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Bullying Prevention

Role of the School

Bullying and Adult Supervision

Too often children are left to deal with bullying on their own. These experiences are generally beyond the child’s developmental or emotional capacities for managing or coping. Sometimes adults forget what it is like to be child and all that is required to be a student. For instance, in terms of a child’s social structure:

  • Children interact with, influence, and socialize one another in a social structure that does not always include adults, although adults can affect and be affected by these structures(1).
  • These social structures in children’s lives revolve around horizontal and vertical relationships(2).
  • Horizontal social relationships include friendships and peer groups that can provide multiple ways for children to find a place to belong and enjoy social support(3).
  • Vertical relationships exist in a dimension of social power: children and their peer groups vary in social status and influence. “One consequence of social status and differences is that some children have more power than others in determining what peers value and devalue, support and stigmatize(4).

Our responsibility then, as adults and educators is to affect the social structures of our students. And to help children who are having difficulties—bullies, victims, or bystanders—learn healthier ways of interacting. One pre-strategy for implementing SWPBIS* allows students to draw maps of their school indicating areas of danger and areas of relative safety. Students can readily identify danger zones—generally areas not frequented by adults. We can simply ask students which areas of the school are safe and which areas feel unsafe and adjust adult supervision accordingly.

*SWPBIS School-Wide Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports

SWPBS provides an operational framework for improving student academic and behavior outcomes for all students by ensuring all students have access to the most effective and accurately implemented instructional and behavioral practices and interventions possible. , SWPBS is NOT a curriculum, intervention, or practice, but SWPBS is:

  • a decision making framework that guides
  • selection
  • integration, and
  • implementation of
  • the best evidence-based academic and behavioral practices
  • for improving important academic and behavior outcomes for all students.

Rules from USBE for schools and school districts

Two rules from the Utah State Board of Education (USBE) outline expectations for schools and school districts in regard to bullying prevention and intervention: R277-609 and R277-613.

UT Admin Code R277-609. Standards for School District, School and Charter School Discipline Plans. October 1, 2013

UT Admin Code R277-613. School District and Charter School Bullying and Hazing Policies and Training. October 1, 2013

R277-609-3. School District, School and Charter School Responsibility to Develop Plans.

A. Each school district, or school and each charter school shall develop and implement a board approved comprehensive school district, school or charter school plan or policy for student and classroom management, and school discipline. The plan shall include:
(1) the definitions of Section 53A-11-910;
(2) written standards for student behavior expectations, including school and classroom management;
(3) effective instructional practices for teaching student expectations, including self-discipline, citizenship, civic skills, and social skills;
(4) systematic methods for reinforcement of expected behaviors and uniform methods for correction of student behavior;
(5) uniform methods for at least annual school level data-based evaluations of efficiency and effectiveness;
(6) an ongoing staff development program related to development of student behavior expectations, effective instructional practices for teaching and reinforcing behavior expectations, effective intervention strategies, and effective strategies for evaluation of the efficiency and effectiveness of interventions;
(7) policies and procedures relating to the use and abuse of alcohol and controlled substances by students;
(8) policies to define, prohibit, and intervene in bullying, including cyber-bulling, including the requirement of awareness and intervention strategies, including training for social skills, for students, parents, and school staff. The policies shall:
(a) provide for training specific to overt aggression that may include physical fighting such as punching, shoving, kicking, and verbal threatening behavior, such as name calling, or both physical and verbal aggression or threatening behavior;
(b) provide for training specific to relational aggression or indirect, covert, or social aggression, including rumor spreading, intimidation, enlisting a friend to assault a child, and social isolation;
(c) provide training and education specific to bullying based upon students':
(i) actual or perceived identities;
(ii) conformance or failure to conform with stereotypes.
(d) provide for training specific to cyber-bullying, including use of email, web pages, text messaging, instant messaging, three-way calling or messaging or any other electronic means for aggression inside or outside of school;
(e) provide for student assessment of the prevalence of bullying in school districts, schools and charter schools, specifically locations where students are unsafe and additional adult supervision may be required, such as playgrounds, hallways, and lunch areas;
(f) complement existing safe and drug free school policies and school harassment and hazing policies;
(g) include required strong responsive action against retaliation including assistance to harassed students and their parents in reporting subsequent problems and new incidents; and
(h) include strategies for providing students and staff, including aides, custodians, kitchen and lunchroom workers, secretaries, paraprofessionals, and coaches, with awareness and intervention skills such as social skills training.
B. The plan shall also provide direction to school districts for dealing with disruptive students. This part of the plan shall:
(1) direct schools to determine the range of behaviors and establish the continuum of administrative procedures that may be used by school personnel to address the behavior of habitually disruptive students;
(2) provide for identification, by position(s), of individual(s) designated to issue notices of disruptive student behavior; and
(3) provide for documentation of disruptive student behavior prior to referral of disruptive students to juvenile court.
C. School district or school plans or sections of plans, including directives about bullying and disruptive students, shall also:
(1) include strategies to provide for necessary adult supervision;
(2) be clearly written and consistently enforced; and
(3) include administration, instruction and support staff, students, parents, community council and other community members in policy development, training and prevention implementation so as to create a community sense of participation, ownership, support and responsibility.

R277-609-4. Implementation.

A. School districts, schools and charter schools shall implement strategies and policies consistent with their plans.
B. School districts, schools and charter schools shall develop, use and monitor a continuum of intervention strategies to assist students whose behavior in school falls repeatedly short of reasonable expectations, including teaching student behavior expectations, reinforcing student behavior expectations, re-teaching behavior expectations, followed by effective, evidence-based interventions matched to student needs prior to administrative referral.

R277-613-4. Local School District and Charter School Responsibilities.

A. Each school district and charter school shall implement a policy prohibiting bullying and hazing consistent with Section 53A-11a-301.
B. Each school district and charter school shall:
(1) post a copy of its policy on the school district/charter school website; and
(2) provide a copy of the school district/charter school policy or uniform resource locator (URL) to the State Superintendent of Public Instruction at the Utah State Office of Education.
C. The local board/charter school board shall annually review and immediately post the policy following the first board meeting of the school year.
D. Policies shall provide for training to students, staff, and volunteers consistent with the following:
(1) training specific to overt aggression that may include physical fighting such as punching, shoving, kicking, and verbal threatening behavior, such as name calling, or both physical and verbal aggression or threatening behavior;
(2) training specific to relational aggression or indirect, covert, or social aggression, including rumor spreading, intimidation, enlisting a friend to assault a child, and social isolation;
(3) training specific to prohibitions against bullying or hazing of a sexual nature or with sexual overtones;
(4) training specific to cyber-bullying, including use of email, web pages, text messaging, instant messaging, three-way calling or messaging or any other electronic means for aggression inside or outside of school;
E. Policies shall also:
(1) complement existing safe and drug free school policies and school harassment and hazing policies;
(2) include strategies for providing students and staff, including aides, custodians, kitchen and lunchroom workers, secretaries, paraprofessionals, and coaches, with awareness and intervention skills such as social skills training; and
(3) include required strong responsive action against retaliation including assistance to harassed students and their parents in reporting subsequent problems and new incidents.
F. The policy shall also provide direction to employees about bullying and dealing with disruptive students. This part of the policy shall:
(1) direct schools to determine the range of behaviors and establish the continuum of administrative procedures that may be used by school personnel to address the behavior of habitually disruptive students;
(2) provide for identification, by position(s), of individual(s) designated to issue notices of disruptive student behavior;
(3) designate to whom notices shall be provided;
(4) provide for documentation of disruptive student behavior prior to referral of disruptive students to juvenile court;
(5) include strategies to provide for necessary adult supervision;
(6) be clearly written and consistently enforced;
(7) include administration, instruction and support staff, students, parents, community council and other community members in policy development, training and prevention implementation so as to create a community sense of participation, ownership, support and responsibility; and
(8) provide notice to employees that violation(s) of this rule may result in employment discipline or action.

R277-613-5. Training by School Districts and Charter Schools Specific to Participants in Public School Athletic Programs and School Clubs.

A. Prior to any student or employee or volunteer coach participating in a public school sponsored athletic program, both curricular and extracurricular, or extracurricular club or activity, a student or coach shall participate in bullying and hazing prevention training.
B. School districts and charter schools may collaborate with the Utah High School Activities Association to develop and provide training.
C. Student athletes and extracurricular club members shall be informed of prohibited activities under this rule and notified of potential consequences for violation of the law or the rule or both.
D. School districts and charter schools that offer athletics shall provide annual training to all new students and new employees and require refresher training for all students and employees at least once every three years.
E. Training curriculum outlines, training schedules, and participant lists or signatures shall be maintained by each school or school district and provided to the Utah State Office of Education upon request.

Research

(1) Rodkin, P. C., and Hodges, E. V. E., Bullies and victims in the peer ecology: four questions for psychologists and school professionals, (2003) School Psychology Review, 32, (3) pp. 384-400.

(2)Ibid.

(3)Ibid.

(4)Ibid.