What is bullying?

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: 

  1. Reasonable fear of harm to person or property.
  2. Substantially detrimental effect on physical or mental health.
  3. Substantial interference with academic performance.
  4. Substantial interference with the ability to participate in or benefit from school services, activities, or privileges.

Examples of Bullying

Bullying can be manifested in a variety of forms that include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Physical bullying includes, but is not limited to, intentional, unwelcome acts of beating, biting, fighting, hitting, kicking, poking, punching, pushing, shoving, spitting, tripping.
  • Social or relationship bullying includes spreading rumors, manipulating relationships, exclusion, blackmailing, isolating, rejecting, using peer pressure and ranking personal characteristics.
  • Malicious teasing among individuals who are not friends with the intention of invoking, harm, fear or intimidation.
  • Malicious teasing among individuals based on the student's actual or perceived membership in a “protected class.”
    • Protected class includes 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.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • 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.

What is Harassment?

Harassment is defined as unwelcome conduct that is based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or genetic information.

Prohibited harassment also includes intentionally engaging in harassment, threats, or intimidation, directed against school district personnel or students, that is sufficiently severe or pervasive to have the actual and reasonably expected effect of materially disrupting classwork, creating substantial disorder, and invading the rights of either school personnel or student by creating an intimidating or hostile educational environment.

How to Report Bullying or Harassment?

If you or someone you know has been the victim of bullying or harassment in a District program or activity, please report the incident directly to your school site administrator. 

If you prefer to report a concern online, through the SFUSD website, you can also use the Student Family School Resource Link Online Request Form

After receiving the report, a member of the school site administrative team will investigate the reported incident. Other school site members, such as a school site council, dean, or school site social worker, may also assist as necessary. For more information regarding the investigation process, please see the Bullying & Harassment Investigation Handout. 

You may also report the incident by filing a Uniform Complaint with the Office of Equity. Please see the Uniform Complaint Procedure webpage for more information. 

How Can Parents Help?

Our schools work with parents so that our students are safe and happy at school.  There are several warning signs that could indicate that your child is experiencing bullying at school.  Please be on the alert for:

  • An unexpected drop in grades and/or interest
  • Unusual moodiness, depression, anxiety, or crying
  • Frequent headaches or stomach aches
  • Loss of appetite or Trouble sleeping
  • Damaged or missing clothing, books, or other belongings
  • Unexpected bruises, cuts or scratches
  • Few or no friends to spend time with
  • Fear of going to school, riding the bus or walking to school
  • Taking an illogical or long route home

Additional Resources:

This page was last updated on August 31, 2022