Arts in Action Anti-Bullying Procedures and Best Practices Policy
Arts in Action (AIA) is committed to each student’s success in learning within a caring, responsive, and safe environment that is free from discrimination, violence, and bullying. AIA works to ensure that all students have the opportunity and support to develop into their fullest potential and share a personal, meaningful bond with the people in the school community. See the bottom of this webpage for the electronic bullying report form. The form can also be accessed in the main office, counseling offices, and in the classrooms.
If you would like general information on the California Department of Education Anti-Bullying Resources, please see here:
AB 2291 School Safety: Anti-Bullying
Arts in Action Community Charter Schools (AIA) believes that all students have a right to a safe and healthy school environment, and will not tolerate behavior that infringes on the safety of any student. At StopBullying.gov, you will find information about the types of bullying, how it affects you and our community, and helpful resources for learning more about how we can maintain a safe and healthy school environment together. These definitions can also be found in the Arts in Action Bullying Procedures and Best Practices document.
AIA prohibits retaliatory behavior against any complainant of a participant in the complaint process. Please contact school leadership or school counselors to report bullying. Bully Report forms are also available in both the Elementary and Middle School Sites and accessible to parents, staff, and students to report bullying.
Any reports of bullying will be immediately addressed and an appropriate resolution reached to ensure the health and safety of all students.
If the complainant student or parent/guardian of the student feels that an appropriate resolution of the investigation or complaint has not been reached, the student or parent/guardian should contact school leadership. If this fails to bring about a resolution, the complainant may complete a written complaint form detailing the incident and what needs to be done to bring a resolution to the concern. Tis will be submitted to the Uniform Complaint Officer for follow up investigation under the Uniform Complaint Procedures (BP/AR 1312.3). For more information on the Uniform Complaint Procedures, please contact the main office or Maria Ramirez, Director of Human Resources and Uniform Complaint Procedure Liaison, at [email protected] or ph: 213-453-6030.
AB 2291 requires the California Department of Education (“CDE”) to develop and post on its Internet Web site an online training module to assist all school staff, school administrators, parents, pupils, and community members in increasing their knowledge of the dynamics of bullying and cyberbullying. The online training module shall include, but is not limited to, identifying an act of bullying or cyberbullying, and implementing strategies to address bullying and cyberbullying. CDE is also required to post on its website, and annually update a list of available online training modules relating to bullying or bullying prevention. Schools are required to annually make available the CDE online training module to certificated school site staff and all other school site staff that have regular interaction with students or provide comparable training in-house. The California Department of Education Online Bullying Training Module and Bullying presentation is mandated by Assembly Bill 1993 and California Education Code Section 32283.5. The Online Bullying Training module and Bullying module will assist all school staff, school administrators, parents, pupils, and community members in increasing their knowledge of the dynamics of bullying. The Online Bullying Training module presentation and Bullying module identify acts of bullying, and suggest strategies to address bullying.
Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Both kids who are bullied and who bully others may have serious, lasting problems.
In order to be considered bullying, the behavior must be aggressive and include:
- An Imbalance of Power: Kids who bully use their power—such as physical strength, access to embarrassing information, or popularity—to control or harm others. Power imbalances can change over time and in different situations, even if they involve the same people.
- Repetition: Bullying behaviors happen more than once or have the potential to happen more than once.
Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.
Types of Bullying
There are three types of bullying:
- Verbal bullying is saying or writing mean things. Verbal bullying includes:
- Inappropriate sexual comments
- Threatening to cause harm
- Social bullying, sometimes referred to as relational bullying, involves hurting someone’s reputation or relationships. Social bullying includes:
- Leaving someone out on purpose
- Telling other children not to be friends with someone
- Spreading rumors about someone
- Embarrassing someone in public
- Physical bullying involves hurting a person’s body or possessions. Physical bullying includes:
- Taking or breaking someone’s things
- Making mean or rude hand gestures
Cyberbullying 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 cyberbullying include mean text messages or emails, rumors sent by email or posted on social networking sites, and embarrassing pictures, videos, websites, or fake profiles.
Why Cyberbullying is Different
Kids who are being cyberbullied are often bullied in person as well. Additionally, kids who are cyberbullied have a harder time getting away from the behavior.
- Cyberbullying can happen 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and reach a kid even when he or she is alone. It can happen any time of the day or night.
- Cyberbullying messages and images can be posted anonymously and 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.
Responding to Bullying
If staff suspects bullying (including cyber-bullying), witnesses bullying, or a student reports to them that he/she is being bullied, the staff will report the bullying to the Behavior and Emotional Support Team for investigation as soon as possible.
There are two (2) Bullying Reporting Forms Available. The first is for students to use to report bullying. These forms will be located in the classrooms, the main office, and the counselor’s office, and can be returned to the teacher, office staff, or any member of the Behavior and Emotional Support Team. The second form is for adults (teachers, staff, parents) to report bullying. These forms will also be located in the classrooms, main office, and Counselors’ offices. Both referrals, regardless of type, will be entered into the school computer tracking system to track and monitor any trends in location, target, perpetrator, and/or type of bullying. Investigation will occur as soon as possible after a report is received; documentation and communication follow the same procedures outlined in the Counseling Handbook.
Stop Bullying on the Spot
When adults respond quickly and consistently to bullying behavior they send the message that it is not acceptable. Research shows this can stop bullying behavior over time. There are simple steps adults can take to stop bullying on the spot and keep kids safe.
- Intervene immediately. It is ok to get another adult to help.
- Separate the kids involved.
- Make sure everyone is safe.
- Meet any immediate medical or mental health needs.
- Stay calm. Reassure the kids involved, including bystanders.
- Model respectful behavior when you intervene.
Avoid these common mistakes:
- Don’t ignore it. Don’t think kids can work it out without adult help.
- Don’t immediately try to sort out the facts.
- Don’t force other kids to say publicly what they saw.
- Don’t question the children involved in front of other kids.
- Don’t talk to the kids involved together, only separately.
- Don’t make the kids involved apologize or patch up relations on the spot.
Once the students are separated, and the environment is safe, complete the Bullying Report Form and inform the Behavior and Emotional Support Team so that they may begin their investigation promptly.
Find out what happened
Whether you’ve just stopped bullying on the spot, received a report from an adult, or a child has reached out to you for help, follow the steps below to determine the best way to proceed.
Get the Facts
- Keep all the involved children separate.
- Get the story from several sources, both adults and kids.
- Listen without blaming.
- Don’t call the act “bullying” while you are trying to understand what happened.
It may be difficult to get the whole story, especially if multiple students are involved or the bullying involves social bullying or cyberbullying. Collect all available information.
Determine if it's Bullying
There are many behaviors that look like bullying but require different approaches. It is important to determine whether the situation is bullying or something else (e.g. peer conflict). Review the definition of bullying. To determine if this is bullying or something else, consider the following questions:
- What is the history between the kids involved? Have there been past conflicts?
- Is there a power imbalance? Remember that a power imbalance is not limited to physical strength. It is sometimes not easily recognized. If the targeted child feels like there is a power imbalance, there probably is.
- Has this happened before? Is the child worried it will happen again?
- Have the kids dated? There are special responses for teen dating violence.
- Are any of the kids involved with a gang? Gang violence has different interventions.
Remember that it may not matter “who started it.” Some kids who are bullied may be seen as annoying or provoking, but this does not excuse the bullying behavior.
Support the Students Involved:
All kids involved in bullying—whether they are bullied, bully others, or see bullying—can be affected. It is important to support all kids involved to make sure the bullying doesn’t continue and effects can be minimized.
Support Kids Who are Bullied
- Listen and focus on the child. Learn what’s been going on and show you want to help.
- Assure the child that bullying is not their fault.
- Know that kids who are bullied may struggle with talking about it. Consider referring them to a school counselor, psychologist, or other mental health services.
- Give advice about what to do. This may involve role-playing and thinking through how the child might react if the bullying occurs again.
- Work together to resolve the situation and protect the bullied child. The child, parents, and school may all have valuable input. It may help to:
- Ask the child being bullied what can be done to make him or her feel safe. Remember that changes to routine should be minimized. He or she is not at fault and should not be singled out. For example, consider re-arranging classroom or bus seating plans for everyone. If bigger moves are necessary, such as switching classrooms, the child who is bullied should not be forced to change.
- Develop a game plan. Maintain open communication between schools, organizations, and parents. Discuss the steps that are taken and the limitations around what can be done based on policies and laws. Remember, the law does not allow school personnel to discuss discipline, consequences, or services given to other children.
- Be persistent. Bullying may not end overnight. Commit to making it stop and consistently support the bullied child.
- Avoid these mistakes:
- Never tell the child to ignore the bullying.
- Do not blame the child for being bullied. Even if he or she provoked the bullying, no one deserves to be bullied.
- Do not tell the child to physically fight back against the kid who is bullying. It could get the child hurt, suspended, or expelled.
- Parents should resist the urge to contact the other parents involved. It may make matters worse. School or other officials can act as mediators between parents.
- Follow-up. Show a commitment to making bullying stop. Because bullying is behavior that repeats or has the potential to be repeated, it takes consistent effort to ensure that it stops.
Address Bullying Behavior/Consequences
Parents, school staff, and organizations all have a role to play.
Make sure the child knows what the problem behavior is. Young people who bully must learn their behavior is wrong and harms others.
- Show kids that bullying is taken seriously. Calmly tell the child that bullying will not be tolerated. Model respectful behavior when addressing the problem.
- Work with the child to understand some of the reasons he or she bullied. For example:
- Sometimes children bully to fit in. These kids can benefit from participating in positive activities. Involvement in sports and clubs can enable them to take leadership roles and make friends without feeling the need to bully.
- Other times kids act out because something else—issues at home, abuse, stress—is going on in their lives. They also may have been bullied. These kids may be in need of additional support, such as mental health services.
- Use consequences to teach. Consequences that involve learning or building empathy can help prevent future bullying. School staff should remember to follow the guidelines in their student code of conduct and other policies in developing consequences and assigning discipline. For example, the child who bullied can:
- Lead a class discussion about how to be a good friend.
- Write a story about the effects of bullying or benefits of teamwork.
- Role-play a scenario or make a presentation about the importance of respecting others, the negative effects of gossip, or how to cooperate.
- Do a project about civil rights and bullying.
- Read a book about bullying.
- Make posters for the school about cyberbullying and being smart online.
- Involve the kid who bullied in making amends or repairing the situation. The goal is to help them see how their actions affect others. For example, the child can:
- Write a letter apologizing to the student who was bullied.
- Do a good deed for the person who was bullied or for others in your community.
- Clean up, repair, or pay for any property they damaged.
- Avoid strategies that don’t work or have negative consequences.
- Zero tolerance or “three strikes, you’re out” strategies don’t work. Suspending or expelling students who bully does not reduce bullying behavior. Students and teachers may be less likely to report and address bullying if suspension or expulsion is the consequence.
- Conflict resolution and peer mediation don’t work for bullying. Bullying is not a conflict between people of equal power who share equal blame. Facing those who have bullied may further upset kids who have been bullied.
- Group treatment for students who bully doesn’t work. Group members tend to reinforce bullying behavior in each other.
- Follow-up. After the bullying issue is resolved, continue finding ways to help the child who bullied to understand how what they do affects other people. For example, praise acts of kindness or talk about what it means to be a good friend.
Support Bystanders Who Witness Bullying
Even if kids are not bullied or bullying others they can be affected by bullying. Many times, when they see bullying, they may not know what to do to stop it. They may not feel safe stepping in at the moment, but there are many other steps they can take (e.g reporting the bullying to an adult). Provide emotional support and encourage all students to report bullying incidents.
WHAT WILL THE BEHAVIOR AND EMOTIONAL SUPPORT TEAM DO?
When a member of the Behavior and Emotional Support Team Receives a bully report, the following procedures will be followed:
- The team member who receives the report will look up the offender on the computer tracking system to see if there is a pattern of behavior. Behavior log will be printed for review.
- The team member will forward this information to the school leadership and counseling team. Bully Reports will be given priority.
- The school leadership and counseling team will check the target student’s file to see if there are other bully reports on file.
- Target students may be referred to the School Counselor for counseling or skills building groups.
- The school leadership and counseling team will meet with students separately to gather information. Other students may also be spoken to at this time.
- Phone calls will be made to the parents of both the target and the offender, and logged into the school tracking system.
- The school leadership and counseling team will determine level of consequence(s), which may include, but are not limited to:
- Conflict resolution with the target student (if appropriate and if the target student feels comfortable)
- Restorative Justice Assignment
- Referral to participate Check-In/Check-Out intervention
- Referral to the School Counselor for counseling or skills building groups
- Parent meeting
- Possible suspension/expulsion
- Behavior Staff will enter the report as a Major incident into the computer tracking system, indicating the consequence given.
- The incident will be labeled as “bullying” if it is found to be substantiated.
- The incident will be labeled as “bully investigation” if it is not.
- Original Bully report will be put in the offender's student file and a copy will be put into the target’s file.
Report bullying online (google form):