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QUESTION TWO

January 23, 2018

I told a teacher about a bully but nothing happened.  The bullying is getting worse.  Now I'm scared to tell anyone again.

 

 

 

Of all the questions I’ve received over the past 2 days, this one is most concerning for me. I did a lot of research on reporting bullying to school also researched the Florida Statutes on bullying and harassment.What I learned is that all types of bully, including physical, verbal, social and cyber of any student or employee of a public K-12 school is prohibited under Florida’s Statute 1006.147.

 

Now I’m not a lawyer and don’t pretend to be, but this statue is very clear in stating that every public school district is required to adopt a policy on bullying and harassment to (and I’m quoting here) “afford all students the same protection regardless of their status under the law. In addition, the school districts policy MUST BE implemented by each school principal in a manner that is ongoing thought the school yearGoing hand-in-hand with the florida statute, Columbia County Bullying and Harassment Policy, defines bullying as: Cyberbullying, Teasing, Social Exclusion, Threats, Intimidation, Stalking, Physical Violence, Theft, Sexual, religious or racial harassment Public or private humiliation OR Destruction of property.

 

Chapter 5 of the policy explains the procedures for reporting an act of bullying and states:

  •  At each school, the principle (or principals’s designee) is responsible for receiving complains of the policy.

  • All school employees are required to report alleged violations to the    principal or the principal’s designee.

  • Anyone who has credible information that an act of bullying or               harassment has taken place may file a report.

  • Reporting a complaint in GOOD FAITH will not affect the reporter’s             learning environment.

  • Reporting an act of bullying or harassment in a written form or orally is considered an official means of reporting.

  • Reports may be made anonymously but formal disciplinary actions may not be based solely on an anonymous report.

To sum that up, you can report an incident directly to any school employee verbally, who in turn MUST report it to the principle. If you see or hear something, even if you weren’t involved, you too, can also file a report. You can file a report anonymously, but know that not much can be done, punishment wise, if you choose to go that route.

 

The highest level of confidentiality possible will be used regarding the report of bullying and the investigative procedures that follow. There is a maximum of 10 school days allowed from the initial filing of incidents to the completion of the investigative steps. The Investigation into a reported act of bullying also must follow certain guidelines and procedures. The investigator investigating must be trained in investigation procedures to initiate the investigation. This person can not be the accused bully or the reporter. Interviews of the reporter, bully and witnesses will be conducted privately, separately, confidential and documented. The bully and the reporter will NEVER be interviewed together. The investigator will collect and evaluate the fact such as:

Description of incidents

  • Description of incidents

  • Context of incidents

  • How ofter it occurred

  • Whether there were past incidents or continuing patterns

  • The relationship between the bully and reporter

  • The characteristics of the bully and reporter (grade/age)

  • The identity and number of individuals who participated in the bullying or harassing behavior.

  • Where it took placeWhat affects it has/will take on the student’s education or educational environment

  • And Whether the reporter felt or perceived an imbalance of power as a       result of the reported incident

 

Whether the actions or incident is considered a violation of the policy requires determination based on all the facts and surrounding circumstances and must include recommended steps necessary to stop the bullying and/or harassing behavior and A written final report to the principal.  

 

So basically, once you file a report, the school has 10 days to get all the facts laid out on the table along with everyone’s side of the story to determine if they believe there is enough evidence to determine the policy was violated.

 

The incidents of bullying or harassment will also be reported in the school’s report of data concerning school safety and discipline data required under florida statute 1006.09. which will include the incident of bullying or harassment and the resulting consequences, even if the bullying didn’t meet the criteria of a prohibited act.

 

NOW - on the flip side, you CAN NOT file a false report without strict consequences. If you see something, say something. But tell the truth. DO NOT make up or fabricate anything when reporting. With all of this being said, your school should be taking any report of bullying very seriously. I’m going to choose to believe that the teacher you told, misunderstood your report, rather than sweeping it under the rug. You should most defiantly re-report it and when you do, explain that you already told your teacher, and after you did, the bullying got worse. Remember, that by you standing and speaking up will potentially stop the bullying from happening to you and prevent it from happening to the next person.

 

On our bullying page, is a form where you can report bullying directly to Leading2Greater, where we’ll hand deliver it directly to your schools principle, if you’d like us to do so. Also on that page, I have the direct links to the Florida statutes along with Columbia County Student Code of Conduct and Bullying and Harassment Policies mentioned above.

 

My final thoughts that I’ll leave you with are these: There is NEVER a wrong time, to do the right thing. If you see something, say something and 

Be the change!

 

 

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