SS:Anti-Bullying Policy Guide
Policy Prohibiting Bullying and Harassment
Pasco County Policy Against Bullying and Harassment: Questions and Answers
The District School Board of Pasco County has established a policy that prohibits bullying and harassment to ensure that all students, employees, and volunteers learn and work in an environment that is safe, secure, and free from harassment and bullying of any kind.
What is bullying?
The policy defines bullying as systematically and chronically inflicting physical hurt or psychological distress on one or more students or employees and may involve but is not limited to:
- Unwanted teasing or taunting;
- Social Exclusion;
- Stalking, including cyberstalking;
- Physical violence;
- Sexual, religious, or racial harassment;
- Public humiliation;
- Destruction of property.
An easy way to determine if something is bullying is to look for three things that are generally present in a bullying situation:
- Repeated behavior (although it may be the first time you heard about or witnessed the behavior)
- Imbalance of power between the person who is bullying and the victim of bullying (could be a physical imbalance or a difference in status)
- Intent to harm (either physically or emotionally)
What is harassment?
The policy defines harassment as any threatening, insulting, or dehumanizing gesture, use of data or computer software, or written, verbal or physical conduct directed against a student or employee that:
- Places a student or employee in reasonable fear of harm to his or her person or damage to his or her property.
- Has the effect of substantially interfering with a student’s educational performance, opportunities, or benefits.
- Has the effect of substantially disrupting the orderly operation of a school.
What activities does the policy apply to?
The policy prohibits bullying or harassment of any student or employee:
- During any education program or activity conducted by a district school
- During any school-related or school-sponsored program or activity or on school-sponsored transportation
- Through the use of data or computer software that is accessed through a computer, computer system, or computer network within the scope of the school system.
How do you report bullying or harassment?
Bullying or harassment can be reported verbally or in writing to the principal or the principal’s designee. A report can also be made anonymously using the designated anonymous reporting procedure at each school. Examples include Anonymous Reporting Box and school-based Incident Report Forms.
Anonymous reports can also be made to Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay in the following ways:
- Call 1-800-873-TIPS
- Text “CSTB plus your tip” to 274637
- Report bullying or other crime online.
Are employees required to report bullying?
All school employees are required to report alleged violations of this policy to the principal or the principal’s designee. Non-school employees are required to report alleged violations of this policy to their supervisor.
What is the process for investigating a report of bullying or harassment?
The principal/designee or appropriate administrator will initiate an investigation of all complaints of bullying or harassment. The investigator will interview the victim, alleged perpetrator,and witnesses separately to gather information including, but not limited to:
- a. Description of incident including nature of the behavior; context in which the alleged incident occurred, etc.
- b. How often the conduct occurred
- c. Whether there were past incidents or past continuing patterns of behavior
- d. The relationship between the parties involved
- e. The characteristics of parties involved (i.e., grade, age, etc.)
- f. The identity of the perpetrator, including whether the perpetrator was in a position of power over the student allegedly subjected to bullying or harassment
- g. The number of alleged bullies/harassers
- h. The age(s) of the alleged bullies/harassers
- i. Where the bullying and/or harassment occurred
- j. Whether the conduct adversely affected the student’s education or educational environment
- k. The date, time, and method in which the parents/legal guardians of all parties involved were contacted.
The parent/legal guardian of all students involved will be notified on the same day an investigation has been initiated. A written report including recommended remedial steps will be provided to the principal.
Is there a time limit for completing the investigation?
The investigation should be completed within 10 school days, unless extenuating circumstances prevent resolution within this time frame.
What are the consequences if a student or adult engages in bullying or harassment?
Consequences and appropriate remedial action for confirmed acts of bullying or harassment may range from behavioral interventions, referrals, suspension, and/or disciplinary action as outlined in the Student Code of Conduct, district policies, procedures, and agreements. Note: Consequences also apply to students and adults who wrongfully and intentionally accuse another as a means of bullying or harassment.
What help is available for victims or perpetrators of bullying or harassment?
A teacher or parent/legal guardian can request an informal consultation with school staff (e.g., school counselor,social worker, psychologist, etc.) or refer a student to the school intervention team for consideration of appropriate services. Assistance for school personnel is available through the Employee Assistance Program.
What training will be provided?
Training is an integral part of the bullying prevention and intervention process. The policy against bullying and harassment requires training for employees,students, parents/legal guardians, administrators, and school volunteers to ensure that everyone knows the policy against bullying and harassment and procedures, as well as how to intervene when issues of bullying arise. At a minimum, this must occur on an annual basis. Training must include evidence-based methods of preventing bullying and harassment, as well as how to effectively identify and respond to bullying in schools.
How will students, staff, and parents be informed about the policy?
The information will be published annually in the Student Code of Conduct and employee handbooks. The principal shall develop an annual process for discussing the policy against bullying and harassment with students. Reminders of the policy and bullying prevention messages such as posters and signs will be displayed around each school and on school buses. For more information about bullying prevention and intervention, visit http://www.stopbullying.gov/ .