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School Bullying

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.

About the Author
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  
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  
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  
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  
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  
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  
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  
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  
Lead With Your Heart  
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”  
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  
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  
10. Conclusion
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

"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

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