Children of all ages have negative interactions with other students from time to time. It is important that we as adults teach children how to deal with adversity. At ACE, we have three guidance counselors with whom they can speak about issues that arise. Not all negative interactions rise to the level of bullying.
ACE prohibits the bullying or intimidation of a student by another student at all times. It is very important that information in all situations be weighed and evaluated, but bullying has become an issue in schools that severely compromises the well- being of the student(s) involved. In the event a student has been accused of or committed the offense of bullying or has been the victim of bullying, the school will notify the parent(s), guardian(s), or other person(s) having control or charge of such student.
As per Georgia Law regarding bullying:
We are including below information in this section on bullying, taken from the Georgia Department of Education. It is important for all of us to know and understand just what bullying is as well as the consequences for this act. In every setting – school, work and life in general – people do things to one another that might be construed as bullying. Thus, we believe that by educating everyone regarding Georgia Law concerning bullying, we will all be better informed.
What Is Bullying? (Information taken from GADOE website) Georgia Law O.C.G.A. 20-2-751.4 defines bullying to mean an act that is: (1) any willful attempt or threat to inflict injury on another person, when accompanied by an apparent present ability to do so; (2) any intentional display of force such as would give the victim reason to fear or expect immediate bodily harm; (3) any intentional written, verbal, or physical act, which a reasonable person would perceive as being intended to threaten, harass, or intimidate (a) causes another person substantial physical harm; (b) has the effect of substantially interfering with a student’s education; (c) is so severe, persistent, or pervasive that it creates an intimidating or threatening educational environment; (d) has the effect of substantially disrupting the orderly operation of the school. You can learn more about this from the DOE site at http://www.gadoe.org/Curriculum-Instruction-and-Assessment/Curriculum-and- Instruction/Pages/Bullying-Prevention-Toolkit.aspx
In addition, GADOE has added cyberbullying to this issue as a result of the 2015 passing of House Bill 131 known as “The End of Cyberbullying Act.” HB 131 modifies the definition of bullying to include acts of cyberbullying which occur through the use of electronic communication, whether or not such electronic act originates on school property or with school equipment, if the electronic communication 1) is directed specifically at students or school personnel, 2) is maliciously intended for the purpose of threatening the safety of those specified or substantially disrupting the orderly operation of the school, and 3) creates a reasonable fear of harm to the students’ or school personnel’s person or property or has a high likelihood of succeeding in that purpose.
When Can My Child Be Disciplined for Bullying? Bullying is not limited to acts that occur on school grounds. Your child may be disciplined for bullying that occurs on transportation made available for school purposes, and at school-related functions or activities.
With the advent of technology, your child may also be disciplined for “cyber-bullying” that takes place through a computer, computer system, computer network, or other electronic technology of a school system. (See above)
Investigation and Parental Notification
We have urged parents whose children have been targeted on social media, Instagram, etc. to contact the local Sheriff’s Department and file a complaint. This has been the most effective tool in fighting this issue. However, it is VERY important for all parents to monitor their child’s use of social media at all times! We cannot emphasize this enough. Young people can lead very different lives on their social media sites and others can easily take advantage of them through various sites. Children in grades Kindergarten through 8th grade should have no or very limited access to social media.
Discipline and Punishment
Georgia has some of the strongest punishments for bullying. Penalties may vary from school to school. Some of the recently revised school codes provide that disciplinary action will be taken, ranging from counseling, in-school suspension, short-term suspension, and long-term suspension, to expulsion or referral to an alternative school. Please remember that at ACE, we do not have ISS. Students who are accused of bullying may be suspended up to 10 days or referred for a Hearing resulting in an alternative placement through remote instruction.
How Can I Help My Child?
The consequences to bullying are serious both for the individual bullying as well as for the victim. You can help your child by reviewing our Code of Conduct to understand what is considered bullying and what is at stake in terms of disciplinary action. Talk to your child to discuss how to avoid engaging in bullying behavior.
You can read more about the Georgia Department of Education’s rules on Bullying by going to http://www.gadoe.org/Curriculum- Instruction-and-Assessment/Curriculum-and-Instruction/Pages/Bullying-Prevention-Toolkit.aspx
You can also help us by reporting behaviors that you feel are of a bullying nature to your child’s teacher immediately or by contacting the parents of the individual doing the bullying. It is important to remember that some behaviors are age-related. Children do tend to pick on one another at various times in the developmental process. Our job as adults is to both teach children who are picking on others how to interact more positively as well as to teach children how to cope with negative situations while at the same time, being able to recognize negative behaviors that have an impact on a child’s well-being. In the end, if as a parent, you feel your child is at risk as either a person who treats others negatively or who is treated in a negative fashion, please make us aware of the situation so that we can monitor it here at school.