Cyber-Bullying and Bullying Policy
Statement of Purpose
Heritage Christian Online School (HCOS) is committed to foster, through example and guiding practices, an online and physical environment that works to keep students and staff safe from cyber-bullying and bullying. Reported incidents will be taken seriously and fully investigated. Any form of cyber-bullying or bullying will be confronted. Action to resolve bullying may result in suspension or deletion from HCOS social networking, blogging, or school community events.
Definition of Cyber-bullying and Bullying
Bullying is a relationship problem exerted from a position of power, where repeated physical, verbal or social aggression causes embarrassment, pain, or discomfort. Bullying acts may be intentional or unintentional and perpetrated by individuals or groups. Cyber-bullying applies to aggressive acts to belittle or defame an individual through repeated digital communications (e.g., social networking forums, emails, websites, blogs, webinar platforms, chat lines, etc.) Cyber-bullying and bullying may include threats, name-calling, insults, sexual harassment or racial slurs.
Physical bullying includes all of the above, with the addition of hitting, shoving, stealing, or damaging property when it is in a physical context. Bullying is not necessarily the case in every situation that may result in conflict. Student disagreements, speaking in a perceived aggressive tone, confronting someone's behaviour, misunderstandings, personality struggles are all examples of normal human interaction that isn't necessarily bullying when there is no evidence of controlling aggressive behaviour.
Student and Parent Guidelines
- Do not become involved in any form of bullying.
- Do not answer abusive messages or emails.
- Do not delete, but record, all abusive messages and report them to one of the school authorities.
- Stay within HCOS' social networks and forums for peer/parent school communication.
- Do not give your personal email address to peers or other students' parents.
- Do not share embarrassing images.
- Get permission before forwarding other people's messages or images.
- Realize that digital communication is permanent.
- Do not respond in anger. Pray for wisdom and seek your teacher's counsel.
- Jokes are easily misunderstood, especially through digital texts.
- If safe to do so, intervene to protect a student who is being bullied.
- If student/parent believes they or someone in the school is a victim of cyber-bullying or bullying, they are to report the incident/situation as soon as possible to a school governing authority over the online platform.
- Emails, blogs, tweets, Facebook, cell phone texts, etc.: teacher, regional administrator, or director.
- Zoom/Skype: teacher, regional administrator, or director.
- HCOS Immersive Worlds: Immersive Worlds' monitor or teacher.
- HCOS Learning Camp: learning camp coordinator and learning camp administrator.
- HCOS Learning Co-op: co-op coordinator and co-op administrator.
Teacher and Staff Guidelines
- Model respectful and edifying communications.
- Refrain from disparaging, defaming comments.
- Take a stand against cyber-bullying.
- Discuss bullying with students.
- Types of bullying behavior
- Damages to both the bullied and the bully
- Process of reporting bullying incidence
- School actions that could apply
- Pray for discernment.
- Record (save and/or print offending material) clearly inappropriate messages, images, including date(s), time(s), and name(s) involved.
- Report any complaint to regional administrator and administrator or coordinator of school activity or social networking site (e.g., Ning site manager, learning camp administrator, learning co-op administrator). Forward recorded transaction of incident (date, time, names, and school event or cyber platform.)
- Report back to parent or student on the action, which has been taken.
- Affirm the individual for reporting the suspected cyber-bullying or bullying incident.
- Thoroughly investigate the reported one(s) through questions to verify the alleged incident.
- Contact parents/guardians of all students concerned in the bullying incident.
- Provide feedback to those concerned.
- Report investigated incident to a Director.
- The Director and Regional Administrator will apply an action plan appropriate for protecting and empowering victim(s)/school community and to disciple the alleged cyber-bully. When possible and appropriate, action will encourage reconciliation of individuals involved.
- If needed, contact relevant professionals.
- Involve parents.
- Disciple both the student who is bullied and the bully through school counselor and school chaplain.
- Mentor student in social and emotional skills.
- Temporary or permanent suspension from HCOS social networks, blogs, webinar chat options, or school activities such as learning camps or learning co-ops.
- If cyber-bullying occurs in the HCOS Immersive Worlds all of the same policies are in place.
Internet Safety & Literacy Tips for Parents
At HCOS our students are encouraged to become wise, digital learners who can search online within boundaries, ensuring Internet safety and healthy learning. With this in mind here are some useful rules for providing Godly education for your new online learner.
- Talk to your students about responsibility while online regarding hours of use, which sites may be accessed and which ones are undesirable. Educate yourself about the Internet and which sites your students are using.
- Create family rules including hours of use and which sites may be accessed and which ones may not. Use nanny filters if necessary.
- Place your computer in a central, open location like the living room so Internet time can be supervised.
Guiding your Students Online
To ensure your students feel safe online please follow the suggested guidelines. Look into setting up the following bookmarks for their own special folder:
- For quality Christian educational links you may send your students to the following subject index at HCOS Linking Library
- Bookmark several subject indexes such as the following child friendly sites
- Encourage your student to use child friendly search engines. Bookmark these engines:
- Encourage your students to refrain from putting pictures up of themselves, or identifying information such as phone numbers, email addresses, passwords or credit card numbers.
- Encourage open dialogue with your students about other people who might engage them about personal information.
- Teach your student that talking to a stranger on the Internet is the same as talking to a stranger on the street.
- Alert your students to possible online dangers such as giving out personal information to strangers. Advise them to stay clear of chatting online in chat rooms with people they do not know. Younger children should not be in chat rooms, and older children should ask permission before entering chat rooms with which you
- If your child starts receiving inappropriate mail or phone calls get to the bottom of it immediately.
- Tell your students that if someone harasses them online or makes them uncomfortable in any way they should tell a parent or teacher or someone they trust.
- Contact the police immediately if your student receives child pornography, is sexually solicited, or has received any inappropriate explicit images on the Internet.