A Parent's Guide To School Safety Toolkit
Welcome to Vanguard Academy's A Parent's Guide To School Safety Toolkit. Vanguard Academy understands that school safety is a primary concern for parents and guardians. A Parent's Guide To School Safety Toolkit introduces key school safety topics, highlights relevant Texas laws, and provides specific information that you or your child need to know. These resources will equip you with how to best support your child and Vanguard Academy. Utilizing our resources, including but not limited to School Climate Transformation, we take a pro-active approach through Peer Leadership programs and other initiatives to create a culture that respects and values all.
Vanguard Academy desires to prevent bullying by establishing a positive, collaborative school climate and clear rules for student conduct. Our schools provide resources to educate and engage every student, at every grade level on bullying. These resources promote communication and social skills to educate students about appropriate online behavior and strategies to prevent and respond to bullying and cyberbullying.
A safe and civil environment is needed for students to learn and attain high academic standards and to promote healthy relationships. The purpose of the Vanguard Academy bullying policy is to assist the district in its goals of preventing and responding to acts of bullying, intimidation, violence, and other similar disruptive behavior. An act of bullying, by either an individual student or a group of students, is expressly prohibited on district property or at school-related functions. This policy applies not only to students who directly engage in an act of bullying but also to students who, by their indirect behavior, condone or support student's act of bullying.
Vanguard Academy Bullying Policy
Information regarding this policy shall be distributed annually to district students through the student handbook and the Student Code of Conduct. Copies of the policy shall be readily available at each campus and the district’s administrative offices.
Freedom from Bullying
Vanguard Academy prohibits bullying as defined below, as well as retaliation against anyone who reports or is involved in an investigation of potential bullying.
Bullying is defined in state law 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 that:
- Has the effect or will have the effect of physically harming a student, damaging a student’s property, or placing a student in reasonable fear of harm to the student’s person or of damage to the student’s property;
- Is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive enough that the action or threat creates an intimidating, threatening, or abusive educational environment for a student; or
- Materially and substantially disrupts the educational process or the orderly operation of a classroom or the School; or
- Infringes on the rights of the victim at school.
Bullying also includes cyberbullying, which is defined by state law as bullying that is done through the use of any electronic communication device, including through the use of a cellular or other type of telephone, a computer, a camera, electronic mail, instant messaging, text messaging, a social media application, an Internet website, or any other Internet-based communication tool.
The school’s anti-bullying policy applies to:
- Bullying that occurs on or is delivered to school property or to the site of a school-sponsored or school-related activity on or off school property;
- Bullying that occurs on a publicly or privately-owned school bus or vehicle being used for transportation of students to or from school or a school-sponsored or school-related activity; and
- Cyberbullying that occurs off school property or outside of a school-sponsored or school-related activity if the cyberbullying:
Interferes with a student’s educational opportunities; or
Substantially disrupts the orderly operation of a classroom, school, or school-sponsored or
Bullying Is Defined As
The following definitions shall apply:
Bullying means systematically and chronically inflicting physical hurt or psychological distress on one or more students. Bullying of a student may include hazing, threats, taunting, teasing, confinement, assault, demands for money, extortion, destruction of property, theft of valued possessions, ridicule, name-calling, rumor spreading, slurs, jokes, innuendos, demeaning comments, and ostracism of the person or another.
It is further defined as any unwanted purposeful gesture or written, verbal, graphic, or physical act (including electronically transmitted acts – i.e., Internet, cell phone, personal digital assistant (PDA), or wireless hand-held device) that is reasonably perceived as being motivated either by any actual or perceived characteristic, such as race, ethnicity, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, marital status, socio-economic background, social/family background, linguistic preference, political beliefs, or a mental, physical, or sensory disability, difference, or impairment; or by any other distinguishing characteristic or because of one’s association with a particular person or group of persons.
Bullying also includes, but is not limited to, any threatening, insulting, or dehumanizing gesture, by a student, that has the potential to create an intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational environment or cause long-term damage, cause discomfort or humiliation, or unreasonably interfere with the individual’s school performance or participation, or is carried out repeatedly and is often characterized by an imbalance of power.
Bullying may involve, but is not limited to:
- Verbal: Hurtful name-calling, teasing, gossiping, making threats, making rude noises, or spreading hurtful rumors.
- Nonverbal: Posturing, making gang signs, leering, staring, stalking, destroying property, using graffiti or graphic images, or exhibiting inappropriate and/or threatening gestures or actions.
- Physical: Hitting, punching, pushing, shoving, poking, kicking, tripping, strangling, hair pulling, fighting, beating, biting, spitting, or destroying property.
- Emotional (Psychological): Rejecting, terrorizing, extorting, defaming, intimidating, humiliating, blackmailing, manipulating friendships, isolating, ostracizing, using peer pressure, or rating or ranking personal characteristics.
Bullying occurs when a student or a group of students engages in written or verbal expression or physical conduct that:
- Will have the effect of physically harming a student, damaging a student’s property, or placing a student in reasonable fear of harm to the student’s person or of damage to the student’s property;
- Is so sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive that the action or threat creates an intimidating, threatening, or abusive educational environment for a student; or
- Has the effect of substantially negatively impacting a student’s emotional or mental well-being.
- Work with your child on how to stay safe.Do not encourage your child to fight back because a situation can easily escalate and become dangerous.
- Teach your child how to look the bully in the eye, stand tall, use a firm voice, and stay calm in difficult situations. Practice this at home.
- Encourage your child to become friends with other children. Your child can join adult-supervised groups in and out of school. Have your child’s friends come over to your house. Children who are loners are more likely to get picked on.
- Encourage your child to develop new abilities and interpersonal skills, through such activities as team sports, music groups, and social clubs. When children feel good about how they relate to others, they feel better about themselves and are less likely to be picked on.
- Talk about what you can say—or do—if this happens again. Just telling your child to do things such as standing firm or walking away is not enough. For many victims, these skills do not come naturally. It is like learning a new language.
- Practice with your child so that in the heat of the moment your child can use these skills.They need lots of practice.
- Teach your child when and how to ask for help.Your child should not be afraid to ask and adult for help when bullying.
- Make sure an adult who knows about the bullying can watch out for your child’s safety and well-being when you cannot be there.
- Talk with the school principal or guidance counselor, as well as the teachers. Alert them to the problems you see, and work with them on solutions. When school officials know about bullying, they can help stop it.
- Write down and report all bullying.By knowing when and where the bullying occurs, you and your child can.
1.When you see or hear that your child is bullying others—take it seriously. In the long run, bullies continue to have
problems, and the problems often get worse, even into adulthood. Now is the time when you can change your child’s behavior.
- Be a positive role model.Show children how they can get what they want without teasing, threatening, or attacking. Children can learn to treat others with respect. Children learn by watching and by what happens to them.
- Help your child understand how bullying hurts other children. Give real examples of the good and bad results of their actions.
- Set firm and consistent limits on your child’s aggressive behavior.Tell your child bullying is never acceptable.
- Use effective, non-physical discipline, such as loss of privileges. When your child needs discipline, explain why the behavior was wrong and how it can be changed.
- Help your child develop new and constructive strategies for getting what they want.
- Supervise children and help them develop their skills and interests.Children with too much time on their hands are more likely to find themselves in violent or dangerous situations.
- Reinforce school rules against bullying.Work with school staff to show you take the behavior seriously.
- Develop practical solutionswith the school principal, teachers, and parents of the children your child has bullied.
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