Dorn Delivers Bullying Model Policy to Legislature
OLYMPIA — December 8, 2010 — Nearly one in five 10th graders don’t feel safe at school, according to the most recent Healthy Youth Survey. Nearly one in four have been bullied in the past 30 days.
A new model policy and procedure on harassment, intimidation and bullying could improve those numbers. The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction delivered the policy and procedure to the state Legislature on Dec. 1 as part of Substitute House Bill 2801, passed by the 2010 Legislature.
“We know that bullying is a big issue,” said Randy Dorn, superintendent of public instruction. “I take the safety of our students very seriously. We know that bullying is affecting some students’ education, and that’s not acceptable. Creating a model policy and concrete procedures for dealing with these issues will give kids a safer environment to learn.”
SHB 2801 requires districts to adopt, at a minimum, the model policy and procedure. Previous state law only required districts to have a policy. In addition, the law requires districts to designate one person as the primary contact regarding the policy.
The new model policy and model procedure differ in several major ways from the existing models. Organizationally, headings were added and definitions reordered to make each document easier to read and understand by student, parents and educators. Substantively, the responsibility of school staff for responding to bullying was clarified, provisions were added for prevention and intervention, a detailed process was created for filing a bullying incident report and timelines were shortened for responding to complaints.
Left unchanged in the model policy was the definition of harassment, intimidation and bullying. The terms were originally defined by the 2002 Legislature to include an intentional act, by electronic, written, verbal or physical means, that:
- Physically harms a student or damages the student's property; or
- Has the effect of substantially interfering with a student's education; or
- Is so severe, persistent, or pervasive that it creates an intimidating or threatening educational environment; or
- Has the effect of substantially disrupting the orderly operation of the school.
A number of organizations were involved in the creation of the new model policy and procedure, including OSPI, the Washington State School Directors Association, the Office of Education Ombudsman, the Association of Washington School Principals, Seattle Public Schools and Tahoma School District, to name a few.
“When we created these documents our main concern was to make sure that if a student is bullied, immediate intervention is provided,” Dorn said. “Kids face too many pressures these days, and it’s our job to make sure that feeling unsafe in school isn’t one of them.”
The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is the primary agency charged with overseeing K-12 education in Washington state. Led by State School Superintendent Randy Dorn, OSPI works with the state’s 295 school districts and nine Educational Service Districts to administer basic education programs and implement education reform on behalf of more than one million public school students.
OSPI does not discriminate and provides equal access to its programs and services for all persons without regard to race, color, gender, religion, creed, marital status, national origin, sexual preference/orientation, age, veteran’s status or the presence of any physical, sensory or mental disability.
OSPI Communications Manager
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