Kern High School District

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BP 5131.2 Bullying

Kern Union HSD
Board Policy

BP 5131.2

General Prohibition

The Kern Union High School District believes that all students have a right to a safe and healthy school environment and will not tolerate behavior that infringes on the safety of any student. The district recognizes the harmful effects of bullying on student learning and school attendance and desires to provide safe school environments that protect students from physical and emotional harm. District employees shall establish student safety as a high priority and shall not tolerate bullying of any student.

A student shall not, through physical, written, verbal, or other means, intimidate, harass, sexually harass, threaten, retaliate, cyberbully, cause bodily injury to, or commit hate violence against any student or school personnel. Nor shall any student bully based on actual or perceived characteristics through words or actions. Cyberbullying includes the creation or transmission of harassing communications, direct threats, or other harmful texts, sounds, or images on the Internet, social media, or other technologies using a telephone, computer, or any wireless communication device. Cyberbullying also includes breaking into another person's electronic account and assuming that person's identity in order to damage that person's reputation.

(cf. 5131 - Conduct)
(cf. 5136 - Gangs)
(cf. 5145.2 - Freedom of Speech/Expression)
(cf. 5145.3 - Nondiscrimination/Harassment)
(cf. 5145.7 - Sexual Harassment)
(cf. 5145.9 - Hate-Motivated Behavior)

A student is subject to disciplinary action for any severe or pervasive act which has the effect of causing a reasonable student to experience a substantially detrimental effect on his/her physical or mental health, causing a substantial interference with his/her ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or privileges provided by a school.

This policy applies to students on school grounds, while attending or traveling to and from school or a school-sponsored activity, and during the lunch period whether on or off campus. When appropriate based on the severity or pervasiveness of the bullying, the Superintendent or designee shall notify the parents/guardians of victims and perpetrators and may contact law enforcement.


Strategies for addressing bullying in district schools shall be developed with involvement of key stakeholders, and may be incorporated into the comprehensive safety plan, the local control and accountability plan, and other applicable district and school plans.

(cf. 0420 - School Plans/Site Councils)
(cf. 0450 - Comprehensive Safety Plan)
(cf. 0460 - Local Control and Accountability Plan)
(cf. 1400 - Relations Between Other Governmental Agencies and the Schools)
(cf. 6020 - Parent Involvement)

To the extent possible, district schools shall focus on the prevention of bullying by establishing clear consequences for student conduct and implementing strategies to promote a positive, collaborative school climate. Students shall be informed, through student handbooks and other appropriate means, of district and school consequences related to bullying, mechanisms available for reporting incidents or threats, and the consequences for engaging in bullying.

(cf. 5137 - Positive School Climate)

As appropriate, the district shall provide students with instruction, in the classroom or other educational settings, that promotes effective communication and conflict resolution skills, social skills, character/values education, respect for cultural and individual differences, self-esteem development, assertiveness skills, and appropriate online behavior.

(cf. 6142.8 - Comprehensive Health Education)
(cf. 6142.94 - History-Social Science Instruction)
(cf. 6163.4 - Student Use of Technology)

In an effort to prevent bullying on school campuses, the district will offer staff development training in the early warning signs of harassing/intimidating behaviors and effective response, bullying prevention, and cultivating acceptance and understanding in all students and staff. Teachers should discuss this bullying policy with their students in relevant ways and assure them that they need not endure any form of bullying. Students who bully are in violation of this policy and are subject to disciplinary action up to and including expulsion.

(cf. 4131/4231/4331 - Staff Development)

As appropriate, the Superintendent or designee may collaborate with law enforcement, courts, social services, mental health services, other agencies, and community organizations in the development and implementation of joint strategies to promote safety in schools and the community and to provide services for alleged victims and perpetrators of bullying.

(cf. 1020 - Youth Services)

Based on an assessment of bullying incidents at school, the Superintendent or designee may increase supervision and security in areas where bullying most often occurs, such as classrooms, playgrounds, hallways, restrooms, and cafeterias.

Expectations of Staff

Staff members are expected to immediately intervene when they see a bullying incident occur and it is safe to do so.

Reporting and Filing of Complaints

The district expects students and/or staff to immediately report incidents of bullying; such reporting will not reflect on the victim or witnesses in any way. Any student, parent/guardian, or other individual who believes that a student has been subjected to bullying or who has witnessed bullying may report the incident to a teacher, the principal, a compliance officer, or any other available school employee. Within one business day of receiving such a report, a staff member shall notify the principal of the report. In addition, any school employee who observes an incident of bullying involving a student shall, within one business day, report his/her observation to the principal or a district compliance officer, whether or not the alleged victim files a complaint. Each complaint of bullying should be promptly investigated. The school will make reasonable efforts to keep a report of bullying and the results of the investigation confidential.

When the circumstances involve cyberbullying, individuals with information about the activity shall be encouraged to save and print any electronic or digital messages that they feel constitute cyberbullying and to notify a teacher, the principal, or other employee so that the matter may be investigated. When a student uses a social networking site or service to bully or harass another student, the Superintendent or designee may file a request with the networking site or service to suspend the privileges of the student and to have the material removed.

The first step in the complaint process for a bullying incident includes immediate contact with the Dean of Students or his/her designee. The student who is the alleged victim of the bullying shall be given an opportunity to describe the incident, identify witnesses who may have relevant information, and provide other evidence of bullying. If this fails to bring about a resolution, the assistant principal or principal should be notified. If the complainant student or parent/guardian of the student feels that an appropriate resolution of the investigation or complaint has not been reached, the student or parent/guardian of the student should contact the KUHSD Office of Student Personnel Services. If this fails to bring about a resolution, the complainant shall be notified of the right to submit a formal written complaint to the School Community Liaison Officer who will direct it to the appropriate Uniform Complaint Officer for follow-up investigation under the district's Uniform Complaint Procedures.

(cf. 1312.3 - Uniform complaint Procedures)

Uniform Complaints regarding bullying shall be reserved for instances where bullying, harassment, or intimidation are based on actual or perceived characteristics identified in Education Code 220 or Penal Code 422.55, or any other bases provided by law, or on the basis of a person's association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics.

If, during the investigation, it is determined that a complaint is about nondiscriminatory bullying, the principal or designee shall inform the complainant and shall take all necessary actions to resolve the complaint.

The KUHSD prohibits retaliatory behavior against any complainant or any participant in the complaint process.

Consequences and Interventions for Bullying

Consequences for a student who commits an act of bullying of any type may include counseling, behavioral intervention and education, and, if the behavior is severe or pervasive as defined in Education Code 48900, may include suspension or expulsion in accordance with district policies and regulations.

(cf. 5138 - Conflict Resolution/Peer Mediation)
(cf. 5144 - Discipline)
(cf. 5144.1 - Suspension and Expulsion/Due Process)
(cf. 5144.2 - Suspension and Expulsion/Due Process (Students with Disabilities))
(cf. 6159.4 - Behavioral Interventions for Special Education Students)

The Superintendent, principal, or principal's designee may refer a victim, witness, perpetrator, or other student affected by an act of bullying to a school counselor, school psychologist, social worker, child welfare attendance personnel, school nurse, or other school support service personnel for case management, counseling, and/or participation in a restorative justice program if available and as appropriate. (Education Code 48900.9)

(cf. 6164.2 - Guidance/Counseling Services)

Any employee who permits or engages in bullying or retaliation related to bullying shall be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal.

(cf. 4118/4218 - Dismissal/Suspension/Disciplinary Action)
(cf. 4119.21/4219.21/4319.21 - Professional Standards)

Universal Notification

All staff, students and their parents will receive this policy prohibiting bullying: at the beginning of the school year, as part of the student handbook and/or information packet, as part of the new orientation, and the policy will be posted on the district website under Parent's Page. A form for reporting bullying or other safety issues is also available on the KUHSD website.

adopted: April 4, 2016 Bakersfield, California