FFI(LEGAL) - STUDENT WELFARE: FREEDOM FROM BULLYING
- Means a single significant act or a pattern of acts by one or more students directed at another student that exploits an imbalance of power and involves engaging in
written or verbal expression, expression through electronic means, or physical conduct that satisfies the applicability requirements below and that:
- Has the effect or will have the effect of physically harming a student, damaging a student's property, or placing a student in reasonable fear of harm to the student's person or of damage to the student's property;
- Is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive enough that the action or threat creates an intimidating, threatening, or abusive educational environment for a student;
- Materially and substantially disrupts the educational process or the orderly operation of a classroom or school; or
- Infringes on the rights of the victim at school; and
- Includes cyberbullying.
"Cyberbullying" means bullying that is done through the use of any electronic communication device, including through the use of a cellular or other type of telephone, a computer, a camera, electronic mail, instant messaging, text messaging, a social media application, an internet website, or any other internet-based communication tool.
These provisions apply to:
- Bullying that occurs on or is delivered to school property or to the site of a school-sponsored or school-related activity on or off school property;
- Bullying that occurs on a publicly or privately owned school bus or vehicle being used for transportation of students to or from school or a school-sponsored or school-related activity; and
- Cyberbullying that occurs off school property or outside of a school-sponsored or school-related activity if the cyberbullying:
- Interferes with a student's educational opportunities; or
- Substantially disrupts the orderly operation of a classroom, school, or school-sponsored or school-related activity.
The board shall adopt a policy, including any necessary procedures, concerning bullying that:
- Prohibits the bullying of a student;
- Prevents and mediates bullying incidents between students that:
- Interfere with a student's educational opportunities; or
- Substantially disrupt the orderly operation of a classroom, school, or school-sponsored or school-related activity;
- Prohibits retaliation against any person, including a victim, a witness, or another person, who in good faith provides information concerning an incident of bullying;
- Establishes a procedure for providing notice of an incident of bullying to:
- A parent or guardian of the alleged victim on or before the third business day after the date the incident is reported; and
- A parent or guardian of the alleged bully within a reasonable amount of time after the incident;
- Establishes the actions a student should take to obtain assistance and intervention in response to bullying;
- Sets out the available counseling options for a student who is a victim of or a witness to bullying or who engages in bullying;
- Establishes procedures for reporting an incident of bullying, including procedures for a student to anonymously report an incident of bullying, investigating a reported incident of bullying, and determining whether the reported incident of bullying occurred;
- Prohibits the imposition of a disciplinary measure on a student who, after an investigation, is found to be a victim of bullying, on the basis of that student's use of reasonable self-defense in response to the bullying;
- Requires that discipline for bullying of a student with disabilities comply with applicable requirements under federal law, including the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C. Section 1400 et seq.); and
- Complies with the minimum standards adopted by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) for a district's policy.
The policy and any necessary procedures must be included annually in the student and employee handbooks and in the district improvement plan under Education Code 11.252. [See BQ]
The procedure for reporting bullying must be posted on a district's internet website to the extent practicable.
Education Code 37.0832