BOARD POLICY
Irvine Unified School District
5145.8
 

BULLYING / CYBER BULLYING

 

Bullying

The Governing Board 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. Students who have been bullied or cyberbullied shall promptly report such incidents to any staff member.

This policy applies to all of the District's students. This policy applies to all acts related to school activity or school attendance occurring within a school under the jurisdiction of the superintendent of the Irvine Unified School District. (Education Code 234.1 (a))

Complaints of bullying and cyberbullying shall be investigated promptly, and corrective action shall be taken when a complaint is verified. Neither reprisals nor retaliation shall occur as a result of the submission of a complaint and confidentiality is to be maintained.

This policy also reminds school personnel of their obligation to intervene when safe to do so as required by Education Code section 234.1(b)(1).

Definitions

"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 Section 48900.2, 48900.3, or 48900.4, 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 or pupils 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.

(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.

"Cyberbullying" 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.

"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 pager.

"Reasonable pupil" means a pupil, including, but not limited to, an exceptional needs pupil, 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 exceptional needs.

Prohibition Against Bullying

The District prohibits bullying 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 section 422.55 and Education Code section 220, and disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, nationality, race or ethnicity, religion, perceived characteristics. (Education Code 2341.(a); 48900(r)). In addition, the District prohibits retaliation against complainants.

Free Speech Protection

This policy shall not be construed to limit pupil rights to free speech as protected by the United States Constitution, the California Constitution, Education Code sections 48907 and 48950, and other applicable law.

Duties and Responsibilities of School Employees

If school personnel witness an act of discrimination, harassment, intimidation, or bullying, he or she shall take immediate steps to intervene when safe to do so. (Education Code 234.1(b)(1))

Reporting and Investigating Complaints

Any employee who has knowledge of discrimination, harassment, intimidation or bullying shall inform the site administrator of the concern as soon as possible. The site administrator shall investigate accordingly.

Students may submit to a teacher or administrator a verbal or written complaint of conduct they consider to be bullying. Formal complaints of bullying shall be made pursuant to the District's General Complaint or Uniform Complaint procedures specified in BP 5145.7.

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.

If the student is using a social networking site or service that has terms of use that prohibit posting of harmful material, the Superintendent or designee also may file a complaint with the Internet site or service 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.

Notifications

The District shall publicize this policy, including information about the manner in which to file a complaint, to pupils, parents, employees, agents of the governing board and the general public. The information shall be translated pursuant to Education Code section 48985. This policy shall be posted in all schools and offices, including staff lounges and pupil government meeting rooms. (Education Code 234.1(c) and (d))

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 and 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.

Interdistrict Transfers

A pupil who has been determined by personnel of either the district of residence or the district of proposed enrollment to have been the victim of an act of bullying committed by a pupil of the district of residence shall, at the request of the person having legal custody of the pupil, be given priority for interdistrict attendance under any existing interdistrict attendance agreement or, in the absence of an agreement, be given additional consideration for the creation of an interdistrict attendance agreement. (Education Code 46600(b))

Policy Adopted: February 3, 2009

Policy Revised: August 21, 2012

Legal References:

EDUCATION CODE

200-262.4 Prohibition of discrimination

32282 Comprehensive safety plan

35181 Governing board policy on responsibilities of students

35291-35291.5 Rules

48900-48925 Suspension or expulsion

48985 Translation of notices

PENAL CODE

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

UNITED STATES CODE, TITLE 47

254 Universal service discounts (e-rate)

COURT DECISIONS

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

Safe Schools: Strategies for Governing Boards to Ensure Student Success, 2011

Providing a Safe, Nondiscriminatory School Environment for All Students, Policy Brief, April 2010

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

CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION PUBLICATIONS

Health Education Content Standards for California Public Schools: Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve, 2008

Bullying at School, 2003

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, OFFICE FOR CIVIL RIGHTS PUBLICATIONS

Dear Colleague Letter: Harassment and Bullying, October 2010

WEB SITES

CSBA: http://www.csba.org

California Cybersafety for Children: http://www.cybersafety.ca.gov

California Department of Education, Safe Schools Office: http://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/ss

Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use: http://cyberbully.org

National School Boards Association: http://www.nsba.org

National School Safety Center: http://www.schoolsafety.us

U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights: http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr

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