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Bullying & Harassment Policy

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Presentation on theme: "Bullying & Harassment Policy"— Presentation transcript:

1 Bullying & Harassment Policy
Santa Rosa County School District Conni L. Carnley: Director of Middle Schools

2 Policy Background: Florida Statute § 1006.147 (2008)
“The Jeffrey Johnson Stand Up for All Students Act” Required a “Stand-Alone” Policy

3 Definition: (SBP 5.321) Bullying means systematically and chronically inflicting physical hurt or psychological distress on one or more students or employees. The behavior is severe or pervasive enough to create an intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational environment; cause discomfort or humiliation; or unreasonably interfere with the individual’s school performance or participation. “What makes bullying differ from other conflict is an imbalance of power. In a conflict between two individuals of equal power, each has the ability to offer solutions and compromise to resolve the conflict. Adults can tell children to try and resolve the conflict on their own or use peer mediation programs to resolve the issue. In bullying situations, the imbalance of power between the bully and victim prevents these individuals from resolving the conflict on their own. Students who are bullied need adults to step in to address the situation”.

4 Definition: (SBP: 5.321) Harassment: means any threatening, insulting or dehumanizing gesture, use of data or computer software, or written, verbal, or physical conduct directed against a student or school employee that: Places a student or school employee in reasonable fear of harm to his/her person or damage to his/her property. Has the effect of substantially interfering with a student’s educational performance, opportunities, or benefit; or Has the effect of substantially disrupting the orderly operation of a school.

5 What is the difference between bullying and harassment?
There really is no difference: harassment is a type of bullying. Many bullying behaviors have names that adults recognize as crimes: extortion, assault, slander, libel, etc…

6 Types of Bullying Direct Bullying:
Physical violence (Hitting, kicking, shoving, spitting…) Taunting, teasing, racial slurs, put-downs, name –calling, verbal harassment Threatening, obscene gestures Extortion or stealing money and/or possessions “ Bullying can take many forms”

7 Types of Bullying Indirect Bullying
Getting another person to bully for you Spreading rumors Deliberately excluding someone from a group or activity Cyber-bullying Cyber bulling is: bullying or harassment that takes place online or through other mobile devices Examples include: Spreading rumors through instant messaging Threatening someone on a web log (blog)

8 Disability Harassment
Definition: Intimidation or abusive behavior toward a student based on disability A disability includes but is not limited to: intellectual disability, physical disability, learning difficulty, health related disability, physical characteristics, mental or psychiatric disability. Including but not limited to a student with an IEP or 504. Includes: Being treated less favorably than others because of a need to use palliative or therapeutic devices or aids, using a wheelchair, loud speaker phone or guide dog Abusive or overbearing behavior towards employees with intellectual disabilities Remarks made to employees who have made a compensation claim

9 Bullying and Harassment also encompass
Retaliation against a student or school employee by another student or school employee for asserting or alleging an act of bullying or harassment. Especially in cases with regard to actions involving a “protected activity”. Protected Activity is: Opposition to a practice believed to be unlawful discrimination If an employee, parent or student makes a harassment complaint the governing body can not retaliate in response. Give examples of situations that could constitute adverse actions (retaliation): An employee files a sexual discrimination report and the employer transfers the employee to another location without reason. A parent complains that the school did not investigate their child’s report that he had been bullied. The parent indicated that they are going to report the school to the district office. The student’s reassignment is revoked without justification by the school administrator. A teacher receives a phone cal from a parent informing the teacher that their child reported being bullied in class and that the teacher did not do anything. The next day the teacher does not allow that student to go to the library when it is her turn. (Is there substantial reason for not allowing the student to go to the library?)

10 Gender Differences Most studies find that boys bully more than girls
Boys report being bullied by boys; girls report being bullied by boys and girls. Boys are more likely than girls to be physically bullied by their peers. Girls are more likely to be bullied through rumor-spreading, sexual comments, social exclusion, embarrassment

11 Demographic Characteristics
Children who bully: Can come from any economic, cultural, or religious background Often in late elementary or middle school

12 Conditions Surrounding Bullying
Children are usually bullied by one child or a small group Common locations: playground, classroom, lunch room, halls, bathrooms Bullying is more common at school than on the way to/from school Children who are bullied often stand out as different in some way due to their appearance (weight, size, clothes, disability), sexual orientation, intellect, socio-economic background, or cultural or religious background.

13 Children Who Bully: Want power
Have a positive attitude toward violence Have quick tempers Have difficulty conforming to rules Gain satisfaction from inflicting injury and perceive “rewards” (prestige, material goods) from their behavior Have positive self images. Lack empathy . Also: Are concerned with their own desires rather than those of others Find it difficult to see things from someone else’s perspective Are wiling to use others to get what they want. Longitudinal Study of Children who Bullied (Olweus, 1993) 60% of boys who were bullies in middle school had at least one conviction by age 24. 40% had three or more convictions Bullies were 4 times as likely as peers to have multiple convictions

14 Signs That a Child is Being Bullied
Emotional Signs: Withdrawal and/or shyness Anxiety Depression Aggression “When children are bullied, they don’t often tell an adult right away. The child who is bullied may be embarrassed, or they think an adult can not help, or they fear retaliation from the child or children doing the bullying. However, even if a child does not tell an adult about a bullying problem, there are signs that a child is being bullied. The most important thing adults can do is recognize and act o prevent bullying.

15 Signs That a Child is Being Bullied
Physical Signs: Cuts, bruises, scratches Headaches, stomach aches Damaged possessions “Missing” possessions that need to be replaced

16 Health Consequences of Bullying
(Fekkes et al., 2003) Bullied Not bullied Headache 16% 6% Sleep problems 42% 23% Abdominal pain 17% 9% Feeling tense 20% Anxiety 28% 10% Feeling unhappy 5% Depression scale: Moderate indication Strong indication 49% 2%

17 Signs That a Child is Being Bullied
Behavioral/Social Signs: Changes in eating or sleeping habits (nightmares) No longer wanting to participate in activities once enjoyed Beginning to bully siblings or mistreat family pets Hurting self, attempting or threatening suicide Suddenly changing friends

18 Signs That a Child is Being Bullied
Academic Signs: Not wanting to go to school Changing method of going to school Drop in grades Increased absenteeism

19 Bully / Victims Hyperactivity, have difficulty concentrating
Common Characteristics of Bully/ Victims: Hyperactivity, have difficulty concentrating Quick tempered, try to fight back if provoked May be bullied by many children Try to bully younger, weaker children

20 Bully / Victims Display the social-emotional problems of victimized children AND behavioral problems of children who bully (Nansel et al., 2003) Poor relationships with classmates Lonely Poorer academic achievement Higher rates of smoking and alcohol use More frequent fighting

21 Negative Impact of Witnessing Bullying:
More than 50% of teens (12 – 17) witness at least one bullying or taunting incident in school each week (NCPC, 20%) Students in grades 7 – 12 say revenge is the strongest motivation for school shootings: 86% said, “other kids picking on them, making fun of them, or bullying them” can cause teenagers to turn to lethal violence in schools (Cerio, 2001) “Emphasize that although most student do not bully others and are not bullied themselves, they often witness bullying” Witnessing bullying has a negative impact on students. Students may fear that they will be the next target of bullying. Youth also see a link between bullying and deadly school violence.

22 Reporting of Bullying to School Staff
Many do not report being bullied Older children and boys are less likely to report victimization Why don’t students report? 2/3 of the victims felt that teachers/administration responded poorly 6% believed that the teachers/administration responded very well (Hover et al., 1992)

23 What works in bullying prevention?
What is required to reduce bullying in schools is nothing less than a change in the school climate and in norms for behavior. This requires a comprehensive, school-wide effort involving the entire school community.

24 Bullying Prevention Teachers, Counselors, Administrators
Ensure that students understand the definition of bullying behaviors and effects. Work with students to create school rules against bullying Post the rules in a visible place Have students sign the rules or contract against bullying

25 Furthering Bullying Prevention
Help students develop positive social skills Provide supervision for students at all times (unstructured environments) Instruct students on how to report bullying or harassing behavior. Take immediate action when bullying is witnessed or reported. Refer to the matrix of programs the district provides: Elementary Ed: Second Step Middle School: Aggressors, Bystanders and Victims High Schools? Suggest a PSA made by the high schools to share with other district schools. PBS program (currently in 17 district schools )

26 Reported Bullying Bullying / Harassment may be reported by the following in person or anonymously: The victim of bullying/ harassment behavior Anyone who witnessed the bullying/harassment Anyone who has credible information that an act of bullying/ harassment has taken place Posters Procedures for reporting an act of bullying/harassment are to be publicized and indicate that a report may be filed in person or anonymously and how the report will be followed up on.

27 Methods for Investigation
Report the incident to administration Have separate conversations with the child who is bullied and the child who did the bullying. Speak first with the child who is bullied Interview witnesses as necessary from both sides.

28 Methods for Investigation
Speak with the parents of the students directly involved. Parents of both students involved must be contacted within 24 hours of the school initiating the investigation. Impose consequences for the bullying child In accordance with the Student Code of Conduct Law enforcement is to be notified as necessary. Inform the parents/guardians of both parties the result of the investigation and action taken including efforts to prevent recurrence. School Board Policy (Bullying and Harassment Policy: Section VI – VII give details of what should be included in the investigation and how to investigate): Go over these sections with the participants.

29 Methods for Investigation
Refer incident and both students to the Integrated Services Team for further follow-up (school based counseling referral, etc….) Maintain all documentation for reporting. All communications with parent/guardians must be applicable to FERPA provisions. (See Policy section VI-VII) A disciplinary Referral coded as Bullying requires an incident report to be generated for reporting to the state. School Board Policy (Bullying and Harassment Policy: Section VI – VII give details of what should be included in the investigation and how to investigate): Go over these sections with the participants. Bullying is a SESIR (School Environmental Safety Indicator Report) incident which is reported to the state.

30 Further implications All reports of bullying and harassment are to be investigated as outlined by: School Board Policy (Bullying and Harassment Policy School Board Policy 2.70 (Prohibiting Discrimination, Including Sexual and Other Forms of Harassment) Student Code of Conduct

31 References: “Bullying: What’s New and What To Do”. National Crime Prevention Council <>. Whiteman, Donna. “Addressing Bullying in Schools”.

32 References: “Bullying: What’s New and What To Do”. National Crime Prevention Council <>. Whiteman, Donna. “Addressing Bullying in Schools”. Kansas Anti-Bullying & Character Development Legislation, 2008. “Bullying Among Children & Youth”. Health Resources and Services Administration <

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