Bernard Zell Anti-Bullying Policy

All types and levels of bullying, discrimination, and/or harassment, whether in person or online, are unacceptable. Bernard Zell strives to create a learning community in which relationships are based on mutual respect, and the school prohibits all forms of bullying, discrimination, or harassment. Specifically, bullying, discrimination, and/or harassment on the basis of actual or perceived race, color, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, physical or mental disability, military status, sexual orientation, gender-related identity or expression, unfavorable discharge from military service, association with a person or group with one or more of the aforementioned actual or perceived characteristics, or any other characteristic protected by law is prohibited. All members of the Bernard Zell community have the right to be free from any form of bullying, discrimination, and/or harassment.
Furthermore, Bernard Zell is prohibited under Title IX and its implementing regulations promulgated by the Department of Homeland Security from discriminating based on sex in its education programs or activities, including employment and admissions.  Questions regarding the application of Title IX and the Department of Homeland Security's regulations implementing Title IX at Bernard Zell, should be directed to Abby Aloni (for Early Childhood), Karen Leavitt (for Lower School) or Emily Crane (for Middle School) at 773-281-1858, 3751 N. Broadway St., Chicago IL, 60613.
Students, staff, and parents are expected to support this policy by notifying the school administration promptly if they have observed bullying, discrimination, or harassment or have questions or concerns about bullying, discriminatory, or harassing behavior(s). Bullying, discrimination and harassment are prohibited in each of the following situations:
  1. During any school-sponsored education program or activity.
  2. While in school, on school property, on school buses or other school vehicles, or at school-sponsored or school-sanctioned events or activities.
  3. Through the transmission or information from a school computer, a school computer network, or other similar electronic school equipment.
  4. Through the transmission of information from a computer that is accessed at a nonschool-related location, activity, function, or program or from the use of technology or an electronic device that is not owned, leased, or used by the school if the bullying causes a substantial disruption to the educational process or orderly operation of the school.  This paragraph (item #4) applies only when a school administrator or teacher receives a report that bullying through this means has occurred; it does not require staff members to monitor any nonschool-related activity, function, or program
  5. When it does not occur during the school day or on school property, on a school bus or vehicle, or during a school-sponsored activity and can be shown to pose a clear and substantial interference with another student's right to access educational programs.
Note that bullying, discrimination, and harassment are contrary to State and federal law and the policy of Bernard Zell.  However, nothing in this policy is intended to infringe upon any right to exercise free expression or the free exercise of religion or religiously based views protected under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution or under Section 3 of Article I of the Illinois Constitution.
Harassment Defined
Harassment means an incident or incidents of verbal, written, visual, or physical conduct, including any incident conducted by electronic means, based on or motivated by a student's actual or perceived race, creed, color, national origin, marital status, disability, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity, or other characteristic protected by law, that has the purpose or effect of objectively and substantially undermining and detracting from or interfering with a student's educational performance or access to school resources or creating an objectively intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment. Harassment may also constitute one or more of the following: sexual harassment, racial harassment, or harassment of any other member of a protected class.
Bullying Defined
Bullying includes cyberbullying and mean any severe or pervasive physical or verbal conduct including communications made in writing or electronically, directed toward a student or students that has or can be reasonably predicted to have the effect or one or more of the following:
  • Placing the student or students in reasonable fear of harm to the student's or students' person or property. 
  • Causing a substantially detrimental effect on the student's or students' physical or mental health.
  • Substantially interfering with the student's or students' academic performance;
  • Substantially interfering with the student's or students' ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or privileges provided by Bernard Zell.
Bullying may be an isolated incident or series of incidents occurring over a period of time. Bullying takes various forms, including, but not limited to: harassment, threats, intimidation, stalking, spreading rumors, physical violence, sexual harassment, sexual violence, theft, humiliation, causing social or psychological isolation, extortion, destruction of property, or retaliation for asserting or alleging an act of bullying. This list is meant to be illustrative and is not exhaustive.
Many incidents of student misconduct, such as teasing or acts of unkindness, even if cruel in nature, will not constitute "bullying" under this policy.  Bernard Zell may, in its sole discretion, address misconduct that does not rise to the level of "bullying" under policies addressing student conduct.
Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place through the use of technology or any electronic communication, including through the use of digital devices like cell phones, computers, and tablets. Cyberbullying can occur through text messages, social media, applications, forums, gaming, or by other electronic means. Cyberbullying includes, but is not limited to: sending, posting, or sharing negative, harmful, false, or mean content about someone else; sharing personal or private information about someone else causing embarrassment or humiliation; sending false, cruel, vicious messages; creating online content that has stories, cartoons, pictures, and jokes ridiculing others; fraudulently accessing an email account and sending vicious or embarrassing materials to others; engaging someone in electronic communication, tricking that person into revealing sensitive personal information, and forwarding that information to others; and posting photos or videos of other people without consent.
Where do I go if I need help?
  • Students are encouraged to immediately report bullying.
  • Students and parents should always turn to their homeroom teacher/advisor as a first resource for assistance and advice.
  • Our school Social Workers are here to provide support to students.
  • Each of the school’s Division Heads oversees the entire management of the school along with its students and staff. These administrators are here to support students and parents alike.
  • Anonymous reports of bullying, discrimination, or harassment may be made to the school staff identified below.  However, this shall not be construed to permit formal disciplinary action solely on the basis of an anonymous report.
  • Any student who knowingly makes a false accusation regarding harassment or bullying may be subject to disciplinary action, unless the person has a good faith belief that an incident occurred or is occurring.
  • School named officials identified below and all staff members are available for help with a bully or to make a report about bullying, and may be reached at 773-281-1858 or 3751 N. Broadway St., Chicago IL, 60613.
For Early Childhood: Abby Aloni
For Lower School: Karen Leavitt
For Middle School: Emily Crane
Bullying, Discrimination, and Harassment Intervention and Response Plan
Consistent with federal and State laws and rules governing privacy rights, Bernard Zell will promptly inform the parent(s)/guardian(s) of every student involved in an alleged incident of bullying, discrimination, or harassment and discuss, as appropriate, the availability of social work services, counseling, school psychological services, other interventions, and restorative measures.
Bernard Zell will promptly investigate and address reports of bullying, discrimination, or harassment, by, among other things:
  • Making all reasonable efforts to complete the investigation within 10 school days after the date of the report of a bullying, discrimination, or harassment incident was received and taking into consideration additional relevant information received during the course of the investigation about the reported bullying, discrimination, or harassment incident.
  • Involving appropriate school support personnel and other staff persons with knowledge, experience, and training on bullying, discrimination, and harassment prevention, as deemed appropriate, in the investigation process.
  • Notifying the Head of School or designee of the reported incident of bullying, discrimination, and harassment as soon as possible after the report is received.
  • Consistent with federal and State laws and rules governing student privacy rights, providing parents/guardians of the students who are parties to the investigation information about the investigation and an opportunity to meet with the Head of School or designee to discuss the investigation, the findings of the investigation, and the actions taken to address the reported incident of bullying, discrimination, or harassment.
Bernard Zell shall investigate whether a reported incident of bullying, discrimination, or harassment is within the permissible scope of Bernard Zell's jurisdiction and will provide the victim with information regarding services that are available within Bernard Zell and the community, such as counseling, support services, and other programs.
Bernard Zell will use interventions to address bullying, discrimination, and harassment that may include, but are not limited to, school social work services, restorative measures, social-emotional skill building, counseling, school psychological services, and community-based services.
A reprisal or retaliation against any person who reports an act of bullying, discrimination, or harassment, or engages in an investigation related to a report of bullying, discrimination, or harassment, is prohibited. Any person's act of reprisal or retaliation will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including discharge with regard to employees, or suspension and/or expulsion with regard to students.
A student will not be punished for reporting bullying, discrimination, or harassment or supplying information, even if the investigation concludes that no bullying occurred.  However, a person who is found to have falsely accused another of bullying, discrimination, or harassment, as a means of retaliation, as a means of bullying, discrimination, or harassment, or provided false information will be treated as either: (a) bullying, discrimination, or harassment, (b) student discipline up to and including suspension and/or expulsion, and/or (c) both (a) and (b) for purposes of determining any consequences or other appropriate remedial actions.
Bernard Zell's prevention and response plan is based on the engagement of a range of school stakeholders, including students and parents/guardians.
Note About Confidentiality
While we prioritize transparency with all stakeholders, we do not share confidential information or speak about students with another student or family. We respect and honor each person’s right to privacy.