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Del Norte County USD |  BP  5131.2  Students

Bullying   

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The Governing Board recognizes the harmful effects of bullying on 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. No individual or group shall, through physical, written, verbal, or other means, harass, sexually harass, threaten, intimidate, retaliate, cyberbully, cause bodily injury to, or commit hate violence against any student or school personnel. Additionally, the Governing Board shall not tolerate retaliation, in any form, when bullying has been reported. It is the Governing Board's expectation that all schools and all district personnel promote (among students and employees) mutual respect, tolerance, and acceptance. " All students and staff of primary, elementary, junior high, and senior high schools have the inalienable right to attend campuses that are 'safe, secure, and peaceful." (Article 1, Section 28 (c) of the California State Constitution)

(cf. 5131 - Conduct)

(cf. 5136 - Gangs)

(cf. 5145.3 - Nondiscrimination/Harassment)

(cf. 5145.7 - Sexual Harassment)

(cf. 5145.9 - Hate-Motivated Behavior)

Definitions

Bullying is an aggressive behavior that involves a real or perceived imbalance of power between individuals with the intent to cause emotional or physical harm. Bullying can be physical, verbal, or social/relational and may involve a single severe act or repetition or potential repetition of a deliberate act. Bullying includes, but is not limited to, any act described in Education Code 48900(r).

Bullying is a form of violence. Acts of bullying involve real or perceived imbalance of power with the more powerful student, person, or group attacking those who are less powerful.

Bullying is subjecting a person to abusive actions. Typically, bullying behavior is unprovoked, intentional, and repeated over time; and includes the use of hurtful words and/or acts.

Bullying may include, but is not limited to gestures or written, verbal, or physical acts that are reasonably perceived as being motivated by general disrespect or by any actual or perceived characteristics, such as race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, a mental, physical, or sensory disability, or on the basis of association with an individual who falls into one of the protected categories, that takes place on school property, on any school sponsored function, or on a school bus, or that (1) places a student or school employee in reasonable fear of harm to his or her person or well-being; or damage to his or her property or (2) has the effect of substantially interfering with the student's educational performance, opportunities, or benefits; or (3) has the effect of substantially disrupting the orderly operation of the school.

Possible Indicators of Bullying Behavior

1. Bullying can occur through face-to-face interactions or via written, telephonic, or online electronic communication. Bullying behaviors are usually repetitive in nature and may include, but are not necessarily limited to the following:

2. Verbal: An act that includes saying or writing hurtful things, such as teasing, name-calling, making inappropriate sexual comments, making rude noises, taunting, making threats to cause harm.

3. Physical: An act that inflicts harm upon a person's body or possessions, such as hitting, kicking, pinching, pushing, shoving, poking, tripping, strangling, hair pulling, beating, biting, spitting, taking or breaking/damaging someone's possessions, or making cruel or rude hand gestures.

4. Emotional (Psychological): Rejecting, terrorizing, extorting, defaming, intimidating, humiliating, blackmailing, manipulating friendships, isolating, ostracizing.

5. Social/relational: An act that harms a person's reputation or relationships, by leaving a person out of an activity on purpose, influencing others not to be friends with someone, using peer pressure, or rating or ranking personal characteristics, spreading rumors, or embarrassing someone in public.

6. Cyber Bullying: An act such as sending demeaning or hateful text messages or spreading rumors by email. 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)

(cf. 6163.4 - Student Use of Technology)

7. Any act that has the effect of insulting or demeaning any individual or group of individuals in such a way as to cause distress, reluctance to attend school, a decline in quality of work, or exhibit problem behaviors.

Strategies for addressing bullying in district schools shall be developed with the involvement of key stakeholders, including students, parents/guardians, and staff, and may be incorporated into the comprehensive safety plan, the local control and accountability plan, and other applicable district and school plans.

(cf. 0420 - School Plans/Site Councils)

(cf. 0450 - Comprehensive Safety Plan)

(cf. 0460 - Local Control and Accountability Plan)

(cf. 1220 - Citizen Advisory Committees)

(cf. 6020 - Parent Involvement)

As appropriate, the Superintendent or designee may collaborate with law enforcement, courts, social services, mental health services, other agencies, and community organizations in the development and implementation of joint strategies to promote safety in schools and the community and to provide services for alleged victims and perpetrators of bullying.

(cf. 1020 - Youth Services)

Measures to Prevent Bullying

The Superintendent or designee shall implement measures to prevent bullying in district schools, including, but not limited to, the following:

1. Ensuring that each school establishes clear rules for student conduct and implements strategies to promote a positive, collaborative school climate.

(cf. 5131 - Conduct)

(cf. 5137 - Positive School Climate)

2. Providing information to students, through student handbooks, district and school web sites and social media, and other age-appropriate means, about district and school rules related to bullying, as well as mechanisms available for reporting incidents or threats, and the consequences for engaging in bullying.

3. Encouraging students to notify school staff when they are being bullied or when they suspect that another student is being bullied, and providing means by which students may report threats or incidents confidentially and anonymously.

4. Conducting an assessment of bullying incidents at each school and, if necessary, increasing supervision and security in areas where bullying most often occurs, such as playgrounds, hallways, restrooms, and cafeterias.

5. Annually notifying district employees that, pursuant to Education Code 234.1, any school staff who witnesses an act of bullying against a student has a responsibility to immediately intervene to stop the incident when it is safe to do so; and if it is not deemed safe, the employee witness is required to immediately seek assistance from a colleague or administrator.

(cf. 5137 - Positive School Climate)

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. A telephone hotline, an email address, and an online portal (StopBullying@dnusd.org) shall be established and maintained for the purpose of anonymously reporting claims of bullying. This information shall be posted on the District website and at every school site, in areas that are clearly visible to students, staff, volunteers, and parents and guardians.

When appropriate, based on the severity or pervasiveness of substantiated bullying behavior, the Superintendent or designee shall notify the parents/guardians of victims and perpetrators and may contact law enforcement.

The Superintendent, principal, or principal's designee may refer a victim, witness, perpetrator, or other student affected by an act of bullying to a school counselor, school psychologist, social worker, child welfare attendance personnel, school nurse, or other school support service personnel for case management, counseling, and/or participation in a restorative justice program as appropriate (Education Code 48900.9).

If any student involved in bullying exhibits warning signs of suicidal thought or intention or of intent to harm another person, the Superintendent or designee shall, as appropriate, implement district intervention protocols which may include, but are not limited to, referral to district or community mental health services, other health professionals, and/or law enforcement.

(cf. 5141.52 - Suicide Prevention)

Reporting and Filing of Complaints

Students may submit to a teacher or administrator a verbal or written complaint of conduct they consider to be bullying. Complaints of bullying shall be investigated and resolved in accordance with the district's uniform complaint procedures as specified in AR 1312.3 - Uniform Complaint Procedures.

Any student, parent/guardian, or other individual who believes that a student has been subjected to bullying or who has witnessed bullying may report (verbally or in writing) the incident to a teacher, the principal, a compliance officer, or any other available school employee. When a report of bullying is submitted, the principal or a district compliance officer shall inform the student or parent/guardian of the right to file a formal written complaint in accordance with AR 1312.3 - Uniform Complaint Procedures. The student who is the alleged victim of the bullying shall be given an opportunity to describe the incident, identify witnesses who may have relevant information, and provide other evidence of bullying.

(cf. 1312.3 - Uniform Complaint Procedures)

Within one business day of receiving such a report, a staff member shall notify the principal of the report, whether or not a uniform complaint is filed. In addition, any school employee who observes an incident of bullying involving a student shall, within one business day, report his/her observation to the principal or district compliance officer, whether or not the alleged victim files a complaint.

If the principal or designee is unable to resolve the issue at the site level, the principal shall notify the district compliance officer identified in AR 1312.3 - Uniform Complaint Procedures. (Within two business days of receiving a report of bullying). All substantiated reports of bullying shall be reported (by the principal or designee) to the District's Uniform Complaint Officer.

(cf. 1312.3 - Uniform Complaint Procedures)

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 may file a request with the networking site or service to suspend the privileges of the student and to have the material removed.

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 a report of bullying is submitted, the principal or a district compliance officer shall inform the student or parent/guardian of the right to file a formal written complaint in accordance with AR 1312.3. The student who is the alleged victim of bullying shall be given an opportunity to describe the incident, identify witnesses who may have relevant information, and provide other evidence of bullying.

Investigation and Resolution of Complaints

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, as specified in AR 1312.3. If, during a bullying 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.

If the Superintendent or designee believes it is in the best interest of a student who has been the victim of an act of bullying, as defined in Education Code 48900, the Superintendent or designee shall advise the student's parents/guardians that the student may transfer to another school. If the parents/guardians of a student who has been the victim of an act of bullying requests a transfer for the student pursuant to Education Code 46600, the Superintendent or designee shall allow the transfer in accordance with law and district policy on intradistrict or interdistrict transfer, as applicable.

(cf. 5116.1 - Intradistrict Open Enrollment)

(cf. 5117 - Interdistrict Attendance)

Discipline

Corrective actions for a student who commits an act of bullying of any type may include counseling, behavioral intervention and education, and, if the behavior is severe or pervasive as defined in Education Code 48900, may include suspension or expulsion in accordance with district policies and regulations.

(cf. 5138 - Conflict Resolution/Peer Mediation)

(cf. 5144 - Discipline)

(cf. 5144.1 - Suspension and Expulsion/Due Process)

(cf. 5144.2 - Suspension and Expulsion/Due Process (Students with Disabilities))

(cf. 6159.4 - Behavioral Interventions for Special Education Students)

Any student who has been found to engage 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 in accordance with district policies and regulations. Further, any such student shall also be provided with an intervention that addresses the function of the bullying behavior.

When appropriate, if it has been established that bullying has occurred, based on the severity or pervasiveness of the bullying, the Superintendent or designee shall notify the parents/guardians of victims and perpetrators and may contact law enforcement.

Any employee who permits or engages in bullying or retaliation related to bullying shall be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal, in accordance with applicable collective bargaining agreements and Board policies.

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

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

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

Staff Development

The Superintendent or designee shall annually require all certificated staff and other employees and district volunteers who have regular interaction with students, complete on an annual basis, the California Department of Education's online training module on the dynamics of bullying and cyberbullying, which includes the identification of bullying and cyberbullying and the implementation of strategies to address bullying. (Education Code 32283.5)

The Superintendent or designee shall also provide training to teachers and other school staff to raise their awareness about the legal obligation of the district and its employees to prevent discrimination, harassment, intimidation, and bullying of district students. Such training shall be designed to provide staff with the skills to:

1. Discuss the diversity of the student body and school community, including their varying immigration experiences

2. Discuss bullying prevention strategies with students, and teach students to recognize the behavior and characteristics of bullying perpetrators and victims

3. Identify the signs of bullying or harassing behavior

4. Take immediate corrective action when bullying is observed

5. Report incidents to the appropriate authorities, including law enforcement in instances of criminal behavior

(cf. 4131 - Staff Development)

(cf. 4231 - Staff Development)

(cf. 4331 - Staff Development)

Information and Resources

The Superintendent or designee shall post on the district's web site, in a prominent location and in a manner that is easily accessible to students and parents/guardians, information on bullying and harassment prevention which includes the following: (Education Code 234.6)

1. The district's policy on student suicide prevention including a reference to the policy's age appropriateness for students in grades K-6.

(cf. 5141.52-Suicide Prevention)

2. The definition of sex discrimination and harassment as described in Education Code 230, including the rights set forth in Education Code 221.8.

3. Title IX information included on the district's web site pursuant to Education Code 221.61, and a link to the Title IX information included on CDE's web site pursuant to Education Code 221.6.

4. District policies on student sexual harassment, prevention and response to hate violence, discrimination, harassment, intimidation, bullying, and cyberbullying.

(cf. 5145.3 - Nondiscrimination/Harassment)

(cf. 5145.7 - Sexual Harassment)

(cf. 5145.9 - Hate-Motivated Behavior)

5. A section on social media bullying that includes all of the references described in Education Code 234.6 as possible forums for social media.

6. A link to statewide resources, including community-based organizations, compiled by CDE pursuant to Education Code 234.5.

7. Any additional information the Superintendent or designee deems important for preventing bullying and harassment

(cf. 1113 - District and School Web Sites)

Student Instruction

As appropriate, the district shall provide students with instruction in the classroom or other educational settings that promotes social-emotional learning, effective communication and conflict resolution skills, character development, 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)

Such instruction shall also educate students about the negative impact of bullying, discrimination, intimidation, and harassment based on actual or perceived immigration status, religious beliefs and customs, or any other individual bias or prejudice.

Students should be taught the difference between appropriate and inappropriate behaviors, how to advocate for themselves, how to help another student who is being bullied, and when to seek assistance from a trusted adult. As role models for students, staff shall be expected to demonstrate effective problem-solving and anger management skills.

To discourage cyberbullying, teachers may advise students to be cautious about sharing passwords, personal data, or private photos online and to consider the consequences of making negative comments about others online.

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 may file a request with the networking site or service to suspend the privileges of the student and to have the material removed.

Measuring Effects of Bullying Prevention Measures

On an annual basis, after the end of each school year, each school site shall be required to submit a report on the number of reported and type of substantiated bullying incidents (physical, verbal, or cyberbullying) that occurred at the school during that year. A comparison will be made to the previous year's data to determine the extent to which planned and executed site-based bullying prevention measures were effective. This information, along with other relevant data, such as California Healthy Kids Survey reports, Student Information System reports, counseling referrals for bullying, and available quantitative data regarding law enforcement reports made that address bullying, shall be used to help inform staff when making decisions about bullying prevention programs, services, and resources. A comprehensive report will be made at a public meeting of the Board of Education prior to the start of the following school year. This will enable staff to get feedback and make any necessary adjustments to practice and/or training to be scheduled for the next school year.

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

4600 Student transfers

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

4600-4687 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

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

Engagement, 2009

Cyberbullying: Policy Considerations for Boards, Policy Brief, July 2007

CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION PUBLICATIONS

California's Social and Emotional Learning: Guiding Principles, 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

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

Dear Colleague Letter: Bullying of Students with Disabilities, August 2013

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 DEL NORTE COUNTY UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT

adopted: August 13, 2015 Crescent City, California

revised: June 28, 2018

revised: December 12, 2019

revised: April 9, 2020