RACINE - The Racine Unified School Board on Monday unanimously approved an anti-bullying policy that explicitly prohibits bullying and gives procedures for investigating and resolving bullying incidents.
Unified is several months late in approving such a policy.
Unified's two-page policy defines bullying to include acts like physical assaults; verbal threats, intimidation, teasing, pranks or jokes; and computer or telecommunications messages that are embarrassing, slanderous, threatening or intimidating. School principals or their designees are responsible for handling such bullying incidents, according to the newly approved policy.
A May state law required districts have anti-bullying policies approved by Aug. 15. Both Unified and the Burlington Area School District missed the date; Burlington approved a policy on Sept. 13.
There are no direct penalties for not having an anti-bullying policy approved, though school districts without a policy could have problems if sued for a bullying incident.
Unified officials previously told The Journal Times that administrators' schedules and a period for public review kept the policy from being drafted and approved sooner. They also said while they did not previously have a policy, anti-bullying programs and procedures were already in place at schools.