All students have the right to learn in an environment that is free from harassment, including sexual harassment, intimidation and bullying.
Harassment, intimidation or bullying means:
- any intentionally written message or image (including those that are electronically transmitted) or verbal or physical act, including but not limited to one shown to be motivated by race, color, religion, creed, ancestry, national origin, sex, gender, sexual orientation, including gender expression or identity, marital status, age, mental or physical disability or other distinguishing characteristics, honorably discharged veteran or military status, or the use of a trained guide dog or service animal by a person with a disability,
- when an act physically harms a student or damages the student's property,
- has the effect of substantially interfering with a student's education,
- is so severe, persistent or pervasive that it creates an intimidating or threatening educational environment,
- and/or has the effect of substantially disrupting the orderly operation of the school.
Harassment, intimidation and bullying can take many forms. It includes but is not limited to slurs, rumors, “put-downs,” jokes, innuendoes, demeaning comments, drawings, cartoons, pranks, gestures, physical attacks, threats, or other written, oral, physical, or electronically-transmitted messages or images.
Sexual harassment is a type of harassment. It occurs when the types of verbal, visual or physical conduct described above are sexual in nature or are based on gender. Conduct is gender-based when it would not occur but for the sex of the person to whom it is directed.
Sexual harassment exists when:
- submission to the conduct is, either explicitly or implicitly, a term or condition of employment or education; or
- submission to or rejection of the conduct is used as the basis of an employment or educational decision affecting such individual; or
- the conduct unreasonably interferes with the individual's job or educational performance or creates a work or educational environment that is intimidating, hostile or offensive.
Harassing conduct includes repeated offensive sexual flirtations, advances or propositions, and continued or repeated verbal abuse of a sexual nature. It also includes graphic or degrading verbal comments about an individual or about his/her appearance, the display of sexually suggestive objects or pictures, and any offensive or abusive physical contact.
Other details about bullying from www.stopbullying.gov:
Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school age children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated over time. Both kids who are bullied and who bully others may have serious, lasting problems. Bullying can occur during or after school hours. Most reported bullying happens in the school building. It also happens on the playground or the bus, travelling to and from school, in the youth’s neighborhood, or on the Internet.
From OSPI Anti-HIB Subgroup on Best Practice and Curriculum
Bullying—intentional, repeated, negative, lack of empathy, power imbalance;
Intimidation—implied or overt threats of physical violence (WAC 495-A-121-011);
Harassment—any malicious act which causes harm to any person’s physical or mental well-being (WAC 495A-121-011)
What is Cyberbullying and “Sexting”?
Cyber-bullying is bullying that takes place using electronic technology. Electronic technology includes devices and equipment such as cell phones, computers, and tablets as well as communication tools including social media sites, text messages, chat, and websites. Examples of cyber-bullying include mean text messages or emails, rumors sent by email or posted on social networking sites, and embarrassing pictures, videos, websites, or fake profiles.
Kids who are cyber-bullied are often bullied in person as well. Additionally, kids who are cyber-bullied have a harder time getting away from the behavior. Cyber-bullying can happen 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It can reach a student even when he or she is alone. It can happen any time of the day or night. Cyber-bullying messages and images can be posted anonymously. They can be distributed quickly to a very wide audience. It can be difficult and sometimes impossible to trace the source. Deleting inappropriate or harassing messages, texts, and pictures is extremely difficult after they have been posted or sent.
Cell phones and computers themselves are not to blame for cyber-bullying. Social media sites can be used for positive activities, like connecting kids with friends and family, helping students with school, and for entertainment. But these tools can also be used to hurt other people. Whether done in person or through technology, the effects of bullying are similar.
Sexting is the act of sending sexually explicit messages or photographs, primariy between mobile phones. It is a combination of the words sex and texting, where the latter is meant in the wide sense of sending a text possibly with images. Often, children will send nude or revealing photos of themselves to other children with whom they are in a relationship. However, when that relationship ends, the receiver of the photograph may decide to share these photos with others. This is illegal and, depending upon the circumstances, could lead to criminal charges against the individual sharing the photo.