The District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) is committed to ensuring that our schools are safe and effective learning environments, free from bullying and other harmful and disruptive behavior. In every school—its classrooms, hallways, cafeterias, playgrounds, and other common areas—each member of the school community must feel welcomed, safe, and respected.
The goal of the DCPS District-Wide approach to bully prevention is to promote and practice strategies at the district and school level that will ensure that all students can learn in a safe, healthy, and supportive environment that is free from bullying. The most proactive approaches for bully prevention focus on four key areas:
- Promotion of positive behavior and positive school culture;
- Whole-school prevention and intervention
- Investigation into every bullying incident
- Provision of support to individuals involved in bullying incidents
Research documents that lower levels of bullying and higher levels of positive school climate/culture are associated with higher levels of academic growth as well as student and parent satisfaction with school. The DCPS Bully Prevention Policy includes model policy requirements and best practices.
“Bullying,” means any severe, pervasive, or persistent act or conduct, whether physical, electronic or verbal that
- May be based on a student’s actual or perceived race, color, ethnicity, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, intellectual ability, familial status, family responsibilities, matriculation, political affiliation, genetic information, disability, source of income, status as a victim of an intrafamily offense, place of residence or business, or any other distinguishing characteristic, or on a student’s association with a person, or group with any person, with one or more of the actual or perceived foregoing characteristics; and
- Shall reasonably predicted to:
- Place a student in reasonable fear of physical harm to his or her person or property;
- Cause a substantial detrimental effect on the student’s physical or mental health;
- Substantially interfere with the student’s academic performance or attendance;
- Substantially interfere with the student’s ability to participate in or benefit from school activities or services; or
- Materially and substantially disrupts the education process or the orderly operation of a school.
Bullying also occurs when a student or group of students organize a campaign against another student or when a student or group of students maliciously spread rumors about another student. In most circumstances Bullying does not include a mutual fight between two students who are angry with each other. Such fights are subject to discipline according to the disciplinary rules in District of Columbia Municipal Regulations (DCMR), Title 5-B, Chapter 25 (referred to in this policy as “Chapter 25”). All references to bullying in this policy shall also be understood to include cyber bullying.
Cyber Bullying – Bullying through the use of technology or electronic devices such as telephones, cell phones, computers, and the Internet. It includes, but is not limited to email, instant messaging, text messages, and Internet postings.
Electronic communication – The use of the Internet and mobile technology such as web pages, discussion groups such as instant messaging, SMS text, Instagram, or Facebook with the intent of intimidating, harassing, or harming another person.
Prohibition Against Bullying
DCPS strives to provide students with optimal conditions for learning by maintaining a school environment where everyone is treated with respect and no one is physically or emotionally harmed. Acts of bullying by students are prohibited:
- On school premises;
- At any school-sponsored activity or event on and off DCPS grounds:
- On public and school transportation including stop locations;
- Using school property or equipment;
- Walking to and from school;
- Or, any other place where a student has access to technology.
What to do and How to Report
Bard DC’s official position on Bullying, Harassment, and Intimidation can be found in the Student Handbook on pages 12-13. Our commitment as a school team is to establish a positive school culture and climate; one where Social & Emotional skills are learned and practiced on a daily basis. When and if there are breaches in the creation of a safe environment at Bard DC, families, staff, and students have a variety of options to report incidents to our team:
- They may reach out directly to the following individuals:
- Through our online Anonymous Incident Report Form
- Come in person and meet with any of the individuals listed above
All incidents will be investigated within 24-48 hours of reporting. Final outcomes of those investigations are confidential but we will communicate with affected parties and their families as appropriate.