Bullying can take many forms, including: Sexual harassment of another student Teasing and excluding Name calling Physically pushing, hitting or otherwise attacking Threatening or hazing Damaging or stealing belongings Demanding money
Most states have their own interpretation of bullying Texas Law states the following:"bullying" means engaging in written or verbal expression or physical conduct that a school district board of trustees or the boards designee determines: (1) will have the effect of physically harming a student, damaging a students property, or placing a student in reasonable fear of harm to the students person or of damage to the students property; or (2) is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive enough that the action or threat creates an intimidating, threatening, or abusive educational environment for a student.
Bullying once meant dipping a schoolgirls braids in the desk inkwell or throwing snowballs at the new kids 21st century bullying can involve school shootings, tormenting gay classmates, ruinous sex videos, devastating Internet abuse and suicides. The new extremes may be due to increasing violence among children, and, ironically, may also flow from diversity, which provides bullies with targets who look or sound different or may be gay, or have disabilities.
Passed in the Texas 2011 Session: SB 407 – Requires the Texas School Safety Center to develop programs that address “sexting” (sexually explicit material or photos sent by text message), and better responses to incidents of bullying and “cyberbullying” (bullying through the Internet). SB 471 and HB 1942 – Starting in 2012-2013 – Expands the requirements on school districts to address bullying and harassment, such as parental notification, programs for students and staff, providing counseling to bullies and victims and protecting those who report bullying. Charter schools also are required to adopt a policy on sexual abuse starting this year.
HB 1942 – Expands the definition of bullying and allows school districts to transfer the bully to another classroom or campus within the district. HB 1386 – Requires the development of intervention and prevention programs to train school staff to recognize potential suicide victims, to include those students targeted by bullies.
Last week, a Texas high school freshman committed suicide after enduring years of bullying from a group of classmates dubbed the "wolf pack," NBC reported. Ted "Teddy" Molina was a 16-year-old Flour Bluff High School student in Corpus Christi, Texas. He killed himself with a hunting rifle. Teddy, who is part Korean and part Hispanic, was taunted and received death threats due to his mixed race, his family says. Representatives from the Flour Bluff School District have denied being aware of a bullying problem in their schools, but some parents seem to disagree. A mother removed her two children from a junior high school in the district due to bullying last February, KRIS-TV reports. Other parents have come forward with similar stories. Teddys mother withdrew her son from school on March 5 at the height of the teens bullying, said Teddys sister Misa Molina. Teddys parents also claimed to have filed over a dozen complaints regarding their sons harassment.
A new documentary titled "Bully" examines school bullying by following five kids over the course of a school year. It uncovers the struggles of children who are physically and emotionally abused by fellow students. The documentary reports 13 million children are bullied in the United States every year. Its directed by Lee Hirsch. Since this was posted the rating has changed from R to PG 13!
Under the Texas Education Code, student bullying and harassment is prohibited. School administrators must also take steps to prevent and deal with physical and emotional school bullying.
J.S. v. Bethlehem Area School District (2000), the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania reviewed the case where J.S. was expelled from school for creating a Web page that included threatening and derogatory comments about specific school staff. In its ruling, the court made it clear that schools do have the authority to discipline students when speech articulated or behavior committed off‐campus results in a clear disruption of the school environment.
In Emmett v. Kent School District No. 415 (2000), however, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington reviewed a case where a student was initially expelled (the punishment was later modified to a five day suspension) for creating a Web page entitled the “Unofficial Kentlake High Home Page” that included mock obituaries of students and an online mechanism for visitors to vote on who should die next.
The major issue in this case was that the school district failed to demonstrate that the Web site was “intended to threaten anyone, did actually threaten anyone, or manifested any violent tendencies whatsoever.” This lack of evidence, combined with the above findings regarding the out‐of‐school nature of the speech, indicates that the plaintiff has a substantial likelihood of success on the merits of his claim” (Nick Emmett v. Kent School District No. 415 [W.D. Wa. 2000]). To reiterate, the district was unable to show that anyone listed on the site was actually threatened by the site, or that it resulted in a significant disturbance at school.
In a case involving cyber-bullying, a student sued the school district for limiting her First Amendment free speech rights by suspending her for creating a hate website against another student at school. The Fourth Circuit determined that the speech created actual or reasonably foreseeable "substantial disorder and disruption" at school; therefore, this was not the "speech" a school is required to tolerate and did not merit First Amendment protection.
Seek action if you suspect your child is being a victim of bullying As an educator, be familiar with your schools policy on bullying Alert school officials/administrators when you witness any incident that involves bullying Always keep documentation!
Since bullying can be many different things, how do you suppose you will be able to spot the difference? With people becoming more aware of the effects of bullying, do you think that there will be stronger policies in place?