Sarah Long, Elementary Counselor
Donna Walker, Middle School Counselor
Lacey Stephens, High School Counselor
STUDENT WELFARE - FREEDOM FROM BULLYING (FFI Legal and FFI Local Board Policy)
The District prohibits bullying, including cyberbullying, as defined by state law. Retaliation against anyone involved in the complaint process is a violation of District policy and is prohibited.
Bullying of a student could occur by physical contact or through electronic means and may include hazing, threats, taunting, teasing, confinement, assault, demands for money, destruction of property, theft of valued possessions, name calling, rumor spreading, or ostracism.
Notice to Parents: If an incident of bullying is confirmed, the principal or designee shall promptly notify the parents of the victim and of the student who engaged in bullying.
Confidentiality: To the greatest extent possible, the District shall respect the privacy of the complainant, persons against whom a report is filed, and witnesses. Limited disclosures may be necessary in order to conduct a thorough investigation.
David’s Law in Texas
During the State of Texas 85th Legislative Session, Senate Bill 179, also known as David's Law, was passed and signed into Texas State Law.
David's Law is named after 16-year-old David Molak, a high school student in San Antonio, who died by suicide after being harassed online. The bill aims to bring awareness and new policies to schools to combat cyberbullying.
Senate Bill 179 classifies cyberbullying as a Class A misdemeanor offense. By doing so, the courts may issue subpoenas and uncover people who are posting anonymously online. The law also requires intervention from public schools when any cyberbullying behavior is suspected. Parents of students who cyberbully others may also be held responsible if they could have intervened but didn't.
How does the law affect a school's response to bullying?
How does the law affect a parent's response to bullying?
In accordance with Texas Education Code (TEC), §37.115(c), an SSSP team must be established by the board of trustees to serve each campus within the school district. The number of SSSP teams and the number of campuses each team serves is a local decision based on the needs of and resources available to each school district. The SSSP team is a multidisciplinary team composed of individuals with a broad range of expertise with the responsibility of implementing the district SSSP. As part of its operation, the SSSP team is tasked with conducting behavioral threat assessments and determining the best course of action to support an individual who made a threat and the victims of the threat.
In accordance with Texas Education Code (TEC), §37.115(f)(1), the SSSP team must conduct threat assessments, determine the level of risk, and provide interventions to support the individual for whom the threat assessment was conducted and the victim of the threat.
Above the Influence
Foundation for a Drug-Free World
National Institute on Drug Abuse
Partnership for Drug-Free Kids
Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration
Winning the Fight
The development of children and adolescents who have been exposed to trauma compared to those who haven’t is different.
Children and adolescents without traumatic exposure can achieve survival and emotional and behavioral control, allowing them to flourish and succeed socially, emotionally, and cognitively.
However, children and adolescents exposed to trauma find it challenging to achieve at school due to their heightened state of arousal and real or perceived concerns about their safety and security.
The primary mission of schools is to support students in educational achievement. To reach this goal, children must feel safe, supported, and ready to learn. Children exposed to violence and trauma may not feel safe or ready to learn. Not only are individual children affected by traumatic experiences, but other students, the adults on campus, and the school community can be impacted by interacting or working with a child who has experienced trauma. Thus, as schools maintain their critical focus on education and achievement, they must also acknowledge that mental health and wellness are innately connected to students’ success in the classroom and to a thriving school environment.
Models of trauma-informed practice show the importance of educators, family members/carers, and health professionals collaborating to support children and adolescents who have experienced trauma.
Collaboration between educators and family members/carers can increase consistency and routines across home and educational settings. This improves a child's sense of safety and security, and limits triggers associated with the fight-or-flight stress response.
Common triggers for trauma-exposed children and adolescents include:
Family belonging, engagement, and attachment, as well as other approaches to trauma-informed care, can help reduce these triggers. It also helps to identify triggers specific to the individual child or adolescent. This can occur through observation in the learning setting, and through consultation and collaboration between educators, family members/carers, and health professionals.
Behavior-specific praise (using the child’s name, naming the correct behavior, and prompting the child to behave in that way in the future), as well as the principles of unconditional positive regard, consistency, and empathy between learners and educators, are used to improve a child’s sense of safety and security in the school setting, and to limit triggers associated with the fight-or-flight stress response.
All of the principles detailed here are also used to increase the learner’s sense of belonging, connectedness, and engagement in education services.
The approach of emotional awareness and regulation targets the capacity of children and youth to identify and regulate their own emotions, and also their capacity to identify and notice the impact of their emotions and behavior on others.
Learners who have been exposed to trauma require more neutral and less punitive prompts to help them to identify their own emotions and the emotions of others and to identify and use specific strategies that will help them to regulate their emotions in learning settings.
Creating routines, rhythm, and consistency in the educational setting is achieved through:
Modeling, practice, and behavior-specific praise around routines are also important.
Children and young people who have been exposed to trauma are more likely to have impaired self-esteem and negative views about themselves and the safety of the world and those around them.
The principle of collaboration and choice provides these children and adolescents with the opportunity to have some control of their environment and to develop their identity and sense of achievement.
Collaboration involves developing well-defined and achievable short-term and longer-term goals which the child or adolescent can approach one by one and step by step. These goals are typically incremental and consider the delayed cognitive, social, and emotional development and psychological concerns of children and adolescents who have been exposed to trauma.