• Bullying

     

    General Information

    The Harris County School Board of Education believes that all students can learn better in a safe school environment. Behavior that infringes on the safety of students will not be tolerated. Bullying, as the term is defined in Georgia law, of a student by another student is strictly prohibited. Such prohibition shall be included in the Handbook and Code of Conduct for all schools within the school system.

    Students who experience bullying are encouraged to report and share information with any school district personnel. Students who want to make a report of bullying behavior in writing, may obtain and fill out a “Silent Report” form. These forms are available in the offices of school counselors and school administrative offices.

    Additional reporting resource:
    Statewide Bullying Hotline: 1-877-729-7867 OR 1-877-SAY-STOP

    Bullying behavior is defined as:

    1. Any willful attempt or threat to inflict injury on another person, when accompanied by an apparent present ability to do so; or
    2. Any intentional display of force such as would give the victim reason to fear or expect immediate bodily harm; or
    3. Any intentional written, verbal, or physical act, which a reasonable person would perceive as being intended to threaten, harass, or intimidate, that:
      • Causes another person substantial physical harm within the meaning of Code Section 16-5-23.1 or visible bodily harm as such term is defined in Code Section 16-5-23.1. Visible bodily harm is defined by 16-5-23.1 as bodily harm capable of being perceived by a person other than the victim;
      • Has the effect of substantially interfering with a student’s education;
      • Is so severe, persistent, or pervasive that it creates an intimidating or threatening educational environment; or
      • Has the effect of substantially disrupting the orderly operation of the school.

    The term applies to acts which occur on school property, on school vehicles, at designated school bus stops, or at school related functions or activities or by use of data or software that is accessed through a computer, computer system, computer network, or other electronic technology of a local school system. The term ‘bullying’ as used in this Policy also applies to cyber bullying, which is behavior that occurs through the use of electronic communication, whether or not such electronic act originated on school property or with school equipment, where such electronic communication:

     

    1. Is directed specifically at students or school personnel;
    2. Is maliciously intended for the purpose of threatening the safety of those specified or substantially disrupting the orderly operation of the school, and
    3. Creates a reasonable fear of harm to the students’ or school personnel’s person or property or has a high likelihood of succeeding in that purpose.

     For the purposes of this Rule, electronic communication includes but is not limited to any transfer of signs, signals, writings, images, sounds, data, or intelligence of any nature transmitted in whole or in part by wire, radio, electromagnetic, photo electronic or photo optical system.

    Upon a finding by a school administrator that a student has either committed a bullying offense or has been a victim of bullying, the student’s parent or guardian will be notified.

    Each reported incident of bullying behavior will be documented and investigated by the school principal / designee, and a disposition determined which may include suspension from school or a referral to the Student Discipline Tribunal. School district personnel will conduct follow-ups on reports as appropriate.

    Any person who reports in good faith an incident of bullying, harassment, or intimidation to an appropriate school official, and who makes this report in compliance with the procedures in the school district’s policy shall be immune from civil liability for any damages caused by such reporting or any failure to remedy the reported incident.

    Note that some student misconduct prohibited by this policy may also trigger responsibilities under the District’s policies preventing discrimination on the basis of Sex, Race, Color, National Origin, Religion, Disability, Gender and/or Age. Individuals receiving complaints of bullying or harassment should consider both sets of District policies that prohibit both ‘bullying’ and peer harassment based on Sex, Race, Color, National Origin, Religion, Disability, Gender and/or Age.

    If a student in grades third through twelfth is found guilty of bullying behavior by the discipline tribunal for the third time in a school year, that student shall be assigned to an alternative school.

    Any report of retaliation against a reporter of bullying will be investigated and addressed accordingly.

     

    MANDATORY PUNISHMENTS

    Bullying and Cyberbullying - Any student in grades 6-12 who has committed and been punished twice for the offense of bullying and cyberbullying as defined in Section 1.08 Bullying and Section 1.09 Cyberbullying who is alleged to have committed a third act of bullying or cyberbullying within a school year shall be referred to a hearing before a disciplinary hearing tribunal. If the student is found guilty of a third offense by the tribunal of the offense of bullying or cyberbullying, the student shall be assigned to the Harris County Educational Opportunity Center for such time as the tribunal deems appropriate; provided however, this shall not prohibit the expulsion or long-term suspension of the student for the third offense. A student may also in the discretion of the school administration be referred to a disciplinary hearing tribunal for the first or second offense of bullying or cyberbullying. Administration may apply age appropriate guidelines. Any conflicts or omissions shall be governed by the Harris County Board of Education Policy JCDAG.

     

    Frequently Asked Questions

     What is the definition of bullying and where can I find it in the District's handbook?

     1.08 Bullying

    A student commits the offense of bullying when the student commits an act which occurs on school property, on school vehicles, at designated school bus stops, or at school related functions or activities, or by use of data or software that is accessed through a computer, computer system, computer network, or other electronic technology of a local school system, that is:

     

    1. Any willful attempt or threat to inflict injury on another person, when accompanied by an apparent present ability to do so;

     

    1. Any intentional display of force such as would give the victim reason to fear or expect immediate bodily harm; or

     

    1. Any intentional written, verbal, or physical act, which a reasonable person would perceive as being intended to threaten, harass, or intimidate, that:

    Causes another person substantial physical harm within the meaning of Code Section 16-5-23.1 or visible bodily harm as such term is defined in Code Section 16-5-23.1;

     

    1. Has the effect of substantially interfering with a student's education;

     

    1. Is so severe, persistent, or pervasive that it creates an intimidating or threatening

    educational environment; or

     

    1. Has the effect of substantially disrupting the orderly operation of the school.

     

    1.09. Cyberbullying

    Cyberbullying is defined as-

     

    1. A student commits the offense of cyberbullying when the student uses any electronic communication, by individuals or groups, to:
    2. Make a true threat against a student or school employee;

     

    1. Materially disrupt school operations; or

     

    1. Substantially impinge on the rights of another student such as, but not limited to: creating reasonable fear of harm to the student's person or property; creating a substantially detrimental effect on the student's physical or mental health; substantially interfering with a student's academic performance or interfering with the student's ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or privileges provided by the school; or being so severe, persistent, or pervasive as to cause severe emotional distress.

     

    1. Includes conduct that is based on, but not limited to, a student's actual or perceived race, color, national origin, gender, religion, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity, distinguishing physical or personal characteristic, socioeconomic status; or association with any person identified in section I (2)(b)(i)-(ix).

     

    1. As used herein, the term "electronic communications "means communications through any electronic device, including, but not limited to computers, telephone, mobile phone, and pagers, and any type of communication, including, but not limited to, emails, instant messages, text messages, text messages, picture messages, and web-sites.

     

    1. Jurisdiction for Cyberbullying
    2. No student shall be subjected to cyberbullying by an electronic communication that bears the imprimatur of the school regardless of whether such electronic communication originated on or off the school's campus.

     

    1. The school shall have jurisdiction to prohibit cyberbullying that originates on the school's campus if the electronic communication was made using the school's technological resources or the electronic communication was made on the school's campus using the student's own personal technological resources.

     

    1. The school shall have jurisdiction to prohibit cyberbullying that originates off the school's campus if: (a) it was reasonably foreseeable that the electronic communication would reach the school's campus; or (b) there is a sufficient nexus between the electronic communication and the school which includes, but is not limited to speech that is directed at a school-specific audience, or the speech was brought onto or accessed on the school campus, even if it was not the student in question who did so.

     

    What are some signs that my child may be a target of bullying?

    Here are the top ten: 1. Unexplained injuries; 2. Changes in appetite; 3. Frequent sick days; 4. Missing personal items; 5. Suffering grades; 6. Tendency to self-harm; 7. Isolation; 8. Avoidance; 9. Loss of sleep; and 10. Exclusion from social activities

     

    What do I do if I believe my child is being bullied?

    Immediately contact the school first. Request to speak with a school counselor, assistant principal or principal to discuss bullying.

     

    What do I do about a threatening electronic message (cyber bullying)?

    Make copy of document, take a screen shot, take a picture with your phone, or print document. Bring documentation to the school counselor or available administrator.

     

    How can I report anonymous bullying?

    1. You can make a silent report to the school.
    2. Contact the Statewide Bullying Hotline: 1-877-729-7867 / 1-877-SAY-STOP

     

    What procedure do schools use to address bullying?

    All school personnel must report known or suspected acts of bullying to the principal or designee. The principal or designee will conduct a prompt and thorough investigation to validate the claim. If the allegation is substantiated, an age appropriate consequence ranging from counseling the student to punishment will occur. The administrator must then notify all parents, counsel all students, and conduct periodic follow-ups with all involved.