Bullying & the Law

www.TheCitizensWhoCare.org

This is a mismash of topics on Bullying and the Law.

Should Parents of Bullies Pay?
Teen Punished for Stopping Bullies From Harassing a Special Needs Girl
Policies & Laws
Key Components in State Anti-Bullying Laws
Federal Laws
Harassment and Bullying (October 26, 2010) Background, Summary, and Fast Facts
Be more than a bystander
Oregon Anti-Bullying Laws & Policies
Are we happy with the minimum the law requires or are we open to going beyond the minimum legal expectations?
Oregon Legislative History
Washington Legislative History
What is Bullying
What is Cyberbullying
Who's at Risk?
Warning Signs
Effects of Bullying
Considerations for Specific Groups
How to Talk About Bullying
Prevention at School
Working in the Community
Stop Bullying on the Spot
Find Out What Happened
Support the Kids Involved
Get Help Now
Oregon Anti-Bullying Laws & Policies
Avoid strategies that don’t work or have negative consequences

Should Parents of Bullies Pay?


The Wisconsin town of Monona has taken a big step in the effort to fight bullying with an unusual new law, threatening to fine both the bully and his or her parents upward of $114.

“We don’t have a bullying problem any more than anywhere else, but it’s been escalating nationally, we just want to try to take an extra step to fight it,” Monona Police Sgt. Ryan Losby told Yahoo! Shine. “It’s for the parents out there who either won’t do anything to try and stop their kids from bullying, or for those who encourage it.”

Losby, who drafted the law after being inspired by a similar, 2010 law in nearby Milton, said the new ordinance is meant only as a last resort when dealing with parents of bullies who refuse to cooperate with the school and police. The part that targets moms and dads, called the “parental responsibility” piece of the law, can fine the parents of a bully $114 for a first offense and $177 for subsequent ones, but only after sufficient warning, in writing.

More on Yahoo!: Kids Exposed to Poor Parenting Likelier to Get Bullied

Other parts of the broad ordinance prohibit retaliation for reporting bullies, as well as general harassment between adults, subjecting all scofflaws—including a child bully, as long as he or she is over the age of 12—to those same fines.

“Technically, both the bully and the parent could be cited at the same time,” Losby said. “But it would be very rare.”

While all states except Montana currently have anti-bullying laws in place, local ordinances are not as across-the-board. New York City’s Department of Education, though, proposed a law just this week that would require staff members who witness bullying to report it to authorities within 10 days. (Similarly, a Wisconsin state law proposed in March would fine teachers $200 for not reporting bullying incidents.)

And in Milton, the law that inspired Losby levies fines of $100 to $500 against proven bullies.

Monona’s law is unique, though, because of how it targets parents. "This is the first time that we have heard of issuing a citation to parents because their child is bullying," Julie Hertzog, director of PACER's National Bullying Prevention Center, told Shine. "Communities are clearly looking for new ways to deal with the issue."

And, though their reviews are mixed, most experts agree it’s at least step in the right direction.

“I think it sends a message that is positive, which is we take bullying seriously and, as a parent, you have to take it seriously, too,” national anti-bully expert, speaker and author Joel Haber told Shine. He added that the law takes the important step of informing parents about what their kids are up to, and that it’s “healthy” just having discussion around the law. “Whether it will work or not,” he said, “we don’t know.”

Ross Ellis, CEO of the STOMP Out Bullying advocacy organization, told Shine she thought the law could be a good tool when dealing with uncooperative parents. “I think it’s really important, because the parents need to step up,” she said. “Still, you can fine the parents, but the kids need to get help. There should be a part of the law that says if you’re fined, you should have to get your kid help, as well.” Because, she wondered, is a parent going to be so upset about getting fined that they’ll then take it out on the kid who was bullying in the first place? “So it’s good,” she said, “but I think it needs more.”

Shawn Gaylord, director of public policy at the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, which advocates nationally for anti-bullying law and policies, was not sold on the law. “Although we believe that educators, parents, and community members should be engaged collectively around school climate and issues related to bullying, a fine on families, however well-intentioned, is not a productive contribution to the conversation and would disproportionately impact those with limited incomes,” he told Shine, adding that it was troubling that people get fined at the discretion of the police. All in all, he added, the approach gets parents involved too late, and emphasis should instead be on teaching empathy and compassion early on.

Finally, Brenda High, whose son Jared took his own life at 13 after being bullied at school, and who now runs the watchdog Bully Police USA, said she felt the law would help make the schools more accountable, as well as parents, which was encouraging. But despite the loss of her son, she added that it’s the rare parent who wouldn’t try to help out after learning about a child who was bullying. “I’d say in 75 percent of bullying cases, the parents have no clue, and are shocked when they hear about it,” she said.

And she agrees with Ellis that the solution should go deeper than a fine. “If the bullying doesn’t stop after that, I think they ought to require that the kid be taken out of the school, because you’ve got to wonder what is going on in the mind of a child who thinks it’s okay to hurt another child,” she said. “There’s something emotionally wrong with that child, and they need help.” (Editor: We've got a whole culture that teaches bullying. Jerry Spring Show was one of the early manifestations. Bring someone on the show thinking he or she is going to be acknowledged for something and then shame them on national TV. Then there's Reality TV, making sport of shaming each other on Bachelor/et shows, on the High School football field, parents in the stands of their kid's baseball or football game. Watching their parents argue and/or fight. That's where it starts. Kids emulating adults, since that's how adults communicate and so it must be okay. Put the parents in therapy, first, so the kid has a healthy place to come home to and that we reinforce a more positive behavior. Trying to get her/him to change and send them home to the same shaming situation will backfire.)
Source: shine.yahoo.com/parenting/should-parents-of-bullies-pay-for-their-kid-s-actions--wisconsin-town-thinks-so--192525499.html

Teen Punished for Stopping Bullies From Harassing a Special Needs Girl


Bullying incident raises the question: Why are schools slow to respond to harassment complaints?

A Florida high school student made a stand against bullying and is now in the hot seat with school officials. For months, 18-year-old Stormy Rich witnessed a girl with special needs being bullied by her peers on the way to school. "They would be mean to her, tell her she couldn't sit on certain spots on the bus...just because she doesn't understand doesn't mean that should be happening to her," Rich told WOFL-TV.

Rich says she reported the incidents to the bus driver and school officials. When they didn't take action, she stepped in and confronted the bullies; but instead of being praised for her efforts, Rich ended up being labeled as a bully, and her bus-riding privileges were revoked. A spokesperson for the school district said, "Two wrongs don't make a right" and that the girl with special needs never complained about being bullied.

Stormy's mother, Brenda, told The Daily Commercial, "My daughter was punished incorrectly. Stormy was standing up for a child with emotionally challenged disabilities that should not have been bullied. The district's policy clearly states that anybody in good faith files a report on bullying will not face any repercussions and she is."

What exactly was said on the bus is unclear; however, if a student says bullies are harassing another child, why does it take so long for schools to take action? We live in a country where 13 million kids are bullied each year and more often than not, the behavior occurs on the bus.

This is far from the first report of a teacher or bus driver turning a blind eye to bullying. ABC reports, "In one taped incident, two girls took turns punching another girl in the head and pulling out clumps of her hair. The driver, the only adult on the bus, continued driving the vehicle during the attack."

The bottom line is something more needs to be done to combat bullying in our schools. Three million students will be absent from school this month because of the emotional and physical toll of bullying, and according to the organization Ability Path, children with disabilities are significantly more likely than their peers to be the victims of this mistreatment
Source: www.takepart.com/article/2012/05/29/teen-punished-stopping-bullies-harassing-special-needs-girl

Policies & Laws


State and local lawmakers have taken action to prevent bullying and protect children. Through laws (in their state education codes and elsewhere) and model policies (that provide guidance to districts and schools), each state addresses bullying differently. Find out how your state refers to bullying in its laws and what they require on part of schools and districts.

Bullying, cyberbullying, and related behaviors may be addressed in a single law or may be addressed in multiple laws. In some cases, bullying appears in the criminal code of a state that may apply to juveniles.

In December 2010, the U.S. Department of Education reviewed state laws and identified 11 key components common among many of those laws.

Click on your state below to find out more about your state’s anti-bullying laws and policies and which of the key components they contain.

Key Components in State Anti-Bullying Laws


Below are examples of 11 key components that may be useful to those who are creating or improving anti-bullying laws or policies in their states. Any citations to state laws are intended to be examples and not endorsements of those laws.

States and local educational agencies (LEAs) should check with their state and local officials to ensure consistency with all applicable federal and state laws. Read Education Secretary Duncan’s full technical assistance memo.

Purpose Statement

Outlines the range of detrimental effects bullying has on students, including impacts on student learning, school safety, student engagement, and the school environment.

Declares that any form, type, or level of bullying is unacceptable, and that every incident needs to be taken seriously by school administrators, school staff (including teachers), students, and students’ families.

Example Purpose Statement

Oklahoma: Okla. Stat. Ann. Tit. 70, § 24-100.3 (2009): "The Legislature finds that bullying has a negative effect on the social environment of schools, creates a climate of fear among students, inhibits their ability to learn, and leads to other antisocial behavior. Bullying behavior has been linked to other forms of antisocial behavior, such as vandalism, shoplifting, skipping and dropping out of school, fighting, and the use of drugs and alcohol... Successful programs to recognize, prevent, and effectively intervene in bullying behavior have been developed and replicated in schools across the country. These schools send the message that bullying behavior is not tolerated and, as a result, have improved safety and created a more inclusive learning environment."

For additional examples of purpose statements, see: 105 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. 5/27-23.7.a (2010); Iowa Code § 280.28.1 (2008); Md. Code Ann., Educ. § 7-424 (2010); Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 388.132 (2009); N.J. Stat. Ann. § 18A:37.13 (2010); Or. Rev. Stat. § 339.353 (2009); Tenn. Code Ann. § 49-6-1014 (2010); W. Va. Code Ann. § 18-2C-1 (2009). 

Statement of Scope

Covers conduct that occurs on the school campus, at school-sponsored activities or events (regardless of the location), on school-provided transportation, or through school-owned technology or that otherwise creates a significant disruption to the school environment.

Example Statement of Scope

Indiana: Ind. Code Ann. § 20-33-8-13.5 (b) (2010), Disciplinary Rule Requirements: "The discipline rules [related to bullying]...must apply when a student is: (1) on school grounds immediately before or during school hours, immediately after school hours, or at any other time when the school is being used by a school group; (2) off school grounds at a school activity, function, or event; (3) traveling to or from school or a school activity, function or event; or (4) using property or equipment provided by the school."

For additional examples of statements of scope, see: Ark. Code Ann. § 6-18-514.2 (2009); Ga. Code Ann. § 20-2-751.4 (2010); 105 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. 5/27-23.7.a (2010); 2010 Mass. Adv. Legis. Serv. Ch. No. 92-2010 (Lexis Nexis 2010); Md. Code Ann., Educ. § 7-424 (2010).

Specification of Prohibited Conduct

Provides a specific definition of bullying that includes a clear definition of cyberbullying. The definition of bullying includes a non-exclusive list of specific behaviors that constitute bullying, and specifies that bullying includes intentional efforts to harm one or more individuals, may be direct or indirect, is not limited to behaviors that cause physical harm, and may be verbal (including oral and written language) or non-verbal. The definition of bullying can be easily understood and interpreted by school boards, policymakers, school administrators, school staff, students, students’ families, and the community.

Is consistent with other federal, state and local laws. (For guidance on school districts’ obligations to address bullying and harassment under federal civil rights laws, see the Dear Colleague Letter: Harassment and Bullying [PDF 295 KB], issued by the Department’s Office for Civil Rights on October 26, 2010.

Prohibited Conduct also includes:

Retaliation for asserting or alleging an act of bullying.

Perpetuating bullying or harassing conduct by spreading hurtful or demeaning material even if the material was created by another person (e.g., forwarding offensive e-mails or text messages).

Examples Specification of Prohibited Conduct

Florida: Fla. Stat. Ann. 1006.147(3) (2010): "(a) ‘Bullying’ means systematically and chronically inflicting physical hurt or psychological distress on one or more students and may involve: (1) Teasing; (2) Social exclusion; (3) Threat; (4) Intimidation; (5) Stalking; (6) Physical violence; (7) Theft; (8) Sexual, religious, or racial harassment; (9) Public humiliation; or (10) Destruction of property. . . . (d) The definitions of ‘bullying’ and ‘harassment’ include: (1) Retaliation against a student or school employee by another student or school employee for asserting or alleging an act of bullying or harassment...[and] (2) Perpetuation of [bullying or harassing] conduct ... by an individual or group with intent to demean, dehumanize, embarrass, or cause physical harm to a student..."

Kansas: Kan. Stat. Ann. § 72-8256.C.2 (2009): "‘Cyberbullying’ means bullying by use of any electronic communication device through means including, but not limited to, e-mail, instant messaging, text messages, blogs, mobile phones, pagers, online games and websites."

For additional examples of bullying definitions, see: Del. Code Ann. Tit. 14, § 4112D.a (2010); Kan. Stat. Ann. § 72-8256 (2009); 105 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. 5/27-23.7(b) (2010).

For additional examples of cyberbullying definitions, see: Iowa Code § 280.28.2 (a) (2008); Md. Code Ann., Educ. § 7-424.3 (2010); 2010 Mass. Adv. Legis. Serv. Ch. No. 92-2010 (Lexis Nexis 2010); N.J. Stat. Ann. § 18A 37.14.2 (2010); Okla. Stat. Ann. Tit. 70, § 24-100.3 (2009).

Enumeration of Specific Characteristics

Explains that bullying may include, but is not limited to, acts based on actual or perceived characteristics of students who have historically been targets of bullying, and provides examples of such characteristics.

Makes clear that bullying does not have to be based on any particular characteristic.

Examples Enumeration of Specific Characteristics

North Carolina: N.C. Gen. Stat. § 115C-407.15(a) (2010): "Bullying or harassing behavior includes, but is not limited to, acts reasonably perceived as being motivated by any actual or perceived differentiating characteristic, such as race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, socioeconomic status, academic status, gender identity, physical appearance, sexual orientation, or mental, physical, developmental, or sensory disability, or by association with a person who has or is perceived to have one or more of these characteristics."

Washington: Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 28A.300.285.2 (2010): "Nothing in this section requires the affected student to actually possess a characteristic that is a basis for the...bullying."

For additional examples of characteristic enumeration, see: 105 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. 5/27-23.7.a (2010); Iowa Code § 280.28 (2008); Or. Rev. Stat. § § 339.351.3(2009).

Development and Implementation of LEA Policies

Directs every LEA to develop and implement a policy prohibiting bullying, through a collaborative process with all interested stakeholders, including school administrators, staff, students, students’ families, and the community, in order to best address local conditions.

Example Development and Implementation of LEA Policies

Maryland: Md. Code Ann., Educ. § 7-424.1(c) (2010): "[1] Each county board shall establish a policy prohibiting bullying, harassment, or intimidation. . . . [3] A county board shall develop the policy in consultation with representatives of the following groups: (i) Parents or guardians of students; (ii) School employees and administrators; (iii) School volunteers; (iv) Students; and (v) Members of the community"[vi]

For additional examples of requirements for LEA policies, see: Del. Code Ann. Tit. 14, § 4112D.b (2010); Fla. Stat. Ann. 1006.147 (2010); N.J. Stat. Ann. § 18A 37.15 (2010).

Components of LEA Policies

A. Definitions

Includes a definition of bullying consistent with the definitions specified in state law.

Example Components of LEA Policies: Definitions

Oregon: Or. Rev. Stat. § 339.356.2 (2009): "School districts must include in the policy...(b) Definitions of "harassment," "intimidation," or "bullying," and of "cyberbullying" that are consistent with [this statute]."

For additional examples regarding definitions in LEA policies, see: Delaware Del. Code Ann. Tit. 14, § 4112D.b (2010); Fla. Stat. Ann. 1006.147 (2010); Iowa Code 280.28.3 (2008); Md. Code Ann., Educ. § 7-424.1 (2010); N.J. Stat. Ann. § 18A 37.15.b.2 (2010); N.C. Gen. Stat.§ 115C-407.16.b.2 (2010); S.C. Code Ann. § 59-63-140 (2010).

B. Report Bullying

Includes a procedure for students, students’ families, staff, and others to report incidents of bullying, including a process to submit such information anonymously and with protection from retaliation. The procedure identifies and provides contact information for the appropriate school personnel responsible for receiving the report and investigating the incident.

Requires that school personnel report, in a timely and responsive manner, incidents of bullying they witness or are aware of to a designated official.

Example Components of LEA Policies: Reporting Bullying

Georgia: GA. Code Ann. § 20-2-751.4(c) (2010): "Such ... policy shall include: ... (5) A procedure for a teacher or other school employee, student, parent, guardian, or other person who has control or charge of a student, either anonymously or in such person's name, at such person’s option, to report or otherwise provide information on bullying activity; (6) A statement prohibiting retaliation following a report of bullying...."

For additional examples regarding requirements procedures for reporting bullying, see: Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 14-341 (2010); Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1006.147 (2010); Iowa Code § 280.28.3.c (2008); Md. Code Ann., Educ. § 7-424 (2010); Or. Rev. Stat. § 339.356.2.g (2009); S.C. Code Ann. § 59-63-140 (2010).

Wisconsin: Wis. Stat. § 118.46.1(a) (2009): "The [policy on bullying] shall include all of the following: ...(6) A requirement that school district officials and employees report incidents of bullying and identify the persons to whom the reports must be made."

For additional examples regarding requirements for reporting of school staff, see: Alaska Stat. § 14.33.220 (2010); GA. Code Ann. § 20-2-751.4.c.2 (2010); W. Va. Code Ann. §18-2C-3.4 (2009).

C. Investigating and Responding to Bullying

Includes a procedure for promptly investigating and responding to any report of an incident of bullying, including immediate intervention strategies for protecting the victim from additional bullying or retaliation, and includes notification to parents of the victim, or reported victim, of bullying and the parents of the alleged perpetrator, and, if appropriate, notification to law enforcement officials.

Example Components of LEA Policies: Investigating and Responding to Bullying

Massachusetts: 2010 Mass. Adv. Legis. Serv. Ch. No. 71.37O(g) (2010): "...Upon receipt of such a report, the school principal or a designee shall promptly conduct an investigation. If the school principal or a designee determines that bullying or retaliation has occurred, the school principal or designee shall (i) notify the local law enforcement agency if the school principal or designee believes that criminal charges may be pursued against a perpetrator; (ii) take appropriate disciplinary action; (iii) notify the parents or guardians of a perpetrator; and (iv) notify the parents or guardians of the victim, and to the extent consistent with state and federal law, notify them of the action taken to prevent any further acts of bullying or retaliation."

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) contains provisions restricting release of information pertaining to disciplinary actions taken against students. State and local officials are encouraged to seek guidance to make sure any policies comply with these provisions.

For additional examples regarding requirements for investigating and responding to bullying, see: GA. Code Ann. § 20-2-751.4.c.3 (2010); Iowa Cod § 280.28.3.f (2008); Or. Rev. Stat. § 339.356.2.h (2009).

D. Written Records

Includes a procedure for maintaining written records of all incidents of bullying and their resolution.

Example Components of LEA Policies: Written Records

California: Cal. Educ. Code § 234.1 (2010): "The department shall assess whether local educational agencies have done all of the following: . . . (e) Maintained documentation of complaints and their resolution for a minimum of one review cycle."

FERPA contains provisions regarding the appropriate safeguarding of privacy in educational records. State and local officials are encouraged to seek guidance to make sure any policies comply with these provisions.

For additional examples on requirements for maintaining written records, see: Md. Code Ann., Educ. § 7-424 (2010).

E. Sanctions

Includes a detailed description of a graduated range of consequences and sanctions for bullying.

Example Components of LEA Policies: Sanctions

Alabama: Ala. Code § 16.28B.5 (2010): "The model policy, at a minimum, shall contain all of the following components: . . . [4] A series of graduated consequences for any student who commits an act of intimidation, harassment, violence or threats of violence. Punishment shall conform with applicable federal and state disability, antidiscrimination, and education laws and school discipline policies."

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act contains provisions related to the use of disciplinary measures with students with disabilities. State and local officials are encouraged to seek guidance to make sure any policies comply with these provisions.

For additional examples regarding sanctions, see: Connecticut Gen. Stat. Ann § 10-222d; Massachusetts St. 2010, c.92; New Mexico NIMAC § 6.12.7; Okla. Stat. Ann. Tit. 70, § 24-100.4 (2009).

F. Referrals

Includes a procedure for referring the victim, perpetrator and others to counseling and mental and other health services, as appropriate.

Example Components of LEA Policies: Referrals

Maryland: Md. Code. Ann., Educ. § 7-424.1.b (2010): "[2] The model policy...shall include: ... (viii) Information about the types of support services available to the student bully, victim, and any bystanders...."

For additional examples regarding referrals, see: Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1006.147 (2010); Okla. Stat. Ann. Tit. 70, § 24-100.4 (2009).

Review of Local Policies

Includes a provision for the state to review local policies on a regular basis to ensure the goals of the state statute are met.

Example Review of Local Policies

Illinois: 105 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. 5/27-23.7(d) (2010): "The policy must be updated every 2 years and filed with the State Board of Education after being updated. The State Board of Education shall monitor the implementation of policies created under [this subsection of the statute]."

For additional examples regarding review of policies, see: 24 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 13-1303.1-a (2009).

Communication Plan

Includes a plan for notifying students, students’ families, and staff of policies related to bullying, including the consequences for engaging in bullying.

Example Communication Plan

Arkansas: Ark. Code Ann. § 6-18-514(b) (2009): "The policies shall: ...[6] Require that notice of what constitutes bullying, that bullying is prohibited, and the consequences of engaging in bullying be conspicuously posted in every classroom, cafeteria, restroom, gymnasium, auditorium, and school bus in the district; and [7] Require that copies of the notice...be provided to parents, students, school volunteers, and employees."

For additional examples regarding communication plans, see: Del. Code Ann. Tit. 14, § 4123.a (2010); Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1006.147 (2010); Iowa Code § 280.28.3 (2008); N.J. Stat. Ann. § 18A 37.15.b.10-11 (2010).

Training and Preventive Education

Includes a provision for school districts to provide training for all school staff, including, but not limited to, teachers, aides, support staff, and school bus drivers, on preventing, identifying, and responding to bullying.

Encourages school districts to implement age-appropriate school- and community-wide bullying prevention programs.

Example Training and Preventive Education

South Carolina: S.C. Code Ann. § 59-63-140(E) (2009): "Information regarding a local school district policy against harassment, intimidation or bullying must be incorporated into a school employee training program. Training also should be provided to school volunteers who have significant contact with students.

Massachusetts: 2010 Mass. Adv. Legis. Serv. Ch. No. 92.3(d)-2010: "The plan...shall include a provision for ongoing professional development to build the skills of all staff members, including, but not limited to, educators, administrators, school nurses, cafeteria workers, custodians, bus drivers, athletic coaches, advisors to extracurricular activities and paraprofessionals, to prevent, identify and respond to bullying."

For additional examples regarding training of staff, see: Conn. Gen. Stat. § 10-222d (2010); Del. Code Ann. Tit. 14, § 4123.a (2010); Iowa Code § 280.28.3 (2008); Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann.§ 383.133 (2009); Or. Rev. Stat. § 339.359 (2009); Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 21-4-311 (2010).

South Carolina: S.C. Code Ann. § 59-63-140 (F) (2009): "Schools and school districts are encouraged to establish bullying prevention programs and other initiatives involving school staff, students, administrators, volunteers, parents, law enforcement, and community members."

For additional examples regarding bullying prevention programming, see: Md. Code Ann., Educ. § 7-424 (2010); 2010 Mass. Adv. Legis. Serv. Ch. No. 92-2010 (Lexis Nexis 2010); Or. Rev. Stat. § 339.359 (2009).

Transparency and Monitoring

Includes a provision for LEAs to report annually to the state on the number of reported bullying incidents, and any responsive actions taken.

Includes a provision for LEAs to make data regarding bullying incidence publicly available in aggregate with appropriate privacy protections to ensure students are protected.

Example Transparency and Monitoring

New York: N.Y. Educ. Law §15 (2010): "The Commissioner shall create a procedure under which material incidents of discrimination and harassment on school grounds or at a school function are reported to the department at least on an annual basis. Such procedure shall provide that such reports shall, wherever possible, also delineate the specific nature of such incidents..."

For additional examples regarding reporting incidents to the State, see: Alaska Stat. § 14.33.210 (2010); Conn. Gen. Stat. § 10-222d (2010); Md. Code Ann., Educ. § 7-424 (2010);

Iowa: Iowa Code § 280.28.7 (2008): "The board of directors of a school district and the authorities in charge of each nonpublic school...shall report data collected...as specified by the department, to the local community."

Ohio: Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3313.666.10 (2010): "...the district administration... [shall] provide ... a written summary of all reported incidents and post the summary on its web site...."

FERPA contains provisions regarding the appropriate safeguarding of privacy in educational records. State and local officials are encouraged to seek guidance to make sure any policies comply with these provisions.

For additional examples regarding requirements for reporting data to the public, see: Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1006.147 (2010); Iowa Code § 280.28 (2008).

Statement of Rights to Other Legal Recourse

Includes a statement that the policy does not preclude victims from seeking other legal remedies.

Example Statement of Rights to Other Legal Recourse

Oregon: Or. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 339.364 (2009): "Victim may seek redress under other laws. ...[This statute] may not be interpreted to prevent a victim of harassment, intimidation or bullying or a victim of cyberbullying from seeking redress under any other available law, whether civil or criminal."

Source: www.stopbullying.gov/laws/key-components/index.html

Federal Laws


Addressing Harassment

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights has released several guidance letters on the obligation for schools to address harassment and specific considerations for sexual harassment and disability harassment.

Although no federal law directly addresses bullying, in some cases, bullying overlaps with discriminatory harassment when it is based on race, national origin, color, sex, age, disability, or religion. When bullying and harassment overlap, federally-funded schools (including colleges and universities) have an obligation to resolve the harassment. When the situation is not adequately resolved, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division may be able to help.

Are there federal laws that apply to bullying?

At present, no federal law directly addresses bullying. In some cases, bullying overlaps with discriminatory harassment which is covered under federal civil rights laws enforced by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). No matter what label is used (e.g., bullying, hazing, teasing), schools are obligated by these laws to address conduct that is:

Severe, pervasive or persistent

Creates a hostile environment at school. That is, it is sufficiently serious that it interferes with or limits a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or opportunities offered by a school

Based on a student’s race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or religion*

Although the US Department of Education, under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not directly cover religion, often religious based harassment is based on shared ancestry of ethnic characteristics which is covered. The US Department of Justice has jurisdiction over religion under Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

What are the federal civil rights laws ED and DOJ enforce?

A school that fails to respond appropriately to harassment of students based on a protected class may be violating one or more civil rights laws enforced by the Department of Education and the Department of Justice, including:
Title IV and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

Do federal civil rights laws cover harassment of LGBT youth?

Title IX and Title IV do not prohibit discrimination based solely on sexual orientation, but they protect all students, including students who are LGBT or perceived to be LGBT, from sex-based harassment.

Harassment based on sex and sexual orientation are not mutually exclusive. When students are harassed based on their actual or perceived sexual orientation, they may also be subjected to forms of sex discrimination recognized under Title IX.

What is an example of a case were harassment based on sex and sexual orientation overlap?

A female high school student was spit on, slammed into lockers, mocked, and routinely called names because she did not conform to feminine stereotypes and because of her sexual orientation. The student had short hair, a deep voice, and wore male clothing. After the harassment started, she told some classmates she was a lesbian, and the harassment worsened. The school described the harassment as “sexual orientation harassment” in its incident reports and did not take any action.

In this case, the student was harassed based on her non-conformity to gender stereotypes. In this case, then, although the school labeled the incident as “sexual orientation harassment,” the harassment was also based on sex and covered under Title IX.

What are a school’s obligations regarding harassment based on protected classes?

Anyone can report harassing conduct to a school. When a school receives a complaint they must take certain steps to investigate and resolve the situation.

Immediate and appropriate action to investigate or otherwise determine what happened.

Inquiry must be prompt, thorough, and impartial.

Interview targeted students, offending students, and witnesses, and maintain written documentation of investigation

Communicate with targeted students regarding steps taken to end harassment

Check in with targeted students to ensure that harassment has ceased

When an investigation reveals that harassment has occurred, a school should take steps reasonably calculated to:

End the harassment,

Eliminate any hostile environment,

Prevent harassment from recurring, and

Prevent retaliation against the targeted student(s) or complainant(s).

What should a school do to resolve a harassment complaint?

Appropriate responses will depend on the facts of each case.

School must be an active participant in responding to harassment and should take reasonable steps when crafting remedies to minimize burdens on the targeted students.

Possible responses include:

Develop, revise, and publicize:
Policy prohibiting harassment and discrimination

Grievance procedures for students to file harassment complaints

contact information for Title IX/Section 504/Title VI coordinators

Implement training for staff and administration on identifying and addressing harassment

Provide monitors or additional adult supervision in areas where harassment occurs

Determine consequences and services for harassers, including whether discipline is appropriate

Limit interactions between harassers and targets

Provide harassed student an additional opportunity to obtain a benefit that was denied (e.g., retaking a test/class).

Provide services to a student who was denied a benefit (e.g., academic support services).

Are there resources for schools to assist with resolving harassment complaints?

The Department of Justice’s Community Relations Service is the Department's "peacemaker" for community conflicts and tensions arising from differences of race, color and national origin and to prevent and respond to violent hate crimes committed on the basis of: gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, disability, race, color, and national origin. It is a free, impartial, confidential and voluntary Federal Agency that offers mediation, conciliation, technical assistance, and training.

What if the harassment continues?

If harassment persists, consider filing a formal grievance with the district and contacting the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights and from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division.
Source: www.stopbullying.gov/laws/federal/index.html

Harassment and Bullying (October 26, 2010) Background, Summary, and Fast Facts


What are the possible effects of student-on-student harassment and bullying?

  • Lowered academic achievement and aspirations
  • Increased anxiety
  • Loss of self-esteem and confidence
  • Depression and post-traumatic stress
  • General deterioration in physical health
  • Self-harm and suicidal thinking
  • Feelings of alienation in the school environment, such as fear of other children
  • Absenteeism from school

What does the Dear Colleague letter (DCL) do?

  • Clarifies the relationship between bullying and discriminatory harassment under the civil rights laws enforced by the Department of Education’s (ED) Office for Civil Rights (OCR).
  • Explains how student misconduct that falls under an anti-bullying policy also may trigger responsibilities under one or more of the anti-discrimination statutes enforced by OCR.
  • Reminds schools that failure to recognize discriminatory harassment when addressing student misconduct may lead to inadequate or inappropriate responses that fail to remedy violations of students’ civil rights. Colleges and universities have the same obligations under the anti-discrimination statutes as elementary and secondary schools.
  • Discusses racial and national origin harassment, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, and disability harassment and illustrates how a school should respond in each case.

Why is ED Issuing the DCL?

ED is issuing the DCL to clarify the relationship between bullying and discriminatory harassment, and to remind schools that by limiting their responses to a specific application of an anti-bullying or other disciplinary policy, they may fail to properly consider whether the student misconduct also results in discrimination in violation of students’ federal civil rights.

What are the anti-discrimination statutes that the Office for Civil Rights enforces?

  • Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin.
  • Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex.
  • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, which prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability.1

What are a school’s obligations under these anti-discrimination statutes?

  • Once a school knows or reasonably should know of possible student-on-student harassment, it must take immediate and appropriate action to investigate or otherwise determine what occurred.
  • If harassment has occurred, a school must take prompt and effective steps reasonably calculated to end the harassment, eliminate any hostile environment, and prevent its recurrence. These duties are a school’s responsibility even if the misconduct also is covered by an anti-bullying policy and regardless of whether the student makes a complaint, asks the school to take action, or identifies the harassment as a form of discrimination.

How can I get help from OCR?

OCR offers technical assistance to help schools achieve voluntary compliance with the civil rights laws it enforces and works with schools to develop creative approaches to preventing and addressing discrimination. A school should contact the OCR enforcement office serving its jurisdiction for technical assistance. For contact information, please visit ED’s website at wdcrobcolp01.ed.gov/CFAPPS/OCR/contactus.cfm

A complaint of discrimination can be filed by anyone who believes that a school that receives Federal financial assistance has discriminated against someone on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age. The person or organization filing the complaint need not be a victim of the alleged discrimination, but may complain on behalf of another person or group. Information about how to file a complaint with OCR is at www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/complaintintro.html or by contacting OCR’s Customer Service Team at 1-800-421-3481.

1 OCR also enforces the Age Discrimination Act of 1975 and the Boy Scouts of America Equal Access Act. The DCL does not address these statutes.
Source: www2.ed.gov/print/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/dcl-factsheet-201010.html

Be more than a bystander


Every day, kids witness bullying. They want to help, but don’t know how. Fortunately, there are a few simple, safe ways that children can help stop bullying when they see it happening. Be sure to talk to the child about how they can be more than a bystander.

Those who witness bullying can:

Use their cell phone to record as much of the incident as possible.

Be a friend to the person being bullied.

Children can help someone who’s been bullied by simply being nice to them at another time. Being friendly can go a long way toward letting them know that they’re not alone.

  • A bystander can help by spending time with the person being bullied at school. Simple gestures like talking to them, sitting with them at lunch, or inviting them to play sports or other games during physical education or recess can help a lot.
  • Advise the child to listen to the person being bullied, let them talk about the event.
  • They can call the person being bullied at home to provide support, encourage them and give advice.
  • Bystanders can try sending a text message or going up to the person who was bullied later. They can let that person know that what happened wasn’t cool, and that they’re there for them.
  • A bystander can help by telling the person being bullied that they don’t like the bullying and asking them if he can do anything to help.
  • Bystanders can also help the person being bullied talk to a trusted adult.

Tell a trusted adult, like a family member, teacher or coach.

An adult can help stop bullying by intervening while it’s in progress, stopping it from occurring or simply giving the person being bullied a shoulder to lean on.

  • Bystanders can tell a trusted adult in person or leave them a note.
  • If bullying is occurring, bystanders can go find, or ask a friend to find, a trusted adult as soon as possible. Perhaps they can help stop it from continuing.
  • Remind children who witness bullying not to get discouraged if they’ve already talked to an adult and nothing has happened. They can ask a family member if they will help, and make sure the adult knows that it is repeated behavior.
  • Try talking to as many adults as possible if there’s a problem—teachers, counselors, custodians, nurses, parents—the more adults they involve the better.

Help the person being bullied to get away from the situation.

There are a few simple, safe ways children can help the person being bullied get away from the situation. However they do it, make sure the child knows not to put themselves in harm’s way.

  • Create a distraction. If no one is rewarding the child who is bullying by paying attention, the behavior may stop. Bystanders can help to focus the attention on something else.
  • A bystander can offer a way for the person being bullied to leave the scene by saying something like, “Mr. Smith needs to see you right now,” or “Come on, we need you for our game.”
  • Remind children to only intervene if it feels safe to do so, and never use violence in order to help the person get away.

Set a good example. Do not bully others.

If a child knows not to bully others, then other students will follow their example. To help even more, children can actively participate in anti-bullying activities and projects.

  • Make sure children don’t bully others and don’t encourage bullying behavior.
  • Encourage them to look for opportunities to contribute to the anti-bullying culture at their school through school clubs and organizations.
  • They can create anti-bullying posters, share stories or show presentations promoting respect for all.
  • Use tools like the youth leaders toolkit to help older teens work with younger children to prevent bullying.

Don’t give bullying an audience.

If one of your child’s friends or peers begins to bully someone, they shouldn’t encourage the behavior by giving it an audience. Instead of laughing or supporting, they can let the bully know that his or her behavior isn't entertaining.

  • Oftentimes, those who bully are encouraged by the attention that they receive from bystanders. Children can help stop bullying by actively not supporting it.
  • Remind them that when they see bullying, they can act disinterested or blatantly state that they don’t think bullying is entertaining or funny.
  • Children can help by keeping their distance from the situation. If they ignore it, it may stop.
  • If the bullying doesn’t stop, the bystander should follow other tips like telling a trusted adult.

Source: www.stopbullying.gov/respond/be-more-than-a-bystander/index.html

Oregon Anti-Bullying Laws & Policies


What term is used in the Oregon anti-bullying laws?

Harassment, intimidation, or bullying.

Do these laws cover cyberbullying?

Yes.

What groups are listed under Oregon state law?

The following groups are listed under Oregon law, although not limited to behavior based on characteristics:

  • Race
  • Color
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation
  • National origin
  • Marital status
  • Familial status
  • Source of income
  • Disability

Schools that receive federal funding are required by federal law to address discrimination on a number of different personal characteristics. Find out when bullying may be a civil rights violation.

Is there a state model policy I can use to create anti-bullying policies at my school or district?

A state model policy is available at the Oregon Department of Education

Which of the key components can be found in Oregon anti-bullying laws and policies?

Present in
Key Components
Oregon State Laws
Oregon Model Policy

DEFINITIONS

Purpose

Yes
Yes

Scope

Yes
Yes

Prohibited Behavior

Yes
Yes

Enumerated Groups

Yes
Yes

DISTRICT POLICY REVIEW & DEVELOPMENT

District Policy

Yes
N/A

District Policy Review

Yes
N/A

DISTRICT POLICY COMPONENTS

Definitions

Yes
N/A

Reporting

Yes
Yes

Investigations

Yes
Yes

Written Records

Yes
Yes

Consequences

Yes
Yes

Mental Health

No
No

ADDITIONAL COMPONENTS

Communications

Yes
Yes

Training/Prevention

Yes
Yes

Transparency/Monitoring

No
No

Legal Remedies

Yes
No

NOTE: Click on the Key Components links to get more information about that component.

What are the Oregon state laws that cover bullying?

  • Oregon Revised Statute §339.351 – Definitions
  • Oregon Revised Statute §339.353 – Findings
  • Oregon Revised Statute §339.356 – District policy required
  • Oregon Revised Statute §339.359 – Training programs; prevention task forces, programs and other initiatives
  • Oregon Revised Statute §339.362 – Retaliation against victims and witnesses prohibited; school employee immunity
  • Oregon Revised Statute §339.364 – Victim may seek redress under other laws
    Source: www.leg.state.or.us/ors/339.html

For More Information

See “School Bullying: Policies, Laws and Resources by the Oregon Department of Education.

Information for this page was developed from “Analysis of State Bullying Laws and Policies – December 2011 (U.S. Department of Education). 202 pages
Source: www.stopbullying.gov/laws/oregon.html

Are we happy with the minimum the law requires or are we open to going beyond the minimum legal expectations?


California Legislative History Education Code Statutes
2010 California Assembly Bill No. 2791 California Education Code §32280 California Education Code §32281 California Education Code §32282 California Education Code §32282.5 California Education Code §32283 California Education Code §32284 California Education Code §32285 California Education Code §32286 California Education Code §32287 California Education Code §32288 California Education Code §32289
2008 California Assembly Bill No. 86 California Education Code §32261 California Education Code §32265 California Education Code §32270 California Education Code §48900
2006 California Assembly Bill No. 606 – Safe Place to Learn Act California Education Code §234 California Education Code §234.1 California Education Code §234.2 California Education Code §234.3
2003 California Senate Bill No. 719 California Education Code §32260 California Education Code §32261 California Education Code §32262 California Education Code §32265 California Education Code §32270 2003 California Senate Bill No. 257, Chapter 890 California Education Code §32261 California Education Code §32270 California Education Code §32271 California Education Code §32280 California Education Code §32290 California Education Code §35294.2 California Education Code §32295
2001 California Assembly Bill No. 79, Chapter 646 California Education Code §35294.2
1998 California Assembly Bill No. 499 California Education Code §220 California Education Code §220.1 1998 California Senate Bill No. 1751 California Education Code §32275
Criminal Code Statutes California Penal Code §422.55 California Penal Code §422.56 California Penal Code §422.57
Consolidated List of Bullying Laws in State Legislative Analysis California Education Code §32261 California Education Code §32262 California Education Code §32265 California Education Code §32270 California Education Code §35294.2 California Education Code §48900
State Model Policies/Guidance Documents Sample Policy for Bullying Prevention Sample Policy for Conflict Resolution
Source: www.cde.ca.gov/ls/ss/se/samplepolicy.asp

Oregon Legislative History


Legislative History
Education Code Statutes

2009 Oregon House Bill No. 2599 Oregon Revised Statute §339.351 – Definitions. Oregon Revised Statute §339.356 – District policy required. Oregon Revised Statute §339.359 – Training programs; prevention task forces, programs and other initiatives.
2007
Oregon House Bill No. 2637 Oregon Revised Statute §339.351 – Definitions. Oregon Revised Statute §339.353 – Findings. Oregon Revised Statute §339.356 – District policy required. Oregon Revised Statute §339.359 – Training programs; prevention task forces, programs and other initiatives. Oregon Revised Statute §339.362 – Retaliation against victims and witnesses prohibited; school employee immunity. Oregon Revised Statute §339.364 – Victim may seek redress under other laws.
2001
Oregon House Bill No. 3403 Oregon Revised Statute §339.351 – Definitions. Oregon Revised Statute §339.353 – Findings. Oregon Revised Statute §339.356 – District policy required. Oregon Revised Statute §339.359 – Harassment, intimidation or bullying prevention task forces, programs, and other initiatives. Oregon Revised Statute §339.362 – District shall adopt a policy prohibiting harassment, intimidation or bullying. Oregon Revised Statute §339.364 – Victim may seek redress under other laws.
1997 Oregon House Bill No. 3544 – Two-Year Pilot Program Oregon Revised Statute §163.730 – Definitions for ORS §30.866 and §163.730 to §163.750 Oregon Revised Statute §163.732 – Stalking. Oregon Revised Statute §166.065 – Harassment.
Consolidated List of Bullying Laws in State Legislative Analysis Oregon Revised Statute §339.351 – Definitions. Oregon Revised Statute §339.353 – Findings. Oregon Revised Statute §339.356 – District policy required. Oregon Revised Statute §339.359 – Training programs; prevention task forces, programs and other initiatives. Oregon Revised Statute §339.362 – Retaliation against victims and witnesses prohibited; school employee immunity. Oregon Revised Statute §339.364 – Victim may seek redress under other laws.
State Model Policies/Guidance Documents Memorandum No. §002-2009-10 – Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying Policy and Procedures
Source: www.ode.state.or.us/news/announcements/announcement.aspx?=5118

Washington Legislative History


Legislative History
Education Code Statutes
2010
Washington Substitute House Bill No. 2801 – Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying Washington Revised Code §28A.300.285 – Harassment, intimidation, and bullying prevention policies and procedures. Washington Revised Code §43.06B.060 – Public school antiharassment policies and strategies – lead agency. 2007 Washington Substitute Senate Bill No. 5288 – Cyberbullying Washington Revised Code §28A.300.285 – Harassment, intimidation, and bullying prevention policies and procedures.
2002 Washington House Bill No. 1444 – Bullying Washington Revised Code §28A.300.285 – Harassment, intimidation, and bullying prevention policies and procedures. Washington Revised Code §28A.600.480 – Reporting of harassment, intimidation, or bullying.
2001 Washington Senate Bill No. 6153
2001 Washington House Bill No. 1041 (same as Senate Bill No. 5842) Washington Revised Code §28A.640.020 – Sexual harassment policies.
Criminal Code Statutes Washington Revised Code §9.61.260 – Cyberstalking. Washington Revised Code §9A.36.080(3) – Specific characteristics. Washington Revised Code §9A.46.020 – Definition, penalties – harassment. Washington Revised Code §9A.46.110 – Stalking. Washington Revised Code §10.14.20 – Definitions.
Consolidated List of Bullying Laws in State Legislative Analysis Washington Revised Code §9A.36.080(3) – Specific characteristics. Washington Revised Code §28A.300.285 – Harassment, intimidation, and bullying prevention policies and procedures. Washington Revised Code §28A.600.480 – Reporting of harassment, intimidation, or bullying. Washington Revised Code §43.06B.060 – Public school antiharassment policies and strategies – lead agency.
State Model Policies/Guidance Documents The Prohibition of Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying, Policy/Procedure No. 3207P
Source: www.k12.wa.us/SafetyCenter/Guidance/pubdocs/Anti-BullyingProcedureFinal.pdf

What is Bullying


Bullying Definition

Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Both kids who are bullied and who bully others may have serious, lasting problems.

In order to be considered bullying, the behavior must be aggressive and include:

  • An Imbalance of Power: Kids who bully use their power—such as physical strength, access to embarrassing information, or popularity—to control or harm others. Power imbalances can change over time and in different situations, even if they involve the same people.
  • Repetition: Bullying behaviors happen more than once or have the potential to happen more than once.

Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.

  • Types of Bullying
  • Where and When Bullying Happens
  • Frequency of Bullying

Types of Bullying

There are three types of bullying:

Verbal bullying is saying or writing mean things. Verbal bullying includes:
  • Teasing
  • Name-calling
  • Inappropriate sexual comments
  • Taunting
  • Threatening to cause harm

Social bullying, sometimes referred to as relational bullying, involves hurting someone’s reputation or relationships. Social bullying includes:

  • Leaving someone out on purpose
  • Telling other children not to be friends with someone
  • Spreading rumors about someone
  • Embarrassing someone in public

Physical bullying involves hurting a person’s body or possessions. Physical bullying includes:

  • Hitting/kicking/pinching
  • Spitting
  • Tripping/pushing
  • Taking or breaking someone’s things
  • Making mean or rude hand gestures

Where and When Bullying Happens

Bullying can occur during or after school hours. While most reported bullying happens in the school building, a significant percentage also happens in places like on the playground or the bus. It can also happen travelling to or from school, in the youth’s neighborhood, or on the Internet.

Frequency of Bullying

There are two sources of federally collected data on youth bullying:

The 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) indicates that, nationwide, 20% of students in grades 9–12 experienced bullying.

The 2008–2009 School Crime Supplement (National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice Statistics) indicates that, nationwide, 28% of students in grades 6–12 experienced bullying.

Source: www.stopbullying.gov/what-is-bullying/definition/index.html

What is Cyberbullying


Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place using electronic technology. Electronic technology includes devices and equipment such as cell phones, computers, and tablets as well as communication tools including social media sites, text messages, chat, and websites.

Examples of cyberbullying include mean text messages or emails, rumors sent by email or posted on social networking sites, and embarrassing pictures, videos, websites, or fake profiles.

  • Why Cyberbullying is Different
  • Effects of Cyberbullying
  • Frequency of Cyberbullying

Why Cyberbullying is Different

Kids who are being cyberbullied are often bullied in person as well. Additionally, kids who are cyberbullied have a harder time getting away from the behavior.

  • Cyberbullying can happen 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and reach a kid even when he or she is alone. It can happen any time of the day or night.
  • Cyberbullying messages and images can be posted anonymously and distributed quickly to a very wide audience. It can be difficult and sometimes impossible to trace the source.
  • Deleting inappropriate or harassing messages, texts, and pictures is extremely difficult after they have been posted or sent.

Effects of Cyberbullying

Cell phones and computers themselves are not to blame for cyberbullying. Social media sites can be used for positive activities, like connecting kids with friends and family, helping students with school, and for entertainment. But these tools can also be used to hurt other people. Whether done in person or through technology, the effects of bullying are similar.

Kids who are cyberbullied are more likely to:

  • Use alcohol and drugs
  • Skip school
  • Experience in-person bullying
  • Be unwilling to attend school
  • Receive poor grades
  • Have lower self-esteem
  • Have more health problems

Frequency of Cyberbullying

The 2008–2009 School Crime Supplement (National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice Statistics) indicates that 6% of students in grades 6–12 experienced cyberbullying.

The 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey finds that 16% of high school students (grades 9-12) were electronically bullied in the past year.

Research on cyberbullying is growing. However, because kids’ technology use changes rapidly, it is difficult to design surveys that accurately capture trends.

Source: www.stopbullying.gov/cyberbullying/what-is-it/index.html

Who's at Risk?


No single factor puts a child at risk of being bullied or bullying others. Bullying can happen anywhere—cities, suburbs, or rural towns. Depending on the environment, some groups—such as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered (LGBT) youth, youth with disabilities , and socially isolated youth—may be at an increased risk of being bullied.

Children at Risk of Being Bullied

Generally, children who are bullied have one or more of the following risk factors:

  • Are perceived as different from their peers, such as being overweight or underweight, wearing glasses or different clothing, being new to a school, or being unable to afford what kids consider “cool”
  • Are perceived as weak or unable to defend themselves
  • Are depressed, anxious, or have low self esteem
  • Are less popular than others and have few friends
  • Do not get along well with others, seen as annoying or provoking, or antagonize others for attention

However, even if a child has these risk factors, it doesn’t mean that they will be bullied.

Children More Likely to Bully Others

There are two types of kids who are more likely to bully others:

  • Some are well-connected to their peers, have social power, are overly concerned about their popularity, and like to dominate or be in charge of others.
  • Others are more isolated from their peers and may be depressed or anxious, have low self esteem, be less involved in school, be easily pressured by peers, or not identify with the emotions or feelings of others.

Children who have these factors are also more likely to bully others;

  • Are aggressive or easily frustrated
  • Have less parental involvement or having issues at home
  • Think badly of others
  • Have difficulty following rules
  • View violence in a positive way
  • Have friends who bully others

Remember, those who bully others do not need to be stronger or bigger than those they bully. The power imbalance can come from a number of sources—popularity, strength, cognitive ability—and children who bully may have more than one of these characteristics.

Source: www.stopbullying.gov/at-risk/factors/index.html

Warning Signs


There are many warning signs that may indicate that someone is affected by bullying—either being bullied or bullying others. Recognizing the warning signs is an important first step in taking action against bullying. Not all children who are bullied or are bullying others ask for help.

It is important to talk with children who show signs of being bullied or bullying others. These warning signs can also point to other issues or problems, such as depression or substance abuse. Talking to the child can help identify the root of the problem.

  • Signs a Child is Being Bullied
  • Signs a Child is Bullying Others
  • Why don’t kids ask for help?

Signs a Child is Being Bullied

Look for changes in the child. However, be aware that not all children who are bullied exhibit warning signs.

Some signs that may point to a bullying problem are:

  • Unexplainable injuries
  • Lost or destroyed clothing, books, electronics, or jewelry
  • Frequent headaches or stomach aches, feeling sick or faking illness
  • Changes in eating habits, like suddenly skipping meals or binge eating. Kids may come home from school hungry because they did not eat lunch.
  • Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares
  • Declining grades, loss of interest in schoolwork, or not wanting to go to school
  • Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations
  • Feelings of helplessness or decreased self esteem
  • Self-destructive behaviors such as running away from home, harming themselves, or talking about suicide

If you know someone in serious distress or danger, don’t ignore the problem. Get help right away.

Signs a Child is Bullying Others

Kids may be bullying others if they:

  • Get into physical or verbal fights
  • Have friends who bully others
  • Are increasingly aggressive
  • Get sent to the principal’s office or to detention frequently
  • Have unexplained extra money or new belongings
  • Blame others for their problems
  • Don’t accept responsibility for their actions
  • Are competitive and worry about their reputation or popularity

Why don't kids ask for help?

Statistics from the 2008–2009 School Crime Supplement show that an adult was notified in only about a third of bullying cases. Kids don’t tell adults for many reasons:

  • Bullying can make a child feel helpless. Kids may want to handle it on their own to feel in control again. They may fear being seen as weak or a tattletale.
  • Kids may fear backlash from the kid who bullied them.
  • Bullying can be a humiliating experience. Kids may not want adults to know what is being said about them, whether true or false. They may also fear that adults will judge them or punish them for being weak.
  • Kids who are bullied may already feel socially isolated. They may feel like no one cares or could understand.
  • Kids may fear being rejected by their peers. Friends can help protect kids from bullying, and kids can fear losing this support.

Source: www.stopbullying.gov/at-risk/warning-signs/index.html

Effects of Bullying


Bullying can affect everyone—those who are bullied, those who bully, and those who witness bullying. Bullying is linked to many negative outcomes including impacts on mental health, substance use, and suicide. It is important to talk to kids to determine whether bullying—or something else—is a concern.

  • Kids Who are Bullied
  • Kids Who Bully Others
  • Bystanders
  • The Relationship between Bullying and Suicide

Kids Who are Bullied

Kids who are bullied can experience negative physical, school, and mental health issues. Kids who are bullied are more likely to experience:

  • Depression and anxiety, increased feelings of sadness and loneliness, changes in sleep and eating patterns, and loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy. These issues may persist into adulthood.
  • Health complaints
  • Decreased academic achievement—GPA and standardized test scores—and school participation. They are more likely to miss, skip, or drop out of school.

A very small number of bullied children might retaliate through extremely violent measures. In 12 of 15 school shooting cases in the 1990s, the shooters had a history of being bullied.

Kids Who Bully Others

Kids who bully others can also engage in violent and other risky behaviors into adulthood. Kids who bully are more likely to:

  • Abuse alcohol and other drugs in adolescence and as adults
  • Get into fights, vandalize property, and drop out of school
  • Engage in early sexual activity
  • Have criminal convictions and traffic citations as adults
  • Be abusive toward their romantic partners, spouses, or children as adults

Bystanders

Kids who witness bullying are more likely to:

  • Have increased use of tobacco, alcohol, or other drugs
  • Have increased mental health problems, including depression and anxiety
  • Miss or skip school

The Relationship between Bullying and Suicide

Media reports often link bullying with suicide. However, most youth who are bullied do not have thoughts of suicide or engage in suicidal behaviors.

Although kids who are bullied are at risk of suicide, bullying alone is not the cause. Many issues contribute to suicide risk, including depression, problems at home, and trauma history. Additionally, specific groups have an increased risk of suicide, including American Indian and Alaskan Native, Asian American, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth. This risk can be increased further when these kids are not supported by parents, peers, and schools. Bullying can make an unsupportive situation worse.

Source: www.stopbullying.gov/at-risk/effects/index.html

Considerations for Specific Groups


Schools and communities that respect diversity can help protect children against bullying behavior. However, when children perceived as different are not in supportive environments, they may be at a higher risk of being bullied. When working with kids from different groups—including lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) youth and youth with disabilities or special health care needs—there are specific things you can do to prevent and address bullying.

  • LGBT Youth
  • Youth with Disabilities or Other Special Health Needs
  • Race, Ethnicity, and National Origin
  • Religion and Faith

LGBT Youth

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) youth and those perceived as LGBT are at an increased risk of being bullied. Families of and people who work with LGBT youth have important and unique considerations for strategies to prevent and intervene in bullying.

Youth with Disabilities or Other Special Health Needs

Children with disabilities or other special health needs may be at higher risk of being bullied. There are specific ways you can support these groups.

Race, Ethnicity, and National Origin

It is not clear how often kids get bullied because of their race, ethnicity, or national origin. It is also unclear how often kids of the same group bully each other. Research is still growing. We do know, however, that Black and Hispanic youth who are bullied are more likely to suffer academically than their white peers.

Although no specialized interventions have yet been developed or identified, some federal partners have developed campaign materials for specific racial and ethnic minority groups. For example, the Indian Health Service within the Department of Health and Human Services has developed a series of materials for American Indian and Alaskan Native youth called “Stand Up, Stand Strong.”

When bullying based on race or ethnicity is severe, pervasive, or persistent it may be considered harassment, which is covered under federal civil rights laws.

Religion and Faith

Very little research has explored bullying based on religious differences. Bullying in these situations may have less to do with a person’s beliefs and more to do with misinformation or negative perceptions about how someone expresses that belief.

For example, Muslim girls who wear hijabs (head scarves), Sikh boys who wear patka or dastaar (turbans), and Jewish boys who wear yarmulkes report being targeted because of these visible symbols of their religions. These items are sometimes used as tools to bully Muslim, Sikh, and Jewish youth when they are forcefully removed by others. Several reports also indicate a rise in anti-Muslim and anti-Sikh bullying over the past decade that may have roots in a perceived association of their religious heritage and terrorism.

When bullying based on religion is severe, pervasive, or persistent, the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division may be able to intervene under Title IV of the Civil Rights Act.

Often religious harassment is not based on the religion itself but on shared ethnic characteristics. When harassment is based on shared ethnic characteristics, the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights may be able to intervene under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.
Source: www.stopbullying.gov/at-risk/groups/index.html

How to Talk About Bullying


Parents, school staff, and other caring adults have a role to play in preventing bullying. They can:

  • Help kids understand bullying. Talk about what bullying is and how to stand up to it safely. Tell kids bullying is unacceptable. Make sure kids know how to get help.
  • Keep the lines of communication open. Check in with kids often. Listen to them. Know their friends, ask about school, and understand their concerns.
  • Encourage kids to do what they love. Special activities, interests, and hobbies can boost confidence, help kids make friends, and protect them from bullying behavior.
  • Model how to treat others with kindness and respect.

Help Kids Understand Bullying

Kids who know what bullying is can better identify it. They can talk about bullying if it happens to them or others. Kids need to know ways to safely stand up to bullying and how to get help.

  • Encourage kids to speak to a trusted adult if they are bullied or see others being bullied. The adult can give comfort, support, and advice, even if they can’t solve the problem directly. Encourage the child to report bullying if it happens.
  • Talk about how to stand up to kids who bully. Give tips, like using humor and saying “stop” directly and confidently. Talk about what to do if those actions don’t work, like walking away
  • Talk about strategies for staying safe, such as staying near adults or groups of other kids.
  • Urge them to help kids who are bullied by showing kindness or getting help.
  • Watch the short webisodes and discuss them with kids.

Keep the Lines of Communication Open

Research tells us that children really do look to parents and caregivers for advice and help on tough decisions. Sometimes spending 15 minutes a day talking can reassure kids that they can talk to their parents if they have a problem. Start conversations about daily life and feelings with questions like these:

  • What was one good thing that happened today? Any bad things?
  • What is lunch time like at your school? Who do you sit with? What do you talk about?
  • What is it like to ride the school bus?
  • What are you good at? What would do you like best about yourself?

Talking about bullying directly is an important step in understanding how the issue might be affecting kids. There are no right or wrong answers to these questions, but it is important to encourage kids to answer them honestly. Assure kids that they are not alone in addressing any problems that arise. Start conversations about bullying with questions like these:

  • What does “bullying” mean to you?
  • Describe what kids who bully are like. Why do you think people bully?
  • Who are the adults you trust most when it comes to things like bullying?
  • Have you ever felt scared to go to school because you were afraid of bullying? What ways have you tried to change it?
  • What do you think parents can do to help stop bullying?
  • Have you or your friends left other kids out on purpose? Do you think that was bullying? Why or why not?
  • What do you usually do when you see bullying going on?
  • Do you ever see kids at your school being bullied by other kids? How does it make you feel?
  • Have you ever tried to help someone who is being bullied? What happened? What would you do if it happens again?

Get more ideas for talking with children about life and about bullying. If concerns come up, be sure to respond.

There are simple ways that parents and caregivers can keep up-to-date with kids’ lives.

  • Read class newsletters and school flyers. Talk about them at home.
  • Check the school website
  • Go to school events
  • Greet the bus driver
  • Meet teachers and counselors at “Back to School” night or reach out by email
  • Share phone numbers with other kids’ parents
  • Teachers and school staff also have a role to play.

Encourage Kids to Do What They Love

Help kids take part in activities, interests, and hobbies they like. Kids can volunteer, play sports, sing in a chorus, or join a youth group or school club. These activities give kids a chance to have fun and meet others with the same interests. They can build confidence and friendships that help protect kids from bullying.

Model How to Treat Others with Kindness and Respect

Kids learn from adults’ actions. By treating others with kindness and respect, adults show the kids in their lives that there is no place for bullying. Even if it seems like they are not paying attention, kids are watching how adults manage stress and conflict, as well as how they treat their friends, colleagues, and families.
Source: www.stopbullying.gov/prevention/talking-about-it/index.html

Prevention at School


Bullying can threaten students’ physical and emotional safety at school and can negatively impact their ability to learn. The best way to address bullying is to stop it before it starts. There are a number of things school staff can do to make schools safer and prevent bullying.

Getting Started

Assess school prevention and intervention efforts around student behavior, including substance use and violence. You may be able to build upon them or integrate bullying prevention strategies. Many programs help address the same protective and risk factors that bullying programs do.

Assess Bullying in Your School

Conduct assessments in your school to determine how often bullying occurs, where it happens, how students and adults intervene, and whether your prevention efforts are working.

Engage Parents and Youth

It is important for everyone in the community to work together to send a unified message against bullying. Launch an awareness campaign to make the objectives known to the school, parents, and community members. Establish a school safety committee or task force to plan, implement, and evaluate your school's bullying prevention program.

Create Policies and Rules

Create a mission statement, code of conduct, school-wide rules, and a bullying reporting system. These establish a climate in which bullying is not acceptable. Disseminate and communicate widely.

Build a Safe Environment

Establish a school culture of acceptance, tolerance and respect. Use staff meetings, assemblies, class and parent meetings, newsletters to families, the school website, and the student handbook to establish a positive climate at school. Reinforce positive social interactions and inclusiveness.

Educate Students and School Staff

Build bullying prevention material into the curriculum and school activities. Train teachers and staff on the school’s rules and policies. Give them the skills to intervene consistently and appropriately.
Source: www.stopbullying.gov/prevention/at-school/index.html

Working in the Community


Bullying can be prevented, especially when the power of a community is brought together. Community-wide strategies can help identify and support children who are bullied, redirect the behavior of children who bully, and change the attitudes of adults and youth who tolerate bullying behaviors in peer groups, schools, and communities.

  • The Benefits of Working Together
  • Potential Partners
  • Community Strategies
  • Additional Resources

The Benefits of Working Together

Bullying doesn’t happen only at school. Community members can use their unique strengths and skills to prevent bullying wherever it occurs. For example, youth sports groups may train coaches to prevent bullying. Local businesses may make t-shirts with bullying prevention slogans for an event. After-care staff may read books about bullying to kids and discuss them. Hearing anti-bullying messages from the different adults in their lives can reinforce the message for kids that bullying is unacceptable.

Potential Partners

Involve anyone who wants to learn about bullying and reduce its impact in the community. Consider involving businesses, local associations, adults who work directly with kids, parents, and youth.

  • Identify partners such as mental health specialists, law enforcement officers, neighborhood associations, service groups, faith-based organizations, and businesses.
  • Learn what types of bullying community members see and discuss developing targeted solutions.
  • Involve youth. Teens can take leadership roles in bullying prevention among younger kids.

Community Strategies

Study community strengths and needs:

  • Ask: Who is most affected? Where? What kinds of bullying happen most? How do kids and adults react? What is already being done in our local area to help?
  • Think about using opinion surveys, interviews, and focus groups to answer these questions. Learn how schools assess bullying.
  • Consider open forums like group discussions with community leaders, businesses, parent groups, and churches.

Develop a comprehensive community strategy:

  • Review what you learned from your community study to develop a common understanding of the problem.
  • Establish a shared vision about bullying in the community, its impact, and how to stop it.
  • Identify audiences to target and tailor messages as appropriate.
  • Describe what each partner will do to help prevent and respond to bullying.
  • Advocate for bullying prevention policies in schools and throughout the community.
  • Raise awareness about your message. Develop and distribute print materials. Encourage local radio, TV, newspapers, and websites to give public service announcements prime space. Introduce bullying prevention to groups that work with kids.
  • Track your progress over time. Evaluate to ensure you are refining your approach based on solid data, not anecdotes.

Additional Resources

Three Bold Steps for School Community Change: A Toolkit for Community Leaders (Safe Schools/Healthy Students). This kit shows how partnerships with people from different parts of a community can create positive, lasting change for students.

Striving to Reduce Youth Violence Everywhere (STRYVE) is a national youth violence prevention effort. STRYVE Online helps communities with access to information and tools, effective strategies, training and technical assistance, and online community workspaces.
Source: www.stopbullying.gov/prevention/in-the-community/index.html

Stop Bullying on the Spot


When adults respond quickly and consistently to bullying behavior they send the message that it is not acceptable. Research shows this can stop bullying behavior over time. There are simple steps adults can take to stop bullying on the spot and keep kids safe.

Do:

  • Intervene immediately. It is ok to get another adult to help.
  • Separate the kids involved.
  • Make sure everyone is safe.
  • Meet any immediate medical or mental health needs.
  • Stay calm. Reassure the kids involved, including bystanders.
  • Model respectful behavior when you intervene.

Avoid these common mistakes:

  • Don’t ignore it. Don’t think kids can work it out without adult help.
  • Don’t immediately try to sort out the facts.
  • Don’t force other kids to say publicly what they saw.
  • Don’t question the children involved in front of other kids.
  • Don’t talk to the kids involved together, only separately.
  • Don’t make the kids involved apologize or patch up relations on the spot.

Get police help or medical attention immediately if:

  • A weapon is involved.
  • There are threats of serious physical injury.
  • There are threats of hate-motivated violence, such as racism or homophobia.
  • There is serious bodily harm.
  • There is sexual abuse.
  • Anyone is accused of an illegal act, such as robbery or extortion—using force to get money, property, or services.

Next Steps

  • Support the kids involved

Source: www.stopbullying.gov/respond/index.html

Find Out What Happened


Whether you’ve just stopped bullying on the spot or a child has reached out to you for help, follow the steps below to determine the best way to proceed.

  • Get the Facts
  • Determine if it’s Bullying

Get the Facts

  • Keep all the involved children separate.
  • Get the story from several sources, both adults and kids.
  • Listen without blaming.
  • Don’t call the act “bullying” while you are trying to understand what happened.

It may be difficult to get the whole story, especially if multiple students are involved or the bullying involves social bullying or cyberbullying. Collect all available information.

Determine if it's Bullying

There are many behaviors that look like bullying but require different approaches. It is important to determine whether the situation is bullying or something else.

Review the definition of bullying. State law and school policy may have additional guidelines for defining bullying behavior.

To determine if this is bullying or something else, consider the following questions:

  • What is the history between the kids involved? Have there been past conflicts?
  • Is there a power imbalance? Remember that a power imbalance is not limited to physical strength. It is sometimes not easily recognized. If the targeted child feels like there is a power imbalance, there probably is.
  • Has this happened before? Is the child worried it will happen again?
  • Have the kids dated? There are special responses for teen dating violence.
  • Are any of the kids involved with a gang? Gang violence has different interventions.

Remember that it may not matter “who started it.” Some kids who are bullied may be seen as annoying or provoking, but this does not excuse the bullying behavior.

Once you have determined if the situation is bullying, support the kids involved.

Source: www.stopbullying.gov/respond/find-out-what-happened/index.html

Support the Kids Involved


All kids involved in bullying—whether they are bullied, bully others, or see bullying—can be affected. It is important to support all kids involved to make sure the bullying doesn’t continue and effects can be minimized.

  • Support Kids Who are Bullied
  • Address Bullying Behavior
  • Support Bystanders Who Witness Bullying

Support Kids Who are Bullied

Listen and focus on the child. Learn what’s been going on and show you want to help.

Assure the child that bullying is not their fault.

Know that kids who are bullied may struggle with talking about it. Consider referring them to a school counselor, psychologist, or other mental health service.

Give advice about what to do. This may involve role-playing and thinking through how the child might react if the bullying occurs again.

Work together to resolve the situation and protect the bullied child. The child, parents, and school or organization may all have valuable input. It may help to:

  • Ask the child being bullied what can be done to make him or her feel safe. Remember that changes to routine should be minimized. He or she is not at fault and should not be singled out. For example, consider rearranging classroom or bus seating plans for everyone. If bigger moves are necessary, such as switching classrooms or bus routes, the child who is bullied should not be forced to change.
  • Develop a game plan. Maintain open communication between schools, organizations, and parents. Discuss the steps that are taken and the limitations around what can be done based on policies and laws. Remember, the law does not allow school personnel to discuss discipline, consequences, or services given to other children.

Be persistent. Bullying may not end overnight. Commit to making it stop and consistently support the bullied child.

Avoid these mistakes:

  • Never tell the child to ignore the bullying.
  • Do not blame the child for being bullied. Even if he or she provoked the bullying, no one deserves to be bullied.
  • Do not tell the child to physically fight back against the kid who is bullying. It could get the child hurt, suspended, or expelled.
  • Parents should resist the urge to contact the other parents involved. It may make matters worse. School or other officials can act as mediators between parents.

Follow-up. Show a commitment to making bullying stop. Because bullying is behavior that repeats or has the potential to be repeated, it takes consistent effort to ensure that it stops.

Address Bullying Behavior

Parents, school staff, and organizations all have a role to play.

Make sure the child knows what the problem behavior is. Young people who bully must learn their behavior is wrong and harms others.

Show kids that bullying is taken seriously. Calmly tell the child that bullying will not be tolerated. Model respectful behavior when addressing the problem.

Work with the child to understand some of the reasons he or she bullied. For example:

  • Sometimes children bully to fit in. These kids can benefit from participating in positive activities. Involvement in sports and clubs can enable them to take leadership roles and make friends without feeling the need to bully.
  • Other times kids act out because something else—issues at home, abuse, stress—is going on in their lives. They also may have been bullied. These kids may be in need of additional support, such as mental health services.

Use consequences to teach. Consequences that involve learning or building empathy can help prevent future bullying. School staff should remember to follow the guidelines in their student code of conduct and other policies in developing consequences and assigning discipline. For example, the child who bullied can:

  • Lead a class discussion about how to be a good friend.
  • Write a story about the effects of bullying or benefits of teamwork.
  • Role-play a scenario or make a presentation about the importance of respecting others, the negative effects of gossip, or how to cooperate.
  • Do a project about civil rights and bullying.
  • Read a book about bullying.
  • Make posters for the school about cyberbullying and being smart online.

Involve the kid who bullied in making amends or repairing the situation. The goal is to help them see how their actions affect others. For example, the child can:

  • Write a letter apologizing to the student who was bullied.
  • Do a good deed for the person who was bullied or for others in your community.
  • Clean up, repair, or pay for any property they damaged.

Avoid strategies that don’t work or have negative consequences.

  • Zero tolerance or “three strikes, you’re out” strategies don’t work. Suspending or expelling students who bully does not reduce bullying behavior. Students and teachers may be less likely to report and address bullying if suspension or expulsion is the consequence.
  • Conflict resolution and peer mediation don’t work for bullying. Bullying is not a conflict between people of equal power who share equal blame. Facing those who have bullied may further upset kids who have been bullied.
  • Group treatment for students who bully doesn’t work. Group members tend to reinforce bullying behavior in each other.

Follow-up. After the bullying issue is resolved, continue finding ways to help the child who bullied to understand how what they do affects other people. For example, praise acts of kindness or talk about what it means to be a good friend.

Support Bystanders Who Witness Bullying

Even if kids are not bullied or bullying others they can be affected by bullying. Many times, when they see bullying, they may not know what to do to stop it. They may not feel safe stepping in in the moment, but there are many other steps they can take.
Source: www.stopbullying.gov/respond/support-kids-involved/index.html

Get Help Now


If you have done everything you can to resolve the situation and nothing has worked, or someone is in immediate danger, there are ways to get help.

The problem

What you can do

There has been a crime or someone is at immediate risk of harm.

Call 911.

Someone is feeling hopeless, helpless, thinking of suicide.

Contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline online at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or the National Crisis Text Line-Text SOS to 741741

The toll-free call goes to the nearest crisis center in our national network. These centers provide 24-hour crisis counseling and mental health referrals.

Someone is acting differently than normal, such as always seeming sad or anxious, struggling to complete tasks, or not being able care for themselves.

Find a local counselor or other mental health services

A child is being bullied in school.

Contact the:

  • 1.Teacher
  • 2.School counselor
  • 3.School principal
  • 4.School superintendent
  • 5.State Department of Education

See more on working with the school.

The school is not adequately addressing harassment based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or religion.

Contact:

  • School superintendent
  • State Department of Education
  • U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights
  • U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division
Source: www.stopbullying.gov/get-help-now/index.html

 

Oregon Anti-Bullying Laws & Policies http://www.stopbullying.gov/laws/oregon.html


Assess Bullying

Assessments—such as surveys—can help schools determine the frequency and locations of bullying behavior. They can also gauge the effectiveness of current prevention and intervention efforts. Knowing what’s going on can help school staff select appropriate prevention and response strategies.

Assessments involve asking school or community members—including students—about their experiences and thoughts related to bullying. An assessment is planned, purposeful, and uses research tools.

  • What an Assessment Can Do
  • Develop and Implement an Assessment

What an Assessment Can Do

Assess to:

  • Know what’s going on. Adults underestimate the rates of bullying because kids rarely report it and it often happens when adults aren’t around. Assessing bullying through anonymous surveys can provide a clear picture of what is going on.
  • Target efforts. Understanding trends and types of bullying in your school can help you plan bullying prevention and intervention efforts.
  • Measure results. The only way to know if your prevention and intervention efforts are working is to measure them over time.

An assessment can explore specific bullying topics, such as:

  • Frequency and types
  • Adult and peer response
  • Locations, including “hot spots”
  • Staff perceptions and attitudes about bullying
  • Aspects of the school or community that may support or help stop it
  • Student perception of safety
  • School climate

Develop and Implement an Assessment

Schools may choose to use school-wide surveys to assess bullying. There are several steps involved:

  • Choose a survey. There are many free, reliable, and validated assessment tools available. Choose a set of measures that covers the questions you want answered, is age appropriate, and can be answered in a reasonable amount of time.
  • Obtain parental consent as your district requires. Some allow passive consent, others require active consent. According to federal guidelines, at a minimum, each year the Local Education Agency (LEA), must notify parents about the survey and when it will be conducted. Parents have the right to opt their child out of the survey. Parents also have the right to inspect and review the surveys before they are given.
  • Administer the survey. School staff are best equipped to judge how to carry out a survey at school, but these tips can help:
    • Administer surveys early in the school year. Schedules surveys after students are settled in a routine but there is still time to use the findings in the school year’s prevention efforts.
    • Assess at least once every school year. Some schools like to survey students at the start and end of the school year to track progress and plan activities for the following year.
    • Decide which students will be surveyed to ensure statistically significant results. Schools may choose school-wide surveys or surveys of specific grades.
    • Plan to administer the survey when all students can take it at once. This will reduce the chance that they will discuss it and affect each other’s answers.
  • Protect student privacy. Many surveys are subject to the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA) and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Assure students that their responses will be kept confidential and that their answers can’t be tracked back to them.
  • Analyze and distribute findings.
    • Make sure you continue to protect students’ privacy by ensuring that no personally identifiable information is accessible.
    • Consider how the survey results will be shared with teachers, parents, and students.
  • Make sure that you are prepared to respond to the results of the survey. Have a clear plan for prevention and intervention in place or in development.

Source: www.stopbullying.gov/prevention/at-school/assess-bullying/

Avoid strategies that don’t work or have negative consequences


  • Zero tolerance or “three strikes, you’re out” strategies don’t work. Suspending or expelling students who bully does not reduce bullying behavior. Students and teachers may be less likely to report and address bullying if suspension or expulsion is the consequence.
  • Conflict resolution and peer mediation don’t work for bullying. Bullying is not a conflict between people of equal power who share equal blame. Facing those who have bullied may further upset kids who have been bullied.
  • Group treatment for students who bully doesn’t work. Group members tend to reinforce bullying behavior in each other.

Source: www.stopbullying.gov/respond/support-kids-involved/index.html

 
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