Administrative Regulation on Bullying

Administrative Regulation 5131.2

Administrative Regulation 5131.2

Administrative Regulation 5131.2

San Francisco Unified School District and County Office of Education

Administrative Regulation 5131.2

Bullying

This Administrative Regulation applies to the San Francisco Unified School District and the County Office of Education.

The Governing Board is committed to providing a safe and supportive learning environment that protects students from discrimination, harassment, and bullying. This regulation is meant to advise school site staff and administration on the handling of school site complaints regarding bullying and student conflict.

Definitions

  1. Protected Class:Unlawful discrimination, including discriminatory harassment, intimidation, and bullying targeted at any student by anyone, based on the student's actual or perceived race, color, ancestry, national origin, nationality, ethnicity, ethnic group identification, age, religion, marital or parental status, physical or mental disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, or genetic information or association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics.
  2. Bullying (Education Code 48900(r)):For the conduct to meet the definition of bullying for the purpose of this offense, it must be “any severe or pervasive physical or verbal act or conduct, including communications made in writing or by means of any electronic act, and including one or more acts committed by a student or group of students as definitely by Education Code section 48900.2, 48900.3, or 48900.4, directed toward one or more students that has or can cause a reasonable student to experience one or one or more of the following:
    1. Fear of harm to themselves or property,
    2. Substantial detrimental effect on the student’s physical or mental health,
    3. Substantial interference with the student’s academic performance,
    4. Substantial interference with the student’s ability to fully participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or privileges provided by a school.
  3. Hazing (Education Code 48900(q)): A method of initiation or pre-initiation into an organization or group which is likely to cause serious bodily injury, personal degradation or disgrace resulting in physical or mental harm to a student.
  4. Cyber Bullying: Includes, but is not limited to, transmission of communications or posting of harassing messages, direct threats, or other harmful texts, sounds, or images on the Internet, social networking sites, or other digital technologies using a cell phone or, computer, or any wireless communication device. Cyberbullying also includes breaking into another person’s electronic account and assuming that person’s identity in order to damage that person’s reputation.  Cyber sexual harassment/bullying includes sharing of naked body parts or sexually suggestive pictures of another student through text message, social media, or other electronic means, which then creates a hostile school environment.  This would be deemed cyber sexual bullying/harassment.
  5. Student Conflicts: Not all incidents and student conflict amount to “bullying.” Incidents that do not amount to bullying include, but are not limited to: disagreements or conflict between students, incidental injuries, a single incident, mutual combat between students, and if a particular student comes into contact/injures/upsets another student without that other student being the intended target.

Examples of Bullying

 

  1. Physical bullying includes, but is not limited to, intentional, unwelcome acts of beating, biting, fighting, hitting, kicking, poking, punching, pushing, shoving, spitting, tripping.
  2. Social or relationship bullying includes spreading rumors, manipulating relationships, exclusion, blackmailing, isolating, rejecting, using peer pressure and ranking personal characteristics.
  3. Malicious teasing among individuals who are not friends with the intention of invoking, harm, fear or intimidation.
  4. Malicious teasing among individuals based on any member of the above listed “protected class.”
  5. Cyberbullying includes, but is not limited, bullying through messages, texts, sounds or images. Sending or posting of unwanted comments, images, videos, and pictures that are done to intentionally harm or bully a student (whether it is based on protected class or not).
  6. Cyber sexual bullying/harassment includes when a student recipient receives an image and then shares that image to other students through text message, social media, or other electronic means, this is deemed to be cyber sexual bullying/harassment.
  7. Hazing includes, but is not limited to, requiring a student to eat or drink disgusting food/material, endure physical abuse, or engage in physically dangerous or humiliating activities as an initiation to join a student club or team.

School Site Bullying Investigations

Safe campuses require a multi-faceted approach with clear and consistent behavior expectations as well as strategies to prevent, respond to, and recover from incidents of bullying and hazing. The school principal participates in and directs all school staff to create an environment where the school community upholds the standards of respect and civility and understands that bullying and hazing are inappropriate, harmful and unacceptable. Towards this goal, schools shall:

 

  1. Set school-wide expectations that align with the District’s Safe and Supportive Schools Resolution that promote safe, respectful, and bully-free school environment. These expectations shall be shared with all students, families, and staff.
  2. Each school site should have a mechanism for investigating reported complaints of bullying. The school’s reporting and investigation process must be communicated to all students, families, and staff.
  3. When an incident of bullying is reported to, or witnessed by, a school site staff, that staff must inform an administrator. That administrator will identify the appropriate trained staff member to investigate and follow up. A staff member who receives a report of bullying and/or intimidation, shall, within one school day or as soon as possible thereafter, report this to the site principal/administrator or designee. School site staff must be informed of this requirement.
  4. After a report or complaint is made, the responsible site principal/administrator or designee shall determine whether interim measures are necessary to stop, prevent or address the effects of bullying and/or intimidation, including retaliation, harassment or bullying during and pending any informal resolution and/or investigation, such as placing students in separate classes or transferring a student to a class taught by a different teacher. Interim measures will be implemented in a manner that minimizes the burden on the individual who was the target of bullying and/or intimidation.
  5. The administrator must determine who the appropriately trained staff member is to investigate. That investigator must speak to the reporting student and gather a statement. If possible, the statement should be in writing and signed by the reporting student. Once the administrator speaks to the student and learns of an incident of alleged bullying, they should notify the student’s parent of the report and that the administrator is investigating.
  6. The investigator should be sure to follow up on all information learned during the investigation. This includes speaking to witnesses and reviewing documentation.
  7. The investigator should always be sure to interview the accused student and get a statement. If possible, the statement should be in writing. Once the administrator speaks to the accused student and gathers information, they should notify the student’s parent of the report and that the administrator is investigating.
  8. Once the investigation is concluded, the administrator should determine if the conflict can be resolved through restorative practices (RP). If RP is appropriate, the administrator should ensure that the person conducting the conference is trained in RP, that all parties consent, and that it is done through the appropriate methods.

Hate crimes (vandalism, physical assault, arson, etc.) are crimes which are motivated, in whole or in part, by bias, by the targeted individual or group’s characteristics or perceived characteristics of disability, gender, gender identity or expression, nationality, race or ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, religious beliefs or association with a person or group who has one of these characteristics.  “Hate crimes” should be reported to law enforcement.

If the investigation concludes that the bullying incident is a unique and special circumstance that is not common to other students and involves a continuing and credible threat to the physical or psychological or emotional stability of the student identified as the victim, the school site should review whether suspension or expulsion is appropriate and refer the student who engaged in the bullying  to Pupil Services through a Tier 3 Consult Form. The site may also advise the student found to be the victim of bullying of the District's intradistrict  Safety Transfer request.

Filing, Investigation and Resolution of Uniform Complaints Related to Bullying

School site staff should notify families of their right to file a Uniform Complaint if they are unsatisfied with the school site’s resolution of a bullying complaint. If s a Uniform Complaint form alleging bullying is submitted to the school site, it shall be forwarded to the Office of Equity for proper handling.  The compliance officer shall contact the complainant and investigate and resolve the complaint in accordance with law and district procedures specified in AR 1312.3. 

Student Conflict

All school sites promote positive and supportive peer relationships. The district’s Safe and Supportive Schools policy by using:

  • Positive Behavior Interventions and Support (PBIS) to build safe, consistent, and predictable classrooms and schools;
  • Restorative Practices to intentionally and proactively build positive community relationships among students, staff, and families;
  • Trauma-informed practices to heal and support students impacted by trauma;
  • Data systems to record, monitor, assess, and inform continuous improvement in these areas.

Parent Notification/Involvement & Restorative Practices

Once an incident of bullying is reported by the student, school site staff should notify the student’s parent of the report and that the administrator is investigating. Parent notification does not need to occur prior to speaking the student(s).

In addition, parents, guardians, advocates or other third parties may submit lawfully obtained evidence on behalf of their child, but may not otherwise participate in the investigative process  or be present during the meeting of a child that is not their own, even if staff are present.

If RP is appropriate, the administrator should ensure that the person conducting the conference is trained in RP, that all parties consent, and that it is done through the appropriate methods. If a RP conference is not appropriate, administrators should seek to restore the relationship through other means. RP is not appropriate in cases of alleged sexual assault/battery and should be carefully considered before doing in cases of verbal, physical, or cyber sexual harassment.

Bullying of Protected Class

Every student has the right to be protected from bullying based on a protected class or by the rationale of being "hate-motivated"behavior.  Bullying of a protected class include behavior done to degrade an individual on the basis of the student’s actual or perceived race, color, ancestry, national origin, nationality, ethnicity, ethnic group identification, age, religion, marital or parental status, physical or mental disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, or genetic information or association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics.

Bullying based on a protected class will be investigated and resolved pursuant to this policy, in addition to Administrative Regulation 5145.9 (“Hate- Motivated Behavior”).

Interventions and School-Based Supports

Administrators should refer to the district’s Primary Matrix, as found in the Student and Family Handbook, for interventions, social emotional supports, behavioral RTI and restorative practices. Interventions in the matrix must be considered and exhausted prior to suspension, unless the incident is so severe or the safety of a particular student or the school environment is at risk. If suspension is considered, the administrator must consult with the Assistant Superintendent who supervises that school site.

Documentation

Documentation of interventions are important for bullying incidents in order to support positive behavior, continues support for the student(s) throughout their school career, and safe school environments.  Appropriate documentation will support requests for additional supports and services and, when appropriate referral for suspension or expulsion and school transfer requests.

Please note that compare references, or “cf”, refer to CSBA model policies and do not necessarily indicate that the San Francisco Unified School District has adopted the referenced policy.