Youth Bullying Prevention Policy

Objectives and Purpose

Respect and care for every person is a core value of Georgetown University.  All individuals, including youth who participate in Georgetown University programs or activities, deserve to be free from the threat or actuality of physical violence or verbal abuse, and the University will not tolerate acts of bullying, harassment and intimidation of youth.  The intent of this policy is to prevent bullying in Georgetown University programs and activities serving youth.[1] 

Definitions

“Bullying” of a youth includes any severe, pervasive, or persistent act or conduct, whether physical, electronic, or verbal, that can reasonably be predicted to:

  1. Place the youth in reasonable fear of physical harm to his or her person or property;
  2. Cause a substantial detrimental effect on the youth’s physical or mental health;
  3. Substantially interfere with the youth’s academic performance or attendance; or
  4. Substantially interfere with the youth’s ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or privileges provided as part of a Georgetown University program or activity.

Bullying may be based on a youth’s actual or perceived race, color, ethnicity, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, intellectual ability, familial status, family responsibilities, matriculation, political affiliation, genetic information, disability, source of income, status as a victim of an intra-family offense, place of residence or business, or any other distinguishing characteristic, or on a youth’s association with a person, or group that contains any person, with one or more of the actual or perceived foregoing characteristics.

For purposes of this policy, the term “Georgetown University programs or activities” includes any University-run or -affiliated program or activity that takes place in Washington, DC or is supported by funds from an agency of the District of Columbia.

For purposes of this policy, “youth” are individuals aged 21 years or less who participate in Georgetown University programs or activities, excluding Georgetown students.[2]

Prohibition against Bullying

Acts of bullying, including cyberbullying, whether by youth, volunteers or staff, are prohibited in Georgetown University programs or activities on and off Georgetown University property.  Retaliation against a youth, volunteer or staff member who reports bullying, provides information about an act of bullying, or witnesses an act of bullying is also prohibited. 

Publication and Contact Information

This policy will be posted on Georgetown University’s Protection of Minors Policy web site and referenced in the “Working with Minors” Guidelines, which are required to be read and signed by Georgetown University faculty, staff, and students who participate in University-run or affiliated programs and activities involving minors. 

Questions about this policy should be directed to the program or activity director or to the University’s Protection of Minors Policy Manager at protectionofminors@georgetown.edu.

Youth Code of Conduct

 The University expects youth to behave in a way that supports a safe and welcoming environment for other youth, University faculty, staff, and students, volunteers and community members.  Youth who participate in University programs and activities are expected to:

  1. Treat all participants in the program or activity with respect;
  2. Respect the property of the University, its staff, faculty and students, and other youth involved in the program or activity;
  3. Respond appropriately to instructions from the program or activity staff and volunteers.
Reporting Incidents of Bullying or Retaliation

Georgetown University expects all faculty, staff and student participants and volunteers in University programs and activities to report incidents of bullying or retaliation they witness or of which they are made aware.  Youth, parents, guardians, and community members are also encouraged to report any incidents of bullying that they witness or of which they become aware.   

Reports of bullying may be made to the director of the program or activity or made anonymously through Georgetown’s confidential Compliance and Ethics Helpline at 1-888-239-9181 or at compliance.georgetown.edu/reporting

Reports of bullying may be made anonymously, if desired, but the University’s ability to investigate and take disciplinary or other action may depend on the specificity of the information provided.

Investigating Incidents of Bullying or Retaliation

The Protection of Minors Policy Manager in the Georgetown University Office of Compliance and Ethics will coordinate the University’s investigation of reports of youth bullying with program and activity directors and others and can be reached at protectionofminors@georgetown.edu.   

Prior to the investigation of an incident, the University will take appropriate steps to secure the safety of the alleged victim or victims of a reported bullying incident.  An investigation will be initiated promptly after the director of the program or activity or the Office of Compliance and Ethics receives a report of bullying, and the Protection of Minors Policy Manager shall determine whether a reported incident constitutes a case of bullying and will recommend appropriate action after considering the totality of the facts and circumstances. 

Sanctions and Remedies for Bullying or Retaliation

Georgetown University recognizes that for sanctions to be an effective component of a bullying prevention plan, they must be applied consistently, fairly, and equitably, while allowing for flexibility to adapt sanctions to individual contexts.  To ensure fairness in applying sanctions, the University will apply measures determined by the nature of the offense, the disciplinary history of the youth involved, and the age and developmental status of the youth involved.  Responses to incidents of bullying may include, but are not limited to:

  • Education/Counseling 
  • Reprimand/Warning
  • Reporting of incident to parents/guardians
  • Suspension from the University-run or -affiliated program
  • Expulsion from the University-run or -affiliated program

The program or activity director will apply appropriate sanctions promptly upon determination that an incident of bullying has occurred, unless the sanctions are subject to an appeal as described in the Appeals section below. 

Appeals

Parties dissatisfied by the outcome of a bullying investigation and the sanctions imposed may appeal the determination of the Protection of Minors Policy Manager to the Associate Vice President for Compliance and Ethics. This appeal shall be submitted no later than 30 days after the initial determination.  The Associate Vice President for Compliance and Ethics will review the initial determination and decide the appeal within 30 days of the receipt of an appeal.  This 30 days may be extended by up to an additional 15 days if the Associate Vice President for Compliance and Ethics sets forth in writing the reasons why more time is needed.  Additionally, upon the receipt of an appeal, the Associate Vice President for Compliance and Ethics must inform the appealing party of their ability to seek additional redress under the District of Columbia Human Rights Act.

Relation to Other Policies and Procedures

These guidelines and procedures establish standards for the prevention of youth bullying at Georgetown University but do not alter other University policies.  Certain programs serving youth may have additional reporting requirements regarding acts of bullying.  Conduct by Georgetown students, faculty or staff that violates this policy may also be a violation of other relevant policies (e.g. Code of Student Conduct; Human Resources Policy Manual) and may be addressed as appropriate under those policies. 

 


[1]  This policy also applies to non-University organizations that operate programs or activities for youth on the University’s Washington, DC campuses.  If the University receives a report of a bullying incident involving youth in such programs, it will coordinate investigation and response activities with appropriate staff of the non-University organization.

[2]  Individuals who are receiving special education services who are 22 years of age or less are also included in this definition.