Bullying occurs when a person is exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more other persons, and he or she has difficulty defending himself or herself. Bullying is aggressive behavior that involves unwanted, negative actions. Bullying involves a pattern of behavior repeated over time. Bullying involves an imbalance of power or strength.
Cyber-bullying involves the use of information and communication technologies to support deliberate, repeated, and hostile behavior by an individual or group, that is intended to harm others. "Cyberbullying" is when a child, preteen or teen is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another child, preteen or teen using the Internet, interactive and digital technologies or mobile phones. It has to have a minor on both sides, or at least have been instigated by a minor against another minor. Once adults become involved, it is plain and simple cyber-harassment or cyberstalking. Adult cyber-harassment or cyberstalking is never called cyberbullying.
Texas Law Related to Bullying
Texas Education Code, Chapter 37 Section 37.001 (a); Student Code of Conduct: requires each independent school district in Texas to have a local policy that:
(7) prohibits bullying, harassment, and making hit lists and ensures that district employees enforce those prohibitions; and
(8) provides, as appropriate for students at each grade level, methods, including options, for:
- managing students in the classroom and on school grounds
- disciplining students; and
- preventing and intervening in student discipline problems, including bullying harassment and making hit list.
(b-1) The methods adopted under Subsection (a)(8) must provide that a student who is enrolled in a special education program under Subchapter A, Chapter 29, may not be disciplined for conduct prohibited in accordance with Subsection (a)(7) until an admission, review, and dismissal committee meeting has been held to review the conduct.
The requirements for prohibiting bullying, harassment, and making hit list are quite detailed and there is also a requirement in law to require the local school district policy to “ensure that district employees enforce those prohibitions.”
Under the requirements of 37.001 (a) (8) the school district is also required to have specific options developed under local policy that are appropriate to each grade level that provide for preventing and intervening in student discipline problems, including bullying, harassment, and making hit list.
Texas Education Code Chapter 25, Section 25.0342 also offers a parent an opportunity to transfer their child to another campus if their child has been determined by the school to have been bullied.
It is important for each student to report any bullying or threats to the nearest teacher or adult at school as soon as possible so school officials may take appropriate action.
If you have concerns about bullying meet with the campus principal to express your concerns. If your child is receiving special education services go to the ARD committee to focus on the problem and arrange a plan to intervene at the campus level. For additional guidance related to addressing your concerns, we encourage you to visit your district office for clarification.
Wired Kids web site provides guidance for youth, parents and educators for responding to acts of cyberbullying.
Education.com web site includes a list of peer-reviewed articles related to bullying.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration web site offers practical advice to students and parents about ways to respond to bullying at school.
The Texas Attorney General’s Office offers information about cyberbullying, dating violence, and other safety issues.
A link to a survey of middle school students' experiences with bullying shows that kids want the adults in school to pay attention and keep them safe.
Support Organizations and Hotlines