What is a bullied student to do when the bullying occurs electronically on a Facebook page or through texts or tweets? Does the school district have any power to stop it?
The Pine-Richland School Board is considering expanding its anti-bullying/cyberbullying policy to include off-campus settings.
A change in policy goes through three readings before the board—the first reading already passed, with no discussion or comments. The second reading is scheduled for the Oct. 22 meeting.
While the district has had an anti-bullying/cyberbullying policy in place since January 2009, it referred to school settings.
"School setting means in the school, on school grounds, in school vehicles, at a designated bus stop or at any activity sponsored, supervised or sanctioned by the school," the policy stated.
The proposed policy change adds "and on the way to and from school," to that definition.
But it also includes more expansive language—the proposed changes are in italics:
"The board prohibits all forms of bullying by district students in all school settings," the policy states. "The board also prohibits all forms of bullying by district students in non-school settings, and will enforce consequences provided under this policy to acts of bullying occurring in a non-school setting to the fullest extent permitted by law."
Bullying is defined in the policy as "an intentional electronic, written, verbal or physical act or series of acts directed at another student or students that is severe, persistent or pervasive."
The definition also says the bullying has the effect of substantially interfering with a student's education, creating a threatening environment or substantially disrupting the "orderly operation of the school."
What do you think about expanding the school district's bullying/cyberbullying policy to off-campus settings? Tell us in the comments.