Resource Available to Develop Local Bully-Prevention Policies
The Model Policy to Address Bullying in Virginia’s Public Schools, adopted by the Board of Education in October 2013, provides information to assist local school boards in formulating policies to help prevent bullying and procedures to report, investigate and intervene when bullying behavior occurs.
State law (Code of Virginia § 22.1-208.01 Character education required.) requires local school boards to establish character education programs that include addressing the inappropriateness of bullying. Bullying is defined in the Code of Virginia § 22.1-276.01. Bullying may also occur through the use of electronic means and is referred to as cyber bullying. Typically, cyber bullying is defined as using information and communication technologies, such as cell phone text messages and pictures and internet e-mail, social networking websites, defamatory personal websites, and defamatory online personal polling websites, to support deliberate, hostile, behavior intended to harm others.
To help address and prevent bullying in public schools, a model policy was developed and adopted by the Board of Education. The Model Policy to Address Bullying in Virginia’s Public Schools (PDF) provides information to assist local school boards in formulating policies to help prevent bullying and procedures to report, investigate and intervene when bullying behavior occurs.
This model policy was developed as a result of the 2013 Virginia General Assembly amended Code § 22.1-276.01 to define bullying. School divisions must, at a minimum, use the following definition in their local anti-bullying policies and procedures:
Bullying means any aggressive and unwanted behavior that is intended to harm, intimidate, or humiliate the victim; involves a real or perceived power of imbalance between the aggressor or aggressors and victim; and is repeated over time or causes severe emotional trauma. ‘Bullying’ includes cyber bullying. ‘Bullying’ does not include ordinary teasing, horseplay, argument or peer conflict.
The board-approved document expands on this bullying definition by addressing different types of bullying and describing the potential ramifications for all those involved in bullying incidents. Bullying prevention and intervention practices and strategies are described. In addition, information on reporting, investigating and recording incidents and the necessary notifications for parents and law enforcement are detailed. The appendix provides a sample school board policy, reporting samples and follow-up forms, as well as guidance from the US Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights and its Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services
2011 Legislative Study
The need for additional guidance and training was identified in a study conducted by VDOE at the request of the 2011 General Assembly. Specifically, the legislature directed VDOE to:
- Review and compare antibullying measures in the student codes of conduct of each school division;
- Compare existing policies with the department’s model policy for codes of student conduct; and
- Determine if improvements to existing policies are warranted, in order to more effectively combat bullying in Virginia public schools.
VDOE’s findings were presented to the 2012 General Assembly.
Technical Assistance and Training
- Bullying & Sexual Harassment: Managing Each Appropriately in Schools (Statewide Anti-Bullying Summit held June 17, 2013) – This summit provided information ranging from how to define bullying, identifying harassment, how to implement best practices for bullying prevention and intervention, the impact of bullying behaviors on school climate and achievement, and legal aspects in addressing harassment.
- Summit Agenda (PDF)
- Presenter Biographies (PDF)
- Resource List (Word)
- On-line training modules for each of the summit’s topics – Coming soon: modules will include recordings, PowerPoints, facilitator and participant guides, and other staff development resources
- Bullying Prevention in the Promotion of a Positive School Climate: Effective Principles and Practices (Statewide Anti-Bullying Conference held June 20, 2012) – Conference resources include PowerPoints, recorded sessions and videos on effective youth development for addressing bulling; a school-wide perspective to understanding and preventing bullying; social-emotional learning and character education approaches to bullying prevention and intervention; and more.
- Virginia Tiered Systems of Supports
- Student Assistance Programming: Creating Positive Conditions For Learning
- Student Conduct Policy Guidelines (PDF)
- Internet Safety in Schools
- Safe and Supportive Schools: News and Grant Opportunities
- Focus on: Bullying (PDF) – Issue #7, August 27, 2010
- Focus on: Bullying #2 (PDF) – Issue #11, October 8, 2010
- Focus on: Bullying #3 (PDF) – Issue #14, January 5, 2011
- Youth Violence and Bullying Prevention, Virginia Department of Health
- The Center for School Safety, Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services
- Youth Violence Project, University of Virginia, Curry School of Education
- Office for Civil Rights, US Department of Education (USED)
- Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, USED
- StopBullying.gov – Hosted by the US Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) in partnership with USED, this site provides information on how kids, teens, young adults, parents, educators and others in the community can address bullying behaviors, as well as information about cyberbullying.
- PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center – Funded by the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), this wite focuses on the families of children with disabilities by providing information including workshops, documents and other resources designed to benefit all students, including students with disabilities.
- National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities – Funded by OSEP to provide information on disabilities in children and youth; programs and services available for infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities under IDEA; and research-based information on effective practices for children with disabilities (birth through 21 years of age.
- FindYouthInfo.gov – This site, developed by 12 federal agencies, disseminates information and resources to support programs and services focusing on positive, healthy outcomes for youth. The site includes facts and information on bullying, positive youth development as well as information on how to assess community assets, generate maps of local and federal resources, search for evidence-based youth programs, keep up-to-date on youth-related news and find available funding opportunities.
- Safe Supportive Learning – Funded by USED’s Office of Safe and Healthy Students and HHS’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to help schools and communities contend with factors that impact learning conditions such as bullying, harassment, violence, and substance abuse, the site provides resources, training, and technical assistance for State Departments of Education, school divisions and institutions of higher education.
- SAMHSA’s National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP) – A searchable website with information on more than 280 programs such bullying and violence prevention.