HIB Explanation Letter
Dear Parents and Guardians:
One of the most important directives that educators are tasked with each day is the safeguarding of our students’ physical and emotional well-being. The state’s HIB statutes (harassment, intimidation, and bullying) have been designed and promulgated to assist educators, students, and families in identifying and addressing negative behaviors and providing students with the tools necessary so as to prevent these incidents from occurring. While we have made great strides in informing our educational community about HIB protocols, we would like to clarify some information in order to better assist parents and students in recognizing the differences between normal student conflict and the far more serious behaviors that rise to the level of HIB.
Conflict is a normal part of adolescent development; it is not uncommon for students to experience periodic conflict and with the assistance of educators and parents, to resolve occasional conflict readily and peacefully. HIB, however, involves imbalances of power, attacks based on perceived characteristics or traits and other factors, all of which are defined on our district’s website at the following link: https://www.chester-nj.org/Page/958.
Please know that when reporting incidents to teachers or administrators, either verbally or in writing, that the use of the words harassment, intimidation, or bullying will trigger an automatic HIB investigation. We are not attempting to dissuade parents or students from reporting events; on the contrary, we ask that you bring any matter concerning the well-being of our students to our attention. However, based on legal requirements, we cannot ignore these words once they have been stated. In order to avoid a misunderstanding, we recommend that you describe incidents as they have occurred without personally labeling the behavior as HIB unless it is your direct intent to formally begin an investigation. Our trained staff will then make the determination as to the appropriate manner in which to proceed.
The district has experienced tremendous success with conflict resolution, a process that allows students to meet in a controlled environment with a trained counselor in order to discuss the nature of their conflict and the methods they can employ to resolve their issues peacefully and expeditiously. We strongly recommend conflict resolution as an excellent means of furthering discussions and remedying student issues. This pathway is also available upon parent/student request.
As always, we remain committed to the social and emotional growth of all of our students, and we welcome any questions from our parent community.
Chester School District