Bullying Prevention Policy

 
The Safe Place to Learn Act (AB 34, Ramos) requires school districts to adopt and post policies to promote educational equity, including District policies pertaining to non-discrimination, bullying and harassment prevention policies, and suicide prevention policies.  The Safe Place to Learn Act specifies that school districts must ensure that specified information on bullying and harassment prevention is readily accessible in a prominent location on the District's internet website in a manner that is easily accessible to parents or guardians and pupils.  Please take a moment to review Fountain Valley School District's Bullying Prevention Policy, as approved September 6, 2018. 

 

STUDENTS                                                                                                             BP 5131.2

BULLYING

The Board of Trustees recognizes the harmful effects of bullying on student learning and school attendance and desires to provide safe school environments that protect 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 student or group of students shall, through physical, written, verbal, or other means, harass, sexually harass, threaten, intimidate, cyberbully, cause bodily injury to, or commit hate violence against any other student or school personnel.

(cf. 5131 - Conduct) (cf. 5136 - Gangs)

(cf. 5145.3 - Nondiscrimination/Harassment) (cf. 5145.7 - Sexual Harassment) (cf. 5145.9 - Hate-Motivated Behavior)

 

Definitions

  1. Bullying means any severe or pervasive physical or verbal act or conduction, including communications made in writing or by means of an electronic act, and including one or more acts committed by a student or group of students as defined in 48900.2, 48900.3, or 4, directed toward one or more students that has or can be reasonably predicted to have the effect of one or more of the following:
    1. Placing a reasonable student or students in fear of harm to that student's or those students' person or
    2. Causing a reasonable student to experience a substantially detrimental effect on his or her physical or mental
    3. Causing a reasonable student to experience substantial interference with his or her academic
    4. Causing a reasonable student to experience substantial interference with his or her ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or privileges provided by a
  2. Cyberbullying means 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

(cf. 5195.2 - Freedom of Speech/Expression)

While not an exhaustive list, examples of bullying/cyberbullying might include:

 

  1. Direct physical contact, such as hitting or shoving
  2. Threats to harm another person
  3. Oral or written assaults, such as teasing or name-calling
  4. Social isolation or manipulation
  5. Posting harassing messages, direct threats, social cruelty or other harmful texts, sounds, or images on the Internet, including social networking sites
  6. Posting or sharing false or defamatory information about another person
  7. Posting or sharing information about another person that is private
  8. Pretending to be another person on a social networking site or other electronic communication in order to damage that person's reputation or friendships
  9. Posting or sharing photographs of other people without their permission
  10. Spreading hurtful or demeaning materials created by another person (e.g. forwarding offensive emails or text messages)
  11. Retaliating against someone for complaining that they have been bullied
  12. 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 web site, by means of an electronic device, including, but not limited to, a telephone, wireless telephone, or other wireless communication device, computer, or
  13. Reasonable student means a student, including, but not limited to, a student with disabilities, 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

 

The district prohibits all forms of bullying and cyberbullying as defined in this policy. This includes, but is not limited to, discrimination, harassment, intimidation, and bullying based on the actual or perceived characteristics set forth in Penal Code 422.55 and Education Code 220, and disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, nationality, race or ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics. (Education Code 234.1(a); 48900(r))

(cf. 0410 - Nondiscrimination in district Programs or Activities) (cf. 5145.7 - Sexual Harassment) 

In addition, the district prohibits retaliation against complainants.

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

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, cafeterias.

 

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.

The Superintendent or designee shall 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)

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.

 

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

As 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 shall be investigated and resolved in accordance with site-level grievance procedures specified in AR 1312.3 - Uniform Complaint Procedures.

 

The identity of a complainant alleging discrimination, harassment, or bullying shall remain confidential as appropriate within the dual contexts of the district's legal obligation to ensure a learning environment free from discrimination, harassment, intimidation, and bullying, and the right of the accused to be informed of the allegations. Some level of disclosure may be necessary to ensure a complete and fair investigation, although the district will comply with requests for confidentiality to the extent possible.

 

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.

 

If the student is using 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 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 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)

 

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 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)

 

 

Policy                                                 FOUNTAIN VALLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT

approved:  September 6, 2018                                          Fountain Valley, California