-The date the Board took action on a that policy based on the recommendation of the Superintendent/designee needed a comprehensive examination
  • Effective-The date a policy is implemented throughout the HCPSS, typically July 1 following Board action.