Bullying has become a serious issue with young people nationwide. It affects students at every level, from elementary to high school. In an effort to proactively address the issue of bullying the District of Columbia Public Schools has created a Bullying Prevention Policy. The policy lays out clearly, the definition of bullying and the steps required by schools to address it. The entire policy is available to download below.
The definition for bullying in DCPS is:
“Bullying,” means any severe, pervasive, or persistent act or conduct, whether physical, electronic or verbal that:
- May be based on a youth’s actual or perceived race, color, ethnicity, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, intellectual ability, familial status, family responsibilities, matriculation, political affiliation, genetic information, disability, source of income, status as a victim of an intrafamily offense, place of residence or business, or any other distinguishing characteristic, or on a youth’s association with a person, or group with any person, with one or more of the actual or perceived foregoing characteristics; and
Shall be reasonably predicted to:
- Place a student in reasonable fear of physical harm to his or her person or property;
- Cause a substantial detrimental effect on the student’s physical or mental health;
- Substantially interfere with the student’s academic performance or attendance; or
- Substantially interfere with the student’s ability to participate in or benefit from school activities or services; or
- Materially and substantially disrupts the education process or the orderly operation of a school.
Bullying also occurs when a student or group of students organize a campaign against another student or when a student or group of students maliciously spread rumors about another student. In most circumstances Bullying does not include a mutual fight between two students who are angry with each other. Such fights are subject to discipline as a violation of Chapter 25 as defined in the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations (DCMR).
DCPS is committed to making every school a safe and welcome space for your child. Families are critical players in these efforts.
- One of the most proactive measures families can take to shield their children from bullying is to talk to them early and openly about what it means to bully or to be bullied. Doing so not only ensures that you and your child maintain open lines of communication, but also reinforces the importance of speaking up about problems at school.
- If you suspect your child may be bullied at school, don’t be afraid to ask them about it. Make sure to tell your child that you are there to help and you believe what he or she has to say.
- If you think your child is bullying others, it is important to discuss the behavior and make it clear that bullying is taken very seriously. At the same time, you may want to work with your child to understand some of the reasons behind the bullying.
- If you witness cyberbullying (use of the Internet and related technologies to bully) that includes threats of violence, child pornography or sexually explicit materials, and stalking or hate crimes, you should consider reporting the incident to law enforcement. Cyberbullying also can create classroom disruptions and lead to in-person bullying.
School should be a safe, welcoming environment for your child. If you feel that your child is unsafe or is being bullied at school, contact your child’s teacher and the principal.
Helping your children be responsible with technology will go a long way to keeping them safe.
Here are some things you can do:
Make sure you have passwords for all online accounts
Monitor screen time (i.e., television, internet, FaceBook/Twitter)
Keep technology in common areas of your home so you can monitor use
Turn off technology at night and put it in a safe space
Set an example by modeling responsible use of technology
If you or your child has been involved in a bullying incident please contact your school to report it.
- DCPS Bullying Prevention Policy
For any questions or concerns please contact Justin McClain, Manager, Student Behavior at [email protected].