Bullying in schools is of increasing focus for Florida schools, districts, and for the Florida Department of Education. Florida Statute 1006.147, also known as The Jeffrey Johnston Stand Up for All Students Act, requires school districts to adopt an official policy prohibiting bullying and harassment of students and staff on school grounds, at school-sponsored events, and through school computer networks.
Systematically and chronically inflicting physical hurt or psychological distress on one or more students or employees that is severe or pervasive enough to create an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment; or unreasonably interfere with the individual’s school performance or participation.
- Bullying Law and Policy
How can I create a bully-free school environment?
Adult intervention is one of the best defenses against bullying. Educators can first learn the warning signs as well as the myths of bullying, especially of social bullying, which research indicates is more difficult for adults to identify than other forms of bullying. Educators can intervene when they see bullying occur and can send a clear message that the school does not tolerate bullying. Some steps that schools can take to ensure a bully-free school environment include the following: (1) identify where and when bullying occurs; (2) train all school personnel to recognize bullying; (3) increase adult supervision at campus "hot spots"; (4) create an anti-bullying task force charged with educating students and staff; and (5) integrate anti-bullying materials into curriculum for discussion and role-play. Educators can use staff meetings, assemblies, parent conferences, and most importantly daily interactions with students to establish a culture of acceptance, tolerance and respect.
How can I support my child if he or she is bullied at school?
Avoid blaming your child for the harassment. Think twice before giving advice - your child may have already tried the strategies you are going to suggest. Get as much information as you can. Talk with your child’s teacher, principal, or counselor and ask them to help your child be safe. Their intervention may include consequences for the bully, increased supervision, and helping your child make more friends if he or she is isolated. Ask your child what she has already tried to resolve the problem. Praise her for all the things she has tried. Give him permission to stop doing the things that haven't worked to stop the bullying. Encourage him to keep telling you and other adults. Help him to think about what has worked or what might work. If your child is isolated, help her make connections through activities, hobbies, or clubs.
There is a good chance that you have experienced bullying yourself, or that you have been the bully yourself. Probably, you have seen someone else being bullied. Bullying can take the form of words or deeds. It can be done from electronic devices. It includes repeatedly calling someone names, or repeatedly excluding someone from the group, or physically harassing someone. If you feel like you are being mistreated or isolated and it is happening again and again, talk to an adult. Know there is help. If you find yourself bullying someone else, stop the behavior and make it right. Apologize. Focus on doing things differently from now on. Ask for help with your behavior. If you see someone being bullied, take a stand and support that person. If you feel safe, tell the person doing the bullying to stop. If you don't feel safe, walk away and try to bring the victim with you. Whether you are being bullied, being the bully, or seeing someone being bullied, know that there is help. Start by talking to an adult you can trust.
Contact:Office of Safe Schools
325 West Gaines Street, Room 1302
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0400