The State of Illinois requires that all elementary schools adopt a bullying policy that outlines specific required language. Because the North Shore Montessori Schools have children who attend through the elementary school years we are including this policy in all of our handbooks. However, the vast majority of our children are in the Birth to 6 years of age range and as such are just developing pro-social skills. While these younger children may exhibit some behaviors that come as part of their natural development it should not be misconstrued as bullying, as North Shore Montessori Schools’ curriculum guides them in this process. Please see the sectioned labeled “How Montessori Philosophy Develops Respect and Tolerance” at the end of this document for more details.
Legal Definitions (105 ILCS 5/27-23.7)
For the purposes of this Policy and as defined under the Illinois School Code, the terms used mean the following:
Bullying includes cyber-bullying and means any severe or pervasive physical or verbal act or 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 of one or more of the following:
Bullying may take various forms, including without limitation one or more of the following: harassment, threats, intimidation, stalking, physical violence, sexual harassment, sexual violence, theft, public humiliation, destruction of property, or retaliation for asserting or alleging an act of bullying. This list is meant to be illustrative and non-exhaustive.
Aggressive conduct toward other students that is not severe or pervasive shall not be deemed as bullying, but may constitute gross disobedience or misconduct leading to discipline under the School’s “No Harassment Policy” of any student who engages in such behavior.
Cyber-bullying means bullying through the use of technology or any electronic communication, including without limitation any transfer of signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data, or intelligence of any nature transmitted in whole or in part by a wire, radio, electromagnetic system, photo-electronic system, or photo-optical system, including without limitation electronic mail, Internet communications, instant messages, or facsimile communications. Cyber-bullying includes the creation of a webpage or weblog in which the creator assumes the identity of another person or the knowing impersonation of another person as the author of posted content or messages if the creation or impersonation creates any of the effects enumerated in the definition of bullying. Cyber-bullying also includes the distribution by electronic means of a communication to more than one person or the posting of material on an electronic medium that may be accessed by one or more persons if the distribution or posting creates any of the effects enumerated in the definition of bullying.
Restorative measures means a continuum of school-based alternatives to exclusionary discipline, such as suspensions and expulsions, that: (i) are adapted to the particular needs of the school and community, (ii) contribute to maintaining school safety, (iii) protect the integrity
of a positive and productive learning climate, (iv) teach students the personal and interpersonal skills they will need to be successful in school and society, (v) serve to build and restore relationships among students, families, schools, and communities, and (vi) reduce the likelihood of future disruption by balancing accountability with an understanding of students’ behavioral health needs in order to keep students in school. School personnel means persons employed by, on contract with, or who volunteer in a school, including without limitation school administrators, teachers, school guidance counselors, school social workers, school counselors, school psychologists, school nurses, cafeteria workers, custodians, bus drivers, school resource officers, and security guards.
Prevention of and Response to Bullying and Other Aggressive Behaviors
Bullying diminishes a student’s ability to learn and a school’s ability to educate. Such conduct interferes with a student’s educational environment, safety, and academic performance. Preventing students from engaging in these aggressive and disruptive behaviors and providing all students equal access to a safe, non-hostile learning environment are important School goals.
Students are expected to act respectfully toward their peers and to avoid bullying and aggressive behaviors in their interactions with other students. The School prohibits and will not tolerate aggressive student behavior, including bullying conduct of any type or on any basis, as defined below. Further, the School will protect students against retaliation for reporting incidents of aggressive behavior and bullying, and will take disciplinary action against any student who participates in such conduct.
In addition, bullying is prohibited on the basis of actual or perceived race, color, national origin, military status, unfavorable discharge status from the military service, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender-related identity or expression, ancestry, age, religion, physical or mental disability, or marital status; association with a person or group with one or more of the aforementioned actual or perceived characteristics; or any other distinguishing characteristic.
Bullying is prohibited in each of the following situations:
Bullying Prevention and Response Plan
The Director of Schools or designee shall develop and maintain a bullying prevention and response plan that advances the School’s goal of providing all students with a safe learning environment free of bullying and harassment. This plan must be consistent with the requirements listed below, which reflect the; each numbered requirement, 1-12, corresponds with the same number in the list of required policy components in 105 ILCS 5/27-23.7(b) 1-12.
North Shore Montessori Schools
Tony Kambich, Director of Administration
3140 Riverwoods Road, Riverwoods, IL. 60015 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The evaluation process may include the use of relevant data and information that the School already collects for other purposes. The School shall post the information developed as a result of the policy evaluation on the School’s website, or if a website is not available, the information must be provided to school administrators, Board members, school personnel, parents/guardians, and students.
LEGAL REF.: 405 ILCS 49/, Children’s Mental Health Act.
105 ILCS 5/10-20.14, 5/24-24, and 5/27-23.7.
23 Ill. Admin. Code §§1.240 and §1.280.
DATE: September 21, 2021
How Montessori Philosophy Develops Respect and Tolerance
All of the staff members at North Shore Montessori Schools are trained to teach and model peaceful and respectful behaviors and resolve conflict between students at an early age. Our Grace and Courtesy lessons are given at teachable moments in every subject area and every activity in and outside the school premises. Through social stories and role-playing, we set the stage for pro-social behaviors that help children become more confident in a wide variety of social situations and conflicts by providing them with choices in language and behavior. In this way, they learn how to communicate with each other in ways that are appropriate and respectful. Older children with this knowledge are often asked to assist the younger children who are still learning these skills, which strengthens bonds and helps to create a cohesive classroom community.
As the students explore the wide range of Cultural materials, they learn how people across the world meet their fundamental needs in various ways and learn to celebrate the similarities and differences among them. The curiosity and understanding our students build by celebrating other cultures makes it easier to show respect for the differences among their own classmates, rather than making fun or being afraid of things they don’t understand.
We also empower students to come to the aid of a friend and how to “use their words” and stand up to undesirable behaviors through our conflict resolution procedure. Teachers model and remind children of calming techniques when they are upset, and then assist them in using their “I” statements to express their perspectives and feelings to one another as they pass the “Peace Turtle” back and forth to resolve the conflict and find a resolution. While this process takes some practice, it helps children realize that there are positive ways to combat hurtful words or behaviors through peacekeeping efforts.Through our yearly parent education efforts, we also strive to create partnerships with the adults in our students’ lives to develop a sense of trust and provide consistency between school and home. If we see that a child is having difficulty internalizing our Grace and Courtesy lessons, we will reach out to the parents for an honest evaluation of how the child behaves at home. If we can determine that a child may be regularly exhibiting behavior at home that is rude, disrespectful or unfair, or seeking power and control in unacceptable ways, this is a good indicator of how the child will behave in public. We will then work with their parents to provide meaningful and consistent consequences so the child understands why these behaviors cannot be tolerated. When parents are willing to model acceptance, kindness, grace and courtesy to their children at home, as at school, they will be providing the most powerful influence a parent can to help create a peaceable, tolerant and respectful member of society.