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School Bullying
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School Bullying
Tools for Avoiding Harm and Liability



September 2006 | 248 pages | Corwin
' When people purchase this book, it will be like having their own lawyer sitting right next to them' - Steve Hutton, Professional Development Specialist, USA

Every hour of every day, students experience bullying and harassment at school by their peers. The immediate and long-term impact on the victims' learning capabilities, emotional health, and self-esteem is staggering. School Bullying: Tools for Avoiding Harm and Liability tackles this critical problem with an easy-to-use framework that guides educators in using constructive thinking, listening, and speaking to take effective action.

The McGrath SUCCEED® System outlined in this excellent text offers school leaders tools to create lasting, legally based, and ethically sound approaches to dealing with, and preventing, bullying in schools. It provides step-by-step procedures and practical tools for investigating bullying situations and communicating effectively with students, parents, teachers, staff, and the community.

 
Preface
 
About the Author
 
Part I: FACT, MYTH AND IMPACT
 
1. What Bullying Is and What it Is Not
Spotting the Bully

 
How Bullies Act

 
Intent to Harm

 
An Imbalance of Power

 
The Perpetrator Enjoys Bullying

 
Repeated, Systematic Behavior

 
Bullying Hurts

 
Three Types of Bullying

 
Piercing the Myths About Bullies and Bullying

 
Myth #1: Our School Doesn’t Have Bullies

 
Myth #2: Other Safety Issues are a Bigger Concern for Kids

 
Myth #3: Schools Should Not Encourage Complaints

 
Myth #4: Teachers See Everything and Respond When Bullying Takes Place

 
Myth #5: It’s the Outcasts Who Bully Others

 
Myth #6: Bullies Appear Tough, but They Are All Actually Anxious and Insecure

 
Myth #7: The “Class Bully” Is Easy to Identify

 
Myth #8: It Is Impossible to Catch the Early Warning Signs

 
Myth #9: There Is No Correlation Between Bullying and Cases of Extreme Violence

 
Myth #10: Bullying Is Not a Legal Issue, It’s a Character Issue

 
Summary

 
 
2. Through the Eyes of the Victim
The Impact of Bullying on Victims

 
Impacted for Life

 
The Effects of Chronic Trauma

 
Post-Traumatic Stress

 
Blaming the Victim

 
Signs and Symptoms That May Indicate a Child Is Being Bullied

 
Six Powerful Practices for Detecting Bullying and Harassment in Schools

 
Safe, Responsive Adults Are the Key

 
Being a Safe Adult

 
Being a Responsive Adult

 
Getting Everyone Involved

 
The Nature and Scope of Anti-Bullying Interventions

 
But Is It Legally Fit?

 
Legal Avenues for Effecting Change

 
Summary

 
 
3. Social Scheming and TechnoBullying
Mean Girls

 
What Does Relational Bullying Look Like?

 
What’s the Harm?

 
The Marvels of Modern Technology

 
Three-Way Calling Attacks

 
Instant Messaging

 
Blogging

 
No Privacy on the Internet

 
Online Impersonation

 
What Can Schools Do?

 
Why Kids Don’t Report

 
The Code

 
Changing the Adult Response

 
The Complex Role of the Bystander

 
Group Dynamics

 
The Role of the Defender

 
Shifting the Dynamic: Training Bystanders

 
“I’m Afraid to Walk in That Corridor”

 
Is Your Discipline Code Adequate?

 
What Does Retaliation Look Like?

 
Handling Graffiti

 
Summary

 
 
Part II: THE LEGAL CONTEXT OF BULLYING
 
4. Bullying Through a Legal Lens
In Loco Parentis

 
Three Bodies of Law

 
What Is a Civil Action?

 
What Is Criminal Law?

 
What Is Administrative Law?

 
What Is Liability?

 
What Is Governmental Immunity?

 
What Is Negligence?

 
Where Does Negligence Fit Under the Law?

 
What Is a Duty of Care?

 
What Is the Standard of Care in Civil Actions for Negligence?

 
Under What Conditions May an Individual Be Found Individually Liable?

 
What Qualifies As “Notice”?

 
How Does a School Receive Notice?

 
What Are Deliberate Indifference and Reckless Disregard?

 
What Is Discrimination?

 
What Is the Difference Between Bias, Prejudice, and Discrimination?

 
What About Students’ First Amendment Rights?

 
The First Amendment and Retaliation: A Case in Point

 
Responsibility for the Behavior of Third Parties

 
Who Is Considered a Third Party?

 
Public School Students in Employment Settings

 
Enactment of State Law

 
Summary

 
 
5. When Bullying Is Legally Actionable
The Criterion: Point by Point

 
Point 1: Is a Protected Classification Involved or Is There Intent to Harm?

 
Point 2: Is the Behavior Unwelcome or Unwanted?

 
Point 3: Is the Behavior Severe or Persistent or Pervasive?

 
Point 4: Does the Behavior Substantially Interfere With the Student's Education?

 
Point 5: Does the Behavior Meet Both Subjective and Objective Tests Related to Its Level of Interference With Student Education?

 
Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment: An Exception to the Five-Point Criterion

 
In Review

 
Follow Your Policy

 
Bullying Policy Highlights

 
A Cautionary Note: The Importance of Being Strategic

 
Your Duty to Provide a Save Environment: The Courts Are Speaking

 
Established Guidelines for Protecting Students

 
Four Responsibilities Under the Duty to Provide a Safe Learning Environment

 
Covering All the Bases

 
Summary

 
 
PART III: LEGALLY SOUND AND PRINCIPLED-BASED ACTION
 
6. Daily Practices to Conquer Bullying
And the Complaints Keep Coming…

 
Power Tools That Build a Positive School Culture

 
A Legally Sound Response

 
Bullying: Three Levels of Response

 
Level I Response: Training the Front Line

 
Level I Response: Documentation

 
Level II Response

 
Level III Response

 
The McGrath SUCCEED System

 
The McGrath FICA Standard: The Basic Tool

 
How to Evaluate Facts and Make Decisions

 
The McGrath FICA Standard

 
The FACTS: What Happened?

 
IMPACT: The Harm of What Happened

 
When Facts and Impact Do Not Correlate

 
CONTEXT: The Other Factors Surrounding the Situation

 
Context: The Supreme Court Speaks

 
Miss Jones Interviews Becky

 
ACTION: Taking the Logical Next Step

 
Spiraling Forward

 
Back to Mr. Pogue

 
McGrath FICA in Review

 
Implementing the FICA Chat Infrastructure

 
Summary

 
 
7. Powered By Principles
The "Be" and the "Do" of Conquering Bullying

 
Why Trust, Respect, Understanding, and Growth?

 
Facts With Trust

 
Impact With Respect

 
Context With Understanding

 
Action With Growth

 
Four Lenses: Structure, Quality, Tone, and Balance

 
Structure Counts

 
Quality: Be Specific and Factual

 
Tone: The Relationship Factor

 
Balance: Working the FICA Formula With Integrity

 
It’s All About Relationship

 
The McGrath SUCCEED Levels of Mastery

 
A Transformational Approach

 
The Heart of the Matter

 
What It Takes To Be a Partner

 
Turning the Mirror Inward

 
The McGrath SUCCEED System as a Guide for Self-Reflection

 
The Internal “Imposter”

 
The Personal Awareness Paradox

 
The Questing Person

 
Being a Partner: Shared Vision

 
The Sociopath Next Door: A Notable Exception

 
No Matter How Mean the Streets

 
You Can SUCCEED

 
Lead With Your Heart

 
Summary

 
 
8. A Legally Sound "To Do" List
The Content of Bullying Through the Legal Lens

 
Initial Intake of Complaints: Preliminary Steps

 
The Role of the Complaint Manager

 
Processing Incident Reports From Third Parties

 
If the Complainant Cannot Read and/or Write English Proficiently

 
Complaint Intake With Very Young Students

 
Informing the Parents

 
Should You Audiotape the Child’s Answers?

 
Completing the Conversation With the Complainant

 
Don’t Be Afraid of Documentation

 
Deciding Who Investigates

 
Handing Off a Complaint to an Investigator

 
First Things First: Eight Preliminary Considerations

 
1. Take Action on the Complaint Within 24 Hours

 
2. If Sexual Harassment is Suspected, Use Two Investigators

 
3. Create a Confidential File

 
4. Conduct Interviews in a Private Room

 
5. Review All Pertinent Records

 
6. Review and Follow All Aplicable Policies, Rules, and Regulations

 
7. Talk to the Teachers With Whom the Parties Attend Classes

 
8. Do Not Limit the Investigation to Interviews of the Complainant and Alleged Perpetrator

 
Informal Versus Formal Resolution

 
A Working Definition of “Informal”

 
“Talking It Out”

 
Anonymity

 
Informal Does Not Mean Unwritten

 
What Is an Inquiry?

 
An Example of a Level II Matter

 
When Is Informal Resolution Clearly Inappropriate?

 
Innocent Until Proven Guilty

 
But I Know the Kid Is Guilty

 
Summary

 
 
9. Creating and Following a Game Plan: Level III Investigation
Know the “Players”

 
The Complaint Manager’s Role

 
The Response Team’s Role

 
Traits of an Investigator

 
The Title IX Coordinator

 
The Role of Counsel

 
Include All Players in the Game Plan

 
The Five Phases of an Investigation

 
Phase One: Gather the Facts

 
Phase Two: Check for Records of Concern

 
Phase Three: Evaluate the Testimony and Evidence

 
Phase Four: Write the Report

 
Phase Five: Follow-Up Actions By School Officials

 
Corroborative Evidence

 
Hearsay Evidence

 
Creating a McGrath Case and Report Organizer to Guide the Investigation From Start to Finish

 
Organize the Case File

 
The McGrath Case Report Organizer

 
Synopsis

 
Facts

 
Impact

 
Context

 
Action

 
Summary

 
 
10. Conclusion
 
Part IV: RESOURCES
 
Resource A: Forms
McGrath Incident Report

 
Complaint of Alleged Bullying or Illegal Harassment

 
McGrath Investigation Checklist

 
McGrath Template III

 
 
Resource B: Laws and Policies
Law Case Digest: A Sampler

 
Model Bullying Policy

 
Sample State Anti-Bullying Legislation

 
 
Resource C: Suggested 360-Degree Anti-Bullying Training Plan
 
Resource D: Glossary
 
Resource E: Useful Web Sites
 
Bibliography
 
Index

"There are many books and state/federal publications on bullying; however, the integration of legal mandates and guidelines with direct application is quite rare. I think this text offers a valuable and unique cross-discipline resource with its thorough review of legislative precedents."

Diana Joyce, School Psychologist
University of Florida

"Educators rarely receive this kind of detailed legal information in their graduate school studies. When people purchase this book, it will be like having their own lawyer sitting right next to them."

Steve Hutton, Professional Development Specialist
Mayerson Academy, Cincinnati, OH

Sample Materials & Chapters

Preface

Chapter 1


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