The Millennium Education is committed to provide a safe environment for all its learners and employees, free from discrimination of any kind and any form of harassment. As per our learner and staff well-being and code of conduct policy we have a formal and fair Harassment and Bullying policy. TME has a zero tolerance policy for any form of harassment in the institute, treats all incidents seriously and promptly investigates all allegations of harassment. Any learner / employee found to have harassed another will face disciplinary action. All complaints of harassment should be reported to and will be taken seriously and treated with respect and in confidence. No one will be victimised for making such a complaint.
AIM OF THE POLICY
The aim of this policy is to ensure that all TME learners and employees are able to learn in a supportive (conducive) environment that is physically and psychologically safe (i.e. all TME learners and employees) can learn and work without fear of being bullied). It is also the aim of this policy to define, in clear terms, the expectations that teachers and other employees have of being valued and supported in their work, such that they too have a physically and psychologically safe environment for working.
This policy outlines what all Millennium schools and colleges are expected to do to prevent/ deal with all forms of harassment and bullying.
In all of our schools and colleges, we aim to adopt anti-harassment and bullying strategies and intervention procedures in order to:
- To ensure all learners, staff, school administration treat each other with courtesy and respect.
- To avoid behavior at the campus that may create an atmosphere of hostility or intimidation.
- Prevent harassment and bullying from taking place and where necessary to act upon complaints of harassment promptly and fairly.
- Reassure and support who experience harassment or bullying.
The expectations laid out in this policy apply to all working and learning in TME: learners, teachers (full time and visiting faculty), school administration, school leadership, and custodial staff.
In TME we define harassment as deliberately hurtful behaviour which intimidates, torments or abuses others. Harassment is when the speech or actions are so severe, pervasive, or targeted at particular people that it hinders the learner’s ability to get an education, significantly harms their well-being, substantially interferes with their rights, or intimidates the student because of their identity.
Harassment is especially harmful when learners/employees are harassed due to actual or perceived characteristics such as race or ethnicity, ancestry, color, ethnic group identification, gender expression, gender identity, gender, disability, nationality, religion, age, or a person’s association with a person or group. This kind of harassment can violate other civil rights laws too. It can be of any kind (having many forms, including cyber-bullying which is the use of communication technologies) and can be carried out by an individual or a group.
This policy recognizes the need for all of us to be aware that harassment can happen at any time. At TME we recognise that harassment in any form might take place and so we proactively seek to guard against it. Consequently, in TME we advocate a whole-school, proactive approach in dealing with any and all forms of harassment as soon as they become evident. This policy also sets precedents for preventing harassment from starting.
1.1 WHAT IS SEXUAL HARASSMENT?
Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature which makes a learner feel offended, humiliated and/or intimidated. It includes situations where a learner is asked to engage in sexual activity, as well as situations which create an environment which is hostile, intimidating or humiliating for the recipient. Sexual harassment can involve one or more incidents and actions constituting harassment may be physical, verbal and non-verbal.
Examples of conduct or behaviour which constitute sexual harassment include, but are not limited to:
1.2 Physical conduct
- Unwelcome physical contact including patting, pinching, stroking, kissing, hugging, fondling, or inappropriate touching
- Physical violence, including sexual assault
- Physical contact, e.g. touching, pinching
- The use of study threats or rewards to solicit sexual favours
1.3 Verbal Misconduct
- Comments on a learner’s private life
- Sexual comments, stories and jokes
- Sexual advances
- Repeated and unwanted social invitations for dates or physical intimacy
- Sending sexually explicit messages (by phone or by email)
1.4 Non-verbal Misconduct
- Display of sexually explicit or suggestive material
- Sexually-suggestive gestures
Anyone can be a victim of sexual harassment, regardless of their sex and of the sex of the harasser. TME recognises that sexual harassment may also occur between learners/employee of the same sex. Anyone, including learners and staff members’ who sexually harasses another will be reprimanded in accordance with this internal policy.
1.5 TME HARASSMENT COMPLAINT CELL
Every learner/employee has a right to be heard and if anyone has any concern (academic, non-academic or social), he/she must report to his/her immediate Headmistress/Coordinator/Counsellor or Principal with the guarantee that they will be heard and their concerns shall be addressed with utmost confidentiality. Harassment Complaint Cell is set up by the school / college principal where complaints of abuse or any other forms of harassment can be lodged. Formal verbal or written complaint could be lodged on this Harassment complaint cell, as a first and preliminary step. Resolution through counselling can take place at this first step. The primary purpose of specialized office or cell is to facilitate the policy implementation in letter and spirit.
Any complaint against the school management, the learner can directly email to student confidentiality portal.
1.6 WRITE TO US
TME has a dedicated email address which learners/employees can contact to lodge any complaints or queries regarding harassment, bully, inappropriate behavior or misconduct across the institution on firstname.lastname@example.org. Any complaint which the learner feels is not catered by the campus appropriately, the learner can directly email to student confidentiality portal.
All complaints must be made from the personal email address of the learner/employee i.e. complaints cannot be made on behalf of other learners/employees, or on social media platforms, or from anonymous or third party accounts. We would like to assure learners/employees that all complaints will be treated with utmost confidentiality and privacy.
1.7 FALSE ALLEGATION
Allegations of harassment made out of malice or with an intent to hurt the reputation of the staff or other learner against whom the complaint is filed are to be dealt with as serious offences. Making malafide allegation of sexual harassment knowing it to be false, whether in a formal or informal way is a serious offense under this policy and action would be taken under TME disciplinary regulations. Any charge found to have been intentionally dishonest or made in willful disregard of the truth, and to malign or damage the reputation however, will make the complainant (student, staff or faculty) liable to severe disciplinary action.
TME recognizes that false accusations of harassment can have serious repercussions. If, after the investigation it is found out that the complainant has maliciously or recklessly made a false accusation, the complainant will be subject to appropriate sanctions, disregard for truth will be treated with the same degree of seriousness and severity as an allegation of harassment itself.
1.8 SANCTIONS AND DISCIPLINARY MEASURES
Any member staff or learner who is found to have harassed another learner or staff under the terms of this policy is liable to any of the following sanctions:
- written warning/ explanation
- dismissal / expulsion
- liable to criminal / legal proceedings
The nature of the sanctions will depend on the gravity and extent of the harassment. Suitable deterrent sanctions will be applied to ensure that incidents of harassment are not treated as trivial. Certain serious cases, including physical violence, will result in the immediate dismissal of the harasser.
No learner or employee (current or former) is allowed to share any defamatory, offensive or derogatory content against the employer, campus, institution , management or its stakeholders on social and digital media platforms, microblogging, social networking, social bookmarking, and social curation, and wikis, Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit, Pinterest, Instagram and any other social media platform.
2.1 IDENTIFYING BULLYING
The three types of bullying are:
- Physical (hitting, kicking, pushing, theft/ damage to property, inappropriate physical contact)
- Verbal (name calling , teasing , mocking , making offensive remarks, making inappropriate or derogatory comments about someone)
- Indirect (spreading rumours about people, gossiping, excluding someone from groups or social networking groups, sending inappropriate text/email messages or photographs, a.k.a. ‘cyber-bullying’)
2.2 SIGNS OF BULLYING
Bullying most often becomes apparent when people’s regular behaviour changes. Any changes in behaviour of someone in school should be considered as possible indications of bullying. The following behaviours’ have been listed as a few potential indicators (but not limited to):
- Refusal or resistance to come to school/ go into class
- Being anxious in school/class, withdrawal from social groups/ group activities (e.g. class activities or extra-curricular activities) or being unusually quiet in class
- Failure to produce work on time
- Producing uncharacteristically poor/ bad work
- Presenting work that appears to have been spoiled or defaced by others o Belongings (e.g. books, pens etc.) going missing or being damaged
- Changes (reduction) in self-confidence/ self-esteem
- Regular symptoms of illness, such as stomach pains, headaches etc.
- Unexplained cuts and bruises
- Regular absence from school, erratic attendance or continual late arrival to class o Poor/lack of eye contact and poor (closed) body language
- Unwillingness/resistance to take part in activities with others
Although there may be other causes for some of the above indications, there should always be an investigation by school management where concerns arise.
2.3 DEGREES OF BULLYING
In TME we use the following ‘degrees of bullying’ as a guide when dealing with incidents in school:
Low-Degree [e.g. Repeated inappropriate or unwarranted criticism in front of others, name- calling and repeated practical jokes, spiteful/ mean rumours, undesirable facial or physical gestures, inappropriate interference with personal belongings, exclusion from group activities].
Medium-Degree [e.g. Organised aggressive behaviour, victimising others, teasing, threatening looks, mimicking others cruelly, encouraging others to socially exclude, causing damage to social reputation/ acceptance].
High-Degree [e.g. Persistent/ on-going use of abusive/extreme language towards an individual, physical assaults or repeated threats to cause harm (intimidation), deliberate intentions to engineer situations which exclude individuals from life in school].
2.4 WHAT IS NOT BULLYING
Some behaviour in school can be distressing but is not bullying:
- Mutual conflict between learners
- This involves a disagreement between learners
- One-time acts of aggression
- Social rejection is not bullying unless it involves deliberate and repeated attempts to cause distress, exclude or create dislike by others.
2.5 CYBER BULLYING
Examples of cyberbullying include:
- Taking humiliating pictures of another learner and sharing them with others.
- Verbally abusing another learner by text message.
- Spreading rumours about a student on social media platforms.
- Repeatedly sending emails to intimidate or threaten.
Cyber bullying needs to be monitored closely in schools since it:
- Can be used as an extension of face-to-face bullying that might be taking place.
- Can enter home/personal space which is normally considered ‘safe’.
- Can involve a large number of people.
- Can take place across age groups/ genders.
- Can include unauthorised, widespread publication of private information or images.
- Can be used for manipulating others
2.6 PROMOTING THE POSITIVE USE OF TECHNOLOGY IN SCHOOL ( ANTI BULLYING)
All those working in TME understand the increasingly significant role that technology plays in people’s lives and in education. As such, we are committed to ensuring everyone in school understands the benefits and the risks associated with technology. All TME teachers and education managers must strive to equip our learners with the knowledge and skills to be informed and careful users of technology.Therefore, a proactive approach to preventing cyberbullying in TME schools means:
- Teachers using technology in constructive ways in their teaching.
- Providing training to teachers in using technology to develop their practice creatively.
- Support learners’ safe and responsible use of technology whilst in school.
- Ensuring all learners understand the importance of password security
3.0 WHOLE SCHOOL STRATEGIES FOR DEALING WITH HARASSMENT AND BULLYING
School management should create an environment in school where individuals feel safe, care about each other, value and respect each other.
- Assemblies/ talks about harassment / bullying can be given throughout the academic year.
- Schools should ensure, a clearly-written information for learners about who to talk to if they have concerns about harassment or bullying.
- Regular school staff training on identifying and dealing with bullying and harassment.
- Addressing bullying and cyberbullying as part of the curriculum and PSED programme in early years, and looking for opportunities to address bullying through other curriculum areas.
- Target attention/ supervision by staff on key times and locations in school.
- Continuous promotion of the Millennial Learner Attributes in schools.