Preventing Harassment, Bullying and Intimidation
A guide for parents
- LWSD policies regarding harassment, intimidation and bullying
- Programs to help prevent harassment, intimidation and bullying at each grade level
LWSD has a policy in place designed to help prevent and report harassment, intimidation, and bullying of students. In Policy JFD, the district recognizes its responsibility to provide a safe and civil educational environment that is free from all types of discrimination and harassment, including sexual harassment, bullying, and intimidation. In Policy JFD-R, the district further defines harassment, intimidation, and bullying, and provides procedures for reporting, investigating, and resolving incidents promptly.
- Students in grades kindergarten through two take part in “Kelso’s Choice,” a conflict management program specifically designed for children. The program philosophy is simple: each child is smart enough and strong enough to resolve conflict.
- Students in grades three through five participate in the “Steps to Respect” program from the Committee for Children. It aims to prevent bullying in the school.
- Each middle school and high school has individualized programs within their schools to discourage bullying, including Link Crew, WEB, or other similar programs. A number of schools participate in Safe School Ambassadors, a program that engages the socially-influential student leaders and trains them to resolve conflicts, defuse incidents, and support isolated and excluded students.
- 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)
- 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.
- 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
- he conduct unreasonably interferes with the individual's job or educational performance or creates a work or educational environment that is intimidating, hostile or offensive. he 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.
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, primarily 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.
What parents should know and do
Information for parents to use to help prevent bullying and risky online behaviors
If the bullying occurs during the school day, contact the administrator of your child’s school to report bullying. The administrator will then follow-up with involved students to confirm the report of bullying. Administrators will document all of the information for each situation, and if necessary, will report to law enforcement. Administrators may also refer the bullying victim to counseling, and will follow-up on the well-being of any involved students in the school through direct and parent contacts. Students will receive disciplinary action in keeping with school policies for violations that occur at school or off-campus when violations create an unsafe or disruptive effect.
Tips for parents on identifying and stopping bullying and harassment
Encourage your child to speak with you about bullying at school. Studies show that children often don’t tell their parents or other adults about bullying because they believe that the adults will not believe them. Children may also think that they should be able to solve their own problems. Other children may be afraid that telling an adult will result in worse treatment from the child doing the bullying. Below are tips on ways to identify if your child is being bullied. These tips are from the Steps to Respect program.
- Signs that may indicate that your child is being bullied
- What to do if your child is being bullied
- Tips for parents regarding online behavior
- Tips for parents to share with their students regarding online behavior
- Fear of riding the school bus
- Cuts or bruises
- Damaged clothing or belongings
- Frequently “lost” lunch money
- Frequent requests to stay home from school
- Frequent unexplained minor illnesses
- Sleeplessness or nightmares
- Depression, or lack of enthusiasm for hobbies or friends
- Declining school performance
- Assure your child that he/she is not to blame.
- Instruct your child not to fight back. Bullying lasts longer and becomes more severe when children fight back. Physical injuries are often the result.
- Advise your child to report all bullying incidents to an adult at school or a parent.
- Role-play friendship-developing social skills with your child. For example you can help him/her practice making conversation, joining a group activity, being respectful, and being assertive. Friendships can help buffer a child from the harmful effects of bullying.
Parents are encouraged to be actively involved in their children’s use of online resources.
- Keep the computer in a busy area of your home.
- Check your child’s text messages and social network (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) pages frequently and randomly - remember, you are paying for the devices and access, and you may be liable for misuse.
- Talk about cyberbullying: ask your child if they know someone who has been a victim – ask if they have been victimized.
- Restricting access to social networking or chat rooms will not eradicate the problems – students are tech savvy and will find ways around your restrictions, and may participate in more dangerous online activity.
- One should never post, text, or email a snide remark about another person that you would not be willing to say to that person directly.
- Never give out personal information online, whether in instant message profiles, chat rooms, blogs, or personal Web sites.
- Parents are the only ones who should ever have access to student passwords. Students should never give a password or other personal identification to a friend.
- Never respond to a threatening message. Save it or print it out and show it to an adult.
- Never open email from an unknown sender or from someone who is known as a bully.
- Never put anything online or into an email that you would not want your classmates or your family to see.
- Do not send an email when you are angry. Wait 24 hours. Before clicking “send,” ask how you would feel to get that message.
- Never join in when someone is bullying others. Show such messages to an adult.
- Be as polite online as you should always be in person.
How to report harassment, intimidation and/or bullying
The Incident Reporting Form JFD-E may be used by students, families or staff to report incidents of harassment, intimidation or bullying to school administration or another staff member.
Any student who believes he or she has been the target of unresolved, severe or persistent harassment, intimidation or bullying may report incidents orally or in writing to any staff member.
Likewise, any other person in the school community who observes or receives notice that a student has or may have been the target of harassment, intimidation or bullying may also report incidents to any staff member.
- Bullying Awareness Guidebook
- Children's Crisis Outreach Response System (CCORS) 206-461-3222
- Common Sense Media
- Cyberbullying Research Center
- How to Handle Bullying
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255)
- Office for Civil Rights Fact Sheet on Bullying of Students with Disabilities
- OSPI School Safety Center: Bullying and Harassment
- OSPI School Safety Center: Cyberbullying & Digital/Internet Safety
- OSPI School Safety Center: Help Links for Youth
- OSPI School Safety Center: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning Youth
- Pacer's National Bullying Prevention Center
- Teen Link, Crisis Clinic of King County