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Alameda City USD  |  BP  5131.2  Students

Bullying   

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The Governing Board recognizes the harmful effects of bullying on student well-being, student learning, and school attendance and desires to provide a safe school environment that protects students from physical and emotional harm.

District employees shall establish student safety as a high priority and shall not tolerate bullying of any student. Superintendent or designee shall take steps to ensure that district employees become familiar with the AUSD Anti-Bullying Statement and the AUSD bullying reporting form.

No individual or group shall, through physical, written, verbal, visual, or other means, harass, sexually harass, threaten, intimidate, cyberbully, cause bodily injury to, or commit hate violence against any student or school personnel, or retaliate against them for filing a complaint or participating in the complaint resolution process.

"Bullying" is legally defined by California Education Code 48900(r) as any severe or pervasive physical or verbal act or conduct, including communications made in writing or by means of an electronic act. These acts can be reasonably perceived as being dehumanizing, intimidating, hostile, humiliating, threatening, or otherwise likely to evoke fear of physical harm or emotional distress. Bullying may be motivated either by bias or prejudice based upon any actual or perceived characteristic (such as race, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression); a mental, physical or sensory disability or impairment; or by any other distinguishing characteristic. An "electronic act" means the transmission of a communication (including but not limited to a message, text, sound, or image, or a post on a social network internet website) by means of an electronic device (including but not limited to a telephone, wireless telephone or other wireless communication device, computer or pager). A "reasonable pupil" means a pupil (including but not limited to an exceptional needs pupil) who exercises average care, skill, and judgment in conduct for a person of his or her age or for a person of his or her age with his or her exceptional needs.

(cf. 5131 - Conduct)

(cf. 5136 - Gangs)

(cf. 5145.3 - Nondiscrimination/Harassment)

(cf. 5145.7 - Sexual Harassment)

(cf. 5145.9 - Hate-Motivated Behavior)

Cyberbullying includes the transmission of harassing communications, direct threats, or other harmful texts, sounds, or images on the Internet, social media, or other technologies using a telephone, computer, or any wireless communication device. Cyberbullying also includes breaking into another person's electronic account and assuming that person's identity in order to damage that person's reputation.

(cf. 5145.2 - Freedom of Speech/Expression)

The Superintendent or designee shall develop strategies for addressing bullying in district schools with the involvement of students, parents/guardians, and staff. As appropriate, the Superintendent or designee may also collaborate with social services, mental health services, law enforcement, courts, and other agencies and community organizations in the development and implementation of effective strategies to promote safety in schools and the community.

Such strategies shall be incorporated into the comprehensive safety plan and, to the extent possible, into the local control and accountability plan and other applicable district and school plans.

Strategies for bullying prevention and intervention shall be developed with involvement of key stakeholders in accordance with law, Board policy, and administrative regulation governing the development of comprehensive safety plans and shall be incorporated into such plans.

(cf. 0420 - School Plans/Site Councils)

(cf. 0450 - Comprehensive Safety Plan)

(cf. 1220 - Citizen Advisory Committees)

(cf. 1400 - Relations Between Other Governmental Agencies and the Schools)

(cf. 6020 - Parent Involvement)

Bullying Prevention

To the extent possible, district and school strategies shall focus on prevention of bullying by establishing clear rules for student conduct and strategies to establish a positive, collaborative school climate. Students shall be informed, through student handbooks, the AUSD Anti-Bullying Statement, and other appropriate means, of district and school rules related to bullying, mechanisms available for reporting incidents or threats, and the consequences for perpetrators of bullying. The District shall provide access to the AUSD Anti-Bullying Statement, the Bullying Complaint Form, and information about the Uniform Complaint Procedure to all student families at the beginning of each school year.

(cf. 5137 - Positive School Climate)

(cf. 6164.2 - Guidance/Counseling Services)

The district may provide students with instruction, in the classroom or other educational settings, that promotes effective communication and conflict resolution skills, social skills, character/values education, respect for cultural and individual differences, self-esteem development, assertiveness skills, and appropriate online behavior.

(cf. 6142.8 - Comprehensive Health Education)

(cf. 6142.94 - History-Social Science Instruction)

(cf. 6163.4 - Student Use of Technology)

School staff shall receive related professional development, including information about early warning signs of harassing/intimidating behaviors and effective prevention and intervention strategies.

(cf. 4131 - Staff Development)

(cf. 4231 - Staff Development)

(cf. 4331 - Staff Development)

Based on an assessment of bullying incidents at school, the Superintendent or designee may increase supervision and security in areas where bullying most often occurs, such as classrooms, playgrounds, hallways, restrooms, and cafeterias.

Intervention

Students are encouraged to notify school staff when they are being bullied or suspect that another student is being victimized. In addition, the Superintendent or designee shall develop means for students to report threats or incidents confidentially and anonymously. Written complaints of bullying shall be transmitted to school staff via the Uniform Complaint Procedure Form or AUSD Anti-bullying form, as more fully explained in this policy under "Complaints and Investigation," below. These forms shall be readily available on the District's website and in all classrooms in the District.

School staff who witness bullying shall immediately intervene to stop the incident when it is safe to do so. (Education Code 234.1)

When appropriate, the Superintendent or designee shall notify the parents/guardians of victims and perpetrators. He/she also may involve school counselors, mental health counselors, and/or law enforcement.

Complaints and Investigation

Students may submit to a teacher or administrator a verbal or written complaint of conduct they consider to be bullying. Complaints of bullying based on the person's actual or perceived characteristics of race or ethnicity, color, ancestry, nationality, national origin, ethnic group identification, age, religion, marital, pregnancy, or parental status, physical or mental disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, or genetic information, or any other characteristic identified in Education Code 200 or 220, Government Code 11135, or Penal Code 422.55, or based on his/her association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics (5 CCR 4610)including race, religion, national origin, gender or sexual orientation (actual or perceived), or disability, shall be investigated and resolved in accordance with the district's uniform complaint procedures specified in AR 1312.3 - Uniform Complaint Procedures. Complaints of other forms of bullying may be documented on the AUSD Bullying Complaint Form found on the District's website.

Any complaint of bullying shall be investigated and, if determined to be discriminatory, resolved in accordance with law and the district's uniform complaint procedures specified in AR 1312.3. If, during the investigation, it is determined that a complaint is about nondiscriminatory bullying, the principal or designee shall inform the complainant and shall take all necessary actions to resolve the complaint.

(cf. 1312.3 - Uniform Complaint Procedures)

When a student is reported to be engaging in bullying off campus, the Superintendent or designee shall investigate and document the activity and shall identify specific facts or circumstances that explain the impact or potential impact on school activity, school attendance, or the targeted student's educational performance.

When the circumstances involve cyberbullying, individuals with information about the activity shall be encouraged to save and print any electronic or digital messages that they feel constitute cyberbullying and to notify a teacher, the principal, or other employee so that the matter may be investigated.

When a student uses a social networking site or service to bully or harass another student, the Superintendent or designee shall file a request with the networking site or service to suspend the privileges of the student and to have the material removed.

Discipline

Any student who engages in bullying on school premises or off campus in a manner that causes or is likely to cause a substantial disruption of a school activity or school attendance shall be subject to discipline which may include suspension or expulsion in accordance with the Education Code and district policies and regulations.

Any employee who permits or engages in bullying or retaliation related to bullying shall be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal.

(cf. 4118 - Dismissal/Suspension/Disciplinary Action)

(cf. 4119.21/4219.21/4319.21 - Professional Standards)

(cf. 4218 - Dismissal/Suspension/Disciplinary Action)

Legal Reference:

EDUCATION CODE

200-262.4 Prohibition of discrimination

32282 Comprehensive safety plan

32283.5 Bullying; online training

35181 Governing board policy on responsibilities of students

35291-35291.5 Rules

48900-48925 Suspension or expulsion

48985 Translation of notices

52060-52077 Local control and accountability plan

PENAL CODE

422.55 Definition of hate crime

647 Use of camera or other instrument to invade person's privacy; misdemeanor

647.7 Use of camera or other instrument to invade person's privacy; punishment

653.2 Electronic communication devices, threats to safety

CODE OF REGULATIONS, TITLE 5

4600-4670 Uniform complaint procedures

UNITED STATES CODE, TITLE 47

254 Universal service discounts (e-rate)

CODE OF FEDERAL REGULATIONS, TITLE 28

35.107 Nondiscrimination on basis of disability; complaints

CODE OF FEDERAL REGULATIONS, TITLE 34

104.7 Designation of responsible employee for Section 504

106.8 Designation of responsible employee for Title IX

110.25 Notification of nondiscrimination on the basis of age

COURT DECISIONS

Wynar v. Douglas County School District, (2013) 728 F.3d 1062

J.C. v. Beverly Hills Unified School District, (2010) 711 F.Supp.2d 1094

Lavine v. Blaine School District, (2002) 279 F.3d 719

Management Resources:

CSBA PUBLICATIONS

Final Guidance: AB 1266, Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students, Privacy, Programs, Activities & Facilities, Legal Guidance, March 2014

Providing a Safe, Nondiscriminatory School Environment for Transgender and Gender-Nonconforming Students, Policy Brief, February 2014

Addressing the Conditions of Children: Focus on Bullying, Governance Brief, December 2012

Safe Schools: Strategies for Governing Boards to Ensure Student Success, 2011

Cyberbullying: Policy Considerations for Boards, Policy Brief, rev. July 2010

Building Healthy Communities: A School Leaders Guide to Collaboration and Community Engagement, 2009

CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION PUBLICATIONS

Bullying Module

California's Social and Emotional Learning: Guiding Principles, 2018

Social and Emotional Learning in California: A Guide to Resources, 2018

Health Education Content Standards for California Public Schools: Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve, 2008

Bullying at School, 2003

CALIFORNIA OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL PUBLICATIONS

Promoting a Safe and Secure Learning Environment for All: Guidance and Model Policies to Assist California K-12 Schools in Responding to Immigration Issues, April 2018

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, OFFICE FOR CIVIL RIGHTS PUBLICATIONS

Dear Colleague Letter: Responding to Bullying of Students with Disabilities, October 2014

Guidance to America's Schools: Bullying of Students with Disabilities, October 2014

Dear Colleague Letter: Guidance on Schools' Obligations to Protect Students from Student-on-Student Harassment on the Basis of Sex; Race, Color and National Origin; and Disability, October 26, 2010

Dear Colleague Letter: Harassment and Bullying, October 2010

WEB SITES

CSBA: http://www.csba.org

California Department of Education, Safe Schools Office: http://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/ss

California Office of the Attorney General: http://oag.ca.gov

Center on Great Teachers and Leaders: https://gtlcenter.org

Collaborative for Academic Social and Emotional Learning: https://casel.org

Common Sense Media: http://www.commonsensemedia.org

National School Safety Center: http://www.schoolsafety.us

Partnership for Children and Youth: https://www.partnerforchildren.org

U.S. Department of Education: http://www.ed.gov

Policy ALAMEDA UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT

adopted: June 25, 2013 Alameda, California

revised: November 14, 2017

revised: October 17, 2019