Coordinated School Health - Bullying and Cyber-bullying

This page provide the definitions and laws related to bullying and cyber-bullying. There are also links to resources to assist in educating others about bullying and cyber-bullying.

Bullying 

 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. It is aggressive behavior that involves unwanted, negative actions. It involves a pattern of behavior repeated over time. It involves an imbalance of power or strength.

Cyber-Bullying 

 

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. "Cyber-bullying" 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 involve 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 cyber-stalking. Adult cyber-harassment or cyber-stalking is never called cyber-bullying. 

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 prohibits bullying, harassment, and making hit lists and ensures that district employees enforce those prohibitions (7); and 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 (8).  

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 (b-1).   

The requirements for prohibiting bullying, harassment, and making a 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 must also have developed specific options 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 a hit list.    

Texas Education Code Chapter 25, Section 25.0342 also offers a parents an opportunity to transfer their children 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. 

Related Links 

The following links provide information about bullying and cyber-bullying: 

Wired Safety (outside source) 

Cyberbullying Research Center(outside source) 

Connect Safely (outside source) 

CyberWise (outside source) 

Pacer Center’s Kids Against Bullying (outside source) 

Pacer Center’s Teens Against Bullying (outside source) 

National School Climate Center’s BullyBust (outside source) 

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,  Health Resources and Services Administration web site (outside source) 

The  Texas Attorney General’s Office (outside source) 

A  link to a survey of middle school students' experiences with bullying (outside source) 

Support Organizations and Hotlines 

The following links provide support services to students:

Curriculum Division
512/463-9581
healthandsafety@tea.texas.gov