Creating A Supportive and Safe Environment for ALL Students

Educator Roles and Responsibilities:

Know the Laws, Policies, Rules and Guidelines Related to Bullying

Utah’s Definition of Bullying:

“Bullying” means intentionally or knowingly committing an act that; hurts, threatens, harms or endangers another person physically or emotionally; or their property”, including “Cyber Bullying, “Harassment”, “Hazing” and to “Retaliate or Retaliation”.

Utah State Legislature Mandate:

On or before September 1, 2012, each school board shall adopt a bullying, cyber-bullying, harassment, and hazing policy, and states that:

“ The purpose of the rule is to require school districts and charter schools to implement bullying and hazing policies district and school wide and to provide for regular and meaningful training of school employees and students and to provide for enforcement of the policies in schools at the state level and in public school athletic programs.”

School Code of Conduct:

  •         Describe Positive Behaviors Expected for ALL Students
  •         Set Standards for Behavior
  •         Include Consequences

Bullying as a Civil Rights Issue

In a “Dear Colleague” letter dated October 26, 2010, the Department of Education’s (ED) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) stated that bullying may also be considered harassment when it is based on a student’s race, color, national origin, sex, or disability.

Harassing behaviors may include:

  •         Unwelcome conduct such as verbal abuse, name-calling, epithets, or slurs
  •         Graphic or written statements
  •         Threats
  •         Physical assault
  •         Other conduct that may be physically threatening, harmful, or humiliating

State and local laws may provide additional protections on another basis, including sexual orientation.

Bullying as a Civil Rights Issue:  Schools’ Duties

Immediate and appropriate action to investigate or otherwise determine what happened.  When an investigation reveals that harassment has occurred, a school should take steps that are reasonably calculated to end the harassment, eliminate any hostile environment, prevent harassment from recurring, and prevent retaliation against the targeted student(s) or complainant(s).

Using the Individualized  Education Program

The Individualized Education Program (IEP) team, which includes the parent, can identify strategies that could be written into the IEP to help stop the bullying.

It may be helpful to involve the child, when appropriate, in the decision-making process, since this can improve the likelihood of the student meeting the IEP goals.


Utah’s Multi Tiered System of Supports

Districts in Utah seeking professional coaching in developing a district wide Positive Behavioral Intervention and Support (PBIS) plan can contact the Utah Personnel Development Center for training and mentoring.  This district wide coaching model uses a positive, proactive model of support to promote school safety. Educators are taught to anticipate and plan for problem behaviors. Behavior skills are taught specifically and schools keep track of what works and then build upon success.

Utah’s Least Restrictive Behavioral Intervention (LRBI) Guidelines

LRBI are state guidelines which include:

  •         Proactive strategies to define, teach, and support appropriate behaviors
  •         A positive school environment where all children feel safe and can learn

LRBI is based on the belief that appropriate behaviors can be taught school wide.