What is Bullying?
The Centers for Disease Control define bullying as follows:
"CDC defines bullying as any unwanted aggressive behavior(s) by another youth or group of youths, who are not siblings or current dating partners, involving an observed or perceived power imbalance. These behaviors are repeated multiple times or are highly likely to be repeated. Bullying may inflict harm or distress on the targeted youth including physical, psychological, social, or educational harm. A young person can be a perpetrator, a victim, or both (also known as a "bully/victim").
Bullying can occur in-person and through technology. Electronic aggression, or "cyberbullying," is bullying that happens through technological devices and mechanisms such as email, instant message, a website, text message, social media, and other digital applications."
Bullying, may be direct or indirect action, which may include (but is not limited to)
Physical: hitting, kicking, pushing, shoving, getting another person to hurt someone;
Verbal: racial slurs, name-calling, teasing, taunting, verbal or sexual harassment, gossiping, spreading rumor; or
Non-Verbal: threatening, obscene gestures, isolation, exclusion, stalking, cyber-bullying (bullying that occurs by use of electronic or communication devices through means of email, instant messaging, text messages, blogs, photo and video sharing, chat rooms, bash boards, websites, etc.).
What should you do when you or someone you know if being bullied?
Reporting Bullying Incidents:
Students or parents/guardians of students who have been bullied or witness bullying should immediately report such incidents to the school principal or designee, or to any other member of the school staff, including teachers, guidance counselors, coaches and administrators. Any staff member who receives such a report should immediately notify the principal or designee. If the behavior continues or if the school does not take action, students or parents/guardians should report the incident to the district's hotline at 215-400-SAFE and/or the online report form.
You may also wish to give written notice to the school administration about the situation and request that they conduct a Bullying Investigation. Here is a sample letter (PDF) you may find useful.
What will happen when an incident of bullying is reported?
See the full administrative guidelines (PDF). But briefly, there will be a quick and thorough investigation of all reports (District Timetable). If the allegations are found true, the Principal or designee will do the following
- Inform the student who bullies the results of the investigation;
- Review the definition of bullying and the District's policy on bullying;
- Punish the behavior relative to the number of offenses and the severity of the behavior; and
- Notify the parents of the student(s) who bullies, including the actions of the student and the consequences.
If, after an investigation, the school finds that there is NOT bullying and you feel they have made an error, the District has a process for appealing (PDF) that decision. Please review all the steps on this procedure (PDF), but briefly you will need to meet with the school and ask for documentation detailing the results of their investigation; then fill out this form (PDF); gather documents that you think will refute the School's finding and prove the bullying has been occuring; scan all documents and e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org. We recommend that you copy yourself, the Parent Resource Coordinator for your school, [placeholder for Name & Contact] and the Assistant Superintendent for your school. If you are unsure who is the Assistant Superintendent at your school, give us a call - we'll be happy to help with that.
The District will review the paperwork and return a decision within 14 days of receiving the paperwork.
What happens to students who bully?
Consequences for Violations:
Students who violate the bullying policy will be subject to the following disciplinary procedures
- First Offense: Documented warning and parent notification;
- Second Offense: Parent conference, loss of school privileges, exclusion from school-sponsored activities, detention, and/or counseling within the school;
- Third Offense: Suspension or transfer to another classroom, school building, or school bus.
If the first offense is notably severe, a student may immediately be disciplined in accordance to the Code of Student Conduct. This could result in a long-term suspension (4-10 days); a referral for placement in an alternative education program; or expulsion.