Michigan Virtual believes that a safe and civil learning environment is necessary for students to learn and achieve high academic standards. It is the policy of Michigan Virtual to provide a safe and nurturing online educational environment for all its students.
Bullying or other aggressive behavior toward a Michigan Virtual student, whether by other students, staff or third parties, is strictly prohibited. This prohibition includes physical, verbal and psychological abuse, including hazing, gestures, comments, threats or actions to a student which cause or threaten to cause bodily harm, reasonable fear for personal safety or personal degradation, including doing so through electronic communication. Demonstration of appropriate behavior, treating others with civility and respect, and refusing to tolerate harassment or bullying is expected of administrators and faculty to provide positive examples for student behavior.
Aggressive behavior is defined as inappropriate conduct that is repeated enough, or serious enough, to negatively impact a student’s educational, physical or emotional well-being. Such behavior includes, but is not limited to, bullying and hazing, stalking, intimidating, menacing, coercion, name-calling, taunting and making threats in all electronic forms, including cyberbullying.
Bullying is conduct that may meet the following criteria:
- Is directed at one or more students, directly or indirectly
- Substantially interferes with educational opportunities, benefits or programs of one or more students
- Adversely affects the ability of a student to participate in or benefit from the Michigan Virtual educational programs or activities by placing the student in reasonable fear of physical harm or by causing emotional distress
- Has an actual and substantial detrimental effect on a student’s physical or mental health
- Causes substantial disruption in or interference with the orderly operation of the course
Cyberbullying is defined as meeting the criteria of bullying in the form of any electronic communication intended to harm one or more students, including but not limited to posting a message or statement in a public media forum about any other person if:
- The message or statement is intended to place a person in fear of bodily harm or death and expresses an intent to commit violence against the person
- The message or statement is posted with the intent to communicate a threat or with knowledge that it will be viewed as a threat
Any student who believes s/he has been or is the victim of bullying, hazing or other aggressive behavior should immediately report the situation to their school mentor, Michigan Virtual instructor, or Michigan Virtual Customer Care. Every student is encouraged, and every instructor is required, to report any situation that they believe to be aggressive behavior directed toward a student. Complaints against an instructor should be filed with Michigan Virtual Customer Care at firstname.lastname@example.org. Michigan Virtual instructors must report incidents of bullying and aggressive behavior to the school mentor of the student and to their Michigan Virtual supervisors.
Reports by students may be made anonymously, but formal disciplinary action may not be taken solely on the basis of an anonymous report. Individuals reporting acts of bullying can do so with an assurance of confidentiality. All complaints about aggressive behavior that may violate this policy will be promptly investigated and documented by Student Learning Services administration.
If the investigation finds an instance of bullying or aggressive behavior has occurred, it will result in prompt and appropriate action. This may include up to expulsion for students from Michigan Virtual courses, up to discharge for employees, exclusion for parents, guests and contractors, and removal from any official position. Individuals may also be referred to appropriate law enforcement officials. The complainant shall be notified of the findings of the investigation and, as appropriate, what remedial action has been taken. School mentors will be notified of bullying incidents involving Michigan Virtual students and will notify the parent(s)/guardian(s) of the students. All verified incidents of bullying and the resulting consequences, including discipline and referrals, will be documented and reported to the board of directors on an annual basis.
Retaliation against any person who reports, is thought to have reported, files a complaint or otherwise participates in an investigation or inquiry concerning allegations of aggressive behavior is prohibited and will not be tolerated. Making intentionally false reports about aggressive behavior for the purpose of getting someone in trouble is similarly prohibited and will not be tolerated. Retaliation and intentionally false reports may result in disciplinary action as indicated above.
The policy is visible to the public in the Michigan Virtual Knowledge Base and is included in every Michigan Virtual course under the “Michigan Virtual Policies” tab in the Blackboard course menu.
“Public Act 451 of 1976: The Revised School Code. Section 380.1310b.” Text from Michigan Legislature. Available from http://legislature.mi.gov/doc.aspx?mcl-380-1310b Accessed 6/19/19.