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10 Tips and Strategies for Addressing Incidents of Bullying image

The following post is intended to help principals address incidences of bullying. The below tips and strategies are not exhaustive and readers are encouraged develop their own best practice guides. More importantly, these suggestions do not replace policies, procedures, and guidelines put forth by local Districts and/or School Boards. This document uses the term bullying to encapsulate both traditional bullying and cyberbullying. When working with a perpetrator, target and/or bystander it is helpful to understand the individual’s lived experiences. Secondly, principals and school staff are expected to provide a safe learning environment for all. Listen, understand, validate When an individual reports an incident of bullying, provide space for them to speak and to be heard. It takes courage to report ...

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HIB Legislation for Schools – A Best Practice Guide image

Harassment, intimidation and bullying (HIB) legislation revolves around preventing, reporting, investigating and responding to incidents that occur on school grounds and off school grounds under specified circumstances. Laws were adopted, in part, in response research on the incidence, prevalence and effects of HIB that has emerged since the adoption of the original HIB law in 2002.  Some of the main states that specifically define HIB in their legislation include New Jersey and Washington.  While controversy exists whether such HIB laws and legislation actually reduce the number of incidents or improve things like school climate and safety, the laws are here to stay and its important to understand their implications.  It is becoming an important reality that schools must follow such laws or face ...

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Seth’s Law Aims at Preventing Bullying in California Schools image

Seth’s Law (AB 9) aims at strengthening existing state anti-bullying laws to help protect California public school students. Like many other state legislation enactments, Seth’s Law requires public schools in California to update their anti-bullying policies and programs.  The law focuses on protecting students who are bullied based on who they are.  Their sexual orientation,  gender identity as well as race, ethnicity, nationality, disability, and religion among others. Background of Seth’s Law Seth’s Law was named after Seth, a 13-year-old California student that tragically took his own life in 2010 after years of persistent anti-gay bullying.  The bill was first filed with the Secretary of State in 2011 and has been accepted and amended several times since. Discrimination Policy for ...

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Talking To Parents About Difficult Subjects: The Best Tips For Opening Up image

Most teens find it difficult to open up to anyone, let alone parents. When it comes to broaching certain subjects–bullying, drugs, bad decisions–no one wants to take that awkward step. The unavoidable truth, however, is that your parents are the very people you should talk to about those things. While you may think they’ll be unsupportive or jump to conclusions, it might not be as bad as you’re imagining. The only way to find out is to open up a little and lay the groundwork for a respectful, honest talk. One of the best ways to do this is to start opening up communication about small things. It’s tempting to go straight to your room when you get home from ...

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Ohio Lawmakers Introduce New Anti-bullying Legislation image

Much like other states across the country, Ohio’s public schools must enact policies that prohibit student harassment, intimidation and bullying (HIB).  The law defines “harassment, intimidation and bullying” to be any intentional written, verbal, electronic or physical act that one student has taken against another student more than one time.  The action must have resulted in either physical or mental harm.  The bullying must also be sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive.  The law’s aim is to protect children and prevent an environment that is threatening, intimidating or abusive for the victim. State Senator Sandra Williams of Cleveland wants to take Ohio’s anti-bullying laws farther.  She has introduced Senate Bills 196 and 197, which create an “aggravated bullying charge for juveniles.”  She’s sending a ...

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Mississippi Senate House Bill #263 Requires Anti-Bullying Training and Reporting image

Several state laws in Mississippi prohibit bullying or harassing behavior in Mississippi public schools.  SB 2015, passed in the regular session of 2010, addresses bullying by identifying it and requiring schools to define policies against bullying and harassment.  A more recent bill, Senate House Bill #263 aims to further strengthen anti-bullying measures.  The overall goal of the bill is to put in place mandatory training for school staff on bullying and suicide prevention and ensure proper reporting procedures are in place.  Legislatures wish to decrease the rate of suicide in youth and across the state of Mississippi which many professionals attribute to bullying and harassment within public schools.  The CDC put out a report on its research on the link between bullying and suicide. ...

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SB 179 (David’s Law) Passes in Texas Against Cyber-Bullying image

SB 179, drafted by José Menéndez, cleared both House and Senate with bipartisan support in late May 2017.  Menéndez claims it would “empower schools, parents, and law enforcement to tackle cyberbullying.”  The bill, known as David’s Law, honors a high school student from Alamo Heights who was subjected to fierce cyberbullying before he took his own life last year. The bill will take effect Sept. 1 and Texas schools and districts are taking note of the implications it has on their policies and procedures.  At a high level, the bill requires better reporting procedures, notification of parents within a specific timeframe, and district-wide policies.  Although some of the sections might be difficult to interpret, some of the main points include District-wide anti-cyberbullying policies ...

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Will the Student Information System (SIS) monolith benefit schools? image

There’s no doubt that the Student Information System (SIS) sits at the center of a school or district’s technological toolbox.  The SIS tracks everything from grades to attendance to emergency contact information for students and more.  The SIS in many districts serves as the central data warehouse where all information passes through.  Integrations through Single Sign On (SSO) and Application Program Interfaces (APIs) help partnering tools hook into the SIS to update student records and tie various technology tools together.  This helps teachers, administrators, and parents easily access information in a central place.  Everything about the school operations and the students can easily be accessed in one place.  But can this SIS get too big and too powerful?     Who are ...

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Brandi Augenstein shares her tools of the trade and why School Counselors ROCK image

What’s your name and in which school and/or district do you work? Brandi Augenstein, Santa Ana Unified School District How long have you been working in education and what drove you to your profession? Officially or Unofficially? Unofficially I started working in education when I was about 14, yes I understand child labor laws, but it was an experience that started my career in schools. My best friend’s mom was an elementary school principal and we’d go to work with every day during the summer to help around the school, play with the kids during recess, help in classrooms during the day, hang bulletin board paper for teachers, and  tutor and coach after school. We worked for clothing and other ...

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Why you shouldn’t use Google Forms for bully reporting image

G Suite for Education (formerly called Google Apps for Education) provides all of Google’s core offerings to schools.  Products like Google Forms, Google Drive, and Google Sheets typically used for personal and business use are available to schools.  It also includes a whole lot more custom tools built specifically for schools.  Google Forms, for instance, are great for sending out student surveys and even online assessments.  Some schools and districts use Google Forms for their bully and incident reporting forms.  While Google Forms might seem like a good option here we have actually found several significant pitfalls.  We would like for you to consider them as you evaluate your reporting process.  Granted, Google Forms are a step in the right direction ...

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