As defined in Texas Education Code § 37.0832(a)-(b),
Bullying means engaging in written or verbal expression, expression through electronic means, or physical conduct that occurs on school property, at a school-sponsored, when the expression or conduct, although started off-campus, has an effect on campus such that it can be reasonably be considered to have occurred on-campus, or schoolrelated activity, or in a vehicle operated by the district and that:
- has the effect or will have the effect of physically harming a student, damaging a student’s property, or placing a student in reasonable fear of harm to the student’s person or of damage to the student’s property; or
- is sufficiently severe, persistent, and pervasive enough that the action or threat creates an intimidating, threatening, or abusive educational environment for a student.
b) Conduct described by Subsection (a) is considered bullying if that conduct:
- exploits an imbalance of power between the student perpetrator and the student victim through written or verbal expression or physical conduct; and
- interferes with a student’s education or substantially disrupts the operation of a school.
As defined in Texas Education Code § 37.001(b)(2),
Harassment means threatening to cause harm or bodily injury to another student, engaging in sexually intimidating conduct, causing physical damage to the property of another student, subjecting another student to physical conferment or restraint, or maliciously taking any action that substantially harms another student’s physical or emotional health or safety.
Any form of intimidation, reprisal, or harassment directed against a student or individual who reports bullying, provide information during an investigation of bullying, or witnesses and/or has reliable information about bullying that has occurred.
GOVERNING BOARD POLICY
TSD has adopted a governing board policy, including procedures concerns bullying that:
- Prohibits the bullying of a student;
- Prohibits retaliation against any person, including a victim, a witness, or another person, who in good faith provides information concerning an incident of bullying;
- Establishes a procedure for providing notice of an incident of bullying to a parent or guardian of the victim and a parent or guardian of the bully within a reasonable amount of time after the incident;
- Establishes the actions a student should take to obtain assistance and intervention in response to bullying;
- Sets out the available counseling options for a student who is a victim of or a witness or bullying or who engages in bullying;
- Establishes procedures for reporting an incident of bullying, investigating a reported incident of bullying, and determining whether the reported incident of bullying occurred:
- Prohibits the imposition of a disciplinary measure on a student who, after an investigation, is found to be a victim of bullying, on the basis of that student’s use of reasonable self-defense in response to the bullying; and
- Requires that discipline for bullying of a student with disabilities comply with applicable requirements under federal law, including the individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C. Section 1400 et seq.).
Reporting by Faculty and Staff
Teachers and staff members will report immediately to a supervisor if he/she witnesses or becomes aware of bullying, harassment, or retaliation involving a student. This requirement to report does not limit the authority of the staff to respond to managerial or disciplinary actions consistent with TSD Code of Conduct and school policies/procedures for behavior management and discipline.
Reporting by Students, Parents, Guardians, and Others
Students, parents, guardians, and others have several options to report bullying. Reports may be made anonymously, but no disciplinary action will be taken against an alleged aggressor based solely on the basis of an anonymous report. Parents/guardians and others may request assistance from a school staff to complete a written report.
Students who either believe that they are the targets of bullying or have witnessed bullying are expected to report incidents using several options: reporting verbally to a staff or principal, filling out the incident report or contacting a staff via email. If a verbal report is made, the principal or a staff will assist the student in completing the incident form.
Students who intentionally or knowingly make a false accusation of bullying or harassment may be subject to disciplinary action.
The following are standard guidelines for responding to a report of bullying, harassment or retaliation. All reports will be taken seriously. These guidelines will be adapted as necessary to respond as appropriately as possible to the report.
The supervisor or administrator will investigate promptly any and all reports of bullying, harassment, or retaliation. In doing so, consideration will be given to the information available, including the nature of the allegation and the ages of the students involved. Three stages of investigation will take place:
Before fully initiating the investigation, the supervisor or administrator will, determine if there is a need to take temporary and immediate actions to support and/or protect the alleged target from further potential incidents or concern. In taking such action, the rights of both the alleged target and the alleged aggressor must be taken into account. Possible adjustments to the school environment or increased supervision will be considered depending on the circumstances.
Investigations will be conducted in a timely manner and be consistent with current school policies and procedures. The investigation should be completed within five school days from the date of the initial report but the administrator or supervisor shall take additional time if necessary to complete a thorough investigation.
During the investigation, the administrator or supervisor will interview students, staff, witnesses and parents/guardians as necessary. The investigator will seek to determine the basis of the complaint, gathering information from who reported to determine whether the report meets the definition of bullying.
To the extent possible, given the responsibility to investigate and address the matter, the investigator will maintain the confidentiality of the individual(s) who reported and the witness(es). The supervisor or administrator, upon determination of a substantiated report, will notify the parents/guardians of the student who has been an alleged target and the parents of the alleged aggressor. The administrator or supervisor may only disclose information to parent/guardian about his/her own child.
School personnel are required to weigh all of the facts and circumstances objectively to determine if the alleged events occurred and if a charge of bullying, harassment or retaliation is substantiated. If after investigation, bullying, harassment or retaliation is substantiated, the supervisor or administrator will take steps reasonably designed to prevent recurrence and to ensure that the target is not restricted in participating in school or in benefitting from school activities.
The supervisor or administrator will:
- determine what remedial or adaptive actions are required, if any, and
- determine what responsive actions and/or disciplinary actions are necessary.
The response will be individually tailored to the circumstances, taking into account the nature of the behavior and the ages of the students involved. All behavior management and disciplinary actions for students who have committed acts of bullying, harassment or retaliation will be in accordance with the TSD Code of Conduct/school policies.
Depending on the circumstances, the supervisor or administrator may choose to consult with the students’ teachers, support staff, dorm staff (if applicable) and/or school counselor to provide additional support/guidance for those who were involved in the incident.
The supervisor or administrator will notify the parents or guardians of the target and the aggressor about the results of the investigation and, if bullying, harassment or retaliation is found, what action is being taken to prevent further acts of bullying, harassment or retaliation. All notices to parents must comply with applicable state and federal privacy laws and regulations.
Because of the legal requirements regarding the confidentiality of student records, the supervisor or administrator cannot report specific information to the target's parent or guardian about the consequence/disciplinary action taken toward another student unless it involves a “stay away” order or other directive that the target must be aware of in order to report violations. School personnel, may, however, share information about the process that it was followed leading to the determination of whether bullying did occur, what general measures are being taken to protect the target from further acts of bullying, harassment or retaliation, and what is being done to ensure that the target is safe.
Incident Reports will be made electronically via Google Documents. Students will have the option of either making a verbal report or filling out an incident report form located in the department office.
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