Cyberbullying & Cyber Harassment
As we transition to virtual learning for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester, SFUSD Guiding Principles and Behavior Expectations still apply. The District will address any inappropriate behavior that may arise in the virtual learning context, including online/cyber harassment. In this context, SFUSD is responsible for addressing bullying and harassment when:
- It occurs in a District-guided virtual environment;
- Content is distributed using a District issued email or account;
- Content is created, distributed, or posted using a District issued device; and
- The nature of any harassment/bullying through any medium has the effect of creating a hostile educational environment.
Harassment that occurs outside of school-facilitated virtual mediums that impact a student’s educational environment could also potentially violate the District’s sexual harassment, nondiscrimination, and/or bullying policies. This would include content shared using an SFUSD email or posted on a school online forum.
Please notify your school site if you determine that your student is a victim of cyberbullying or cyber harassment.
Please notify your school site principal via email if you wish to report any violations of District Policy. You can also email the Office of Equity (firstname.lastname@example.org) to report concerns.
What is Cyberbullying/Harassment?
Bullying is defined as any severe or pervasive physical or verbal act(s) or conduct, including electronic communications committed by a pupil(s) that has, or can be reasonably predicted to have, the effect of one or more of the following:
- Reasonable fear of harm to person or property
- Substantial detrimental effect on physical or mental health
- Substantial interference with academic performance
- Substantial interference with the ability to participate in or benefit from school services, activities, or privileges.
Cyberbullying includes, but is not limited, bullying through online messages, texts, sounds, videos, or images. Sending or posting of unwanted comments, images, videos, and pictures that are done to intentionally harm or bully a student using school-facilitated virtual mediums is prohibited.
Cyberbullying can also include Cyber Sexual Harassment. 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.
Examples of Cyberbullying/Cyber Harassment:
- Using an SFUSD email to send inappropriate, sexually explicit, or offensive language to another student or teacher.
- Sending an inappropriate, sexually explicit, or offensive image to a student in a private chat within a virtual classroom meeting.
- Taking a screenshot of another individual and using that image to create a Meme of them to circulate to members of the campus.
- Spreading rumors about an individual using virtual means of communicating.
- Creating fake social media accounts to bully or catfish another user.
Cyberbullying FAQs for Parents
- Who should I report to if my child experiences cyberbullying/harassment?
- If you think your child is a victim of cyberbullying or cyber harassment, please report the incident to your child’s teacher and/or principal. Students may also report bullying or harassment to their teacher or principal. Your school’s administrative team will take steps to investigate, address the incident, and provide interventions to prevent future incidents from reoccuring.
- What happens if the cyberbullying happens on the weekend, at night, or on a platform not related to SFUSD activities?
- If you become aware of an incident of cyberbullying that occurred on an platform or activity not related to SFUSD, you can notify your school site administrator if you have concerns that this will impact the targeted child’s education or if you see further instances of bullying begin to appear during school hours or on an SFUSD-related platform. While SFUSD does not have jurisdiction over instances not related to school, SFUSD will take available steps to ensure that all students' feel safe while participating in virtual learning activities.
- What will my student or I be asked once we make the report?
- Administrators will conduct a virtual or telephonic interview with your student in order to gather specific details regarding the harassment, including when the harassment occurred and the individuals involved.
- If you have screenshots of the harassment, the administrator may ask you to send screenshots of the conversations or inappropriate language. Please do not send sexually explicit images to school employees. You may be asked to write a statement in lieu of submitting this type of image.
- What steps is SFUSD taking to prevent cyberbullying while students are participating in virtual learning?
- All SFUSD Board Policies prohibiting harassment and cyberbullying continue to apply while students engage in virtual learning. While conducting virtual learning, school sites will instruct students on how to safely use online tools and how to be upstanding digital citizens in order to maintain a virtual learning environment that is safe, healthy, and fun for all students.
- Additionally, SFUSD has taken steps to ensure that Zoom, the online learning platform used for distance learning, continues to be a safe and secure learning environment. For example, SFUSD-hosted Zoom meetings are restricted to only staff and students who sign-in with their SFUSD Google account to participate in SFUSD-hosted Zoom meetings. Additionally, certain privacy settings will be enabled to prevent student disruption, including restricting student’s ability to screen share and to create private (student to student) chats separate from the main classroom chat.
- All students will be reviewing Digital Citizenship norms once online learning begins.
- Please take time to review the Zoom and Google Classroom features with your student to check for understanding about how to control the audio, video, chat and share screen features.
- What are some educational resources we can use to teach our kids about safe internet use/cyberbullying?
SFUSD's Anti-Bullying/Harassment Policies
Uniform Complaint Procedure
SFUSD encourages parents to contact their principal to address immediate concerns of bullying. If you wish to file a complaint with the District Office, please do so by filling out a Uniform Complaint Form. For more information regarding the Uniform Complaint process, please refer to SFUSD's Uniform Complaint Procedure page.