Help Stop Bullying!
The New Albany-Floyd County Consolidated School Corporation is committed to eliminating all instances of bullying in our school corporation.
NAFCS Anti-Bullying School Board Policy
5517.01 – ANTI-BULLYING
Bullying is prohibited by the School Corporation. Students who commit any acts of bullying are subject to discipline including but not limited to suspension, expulsion, arrest, and/or prosecution.
Definition: “Bullying” is defined as overt, unwanted, repeated acts or gestures, including verbal or written communications or images transmitted in any manner (including digitally or electronically); physical acts committed; aggression; or any other behaviors committed by a student or group of students against another student with the intent to harass, ridicule, humiliate, intimidate, or harm the targeted student, creating for the targeted student an objectively hostile school environment that:
- places the targeted student in reasonable fear of harm to his or her person or property;
- has a substantially detrimental effect on the targeted student’s physical or mental health;
- has the effect of substantially interfering with the targeted student’s academic performance; or
- has the effect of substantially interfering with the targeted student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or privileges provided by the school.
Bullying does not include:
- participating in a religious event;
- acting in an emergency involving the protection of a person or property from an imminent threat of serious bodily injury or substantial danger;
- participating in an activity consisting of the exercise of a student’s freedom of speech rights;
- participating in an activity conducted by a nonprofit or governmental entity that provides recreation, education, training, or other care under the supervision of one (1) or more adults;
- participating in an activity undertaken at the prior written direction of the student’s parent; or
- engaging in interstate or international travel from a location outside Indiana to another location outside Indiana.
Applicability: The School Corporation prohibits bullying in all forms. This policy may be applied regardless of the physical location in which the bullying behavior occurred, whenever the individual committing the bullying behavior and any of the intended targets of the bullying behavior are students attending a school within the School Corporation and disciplinary action is reasonably necessary to avoid substantial interference with school discipline or prevent an unreasonable threat to the rights of others to a safe and peaceful learning environment. The School Corporation prohibits bullying through the use of data or computer software that is accessed through any computer, computer system, or computer network.
Education: All students in grades K – 12 will be provided age-appropriate instruction focusing on bullying prevention.
Reporting: Anyone who believes that a student has possibly been or is the victim of bullying is encouraged to immediately report the situation to an appropriate staff member such as a teacher, school counselor, or administrator (including the Superintendent). All staff who observe or receive a report of suspected bullying shall immediately notify a designated school administrator in charge of receiving reports of suspected bullying. If a staff member does not know who to make a report to, he or she should report directly to the building principal or Superintendent. Bullying reports to the Department of Child Services and/or law enforcement must be made as required by law, such as when a staff member believes that a student is the victim of abuse or neglect. Any person who makes a report of bullying and requests to remain anonymous will not be personally identified as the reporter or complainant to the extent permitted by law. The School Corporation will act appropriately to discipline staff members who fail to initiate or conduct an investigation of a bullying incident and for persons who falsely report an incident of bullying.
Investigation: Once a report of suspected bullying is received by the designated school administrator, an expedited investigation shall follow. The investigation should be facilitated by the designated school administrator or other appropriate school staff. Information relating to the investigation will be gathered using means including, but not limited to: witness interviews, request for written witness statements, record identification, and review, and an assessment of whether bullying occurred. The investigation will be initiated within one (1) business day of the report to the designated school administrator and will ordinarily be completed within thirty (30) calendar days.
Intervention/Responses: If a report of suspected bullying is substantiated through an investigation, then the School Corporation shall take appropriate intervention and responses as consistent with policy and procedure. The School Corporation will take prompt and effective steps reasonably calculated to stop the bullying, remedy the bullying, and prevent the bullying from recurring.
Interventions and responses include, but are not limited to: separating the bully and the target; follow-up school counseling for the target; bullying education for the bully; and prompt disciplinary action against the bully. These steps should not penalize the target of the bullying. Disciplinary actions against the bully may include but are not limited to: suspension and expulsion for students; discharge for employees; exclusion for parents, guests, volunteers, and contractors; and removal from any office for governing body members. Also, if the acts of bullying rise to the level of a criminal offense, the matter will be referred to law enforcement.
Parental Involvement: Parents are encouraged to be involved in the process of minimizing bullying. Parents should report suspected acts of bullying to an appropriate school official. In addition, parents of students suspected of bullying will be notified with a phone call or through other appropriate means of communication. Conversely, parents of students suspected of being the target of acts of bullying will also be notified with a phone call or through other means of appropriate communication. Parent notifications will occur in an expedited manner within one (1) business day after the designated school administrator receives the report of suspected bullying. Parents of students who are disciplined for acts of bullying will be involved in the disciplinary process consistent with the law and the School Corporation policy.
Warning Signs for Bullying (stopbullying.gov)
There are many warning signs that may indicate that someone is affected by bullying—either being bullied or bullying others. Recognizing the warning signs is an important first step in taking action against bullying. Not all children who are bullied or are bullying others ask for help.
It is important to talk with children who show signs of being bullied or bullying others. These warning signs can also point to other issues or problems, such as depression or substance abuse. Talking to the child can help identify the root of the problem.
Signs a Child Is Being Bullied
Look for changes in the child. However, be aware that not all children who are bullied exhibit warning signs.
Some signs that may point to a bullying problem are:
- Unexplainable injuries
- Lost or destroyed clothing, books, electronics, or jewelry
- Frequent headaches or stomach aches, feeling sick or faking illness
- Changes in eating habits, like suddenly skipping meals or binge eating. Kids may come home from school hungry because they did not eat lunch.
- Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares
- Declining grades, loss of interest in schoolwork, or not wanting to go to school
- Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations
- Feelings of helplessness or decreased self-esteem
- Self-destructive behaviors such as running away from home, harming themselves, or talking about suicide
If you know someone in serious distress or danger, don’t ignore the problem. Get help right away.
Signs a Child is Bullying Others
Kids may be bullying others if they:
- Get into physical or verbal fights
- Have friends who bully others
- Are increasingly aggressive
- Get sent to the principal’s office or to detention frequently
- Have unexplained extra money or new belongings
- Blame others for their problems
- Don’t accept responsibility for their actions
- Are competitive and worry about their reputation or popularity
Why don’t kids ask for help?
Statistics from the 2018 Indicators of School Crime and Safety – PDF show that only 20% of school bullying incidents were reported. Kids don’t tell adults for many reasons:
- Bullying can make a child feel helpless. Kids may want to handle it on their own to feel in control again. They may fear being seen as weak or a tattletale.
- Kids may fear backlash from the kid who bullied them.
- Bullying can be a humiliating experience. Kids may not want adults to know what is being said about them, whether true or false. They may also fear that adults will judge them or punish them for being weak.
- Kids who are bullied may already feel socially isolated. They may feel like no one cares or could understand.
- Kids may fear being rejected by their peers. Friends can help protect kids from bullying, and kids can fear losing this support.
Advice for parents:
- Don’t over-personalize it – Try to avoid overreacting. Instead, listen calmly and objectively
- Don’t swoop in immediately – Remain calm, listen to your child, and make a plan together.
- Take it seriously – Don’t minimize the situation
- Don’t blame – Don’t assume your child was doing something to make other kids pick on them
- Teach your child not to react out of fear – Help your child practice appropriate responses
- Report – Tell your child to talk to a teacher, counselor, or school admin.
- Parents, please report bullying to the school or anonymous alerts tipline.
Additional bully prevention resources: