Bullying Awareness Month: What FBISD is doing to ensure a safe learning environment
What FBISD is doing to ensure a safe learning environment
October is National Bullying Prevention Month and Fort Bend ISD continues its work to raise awareness of the fact that nationwide one out of every five students reports being bullied during the school year and the percentage of students who have experienced cyberbullying has nearly doubled in the last decade.
This month, each FBISD campus is holding activities to educate students and staff on how to identify and stop bullying.
Definition of Bullying
Texas state law (Education Code 37.0832) defines bullying as “a single significant act or a pattern of acts by one or more students directed at another student that exploits an imbalance of power and involves engaging in written or verbal expression, expression through electronic means, or physical conduct.”
District Efforts to Combat Bullying
The District’s second core beliefs states, “we believe student success is best achieved in a supportive climate and safe environment,” and to support that, there are District-wide programs in place.
Many campuses across Fort Bend ISD have been designated as “No Place for Hate” schools, an initiative by the Southwest Region Anti-Defamation League. As part of this initiative, student-led committees organize three projects for their campus that support inclusive and safe environments for everyone.
The District hosts a Student Voices Summer each year for high school students district wide. The summit provides participants the opportunity to meet and engage to discuss how to impact and improve their campus culture.
In addition, each year the District hosts a Middle School PALs (Peer Assisted Leadership) Conference that provides PALs students from across the district with opportunities to grow their leadership skills. Participants take part in a collaborative workshop that equips them with skills needed to create inclusive projects to support and build positive cultures on their campuses.
FBISD’s Student Code of Conduct www.fortbendisd.com/ studentcodeofconduct and its Appendix – Freedom from Bullying Policy FFI (LEGAL), outlines guidelines for handling bullying on campuses, explains how students and teachers can report incidents of bullying, and describes what corrective and disciplinary action will be taken. Each campus has a designated administrator who handles bullying investigations and works to ensure students are safe throughout the process.
How to Report Bullying
Students are encouraged to tell an adult on their campus, including a counselor or a teacher, if they are being bullied or witness someone else being bullied.
Students can also report incidents through FBISD's Police Department's See Something, Share Something program. Students, staff and the community can report suspiciouls activity and bullying anonymously, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from a mobile device. The See Something, Share Something app is available for download using a unique QR Code located on the back of all student and staff ID badges, Apple Store, Google Play Store, or via desktop computer at fbisd.nowims.app/
Students can also report incidents by visiting Let’s Talk Bullying on their campus website. The Let’s Talk button is located on the far-right side of every webpage in the District. This feature allows students, parents and staff to electronically submit details about a bullying incident that occurred, and the submission can be anonymous.
What Can Parents Do to Protect Their Child?
“One of the most important things parents can do is be observant and aware of their child’s habits and moods,” FBISD Director of Behavioral Health and Wellness Steve Shiels said.
He describes behavioral signs that parents can look for in children who may be victimized, but also those who may be the aggressor. They include:
Students Who Are Being Bullied
*A change in attitude, mood and behavior
*A drop in grades
*Isolated and withdrawn from their normal routine
Students Who Are Bullying
*Mistreatment of younger children, including siblings, family members, neighbors
*Mistreatment of animals
Shiels said parents should note that especially with girls, it is often a significant sign if your child no longer talks about a set of friends or talks about an entirely new set of friends. Bullying for girls is often subtler and harder to recognize, and often results from a friendship that has been damaged. In comparison, Shiels said bullying for boys is typically more overt and threatening and may involve students who have no previous friendship.