The Boonville R-1 School District is not taking the prospect of kids bullying others lightly.

In the last several months, the district has been working with Dr. Chad Rose, a bullying expert from the University of Missouri to better determine ways to deter this issue that affects every school.

After bullying led a teen to commit suicide in Glasgow last December, the district knows the effects of bullying can be devastating.

Rose has been offering his expertise in this area, including providing funding for a new software system that would be used for bullying deterrence.

Furthermore, the district is determining policy to better deal with bullying. But, to understand bullying, one must understand what this is exactly.

“In accordance with state law, bullying is defined as intimidation, unwanted aggressive behavior, or harassment that is repetitive or is substantially likely to be repeated and causes a reasonable student to fear for his or her physical safety or property; that substantially interferes with the educational performance, opportunities or benefits of any student without exception; or that substantially disrupts the orderly operation of the school. Bullying includes, but is not limited to: physical actions, including violence, gestures, theft, or property damage; oral, written, or electronic communication, including name-calling, put-downs, extortion, or threats; or threats of reprisal or retaliation for reporting such acts,” according to the school district. “A form of bullying committed by transmission of a communication including, but not limited to, a message, text, sound or image by means of an electronic device including, but not limited to, a telephone, wireless telephone or other wireless communication device, computer or pager. The district has jurisdiction over cyberbullying that uses the district's technology resources or that originates on district property, at a district activity or on district transportation. Even when cyberbullying does not involve district property, activities or technology resources, the district will impose consequences and discipline for those who engage in cyberbullying if there is a sufficient nexus to the educational environment, the behavior materially and substantially disrupts the educational environment, the communication involves a threat as defined by law, or the district is otherwise allowed by law to address the behavior.”

Both forms can be damaging to an individual. Since the age of social media cannot be ignore, bullying has taken on other forms, i.e cyberbullying.

The district is also looking at ways to approach a bullying instance. Once a report has been filed the district will investigate and determine what avenue to deal with the issue.

“The investigation shall be completed within 10 school days of the date the report of bullying. Was received unless good cause exists to extend the investigation. Upon completion of the investigation, the principal will decide whether bullying or harassment occurred and, if so; whether additional discipline is warranted in accordance with the district's student discipline code. The principal will generate a written report of the investigation and findings and send a copy of the completed report to the district's antibullying coordinator. The principal or designee will document the report in the files of the victim and the alleged or actual perpetrator of bullying,” according to the district’s preliminary policy. “All reports will be kept confidential in accordance with state and federal law. If the incident involved allegations of illegal discrimination or harassment, the principal's decision may be appealed in accordance with policy AC. Student discipline may be appealed when allowed by law in accordance with Board policy. The principal or other appropriate district staff will work with victims and their families to access resources and services to help them deal with any negative effects that resulted from the incident.”

When findings dictate a break in policy, the suspect will be dealt with accordingly.

“Students who participate in bullying or who retaliate against anyone who reports bullying will be disciplined in accordance with the district's discipline code. Such discipline may include detention, in-school suspension, out-of-school suspension, expulsion, removal from participation in activities, exclusion from honors and awards, and other consequences deemed appropriate by the principal or superintendent. The district will also contact law enforcement when required by law or notify social media companies of inappropriate online activity when appropriate. Even in situations where the district does not have jurisdiction to discipline a student for bullying,

such as when the acts take place off campus and there is an insufficient nexus to the district, the principal or designee will take appropriate actions to assist student victims. Such actions may include, but are not limited to, contacting the parents/guardians of the victim and the alleged perpetrators, communicating that this behavior is not allowed on district grounds or at district activities, notifying the appropriate district staff to assist the victim, and taking additional action when appropriate, such as notifying law enforcement or social media companies of inappropriate online activity,” according to the district.

The school will terminate or discipline employees and substitutes who violate this policy.

The Boonville Daily News will continue to publish updates to this story on a regular basis.