In an effort to provide a safe and supportive learning environment for all students, Derry Township School District believes bullying is an unacceptable behavior that adults and students have a responsibility to stop. Below please find information regarding the definition, school rules, and legislation that surrounds bullying.
Definition of Bullying
“A person is being bullied or victimized when exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more other persons” (Olweus 1991).
"Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Both kids who are bullied and who bully others may have serious, lasting problems" (StopBullying.Gov)
In order to be considered bullying, the behavior must be aggressive and include:
- An Imbalance of Power: Students who bully use their power—such as physical strength, access to embarrassing information, or popularity—to control or harm others. Power imbalances can change over time and in different situations, even if they involve the same people.
- Repetition: Bullying behaviors happen more than once or have the potential to happen more than once.
Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.
This definition is provided to exclude occasional, non-serious, peer conflict or negative actions that are directed at one student at one time and/or against another student on a different occasion.
Actions to Take
If you are being bullied or you witness someone being bullied, immediately tell an adult (at school and at home). Because bullying can be covert and is not always obvious to a bystander, it is important to report the behavior. DO NOT assume that an adult knows that it is occurring. Parents/Guardians, please contact a school official (Principal and/or School Counselor) to assure they are aware of the bullying so that it may be addressed immediately.
School Rules Against Bullying
- We will not bully others
- We will try to help others who are bullied
- We will include students who are easily left out (at lunch, at recess, in group activities, etc.)
- When we know someone is being bullied, we will tell an adult at school and an adult at home
Bullying Prevention Efforts
- Derry Township School District Policy 249, Bullying/Cyberbullying was adopted March 23, 2009. The policy has been and will continue to be reviewed by the Board of School Directors Policy Committee every three years. The policy is accessible in every classroom in the District and is posted within each school building, excerpts within the parent/student handbooks, as well as on the District web site.
- All staff K-12 (professional and support) were trained in the Olweus Bullying Prevention model and philosophy in 2007 and each building developed Bullying Prevention Committees to provide the oversight for the development of policy, procedures, education and information.
- Each year, as part of the opening day inservice, staff receive “refreshers” regarding the guidelines for bullying prevention, any new updates in process/procedure, trends, or concerns (i.e.: continued increase in Cyberbullying). Please note that the focus is not just on “bullying.” Although this is a concern, the overarching objective for a positive school climate is a more appropriate goal as not all inappropriate interactions are “bullying” (exposure, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more persons).
- The High School and Middle School students receive information on policies, procedures and supports regarding bullying each year during opening day inservicing as well as throughout the year as is needed to refresh (specifically after any documented incidents).
- The Elementary students receive the same, but in the form of classroom lessons with their school counselors. In addition, with the support of funds from the Safe Schools Initiative Grant, we were able to update all of our Second Step Social Emotional Learning kits K-5 and included the Bullying Prevention curriculum as well (see Second Step page for more information). The new curricula is supported with training for all admin and staff K-5 to ensure a seamless transition for the new school year.
- As a District, we continue to be vigilant, work to maintain consistent guidelines, provide opportunities to educate parents/community, and implement supports as well as appropriate consequences as needed.
Bullying Prevention Legislation
In 2008, the Public School Code of 1949 was amended (24 PS 13-1303.1-A) and requires schools to develop a policy relating to bullying. The following outlines the requirements of Pennsylvania’s legislation.
- Incorporate the policy into the code of student conduct.
- The policy shall delineate disciplinary consequences for bullying.
- Identify the appropriate school staff person to receive reports of incidents of alleged bullying.
"Bullying" shall mean an intentional electronic, written, verbal or physical act, or a series of acts that:
- Occurs in a school setting. “School setting” shall mean in the school, on school setting grounds, in school vehicles, at a designated bus stop or at any activity sponsored, supervise or sanctioned by the school.
- Is severe, persistent or pervasive;
- Is directed at another student or students; and
- Has the effect of doing any of the following:
- Substantially interferes with a student's education
- Creates a threatening environment; or
- Substantially disrupts the orderly operation of the school
A school entity is not prohibited from defining bullying in such a way as to encompass acts that occur outside a school setting, if those acts…
- are severe, persistent or pervasive;
- are directed at another student or students; and
- Have the effect of doing any of the following:
- Substantially interferes with a student's education;
- Creates a threatening environment; or
- Substantially disrupts the orderly operation of the school When a school entity reports acts of bullying in its School Safety report it shall report the incidents that qualify as bullying under the its adopted definition.
The policy must be available:
- On its publicly accessible internet website (if available).
- In every classroom.
- The policy must be posted at a prominent location within each school building.
- The policy and procedures for reporting bullying incidents must be reviewed with students within ninety (90) days after their adoption and thereafter at least once each school year.
- A copy of the bullying policy must be submitted annually to the department.
- It should include information related to the development and implementation of any bullying prevention, intervention and education programs.
- The policy will be submitted as part of the Annual School Safety Report.
- The policy must be reviewed every three (3) years.
- The policy may provide for research-based prevention, intervention and education programs.