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Bullying : Definitions, Illustrations, Prevention, and Response. Wanda Bradford, Director of School Support Dr . Tim Fulenwider, Director of School Support Margaret Gallegos, Director of School Support Randall Ranes, Director of Instructional Support Services Division

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Bullying : Definitions, Illustrations, Prevention, and Response

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bullying definitions illustrations prevention and response
Bullying: Definitions, Illustrations, Prevention, and Response
  • Wanda Bradford, Director of School Support
  • Dr. Tim Fulenwider, Director of School Support
  • Margaret Gallegos,Director of School Support
  • Randall Ranes, Director of Instructional Support Services Division
  • Melissa Hoyt, Interim Supervisor, Student Services Department

Winter 2012


outline for bullying definitions illustrations prevention and response
Outline for Bullying: Definitions, Illustrations, Prevention, and Response
  • Bullying: Why it matters?
  • Bullying: What is it?
  • Cyberbullying: What is it?
  • Examples of bullying and cyberbullying
  • Ways to create a safe, bully-free environment
  • What to do when you suspect or become aware of bullying


bullying why it matters impact on academic and social development
Bullying: Why it matters(Impact on academic and social development)
  • “In summary, there is considerable evidence that involvement in bullying, as a victim, bully, or bully-victim is associated with serious short-term and long-term psychological and academic consequences” (Swearer, Espelage, & Napolitano, 2009)
  • Bullying has been related to academic deficits (Crick & Grotpeter, 1995, Murray-Close, Ostrov, & Crick, 2007, Prinstein, Boergers, & Vernberg, 2001)


bullying why it matters continued
Bullying: Why it matters (continued)
  • Victims report increased loneliness, greater school avoidance, more thoughts of suicide, and less self-esteem (Hawker & Boulton, 2000; Kochenderfer & Ladd, 1996).
  • Bullies report lower levels of school belonging and higher levels of delinquent behavior (Espelage & Holt, 2001; Haynie, Nansel, & Eitel, 2001).
  • Bully-victims are more hyperactive, more likely to be referred for psychiatric consultation than peers (Nansel et al. 2001; Nansel, Haynie & Simons-Morton, 2003), report higher levels of depression (Swearer et al, 2001), and have lower grades than both bullies and victims (Graham et. al. 2006)
  • Bystanders to bullying report feelings of anxiety and insecurity (Rigby & Slee, 1993)


bullying why it matters legal issues
Bullying: Why it matters(Legal issues)
  • Generally, most civil claims against districts and their personnel allege:
    • Failure to properly supervise and protect students
    • Physical or mental mistreatment, abuse
    • Failure to properly investigate and respond to allegations of harassment, abuse, bullying
    • Failure to identify and assess for special education or Section 504 eligibility
    • Failure to provide appropriate interventions, supports, and services (general education, special education, 504) (Hoonanian, Feb. 2012)


bullying what it is
Bullying: What it is
  • Statutory Definitions and Key Vocabulary
  • Working Definition



Bullying means “any severe or pervasive physical or verbal act or conduct, including communications made in writing or by means of an electronic act, and including one or more acts committed by a pupil or group of pupils as defined in Education Code Sections 48900.2 (sexual harassment), 48900.3 (hate violence), or 48900.4 (harassment, threats and intimidation), directed toward one or more pupils that has or can be reasonably predicted to have the effect of one or more of the following: (a) placing a reasonable pupil(s) in fear of harm to that pupil's or those pupils' person or property; (b) causing a reasonable pupil to experience a substantially detrimental effect on his or her physical or mental health; (c) causing a reasonable pupil to experience substantial interference with his or her academic performance; or (d) causing a reasonable pupil to experience substantial interference with his or her ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or privileges provided by a school” (Education Code Section 48900(r)).


interactive reading
Interactive Reading
  • Tabletop- Five minutes
  • Highlight key words/phrases supporting a determination bullying has occurred
  • Examples from Table Reports


elements of education code definition of bullying
Elements of Education Code Definition of Bullying
  • Severe
  • Pervasive
  • Physical or verbal act/conduct
  • Written/electronic communication
  • Impact on the reasonable pupil
    • Fear of harm (person or property) or
    • Substantial interference with:
      • academic performance
      • participation in or benefit from school services, activities, or privileges


additional misconduct categories embedded in california s bullying definition
Additional Misconduct Categories Embedded in California’s Bullying Definition

Education Code Sections:

  • 48900.2 - Sexual harassment including sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual violence, and sexual coercion
  • 48900.3 - Hate violence
  • 48900.4 - Harassment, threats and intimidation


general working definition of bullying
General “Working Definition” of Bullying

Severe or pervasive verbal or physical misconduct that would impact a reasonable pupil resulting in either:

(1) fear of harm (person or property); or (2) substantial interference with either: (a) academic performance; or

(b) participation in or benefit from services, activities, or privileges.

Note: California’s legal definition of bullying makes no reference to a power imbalance between the bully and his/her victim.


scenarios application of bullying definition
Scenarios: Application of Bullying Definition
  • Out of the pool of four scenarios (#1 - #4), assign each table two scenarios (Maximum time: 10 minutes)
  • Table Reports. Objective: Identify the specific facts in the scenario that support a determination the conduct is or is not bullying


  • Bully is the person perpetrating the conduct listed in the bullying definition
  • Relational Aggressor means a bully that uses social manipulation to harm others by gossiping, threatening to withdraw friendships, or using social exclusion (Leff, Waasdorp, & Crick, 2010)


  • A victim of bullying is a person physically or psychologically abused by a peer who is intentionally aggressive either in a severe manner or repeatedly and over time (see Olweus, 1993)
  • Bully-Victim means a student who reports both being a victim of bullying and being a perpetrator of bullying.



Transmission, by means of an electronic device, including, but not limited to, a telephone, wireless telephone, or other wireless communication device, computer, or pager, of a communication, including, but not limited to, any of the following: (a) a message, text, sound, or image; (b) a post on a social network Internet Web site including, but not limited to: (1) posting to or creating a burn page; (2) creating a credible impersonation of another actual pupil or (3) creating a false profile (Education Code 48900(r)).

Note: An electronic act shall not constitute pervasive conduct solely on the basis that it has been transmitted on the Internet or is currently posted on the Internet (Education Code 48900(r)).


elements of education code definition of cyberbullying
Elements of Education Code Definition of Cyberbullying
  • Bullying by an electronic act
  • Burn page
  • Credible impersonation
  • False profile


examples of bullying
Examples of Bullying

Repeated exposure over time to negative actions or acts of aggression and intimidation.

Verbal, written, graphic, digital, or other physical conduct relating to a student’s race, national origin, religion, color, disability, sexuality, or gender1that is severe, pervasive, or persistent.

Unprovoked, intentional, and usually repeated acts many of which may be carried out by means of an electronic act and include:

Emotionally-based behavior (spreading rumors, manipulating social relationships, rejecting, excluding, degrading, extorting, or intimidating);

Verbally-based behavior (taunting, malicious teasing, name calling, racial slurs, insults, threatening, demanding money, property, or some service to be performed); and Physically-based behavior (hitting, kicking, spitting, pinching, pushing, excessive tickling).

1 See glossary for complete list of “protected classes”


examples of bullying continued
Examples of Bullying (Continued)

Indirect bullying that is severe, pervasive, or persistent.

such as:

Rejecting, excluding or isolating the target(s);

Humiliating the target(s) in front of friends;

Manipulating friends and relationships;

Sending hurtful or threatening e-mail or notes; and

Developing a Website to taunt or degrade a target and inviting others to post humiliating notes or messages


examples of cyberbullying
Examples of Cyberbullying

Severe, pervasive, or persistent conduct that involves.

  • Sending cruel, vicious, or threatening messages.
  • Creating web sites with stories, pictures, and jokes that ridicule others based on hatred or bias.
  • Breaking into an e-mail account and sending vicious or embarrassing material to others.
  • Taking a picture (e.g., revealing) in the locker room with a phone camera and sending it out.


scenarios application of cyberbullying definition
Scenarios: Application of Cyberbullying Definition
  • Each table reviews scenarios #5 & #6 scenarios (Maximum time: Five minutes)
  • Table Reports. Objective: Identify the specific facts in the scenario that support a determination the conduct is or is not cyberbullying


creating safe bully free schools the role of a positive school climate
Creating Safe, Bully-Free Schools:The Role of a Positive School Climate
  • “School climate is emerging as an extremely important influence on bullying/victimization” (Swearer, Espelage, & Napolitano, 2009).
  • Schools that emphasize learning to include a positive school climate show a decrease in aggression and other school-related problems (Kasen et al, 2004).
  • Bullies are sometimes viewed in a positive and influential manner by their peers (Rose, Swenson, & Waller 2004). Bullies can reap benefits.
  • Prevention frameworks and programs that attempt to abate bullying are increasing emphasizing improving school climate to stop the reinforcement of bullying behavior or bullying perpetration (Cohen, 2006)


positive school climate
Positive School Climate

A positive school climate including teacher, classmate, and school support can buffer the distress resulting from bullying; parent support can also help (Davidson, & Demaray, 2007)


Creating Safe, Bully-Free Schools, Bullying Prevention: Excerpt from District Administrative Regulation (AR 601.2)
  • Maintain a positive, collaborative school climate
  • Clearly define behavioral expectations to include: (1) rules against bullying and (2) positive alternative behaviors
  • Use consistent processes for teaching and acknowledging appropriate behavior
  • Use assessment data to:
    • determine perceived safety and supportiveness of the school among students, staff, and parents;
    • identify specific strengths and areas for improvement;
    • identify specific groups at risk in the school;
    • identify where and how bullying occurs at the school
  • Help students and staff identify and label bullying behaviors
  • Develop appropriate behavioral expectations for bystanders


creating safe bully free schools role of staff
Creating Safe, Bully-Free Schools: Role of Staff
  • Provide professional development to staff regarding the definition of bullying and cyberbullying and the negative effects it has on academic, social, and emotional functioning (Note: Staff underestimate incident rate, report they need more training, but most feel they have a moral duty to stop bullying. Some staff have personal experiences and attitudes that play an important role in predicting their responses to bullying)
  • Describe strategies on how to detect bullying (e.g., studies show this makes a difference)
  • Explicitly define behavioral expectations for staff and students (e.g., label bullying, teach relevant school rules against it, intervening, and teaching alternative behaviors such as being respectful and responsible)


creating safe bully free schools role of student bystander
Creating Safe, Bully-Free Schools: Role of Student Bystander
  • Bystander is an individual who lacks participation in bullying scenarios as either the bully or the victim.
  • Teach bystander students to avoid laughing, watching or otherwise rewarding the bully, but instead to support the victim, to otherwise intervene and to report bullying (Bystanders may be present when bullying occurs more than 80% of the time; a bystander may serve to reinforce or sustain the bullying behavior; the bullying is abated about half the time when bystanders intervene)
  • Methods used in bullying prevention and intervention programs include: awareness building, modeling, skill building, and role-playing


creating safe bully free schools school yard strategies
Creating Safe, Bully-Free Schools: School Yard Strategies
  • Use specific and detailed yard supervision plans (e.g., supervision zone assignments), monitor implementation of supervision plan, teach staff to quickly recognize bullying, how to intervene and how to report (see Board Policy entitled “Safety,” also note: bullying occurs almost 2X more on yard than in classroom)
  • Use prevention and positive school climate strategies on the yard (e.g., recognition of positive behaviors)


scenario creating safe bully free schools
Scenario: Creating Safe, Bully-Free Schools
  • Each table reviews scenario #7 (Maximum time: Five minutes)
  • Table Reports. Objective: Identify the effective and the missing components of a bullying prevention plan


response to active act of bullying
Response to Active Act of Bullying
  • Immediately stop the bullying
  • Do not send away witnesses to the bullying, including bystanders
  • Do not immediately ask about or discuss the facts
  • Separate the accused harasser and the target (victim)
  • During the investigation process make age-appropriate references to the bullying behavior and to the relevant school rules against bullying
  • State the behaviors you saw/heard with the witness, perpetrator, and victim
  • Collect evidence to help determine if an action(s) is warranted
  • Tell students bullying is unacceptable and against school rules
  • Remind each person that retaliation is prohibited
  • Tell each person how to file a complaint or otherwise report an occurrence of bullying or retaliation


what to d o when y ou suspect or become a ware of bullying
What to Do When You Suspect or Become Aware of Bullying
  • Suspicion – Review bullying definition, open investigation
  • Sources of information and reporting timelines
    • Immediately Report Bullying - Student. Any student . . . bullied or (a) witness . . .(to) bullying within the school’s jurisdiction, shall immediately contact his/her teacher or any other employee. (The student may file a Report of Complaint)
    • Promptly Report Bullying - Staff. An employee . . . witnessing bullying or receiv(ing) a complaint or other information that bullying may have occurred shall, within 24 hours of receiving a complaint, report it to the Principal/Designee or District Coordinator for Nondiscrimination (Human Resources Administrator). Staff reporting requirements remain whether or not the victim files a complaint.


report from parent community member media and off campus conduct
Report from Parent, Community Member, Media, and Off Campus Conduct
  • Initiate investigation into bullying upon receipt of information from a parent, guardian, or community member who (reasonably) believes bullying may have occurred within the school’s jurisdiction. Carefully consider jurisdiction to act
  • Evaluate anonymous complaint or media report to determine feasibility of investigation considering the specificity and reliability of the information, the seriousness of the alleged incident, and whether any individuals can be identified who perpetrated, were subjected, or could have observed the alleged bullying
  • Off-Campus. Although off-campus conduct is not generally subject to school discipline, investigation and disciplinary/remedy action may be warranted if off-campus conduct poses a threat to the safety of other students, staff, or school property or presents a risk of substantial disruption of school activities. To have jurisdiction, there must be documentation of the impact or disruption that the conduct had, or could be expected to have, on school activities


confirm receipt of allegations to parent legal guardian of alleged victim
Confirm Receipt of Allegations to Parent/Legal Guardian of Alleged Victim

Dear [Parent of Alleged Victim]:

We are in receipt of [a handwritten note, an e-mail, phone message, oral report] dated [enter date received notice], from [name of author of communication if appropriate] [position of author such as parent, physician] [place of employment if applicable]. A copy is enclosed. [Summary of the bullying allegation, e.g., The note indicates . . .].

Please be aware the District staff members take seriously any allegation a student has experienced bullying or mistreatment at school. We are immediately opening a full investigation into the allegations [Student’s Name] has been bullied or mistreated.


initiation of investigation
Initiation of Investigation

After receiving a notice of suspected bullying behavior, the Principal/Coordinator initiates a prompt, impartial investigation of a bullying allegation regardless of whether a formal complaint has been filed.

Interview all individuals who are relevant or potentially relevant to the investigation (e.g., student complaining or potential victim[s]), the person accused of bullying, anyone who witnessed the reported bullying, and anyone mentioned as having relevant information). Take other steps such as reviewing any records, notes, or statements related to the bullying and visiting the location(s) of alleged bullying.


investigation steps alleged victim part one
Investigation Steps: Alleged Victim(Part One)

Initial Interview with Student or Parent/Guardian. When a student or parent/guardian has complained or provided information about bullying:

  • Describe the District's grievance (complaint) procedure and give copy of bullying policy and complaint form
  • Tell the part(ies) of right to put his/her complaint in writing (i.e., District’s Report of Complaint form)
  • Discuss what actions are being sought
  • Give complainant (student) opportunity to describe the incident(s)
  • Identify witnesses who may have relevant information, or may provide other evidence of the bullying


investigation steps alleged victim continued
Investigation Steps: Alleged Victim (Continued)

6. If the student reports an injury, clearly document the injury and

seek additional information should evidence of the injury exist

outside the school

7. Investigate any allegations involving prior instances

8. If the student victim requests confidentiality in the

investigation, inform the student that such a request may limit

the District's ability to investigate

9. Communicate that retaliation for reporting is prohibited and

everyone has the responsibility to report conduct that may be

retaliation and to report any subsequent problems

10. Determine and implement any needed interim measures

pending completion of investigation(e.g., placing students in

separate classes).


investigation steps alleged harasser bully
Investigation Steps: Alleged Harasser (Bully)
  • Describe what conduct constitutes bullying
  • Give alleged bully an opportunity to describe the incident(s)
  • Communicate bullying is prohibited
  • Give notice to cease any misconduct and process other disciplinary actions as appropriate
  • Communicate that retaliation is prohibited, there will be consequences, and follow up monitoring
  • As appropriate, inform of interim measures involving that person


evidentiary conclusions
Evidentiary Conclusions
  • Factors in Reaching a Determination.
  • Do the facts or evidence obtained support a finding that bullying has occurred?


  • Statements made by the persons with knowledge of the allegations
  • Details and consistency of each person's account
  • Evidence of how the complaining student reacted to the incident
  • Evidence of any past instances of bullying by the alleged harasser
  • Evidence of any past bullying complaints that were found to be untrue


evidentiary conclusions continued
Evidentiary Conclusions (Continued)
  • If bullying was found to have occurred, what decisions or actions are supported by the evidence?
  • Review the evidence and determine if the District Discipline Code has been violated (District Code, Education Code 48900 et seq.) (Suspension and expulsion for bullying applies only to students in grades 4-8).
  • Set a schedule to monitor potential reoccurrence of bullying and retaliation.


severity of bullying
Severity of Bullying
  • To judge the severity of the bullying consider:
    • How the misconduct affected student(s) education
    • The type, frequency, and duration of the misconduct
    • The identity, age, and sex of the harasser and the student who complained, and the relationship between them
    • The number of persons engaged in the harassing conduct and at whom the bullying was directed
    • The size of the school, location of the incidents, and context in which they occurred
    • Other incidents at the school involving different students


hostile environment
Hostile Environment
  • If a determination is made bullying has or is occurring, a decision must also be made whether the bullying is sufficiently serious that it creates a hostile school environment
  • Bullying creates a hostile environment when it is sufficiently severe, pervasive, or persistent so as to interfere with or limit a student’s participation or benefit from services, activities, or opportunities
  • If it is determined a hostile school environment exists, list the steps and implement a plan to establish a positive school climate (The Office for Civil Rights calls this “Repair the environment”)


illustration of letter content when an investigation did not substantiate an allegation of bullying
Illustration of Letter Content When an Investigation Did NOT Substantiate an Allegation of Bullying

In a letter dated [date], and incorporated into this letter as Attachment One, I confirmed receipt of allegations John Deere Jr. may have been mistreated or bullied while at school (“Allegations”). We conveyed our intent to open a full investigation. This letter describes the outcome of our investigation.

Our investigation began on [date], and ended on [date]. We interviewed you (Mrs. Deere) who initially reported that John Jr. was repeatedly being yelled out by another student and being harassed about his clothing and hair. In addition to John Jr., we identified and interviewed three students who possibly had knowledge about these Allegations. We also completed a review of all pupil records that may have contained information pertaining to the Allegations regardless of location or form (e.g., electronic, written).

Neither John Jr. nor any of the student witnesses were able to recall or describe any incidents in which John Jr. was yelled at or in which anyone commented about his hair or clothing. We were unable to identify a student who was alleged to engage in this misconduct. Additionally, none of our records contained any other allegations of a similar nature.

In conclusion, our investigation could not substantiate that John Jr. has been bullied or mistreated at school. Please notify us of any additional concerns or if you learn of any new information.

Thank you for informing the school of these issues. Please do not hesitate to contact me if we may be of any assistance.


written report on findings finding bullying occurred
Written Report on Findings (Finding Bullying Occurred)
  • No more than 30 days after receiving the complaint, the Principal/Coordinator shall conclude the investigation and prepare a written report of his/her findings
  • The report shall include the decision and the reasons for the decision and shall summarize the steps taken during the investigation
  • If it is determined that bullying occurred; the report shall also include any corrective actions that have or will be taken to address the bullying and prevent any retaliation or further bullying
  • This report shall be presented to the student who complained, the person accused, the parents/guardians of the student who complained, the student who was accused, and the Superintendent or designee (Director of School Support)
  • In addition, the Principal/Coordinator shall ensure that the bullied student and his/her parent/guardian are informed of the procedures for reporting any subsequent problems. The Coordinator/Principal shall make follow-up inquiries to see if there have been any new incidents or retaliation and shall keep a record of this information


additional factors response to bullying
Additional Factors: Response to Bullying
  • When necessary to carry out his/her investigation or to protect student safety, the Principal/Coordinator also may discuss the complaint with the Superintendent or designee, the parent/guardian of the student who complained, the parent/guardian of the alleged harasser if the alleged harasser is a student, a teacher or staff member whose knowledge of the students involved may help in determining who is telling the truth, law enforcement and/or child protective services, and District legal counsel.
  • If the alleged act(s) may be a violation of criminal law, the principal/designee will refer the matter to the appropriate law enforcement agency or Child Protective Services as applicable.


written report of findings following bullying complaint
Written Report of Findings Following Bullying Complaint

Date information received alleging bullying and the date the investigation began and ended:

Summary of the steps taken during the investigation:

Investigation conclusions and reasons for the decision:

Corrective actions that have or will be taken (only if it is determined that bullying occurred):

Additional steps to address the bullying and prevent any retaliation:

 Other Steps Taken:

□ Relevant board policies given the parent of the harassed student

□ Victim of bullying/harassment reminded of what constitutes bullying and retaliation, how to report this misconduct or any subsequent problems, and a description of the plan for conducting follow‐up inquiries

Written Report of Findings provided to:

□ Student/victim and the parent/guardian of the student/victim

□ Student/person found to have committed an act(s) of bullying

□ Director of School Support



See Illustrated Detail Template entitled

“Written Report of Findings Following Bullying Complaint” in the binder of materials, section: Response to Bullying Worksheet: Enforcement of Law and Policy


corrective actions illustrations
Corrective Actions: Illustrations
  • Separated the harasser and [Name of Student] by moving the harasser’s classroom assignment
  • Gave guidance to [Name of Student] and harasser (separately)
  • Provided professional development to staff
  • Provided additional education services to [Name of Student]
  • Provided a copy of the District policies and Guide for Parents and Students to [Name of Student], the student’s parents, and the student and parent of the harasser
  • Described to [Name of Student] and their parent how to report any subsequent problems
  • Conducted, and will again conduct follow-up inquiries to see if there have been any new incidents or any instances of retaliation
  • Three bystanders were given guidance about how they may appropriately intervene, they were encouraged to take a more active or pro-social role, and to support other students to help them feel cared for and safe from retaliation.


scenario written report of findings
Scenario: Written Report of Findings
  • Each table reviews scenario #8 (Maximum time: Ten minutes)
  • Table Reports. Objective: Identify key components of Written Report that exist, then additional steps that could/should be taken


expectations and implementation leap spsa and positive behavior support
Expectations and Implementation (LEAP, SPSA, and Positive Behavior Support)
  • Local Education Agency Plan
  • Single Plan for Student Achievement
  • Schoolwide Positive Behavior Support Plan



Bullying: Definitions, Illustrations, Prevention, and Response

Summary, Questions, Closing Comments

  • Bullying: Why it matters?
  • Bullying: What is it?
  • Cyberbullying: What is it?
  • Examples of bullying and cyberbullying
  • Ways to create a safe, bully-free environment
  • What to do when you suspect or become aware of bullying