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School Climate

What is School Climate?

School climate refers to the quality and character of school life. School climate is based on patterns of students', parents' and school personnel's experience and reflects goals, values, interpersonal relationships, teaching and learning practices, and organizational structures. School climate does not happen by chance but is the result of a collective effort by the members of a school’s community. The collective school community's belief system helps shape the culture of a school and ultimately serves as the measure of school climate.

A school community that exhibits a sustainable, positive school climate in which all members of the school community feel safe, supported, and challenged in non-threatening and social learning environments, is more likely to foster student development and is less likely to engage in negative disciplinary action. 

Harassment, Hazing and Bullying

Harassment, Hazing and Bullying Prevention Advisory Council

Per Act No. 129 of 2012, the Secretary of Education established the Harassment, Hazing, and Bullying Prevention Advisory Council (HHB) to provide advice and recommendations on harassment, hazing, and bullying prevention strategies and resources, and to coordinate statewide activities related to the prevention of and response to harassment, hazing, and bullying.

Model Policies

Model policies provide guidance, direction and recommended standards to help school administrators develop general school policy statements. Policies may be developed based on requirements of state or federal laws or at the request of the State Board of Education or the Vermont Legislature.

Designated School Staff who Receive Reports of the Harassment, Hazing or Bullying of Students

Annually, each K-12 school campus must designate two or more people to receive reports of the harassment, hazing, and bullying of students. 

Independent Review of Determination of a Harassment Investigation

A complainant may request an independent review within thirty (30) days of a final determination of a harassment investigation if they are either:   

  • dissatisfied with the final determination of the school officials as to whether harassment occurred, or   
  • believe that, although a final determination was made that harassment occurred, the school’s response was inadequate to correct the problem shall make such request in writing to the headmaster or superintendent of schools.   

Upon such request, the headmaster or superintendent shall initiate an independent review by a neutral person selected from a list developed jointly by the commissioner of education and the human rights commission and maintained by the Secretary of Education. Individuals shall be placed on the list based on their objectivity, knowledge of harassment issues, and relevant experience. (Note: The District may also request an independent review at any stage of the process.)  

Harassment, Hazing and Bullying Prevention Online Help Request

Audience: Superintendents, Headmasters, Principals, Families
The Harassment, Hazing and Bullying Prevention Help Request Form should be used to help direct your request to the appropriate staff member at the AOE, to help us provide a more efficient response. As is our protocol, your request for help will be logged, the appropriate superintendent, headmaster or school administrator will be contacted to inform them of this request for help, and someone from the AOE will follow up with you if needed. Note: we ask that anyone needing support on a Harassment, Hazing, or Bullying concern complete this form as their initial communication to the AOE (in lieu of a phone call), if at all possible. If any party is having trouble accessing or completing the form, they should contact Meghan "MJ" Jaird.
Contact: Meghan "MJ" Jaird at

Harassment, Hazing and Bullying Data

School districts are required to collect data on the number of reported incidents of bullying and the number of incidents that have been verified and to make such data available to the Secretary of Education and to the public. 

Behavioral Challenges

It is important to help schools develop effective strategies to respond to challenging student behaviors. The Agency and its interagency partners provide training and technical assistance to increase schools' capacities to implement strategies to benefit entire school communities.