Surveys

Bullying in Schools

download the full survey
CoolSchoolCentral prepared on online survey and sent email invitations to 2,260 school and district level potential respondents, and collected 72 (3.2%) completed surveys. 59 of these surveys were completed within the first hour of the email going out.

We plan on sending out this email two more times to collect more responses, and finalize our report by September 9, 2016

The purpose of the survey was to determine how schools perceive bullying, what programs they may have in place to reduce or prevent bullying, whether they measured the effectiveness of these programs, and how they funded these programs.
Overall, we found that while a large number of respondents said they had some program in place to help reduce or prevent bullying in their schools, the vast majority of these said they had no way of knowing if the program was working or not. Most of these schools also did not receive funding for these programs but found ways to pay for them from other sources.

More details are provided below.

  • The vast majority of respondents (80%) worked in elementary schools. The largest group were psychologists or counselors (41%), followed by Principals and Assistant Principals (31%), and social workers (13%).
  • In terms of location, nearly two-thirds of respondents came from three states: Texas (33%); California (15%); and Florida (11%)
  • When asked how serious a challenge bullying presented to their school, the vast majority (62%) said it was a serious problem.
  • When asked which types of bullying respondents were concerned the most with, the top three concerns were verbal (67%); cyber bullying (46%); and spreading rumors (43%).
  • When asked if their school has implemented a program for preventing bullying two thirds (67%) responded that they have, with another 22% responding that their school was in the process of implementing a program.
  • The vast majority (81%) of these programs were ongoing.
  • Two thirds of these schools said they have trained their staff and/or teachers on how to recognize and stop bullying in their schools. Another 30% said they have not, but would like to.
  • Interestingly, only one out of three schools (32.8%) said that they tracked the outcome of the anti-bullying program they had implemented. Over half (54%) said that they would like to measure the outcomes fo their programs, but lacked the means or capability to do so.
  • When asked how they measured results, the largest response group (32%) said they did that by analyzing other data they gathered, with the next largest group (27%) saying they surveyed their students, and another 25% reporting they didn’t know how they measured outcomes.
  • Almost all schools (91%) of respondents said they did not receive funding for their anti-bullying programs.
  • Not surprisingly, these schools reported that they did not have sufficient funding for anti-bullying programs

Laws

A summary is provided for each of these laws, as well as the link to the governing body that is responsible for enforcing the law. It is important to note that any agency that receives Federal funds must comply with all of these laws.

Federal Laws

A number of federal laws exist to protect students against discrimination and harassment. Chief among these are:

Title VI of the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964
https://www.justice.gov/crt/fcs/TitleVI-Overview

Title VI, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d et seq., was enacted as part of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964. It prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance. As President John F. Kennedy said in 1963:

Simple justice requires that public funds, to which all taxpayers of all races [colors, and national origins] contribute, not be spent in any fashion which encourages, entrenches, subsidizes or results in racial [color or national origin] discrimination.

If a recipient of federal assistance is found to have discriminated and voluntary compliance cannot be achieved, the federal agency providing the assistance should either initiate fund termination proceedings or refer the matter to the Department of Justice for appropriate legal action. Aggrieved individuals may file administrative complaints with the federal agency that provides funds to a recipient, or the individuals may file suit for appropriate relief in federal court. Title VI itself prohibits intentional discrimination. However, most funding agencies have regulations implementing Title VI that prohibit recipient practices that have the effect of discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin.

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972
https://www.dol.gov/oasam/regs/statutes/titleix.htm

Section 1681. Sex

(a) Prohibition against discrimination; exceptions. No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance, except that:

(1) Classes of educational institutions subject to prohibition

in regard to admissions to educational institutions, this section shall apply only to institutions of vocational education, professional education, and graduate higher education, and to public institutions of undergraduate higher education;

(2) Educational institutions commencing planned change in admissions

in regard to admissions to educational institutions, this section shall not apply (A) for one year from June 23, 1972, nor for six years after June 23, 1972, in the case of an educational institution which has begun the process of changing from being an institution which admits only students of one sex to being an institution which admits students of both sexes, but only if it is carrying out a plan for such a change which is approved by the Secretary of Education or (B) for seven years from the date an educational institution begins the process of changing from being an institution which admists only students of one sex to being an institution which admits students of both sexes, but only if it is carrying out a plan for such a change which is approved by the Secretary of Education, whichever is the later;

(3) Educational institutions of religious organizations with contrary religious tenets

this section shall not apply to any educational institution which is controlled by a religious organization if the application of this subsection would not be consistent with the religious tenets of such organization;

(4) Educational institutions training individuals for military services or merchant marine

this section shall not apply to an educational institution whose primary purpose is the training of individuals for the military services of the United States, or the merchant marine;

(5) Public educational institutions with traditional and continuing admissions policy

in regard to admissions this section shall not apply to any public institution of undergraduate higher education which is an institution that traditionally and continually from its establishment has had a policy of admitting only students of one sex;

(6) Social fraternities or sororities; voluntary youth service organizations

this section shall not apply to membership practices —

(A) of a social fraternity or social sorority which is exempt from taxation under section 501(a) of Title 26, the active membership of which consists primarily of students in attendance at an institution of higher education, or

(B) of the Young Men’s Christian Association, Young Women’s Christian Association; Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Camp Fire Girls, and voluntary youth service organizations which are so exempt, the membership of which has traditionally been limited to persons of one sex and principally to persons of less than nineteen years of age;

(7) Boy or Girl conferences

this section shall not apply to–

(A) any program or activity of the American Legion undertaken in connection with the organization or operation of any Boys State conference, Boys Nation conference, Girls State conference, or Girls Nation conference; or

(B) any program or activity of any secondary school or educational institution specifically for–

(i) the promotion of any Boys State conference, Boys Nation conference, Girls State conference, or Girls Nation conference; or

(ii) the selection of students to attend any such conference;

(8) Father-son or mother-daughter activities at educational institutions

this section shall not preclude father-son or mother-daughter activities at an educational institution, but if such activities are provided for students of one sex, opportunities for reasonably comparable activities shall be provided for students of the other sex; and

(9) Institutions of higher education scholarship awards in “beauty” pageants

this section shall not apply with respect to any scholarship or other financial assistance awarded by an institution of higher education to any individual because such individual has received such award in any pageant in which the attainment of such award is based upon a combination of factors related to the personal appearance, poise, and talent of such individual and in which participation is limited to individuals of one sex only, so long as such pageant is in compliance with other nondiscrimination provisions of Federal law.

(b) Preferential or disparate treatment because of imbalance in participation or receipt of Federal benefits; statistical evidence of imbalance.

Nothing contained in subsection (a) of this section shall be interpreted to require any educational institution to grant preferential or disparate treatment to the members of one sex on account of an imbalance which may exist with respect to the total number or percentage of persons of that sex participating in or receiving the benefits of any federally supported program or activity, in comparison with the total number or percentage of persons of that sex in any community, State, section, or other area: Provided, that this subsection shall not be construed to prevent the consideration in any hearing or proceeding under this chapter of statistical evidence tending to show that such an imbalance exists with respect to the participation in, or receipt of the benefits of, any such program or activity by the members of one sex.

(c) Educational institution defined.

For the purposes of this chapter an educational institution means any public or private preschool, elementary, or secondary school, or any institution of vocational, professional, or higher education, except that in the case of an educational institution composed of more than one school, college, or department which are administratively separate units, such term means each such school, college or department.

Section 1682. Federal administrative enforcement; report to Congressional committees

Each Federal department and agency which is empowered to extend Federal financial assistance to any education program or activity, by way of grant, loan, or contract other than a contract of insurance or guaranty, is authorized and directed to effectuate the provisions of section 1681 of this title with respect to such program or activity by issuing rules, regulations, or orders of general applicability which shall be consistent with achievement of the objectives of the statute authorizing the financial assistance in connection with which the action is taken. No such rule, regulation, or order shall become effective unless and until approved by the President. Compliance with any requirement adopted pursuant to this section may be effected (l) by the termination of or refusal to grant or to continue assistance under such program or activity to any recipient as to whom there has been an express finding on the record, after opportunity for hearing, of a failure to comply with such requirement, but such termination or refusal shall be limited to the particular political entity, or part thereof, or other recipient as to whom such a finding has been made, and shall be limited in its effect to the particular program, or part thereof, in which such noncompliance has been so found, or (2) by any other means authorized by law: Provided, however, that no such action shall be taken until the department or agency concerned has advised the appropriate person or persons of the failure to comply with the requirement and has determined that compliance cannot be secured by voluntary means. In the case of any action terminating, or refusing to grant or continue, assistance because of failure to comply with a requirement imposed pursuant to this section, the head of the Federal department or agency shall file with the committees of the House and Senate having legislative jurisdiction over the program or activity involved a full written report of the circumstances and the grounds for such action. No such action shall become effective until thirty days have elapsed after the filing of such report.

Section 1683. Judicial Review

Any department or agency action taken pursuant to section 1682 of this title shall be subject to such judicial review as may otherwise be provided by law for similar action taken by such department or agency on other grounds. In the case of action, not otherwise subject to judicial review, terminating or refusing to grant or to continue financial assistance upon a finding of failure to comply with any requirement imposed pursuant to section 1682 of this title, any person aggrieved (including any State or political subdivision thereof and any agency of either) may obtain judicial review of such action in accordance with chapter 7 of title 5, United States Code, and such action shall not be deemed committed to unreviewable agency discretion within the meaning of section 701 of that title.

Section 1684. Blindness or visual impairment; prohibition against discrimination

No person in the United States shall, on the ground of blindness or severely impaired vision, be denied admission in any course of study by a recipient of Federal financial assistance for any education program or activity; but nothing herein shall be construed to require any such institution to provide any special services to such person because of his blindness or visual impairment.

Section 1685. Authority under other laws unaffected

Nothing in this chaper shall add to or detract from any existing authority with respect to any program or activity under which Federal financial assistance is extended by way of a contract of insurance or guaranty.

Section 1686. Interpretation with respect to living facilities

Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in this chapter, nothing contained herein shall be construed to prohibit any educational institution receiving funds under this Act, from maintaining separate living facilities for the different sexes.

Section 1687. Interpretation of “program or activity”

For the purposes of this title, the term “program or activity” and “program” mean all of the operations of —

(l)   (A) a department, agency, special purpose district, or other instrumentality of a State or of a local government; or

(B) the entity of such State or local government that distributed such assistance and each such department or agency (and each other State or local government entity) to which the assistance is extended, in the case of assistance to a State or local government;

(2)   (A) a college, university, or other postsecondary institution, or a public system of higher education; or

(B) a local educational agency (as defined in section2854(a)(10) of this title, system of vocational education, or other school system;

(3)  (A) an entire corporation, partnership, or other private organization, or an entire sole proprietorship —

(i) if assistance is extended to such corporation, partnership, private organization, or sole proprietorship as a whole; or

(ii) which is principally engaged in the business of providing education, health care, housing, social services, or parks and recreation; or

(B) the entire plant or other comparable, geographically separate facility to which Federal financial assistance is extended, in the case of any other corporation, partnership, private organization, or sole proprietorship; or

(4) any other entity which is established by two or more of the entities described in paragraph (l), (2) or (3);

any part of which is extended Federal financial assistance, except that such term does not include any operation of an entity which is controlled by a religious organization if the application of section 1681 if this title to such operation would not be consistent with the religious tenets of such organization.

Section 1688. Neutrality with respect to abortion

Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to require or prohibit any person, or public or private entity, to provide or pay for any benefit or service, including the use of facilities, related to an abortion. Nothing in this section shall be construed to permit a penalty to be imposed on any person or individual because such person or individual is seeking or has received any benefit or service related to a legal abortion.

Rehabilitation act of 1973
https://www.disability.gov/rehabilitation-act-1973/

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (often just called the “Rehab Act”) prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in programs run by federal agencies; programs that receive federal financial assistance; in federal employment; and in the employment practices of federal contractors. The standards for deciding if employment discrimination exists under the Rehabilitation Act are the same as those used in Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Like the ADA, the Rehab Act has several sections to it.

Section 501 prohibits federal employers from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities. It also obliges them to take affirmative action to hire and advance in employment qualified individuals with disabilities. If you’re a federal government employee and want to learn more about your rights under Section 501, contact your agency’s Equal Employment Opportunity Office.

Section 503 prohibits employment discrimination based on disability and requires affirmative action in the hiring, placement and advancement of people with disabilities by federal contractors or subcontractors. In addition, in 2013 the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contracts Compliance published a Final Rule that makes changes to this section of the Rehab Act. The new rule sets a “utilization goal” for people with disabilities as 7 percent of employees in each job category or 7 percent of the total workforce of a business contracted with the Federal Government. These changes will help increase the employment of people with disabilities by companies that do business with the Federal Government. If you believe you have been discriminated against in hiring or employment by a federal contractor, you have the right to file a complaint.

Section 504 of the Rehab Act makes it illegal for federal agencies, or programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance or are conducted by a federal agency, to discriminate against qualified individuals with disabilities. Requirements under Section 504 include reasonable accommodation for employees with disabilities; program accessibility; effective communication with people who have hearing or vision disabilities; and accessible new construction and alterations. Each federal agency has its own set of Section 504 regulations that apply to its programs. For example, through Section 504 and the ADA, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services works to make sure that doctor’s offices, clinics and medical equipment are accessible to people with disabilities. Another federal agency, the U.S. Department of Education, makes sure that students with disabilities get the kinds of educational services they need to succeed in school. An award-winning documentary film, “The Power of 504,” documents the events that led to the signing of Section 504 into law.

Section 508 requires federal electronic and information technology to be accessible to people with disabilities, including employees and members of the public. An accessible information technology system is one that can be operated in a variety of ways and does not rely on a single sense or ability of the user. For example, a system that provides output only in visual format may not be accessible to people who are blind or have low vision, and a system that provides output only in audio format may not be accessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Some individuals with disabilities may also need accessibility-related software or peripheral devices in order to use systems that comply with Section 508. Read these frequently asked questions for more information about this section of the Rehab Act.

Title II Americans with Disabilities Act
https://www.ada.gov/ada_title_II.htm
State and Local Governments (Title II)

Title II applies to State and local government entities, and, in subtitle A, protects qualified individuals with disabilities from discrimination on the basis of disability in services, programs, and activities provided by State and local government entities. Title II extends the prohibition on discrimination established by section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, 29 U.S.C. 794, to all activities of State and local governments regardless of whether these entities receive Federal financial assistance.

Title II Regulations
Revised Final Title II Rule: A Compilation of Regulatory Provisions and Guidance — Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in State and Local Government Services https://www.ada.gov/regs2010/titleII_2010/titleII_2010_regulations.htm

The Department of Justice’s regulation implementing title II, subtitle A, of the ADA which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in all services, programs, and activities provided to the public by State and local governments, except public transportation services. This document contains the following: (1) supplementary information (the preamble to the revised regulation); (2) the title II regulation updated to reflect the 2010 revisions and the technical corrections (published March 11, 2011) which became effective on March 15, 2011; (3) guidance on the revised regulatory provisions; and (4) guidance on the original 1991 title II regulation.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
http://idea.ed.gov
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a law ensuring services to children with disabilities throughout the nation. IDEA governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education and related services to more than 6.5 million eligible infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities.

Infants and toddlers with disabilities (birth-2) and their families receive early intervention services under IDEA Part C. Children and youth (ages 3-21) receive special education and related services under IDEA Part B.

Laws by State

State of California

The State of California implements the various federal laws that protect students from discrimination and harassment through various provisions that primarily are provided in the Education Code (http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/calawquery?codesection=edc ). In some cases California Law goes further than federal laws to protect children from discrimination, harassment, or bullying based on perceived or actual characteristics as listed below:

  • Race/Ethnicity
  • Religion
  • Disability
  • Nationality
  • Gender
  • Gender Identity
  • Sexual Orientation

The California Education Code defines bullying as follows:

http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=EDC&sectionNum=48900

48900 (r) Engaged in an act of bullying. For purposes of this subdivision, the following terms have the following meanings:

(1) “Bullying” means any severe or pervasive physical or verbal act or conduct, including communications made in writing or by means of an electronic act, and including one or more acts committed by a pupil or group of pupils as defined in Section 48900.2, 48900.3, or 48900.4, directed toward one or more pupils that has or can be reasonably predicted to have the effect of one or more of the following:

(A) Placing a reasonable pupil or pupils in fear of harm to that pupil’s or those pupils’ person or property.

(B) Causing a reasonable pupil to experience a substantially detrimental effect on his or her physical or mental health.

(C) Causing a reasonable pupil to experience substantial interference with his or her academic performance.

(D) Causing a reasonable pupil to experience substantial interference with his or her ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or privileges provided by a school.

(2) (A) “Electronic act” means the creation or transmission originated on or off the schoolsite, by means of an electronic device, including, but not limited to, a telephone, wireless telephone, or other wireless communication device, computer, or pager, of a communication, including, but not limited to, any of the following:

(i) A message, text, sound, or image.

(ii) A post on a social network Internet Web site, including, but not limited to:

(I) Posting to or creating a burn page. “Burn page” means an Internet Web site created for the purpose of having one or more of the effects listed in paragraph (1).

(II) Creating a credible impersonation of another actual pupil for the purpose of having one or more of the effects listed in paragraph (1). “Credible impersonation” means to knowingly and without consent impersonate a pupil for the purpose of bullying the pupil and such that another pupil would reasonably believe, or has reasonably believed, that the pupil was or is the pupil who was impersonated.

(III) Creating a false profile for the purpose of having one or more of the effects listed in paragraph (1). “False profile” means a profile of a fictitious pupil or a profile using the likeness or attributes of an actual pupil other than the pupil who created the false profile.

(B) Notwithstanding paragraph (1) and subparagraph (A), an electronic act shall not constitute pervasive conduct solely on the basis that it has been transmitted on the Internet or is currently posted on the Internet.

(3) “Reasonable pupil” means a pupil, including, but not limited to, an exceptional needs pupil, who exercises average care, skill, and judgment in conduct for a person of his or her age, or for a person of his or her age with his or her exceptional needs.

State of Oregon

Anti-Bullying Policies – A Review of SB 1555
http://www.ode.state.or.us/opportunities/grants/nclb/title_iv/a_drugfree/ors-339bully.pdf
In April 2012, the Oregon legislature passed Senate Bill 1555 which amended Oregon’s statues relating to harassment, intimidation, bullying, and cyber-bullying. The amendments from SB 1555 went into effect July 1, 2012 and provided more definitive language and increased accountability for local school districts, ESDs, and public colleges relating to their anti-bullying policies. The key language and requirement changes SB 1555 put in place are summarized below.
The amendments to the statutes and new language (bolded text) include the following:

School districts ‘shall’ develop and adopt policy regarding the prohibition of harassment, intimidation or bullying, and cyber-bullying, after consulting with parents/guardians, school employees, volunteers, students, administrators and community representatives.
The policy shall include a statement of the consequences and appropriate remedial action for a person who commits an act of harassment, intimidation or bullying, or cyber-bullying; and
‘Requires’ that a school employee ‘shall’ report an act of harassment, intimidation or bullying, or an act of cyber-bullying to an identified person/school official/s, who is responsible for receiving such a report at school.
The policy also needs to identify any ‘remedial action’ that may be imposed on a school employee for failure to make a report; and
Allows a student or volunteer to report harassment, intimidation or bullying, and cyber-bullying voluntarily & anonymously.
School districts ‘must’ also incorporate into existing training programs for students and school employees information related to the prevention of and appropriate responses to acts of harassment, intimidation or bullying, and cyber-bullying.
A school employee ‘must’ report witnessed acts or reliable information regarding acts of harassment, intimidation or bullying, and cyber-bullying to the designated school official identified in the school’s policy; and
A student or volunteer who witnesses or has reliable information that a student has been subjected to harassment, intimidation or bullying, or cyber-bullying is encouraged to report the act to the appropriate designated school official.
School officials further need to have a policy in place that addresses teen dating violence, which was recently added by the legislature in April 2012 as an amendment to Oregon’s domestic violence statute via HB 4077. Teen dating violence is defined as “a pattern of behavior in which a person uses or threatens to use physical, mental or emotional abuse to control another person who is in a dating relationship with the person, where one or both persons are 13 to 19 years of age.”

Districts further must have policies in place to address sexual harassment.

Districts should also be aware that school districts and other public and private entities
could also be impacted by the amendments to the anti-bullying statutes if cyber-bullying is
occurring in an off-campus location but is adversely affecting the learning environment of
the victim/student at school.

Please note, harassment is a violation of one’s civil rights if the victim/student is getting
targeted for characteristics associated with the person’s protected class status, including
age, race, color, sex or gender, national origin, religion, sexual orientation – actual or
perceived, marital status, and disability.

Please contact the Safe & Healthy Schools Coordinator at 503-947-5628 or email
Michael.mahoney@state.or.us for more information regarding these regulations and the required policies.
References:
 ORS 339.356, ORS 339.359 and ORS 339.362
 ORS 147.450, ORS 147.453, ORS 409.290 and ORS 409.292
 OAR 581-021-0045;
 Title VI of Civil Rights Act, 1964; Title IX of Education Amendments, 1972; Section 504 of
Rehabilitation Act, 1973; and Title II of American Disabilities Act, 1990

State of Washington

http://www.k12.wa.us/Safetycenter/BullyingHarassment/default.aspx

The 2010 Legislature passed Substitute House Bill 2801, a Washington State law which prohibits harassment, intimidation, or bullying (HIB) in our schools.

RCW 28A.300.285 defines harassment, intimidation or bullying as any intentionally written message or image—including those that are electronically transmitted—verbal, or physical act, including but not limited to one shown to be motivated by race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, including gender expression or identity, mental or physical disability or other distinguishing characteristics, when an act:

Physically harms a student or damages the student’s property.
Has the effect of substantially interfering with a student’s education.
Is so severe, persistent or pervasive that it creates an intimidating or threatening educational environment.
Has the effect of substantially disrupting the orderly operation of the school.
Schools are required to take action if students report they are being bullied. Since August 2011, each school district has been required to adopt the model Washington anti-bullying policy and procedure.
The Washington HIB Prevention and Intervention Toolkit provides background information, best practice materials for program planning, classroom implementation, staff training, and additional resources for HIB prevention and intervention for districts, schools, students, families and others across Washington.