Bullying Prevention and Reporting
Bullying, a behavior that hurts, harms, or humiliates someone physically or emotionally, is a serious issue that impacts thousands of students every day. As damaging as a bully may be, there is hope! With education and awareness, bullying can be prevented at school, in neighborhoods, and online.
PESD believes that a safe and civil school environment is necessary for students to learn and achieve and that bullying causes physical, psychological, and emotional harm to students and interferes with their ability to learn and participate in school activities. Bullying has been linked to other forms of antisocial behavior, such as vandalism, shoplifting, skipping and dropping out of school, fighting, and violence. It is the goal of PESD to create a learning environment in all its school communities where all students feel safe and supported, are protected from bullying, and are able to succeed academically and develop socially and emotionally into responsible, caring individuals.
What is Bullying?
Examples of Prohibited Conduct in Administrative Regulation 5131.2(a)
Bullying is 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).
Cyberbullying includes the electronic creation or transmission of harassing communications, direct threats, or other harmful texts, sounds, or images. Cyberbullying also includes breaking into another person's electronic account or assuming that person's online identity in order to damage that person's reputation.
(cf. 5145.2 - Freedom of Speech/Expression)
(cf. 6163.4 - Student Use of Technology)
Types of Bullying
Examples of the types of conduct that may constitute bullying and are prohibited by the district include, but are not limited to:
- Physical bullying: An act that inflicts harm upon a person's body or possessions, such as hitting, kicking, pinching, spitting, tripping, pushing, taking or breaking someone's possessions, or making cruel or rude hand gestures.
- Verbal bullying: An act that includes saying or writing hurtful things, such as teasing, name-calling, inappropriate sexual comments, taunting, or threats to cause harm.
- Social/relational bullying: An act that harms a person's reputation or relationships, such as leaving a person out of activity on purpose, influencing others not to be friends with someone, spreading rumors, or embarrassing someone in public.
- Cyberbullying: An act such as sending demeaning or hateful text messages or emails, spreading rumors by email or by posting on social networking sites, or posting or sharing embarrassing photos, videos, websites, or fake profiles.
What to do if you think a child is being bullied?
- Report acts of bullying to any school employee
- Complaints of bullying will be investigated and resolved in accordance with Board Policy AR 1312.3, Uniform Complaint Procedures.
- When a student is reported to be engaging in bullying off-campus, we will investigate and document the activity and identify specific facts or circumstances that explain the impact or potential impact on school activity, school attendance, or the targeted student's educational performance (see section below titled Reporting and Filing of Complaints)
- When the circumstances involve cyberbullying, individuals are encouraged to save and print any electronic or digital messages that they feel constitutes cyber-bullying and to report it to a teacher, staff member, or school administrator.
Reporting Board Policies and Administrative Regulations
PESD has implemented measures to prevent bullying in district schools, including, but not limited to, the following:
- Each school site has established clear rules for student conduct and implements strategies to promote a positive learning environment.
- Providing information to students, through student handbooks, district and school websites and social media, and other age-appropriate means, about the district and school rules related to bullying, mechanisms available for reporting incidents or threats, and the consequences for engaging in bullying.
- Students are encouraged to notify school staff when they are being bullied or when they suspect another student is being bullied.
- Sites conduct assessments of bullying incidents, and if necessary increase supervision in areas where bullying may be suspected, such as playgrounds, hallways, cafeterias, etc.
- Teaching all students social and emotional skills and establishing classroom and school-wide practices that promote relationship-building, including teaching all school stakeholders to speak out when they see or hear bullying, degrading language, and bias or prejudice.
- Students receive bully prevention lessons that identify bullying and strategies to combat bullying.
Reporting and Filing of Complaints
Any student, parent/guardian, or other individual who believes that a student has been subjected to bullying or who has witnessed bullying may report 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. 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.
Within two business days of receiving a report of bullying, the principal shall notify the district compliance officer identified in AR 1312.3.
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 employees 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.
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. When appropriate 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.
All certificated staff and other employees who have regular interaction with students are provided access to the California Department of Education (CDE) online training module on the dynamics of bullying and cyberbullying, including the identification of bullying and cyberbullying and the implementation of strategies to address bullying. (Education Code 32283.5) CDE Resources
Training is provided for 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:
- Discuss the diversity of the student body and school community
- Discuss bullying prevention strategies with students, and teach students to recognize the behavior and characteristics of bullying perpetrators and victims.
- Identify the signs of bullying or harassing behavior.
- Take immediate corrective action when bullying is observed.
- Report incidents to the appropriate authorities, including law enforcement, in instances of criminal behavior.
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, educational therapist, school nurse, or PESD Student Services Support Staff for counseling, case management and/or participation in restorative justice as appropriate.
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.
Information and Resources
The following resource links are available:
- The California Department of Education (CDE) offers an online training module on the dynamics of bullying, including the identification of bullying and cyberbullying and the implementation of strategies to address bullying. (Education Code 32283.5) CDE Resources
- National PTA Connect for Respect
- What You Should Know
- What Can You Do
- Support the Kids Involved
- Prevent Bullying
- Respond to Bullying