Policy 1010


The board is committed to providing a positive, safe, and productive learning and working environment. Hazing, harassment, intimidation, menacing, bullying, or cyberbullying are forms of conduct which are strictly prohibited whether engaged in by students, staff or third parties on school district property, including electronic communication on or with the use of district property; at school or district-sponsored events; and on any school-sponsored transportation and shall not be tolerated in the district. The prohibition in this policy includes electronic communication directed at a student that is published with the intent that it be seen by or disclosed to that student and that substantially interferes with the student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or privileges provided by the school district.

A. Definitions

1.  “Bullying” means any severe, pervasive or persistent act or conduct that targets a student, whether physically, electronically or verbally, and that:

a.  May be based on a student’s actual or perceived race, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, spousal affiliation, physical or cognitive disability or any other distinguishing characteristic; or on an association with a person, or group with any person, with one or more of the actual or perceived distinguishing characteristics; and

b.  Can be reasonably predicted to:

i. Place a student in reasonable fear of physical harm to the student’s person or property;

ii. Cause a substantial detrimental effect on a student’s physical or mental health;

iii. Substantially interfere with a student’s academic performance or attendance; or

iv. Substantially interfere with a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or privileges provided by an agency, educational institution or grantee.

2.  “Cyberbullying” means any bullying that takes place through electronic communication.

3.  “District” includes district facilities, district premises, and non-district property if the student or employee is at any district-sponsored, district-approved or district- related activity or function, such as field trips or athletic events where students are under the control of the district or where the employee is engaged in district business.

4.  “Electronic Communication” means a communication transmitted by means of an electronic device, including a telephone, cellular phone, computer, electronic tablet, pager or video or audio recording.

5.  “Electronic Expression” means any electronic written, verbal, or pictorial communication conveyed through any form of electronic device, medium, or cyber-technology, including, but not limited to, desktop, tablet or laptop computers, the internet, email, instant messaging, web sites, web-cameras, chat rooms, social networking sites (e.g., Facebook, MySpace), cell phones or other personal digital devices, text messaging, digital photographs or movies, and other instant messaging devices.

6.  “Gender Identity” means a student’s self-perception, or perception of that student by another, of the student’s identity as a male or female based upon the student’s appearance, behavior or physical characteristics that are in accord with or opposed to the student’s physical anatomy, chromosomal sex, or sex at birth.

7.  “Harassment” means knowingly pursuing a pattern of conduct, communications or electronic expressions that are intended to annoy, seriously alarm or terrorize another person and that serves no lawful purpose. The conduct must be such that it would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress. Harassment includes, but is not limited to, any act which subjects an individual or group to unwanted, degrading, humiliating or abusive behavior of a nonverbal, verbal, written or physical nature, and may, but need not be, based on the student’s age, race, religion, color, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or ethnicity. Verbal and nonverbal harassment includes speech or gestures which are lewd, indecent, profane or obscene and libel.

8.  “Hazing” includes, but is not limited to, any act that recklessly, or intentionally endangers or is likely to endanger the mental health, physical health or safety of a student, for the purpose of initiation or as a condition or precondition of attaining membership in, or affiliation with, any district-sponsored activity, student club or organization or grade level attainment. Examples include, but are not limited to, consumption of any drink, alcoholic beverage, drug or controlled substance; exposure to the elements; prolonged exclusion from social contact; sleep deprivation or any other required activity that could adversely affect the mental or physical health or safety of a student; requires, encourages, authorizes or permits another to be subject to wearing or carrying any obscene, degrading or physically burdensome article; assignment of pranks to be performed or other such activities intended to degrade or humiliate a particular person or group; or physical brutality, such as whipping, beating, striking, branding, electronic shocking, or placing a harmful substance in or on the body.

9.  “Intimidation” includes, but is not limited to, any threat or act intended to tamper, substantially damage or interfere with another’s property, cause substantial inconvenience in accessing school facilities, educational or school sponsored programs or subject another to offensive physical contact or inflict serious physical injury which may, but need not be based on the basis of age, race, color, religion, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or ethnicity.

10.  “Menacing” includes, but is not limited to, any assault intended to place a school employee, student or third party in reasonable fear of imminent physical injury.

11.  “Physical or Cognitive Disability” means a physical or cognitive impairment that substantially limits one or more of the student’s major life activities.

12.  "Prohibited Conduct" means the conduct of a person who 1) is engaging in bullying, hazing, harassment intimidation, menacing conduct or racialized aggression; 2) solicits, encourages, directs, aids, or attempts to aid another in engaging in any of the foregoing activities or 3) has firsthand knowledge of the planning of a specific incident involving a student in the district, or firsthand knowledge that a specific incident of any of the foregoing activities has occurred, and knowingly fails to report that knowledge in writing to the principal, Title IX Coordinator or Superintendent.

13.  “Progressive Discipline” means disciplinary action other than suspension or expulsion from school that is designed to correct and address the basic causes of a student’s specific misbehavior while retaining the student in class or in school, or restorative school practices to repair the harm done to relationships and other students from the student’s misbehavior, and may include:

a.  Meeting with the student and the student’s parents;
b.  Reflective activities, such as requiring the student to write an essay about the student’s misbehavior;
c.  Counseling;
d.  Anger management;
e.  Health counseling or interventions;
f.  Participation in skill-building and resolution activities, such as social- emotional cognitive skills building, resolution circles and restorative conferencing;
g.  Community service; and
h.  In-school detention or suspension, which may take place during lunchtime, after school, or during weekends.

14. “Racialized Aggression” means a violent act, bullying, hazing, harassment, intimidation, or menacing conduct based on race.

15. “Regular Volunteers” means those persons, including relatives of students, who commit to serve on a regular basis at a school district, charter school, or other educational entity without compensation.

16. “Sexual Orientation” means heterosexuality, homosexuality, or bisexuality, whether actual or perceived.

17. “Third Parties” include, but are not limited to, coaches, school volunteers, parents, school visitors, service contractors or others engaged in district business, such as employees of businesses or organizations participating in cooperative work programs with the district and others not directly subject to district control at inter-district and intra-district athletic competitions or other school events.

B. Complaint/Reporting Procedures

1.  Reporting Prohibited Conduct. Any student, employee or third party who knows, or in the exercise of reasonable care should know, about prohibited conduct in violation of this policy, or feels he/she has been a victim of hazing, harassment, intimidation, bullying, cyberbullying, or menacing conduct in violation of this policy shall report his/her concerns orally or in writing immediately to the building principal, Title IX coordinator or Superintendent in the preferred language of the person reporting. A student may also report concerns to a school employee who shall be responsible for notifying the appropriate district official within two (2) calendar days. Students also are encouraged to tell their parents about the problem and ask for the parent’s help in reporting the prohibited conduct to appropriate school officials. Prohibited Conduct which targets a student’s sex or disability shall be reported and investigated pursuant to the Title IX/Section 504 Grievance Procedures promulgated by the Title IX Coordinator pursuant to Policy 1005.

2.  Complaints against the building principal or Title IX Coordinator shall be filed with the Superintendent. Complaints against the Superintendent shall be filed with the board president.

3.  Confidentiality of complaints. All complaints of prohibited conduct that may be in violation of this policy, as well as the identity of the complainant, shall remain confidential, except to the extent necessary for communicating in the investigative process with administrators and staff on a “need to know” basis. Complaints may be made anonymously. However, anonymous complaints that do not contain sufficient factual detail to be investigated may be held in suspense pending delivery of additional factual detail and no formal disciplinary measure shall be taken solely on the basis of an anonymous report.

C. Investigations of Complaints

1. Principal responsible for investigation: The building principal has the overall responsibility for the prompt investigation and equitable resolution of complaints, unless the complaint is against the principal, in which case the Title IX Coordinator shall be responsible for the investigation.

a.  Scope of investigation: The principal or his/her designee shall appropriately and promptly investigate all reports of conduct, communications, or electronic expression that violate this policy. In determining whether the alleged conduct, communication, or electronic expression constitute violations of this policy, the principal or designee shall evaluate the totality of circumstances, the nature of the activity complained of, and the context in which such activity occurred.

b.  Both the complainant and persons accused of engaging in conduct, communications or electronic expressions in violation of this policy may identify witnesses for the principal or designee to interview or offer evidence for the principal or designee to evaluate.

2.  Notice of findings: Within five (5) school days from the time the principal or designee receives the complaint, the complainant and alleged offending party(ies) and their parents or guardians shall be notified individually of the findings of the investigation and what equitable resolutions will be taken. A principal may delay notification of parents as appropriate if, in the professional opinion of the principal, notifying the parents would endanger the health or well-being of a student.

3.  Appeal: A student who is accused of prohibited conduct or who is the target of prohibited conduct and who is unsatisfied with the outcome of the initial investigation may appeal for review by the Superintendent or designee.

4.  Student Safety Plan: The school where an act of prohibited conduct has been sustained by an investigation shall develop a student safety support plan that addresses safety measures the school will take to protect targeted students against further acts of prohibited conduct.

5.  Continuation of Prohibited Conduct; Grievance: In the event that the prohibited conduct continues, the complainant may file a grievance form with the Title IX Coordinator at 500 Laser Drive, Rio Rancho, NM 87124. The grievance form is available in the administrative office of each school site. The grievance shall include a description of the alleged conduct. The Title IX Coordinator shall promptly investigate the grievance. Within five (5) school days from receiving the grievance, the Title IX Coordinators shall determine whether disciplinary action is warranted. A student who is the subject of a grievance following a failed mediation or breach of a behavior contract may be subject to in-school suspension or temporary suspension during such investigation.

D. Discipline/Sanctions

1.  Conduct Subject to Discipline/Sanctions: A person who engages in prohibited conduct shall be subject to discipline or sanctions if the conduct:

a.  Substantially interferes with a student’s educational benefits, opportunities or performance;
b.  Takes place on school grounds, at any school-sponsored activity, on school-provided transportation or at any official school bus stop, is initiated outside the school day, a school sponsored activity or off school property and the effects of such conduct are extended into the school day, a school sponsored activity or onto school property in the form of disruptive conduct; and
c.  Has the effect of

i.  Physically harming a student or damaging a student’s property,
ii.  Knowingly placing a student in reasonable fear of physical harm to the student or damage to the student’s property, or
iii. Creating a hostile educational environment by causing substantial emotional distress.

2.  Disciplinary Decisions:

a.  Students whose behavior is found to be in violation of this policy will be subject to discipline as listed in the current approved Disciple Matrix. All discipline shall me designed to:

i. appropriately correct bullying behavior;
ii.  prevent another occurrence of bullying or retaliation;
iii.  protect the target of the bullying;
iv.  be flexible so that, in application, the consequences can vary in method and severity based on:

a)  the nature of the incident;
b)  the developmental age and cognitive level of the student who is bullying; and
c)  historical problem behavior from the student who is bullying; and

v. Limit the restrictive nature of consequences for cyberbullying incidents, such that while correcting cyberbullying behavior and preventing further incidents of cyberbullying, a student with cyberbullying behavior is able to participate or benefit from the services, activities, or privileges provided by the school to the greatest extent possible.

Disciplinary decisions shall comply with all state and federal IDEA requirements.

b.  Staff whose behavior is found to be in violation of this policy will be subject to discipline, up to and including discharge or termination.

c.  Third parties whose behavior is found to be in violation of this policy shall be subject to appropriate sanctions as determined and imposed by the superintendent or Board.

d.  Individuals who engage in prohibited conduct also may be referred to law enforcement officials.

3. No Retaliation/False Accusations. Retaliation, reprisal or false accusations against any person who witnesses, reports, is thought to have reported, files a complaint or otherwise participates in an investigation or inquiry is prohibited. Such retaliation shall be considered a serious violation of Board policy, independent of whether a complaint is substantiated, and shall be subject to disciplinary consequences. False charges also shall be regarded as a serious offense and will result in disciplinary action or other appropriate sanctions.

E. Notice

The superintendent shall be responsible for ensuring notice of this policy is included in the student handbook using developmentally and culturally appropriate language. The superintendent shall also post this information at each school site and on the District’s website, identifying the point of contact for bullying-related concerns. .

F. Implementation of Bullying Prevention Programs

The Superintendent or designee is authorized to implement additional bullying prevention programs consistent with state law and public education department guidelines, which shall include at least the following:

1.  Establish an annual bullying prevention program for students aligned with New Mexico’s health education content standards with benchmarks and performance standards;

2.  Provide annual training on bullying prevention to all school personnel and regular volunteers who have significant contact with students; and

3.  Incorporate information on the bullying prevention policy into new employee training.

G.  Reporting

1. Each school shall document reports and investigations of bullying and shall maintain these records for no less than four years.

2. The Superintendent shall establish procedures for reporting the number of bullying incidents and the number of harassment incidents, as defined by federal or state law, along with responses to these incidents, and shall report this information annually to the Public Education Department at such time as determined by the department and through the department’s student teacher accountability reporting or through other means determined by the department.

NMSA 22-35-1 et seq.
NMAC 6.12.7

Rio Rancho Public Schools
Adopted: June 11, 2018
Effective Date: July 1, 2018

Revised: September 12, 2022

Previous policy adoption history:
Adopted: September 26, 2005
Revised: August 13, 2007
Reviewed: July 18, 2011
Revised: November 14, 2011
Revised: November 18, 2019