5131.2 AR - Bullying

AR 5131.2: Bullying
Adopted: November 16, 2023
Revised: February 12, 2024

Examples of Prohibited Conduct

Bullying is an aggressive behavior that involves a real or perceived imbalance of power between individuals with the intent to cause emotional or physical harm. Bullying can be physical, verbal, or social/relational and may involve a single severe act or repetition or potential repetition of a deliberate act. Bullying includes, but is not limited to, any act described in Education Code 48900(r).

Cyberbullying includes the electronic creation or transmission of harassing communications, direct threats, or other harmful texts, sounds, or images, which may be shared, sent, or posted publicly. Cyberbullying may include, but is not limited to, personal or private information that causes humiliation, false or negative information to discredit or disparage, or threats of physical harm. Cyberbullying may also include breaking into another person's electronic account or assuming that person's online identity in order to damage that person's reputation.

Examples of the types of conduct that may constitute bullying and are prohibited by the district include, but are not limited to:

  1. Physical bullying: An act that inflicts harm upon a person's body or possessions, such as hitting, kicking, pinching, spitting, tripping, pushing, taking or breaking someone's possessions, or making cruel or rude hand gestures
  2. Verbal bullying: An act that includes saying or writing hurtful things, such as teasing, name-calling, inappropriate sexual comments, taunting, or threats to cause harm
  3. Social/relational bullying: An act that harms a person's reputation or relationships, such as leaving a person out of an activity on purpose, influencing others not to be friends with someone, spreading rumors, or embarrassing someone in public
  4. Cyberbullying: An act that occurs on electronic devices such as computers, tablets, or cell phones, such as sending demeaning or hateful text messages, direct messages or public posts on social media apps, gaming forums, or emails, spreading rumors by email or by posting on social networking sites, shaming or humiliating by allowing others to view, participate in, or share disparaging or harmful content, or posting or sharing embarrassing photos, videos, website, or fake profiles

Measures to Prevent Bullying

The Superintendent or designee shall implement measures to prevent bullying in district schools, including, but not limited to, the following:

  1. Developing a strategic plan for school connectedness and social skills with benchmark tracking, which may include providing regular opportunities and spaces for students to develop social skills and strengthen relationships and promoting adult support from family and school staff, peer-led programs, and partnerships with key community groups, implementing socially based educational techniques such as cooperative learning projects that can improve educational outcomes as well as peer relations, creating a supportive school environment that fosters belonging through equitable classroom management, mentoring, and peer support groups that allow students to lean on each other and learn from each other's experiences, and building social connection into health education courses including information on the consequences of social connection on physical and mental health, key risk and protective factors, and strategies for increasing social connection
  2. Ensuring that each school establishes clear rules for student and staff conduct and implements strategies to promote a positive, supportive, and collaborative school climate
  3. Providing information to students, through student handbooks, district and school websites and social media, and other age-appropriate means, about district and school rules related to bullying, mechanisms available for reporting incidents or threats, and the consequences for engaging in bullying
  4. Encouraging students to notify school staff when they are being bullied or when they suspect that another student is being bullied, and providing means by which students may report threats or incidents confidentially and anonymously
  5. Conducting an assessment of bullying incidents at each school and, if necessary, increasing supervision and security in areas where bullying most often occurs, such as playgrounds, hallways, restrooms, and cafeterias

  6. Annually notifying district employees that, pursuant to Education Code 234.1, any school staff who witnesses an act of bullying against a student has a responsibility to immediately intervene to stop the incident when it is safe to do so

Staff Development

The Superintendent or designee shall annually make available to all certificated staff and to other employees who have regular interaction with students the California Department of Education (CDE) online training module on the dynamics of bullying and cyberbullying, including the identification of bullying and cyberbullying and the implementation of strategies to address bullying.  (Education Code 32283.5)

The Superintendent or designee shall provide training to teachers and other school staff to raise their awareness about the legal obligation of the district and its employees to prevent discrimination, harassment, intimidation, and bullying of district students. Such training shall be designed to provide staff with the skills to:

  1. Discuss the diversity of the student body and school community, including their varying immigration experiences
  2. Discuss bullying prevention strategies with students, and teach students to recognize the behavior and characteristics of bullying perpetrators and victims
  3. Identify the signs of bullying or harassing behavior
  4. Take immediate corrective action when bullying is observed
  5. Report incidents to the appropriate authorities, including law enforcement in instances of criminal behavior

Information and Resources

The Superintendent or designee shall post on the district's website, in a prominent location and in a manner that is easily accessible to students and parents/guardians, information on bullying and harassment prevention which includes the following:  (Education Code 234.6)

  1. The district's policy on student suicide prevention, including a reference to the policy's age appropriateness for students in grades K-6
  2. The definition of sex discrimination and harassment as described in Education Code 230, including the rights set forth in Education Code 221.8
  3. Title IX information included on the district's website pursuant to Education Code 221.61, and a link to the Title IX information included on CDE's website pursuant to Education Code 221.6
  4. District policies on student sexual harassment, prevention and response to hate violence, discrimination, harassment, intimidation, bullying, and cyberbullying
  5. A section on social media bullying that includes all of the references described in Education Code 234.6 as possible forums for social media
  6. A link to statewide resources, including community-based organizations, compiled by CDE pursuant to Education Code 234.5
  7. Any additional information the Superintendent or designee deems important for preventing bullying and harassment

Student Instruction

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

The district shall also educate students about the negative impact of bullying, discrimination, intimidation, and harassment based on actual or perceived immigration status, religious beliefs and customs, or any other individual bias or prejudice.

Students should be taught the difference between appropriate and inappropriate behaviors, how to advocate for themselves, how to help another student who is being bullied, and when to seek assistance from a trusted adult. As role models for students, staff are responsible for teaching and modeling respectful behavior and building safe and supportive learning environments, and are expected to demonstrate effective problem-solving and anger management skills.

To discourage cyberbullying, teachers may advise students to be cautious about sharing passwords, personal data, or private photos online and to consider the consequences of making negative comments about others online.

Reporting and Filing of Complaints

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.

When a report of bullying is submitted, the principal or a district compliance officer shall inform the student or parent/guardian of the right to file a formal written complaint in accordance with Administrative Regulation 1312.3 - Uniform Complaint Procedures. 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.

Within one business day of receiving such a report, a staff member shall notify the principal of the report, regardless of whether a uniform complaint is filed. In addition, any school employee who observes an incident of bullying involving a student shall, within one business day, report such observation to the principal or a district compliance officer, regardless of whether the alleged victim files a complaint.

Within two business days of receiving a report of bullying, the principal shall notify the district compliance officer identified in Administrative Regulation 1312.3.

Any individuals with information about cyberbullying activity shall save and print any electronic or digital messages that they feel constitute cyberbullying and shall notify a teacher, the principal, or other employee so that the matter may be investigated. When an investigation concludes that a student used a social networking site or service to bully or harass another student, the Superintendent or designee may report the cyberbullying to the social media platform and may request the material be removed.

Discipline/Corrective Actions

Corrective actions 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.

When a student has been suspended, or other means of correction have been implemented against the student, for an incident of racist bullying, harassment, or intimidation, the principal or designee shall engage both the victim and perpetrator in a restorative justice practice suitable to the needs of the students. The principal or designee shall also require the perpetrator to engage in a culturally sensitive program that promotes racial justice and equity and combats racism and ignorance and shall regularly check on the victim to ensure that the victim is not in danger of suffering from any long-lasting mental health issues.  (Education Code 48900.5)

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.

Support Services

The Superintendent, principal, or 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 as appropriate.  (Education Code 48900.9)

If any student involved in bullying exhibits warning signs of suicidal thought or intention or of intent to harm another person, the Superintendent or designee shall, as appropriate, implement district intervention protocols which may include, but are not limited to, referral to district or community mental health services, other health professionals, and/or law enforcement, in accordance with Board Policy and Administrative Regulation 5141.52 - Suicide Prevention.


Policy Reference Disclaimer:

These references are not intended to be part of the policy itself, nor do they indicate the basis or authority for the board to enact this policy. Instead, they are provided as additional resources for those interested in the subject matter of the policy.

State Code

5 CCR 4600-4670, Uniform complaint procedures

Bus. and Prof. Code 22589-22589.4, Cyberbullying Protection Act

Ed. Code 200-262.4, Prohibition of discrimination

Ed. Code 32280-32289.5, School safety plans

Ed. Code 35181, Governing board authority to set policy on responsibilities of students

Ed. Code 35291-35291.5, School discipline rules

Ed. Code 46600, Student transfers

Ed. Code 48900-48925, Suspension and expulsion

Ed. Code 48985, Notices to parents in language other than English

Ed. Code 52060-52077, Local control and accountability plan

Pen. Code 422.55, Definition of hate crime

Pen. Code 647, Use of camera or other instrument to invade person's privacy; misdemeanor

Pen. Code 647.7, Use of camera or other instrument to invade person's privacy; punishment

Pen. Code 653.2, Electronic communication devices; threats to safety

Federal Code

28 CFR 35.107, Nondiscrimination on basis of disability; complaints

34 CFR 104.7, Section 504; Designation of responsible employee and adoption of grievances procedures

34 CFR 106.8, Designation of coordinator; dissemination of policy, and adoption of grievance procedures

34 CFR 110.25, Notification of nondiscrimination on the basis of age

47 USC 254, Universal service discounts (E-rate)

Management Resources

CA Office of the Attorney General Publication, Promoting a Safe and Secure Learning Environment for All:  Guidance and Model Policies to Assist California's K-12 Schools in Responding to Immigration Issues, April 2018

California Department of Education Publication, Social and Emotional Learning in California:  A Guide to Resources, October 2018

California Department of Education Publication, Health Education Content Standards for California Public Schools:  Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve, 2008

California Department of Education Publication, Bullying at School, 2003

California Department of Education Publication, Online Bullying Training Module and Bullying Module

California Department of Education Publication, California's Social and Emotional Learning:  Guiding Principles, 2018

Court Decision, J.C. v. Beverly Hills Unified School District, (2010) 711 F.Supp.2d 1094

Court Decision, Lavine v. Blaine School District, (2002) 279 F.3d 719

Court Decision, Wynar v. Douglas County School District, (2013) 728 F.3d 1062

CSBA Publication, Building Healthy Communities: A School Leaders Guide to Collaboration and Community Engagement, 2009

CSBA Publication, School Safety: Bullying and Cyberbullying, Policy Brief, October 2023

CSBA Publication, Providing a Safe, Nondiscriminatory School Environment for Transgender and Gender-Nonconforming Students, Policy Brief, February 2014

CSBA Publication, Addressing the Conditions of Children:  Focus on Bullying, Governance Brief, December 2012

CSBA Publication, Cyberbullying:  Policy Considerations for Boards, Policy Brief, rev. July 2010

CSBA Publication, Final Guidance: AB 1266, Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students, Privacy, Programs, Activities & Facilities, Legal Guidance, March 2014

CSBA Publication, Legal Guidance on Rights of Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students in Schools, October 2022

U.S. DOE Office for Civil Rights Publication, Dear Colleague Letter:  Responding to Bullying of Students with Disabilities, October 2014

U.S. DOE Publication, Creating Inclusive and Nondiscriminatory School Environments for LGBTQI+ Students, June 2023

U.S. DOE, Office for Civil Rights Publication, Dear Colleague Letter: Addressing Discrimination Against Jewish Students, May 2023

U.S. DOE, Office for Civil Rights Publication, Dear Colleague Letter: Discrimination, Including Harassment, Based on Shared Ancestry or Ethnic Characteristics, November 2023

U.S. DOE, Office for Civil Rights Publication, Dear Colleague Letter:  Harassment and Bullying, October 2010

US Department of Health and Human Services, Social Media and Youth Mental Health: The U.S. Surgeon General’s Advisory, 2023

US Dept of Health and Human Services Publication, Our Epidemic of Loneliness and Isolation: The U.S. Surgeon General’s Advisory on the Health Effects of Social Connection and the Community, 2023

Website, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Stop Bullying

Website, CSBA District and County Office of Education Legal Services

Website, National School Safety Center

Website, Partnership for Children and Youth

Website, Center on Great Teachers and Leaders

Website, Collaborative for Academic Social and Emotional Learning

Website, Common Sense Media

Website, California Department of Education, Safe Schools

Website, California Office of the Attorney General

Website, CSBA

Website, U.S. Department of Education

Cross References

0100, Philosophy

0410, Nondiscrimination In District Programs And Activities

0440, District Technology Plan

0440, District Technology Plan

0450, Comprehensive Safety Plan

0450, Comprehensive Safety Plan

0470, COVID-19 Mitigation Plan

1113, District And School Websites

1113, District And School Websites

1113-E(1), District And School Websites

1313, Civility

3515, Campus Security

3515, Campus Security

4131, Staff Development

4219.21, Professional Standards

4219.21-E(1), Professional Standards

4231, Staff Development

4319.21, Professional Standards

4319.21-E(1), Professional Standards

5030, Student Wellness

5113.1, Chronic Absence And Truancy

5113.1, Chronic Absence And Truancy

5113.12, District School Attendance Review Board

5113.12, District School Attendance Review Board

5116.1, Intradistrict Open Enrollment

5116.1, Intradistrict Open Enrollment

5116.2, Involuntary Student Transfers

5117, Interdistrict Attendance

5117, Interdistrict Attendance

5125, Student Records

5125, Student Records

5131, Conduct

5131.8, Mobile Communication Devices

5136, Gangs

5136, Gangs

5137, Positive School Climate

5138, Conflict Resolution/Peer Mediation

5141.27, Food Allergies/Special Dietary Needs

5141.27, Food Allergies/Special Dietary Needs

5141.5, Mental Health

5141.52, Suicide Prevention

5141.52, Suicide Prevention

5144, Discipline

5144, Discipline

5144.1, Suspension And Expulsion/Due Process

5144.1, Suspension And Expulsion/Due Process

5144.2, Suspension And Expulsion/Due Process (Students With Disabilities)

5144.4, Required Parental Attendance

5144.4, Required Parental Attendance

5145.12, Search And Seizure

5145.12, Search And Seizure

5145.2, Freedom Of Speech/Expression

5145.2, Freedom Of Speech/Expression

5145.3, Nondiscrimination/Harassment

5145.3, Nondiscrimination/Harassment

5145.7, Sexual Harassment

5145.7, Sexual Harassment

5145.9, Hate-Motivated Behavior

6142.8, Comprehensive Health Education

6142.8, Comprehensive Health Education

6144, Controversial Issues

6163.4, Student Use Of Technology

6163.4-E(1), Student Use Of Technology

6164.2, Guidance/Counseling Services

6173.1, Education For Foster Youth

6173.1, Education For Foster Youth

6184, Continuation Education

6184, Continuation Education


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