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Bullying behavior in schools can cause harm to students’ social and emotional well-being and be a significant barrier to learning. Bullying can be defined as a “physical, verbal or psychological attack or intimidation that is intended to cause fear, distress, or harm the victim” (Farrington and Ttofi, 2010). There is a perceived psychological or physical imbalance of power and often times, incidents between the same students occur repeatedly. Bullying can occur during or after school hours. While most reported bullying happens in the school building, a significant percentage also happens in places like on the playground or the bus. It can also happen traveling to or from school, in the youth’s neighborhood, or on the internet.

Some effective school practices to prevent bullying include:

  • reduce conditions that contribute to bullying at school (e.g., unsupervised areas);
  • pursue schoolwide approaches that establish a positive school culture and climate;
  • build on the foundation of schoolwide approaches in implementing classroom programs;
  • intervene to turn bullies around by directly addressing motivational and developmental concerns related to individuals who bully and those who support bullying; and
  • respond to any problems experienced by those who are bullied and those who witness bullying.
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These practices can be implemented through a Comprehensive System of Learning Supports that promotes the necessary conditions for learning and addresses any barriers to learning.

Source- Center for Mental Health in Schools, UCLA​

The following is a link to the OCR complaint form:

You may email the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) Discrimination Complaint FormPDF Document or your own signed letter to ocr@ed.gov. If you write your own letter, please include the information identified above. The person or organization filing the complaint need not be a victim of the alleged discrimination but may complain on behalf of another person or group. Before filling out the complaint form, it might be useful to read the information on how the Office of Civil Rights handles bullying complaints. You may also contact OCR at 1‐800‐421‐3481.​​​​​

 Bullying Illinois School Code, 105 ILCS 5/27-23.7

Illinois School Code, 105 ILCS 5/27-23.7 requires that all public schools, non-sectarian nonpublic schools, and charter schools are to create and implement policies concerning bullying prevention. These policies must also be reviewed and re-evaluated every two (2) years and be updated to reflect any necessary and appropriate revisions. Acceptable documentation to satisfy the re-evaluated policy submission include one of the following, as applicable:

  1. An updated version of the policy with the amendment/modification date included in the reference portion of the policy;
  2. If no revisions are deemed necessary, a copy of board minutes clearly indicating that the policy was re-evaluated, and no changes were deemed to be necessary or a signed statement from the board president indicating that the policy was re-evaluated, and no changes were deemed to be necessary.

Policies should be submitted to the IWAS system no later than September 30th of each year. Please email questions to bullyingpolicy@isbe.net. For a breakdown of the statute and a detailed list of what the policy should encompass, you can reference Bullying Prevention Policy Requirements and Guidance​.

View the Bullying Prevention Policy Guidance and Requirements WebinarGo To Meeting Link.​​​​

 Bullying Resources

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  • Anti-Bulling CommercialVimeo Video Link
  • Anti-Bullying Efforts in Illinois PresentationPDF Document
  • Bullying Legislation - Illinois
  • Cyber-Bullying and Internet Safety Resources
  • Eyes on Bullying
  • Sample Illinois School Districts' Procedural Guidelines:
  • StopBullying.gov
  • WHAT SHOULD I DO IF MY CHILD IS THE TARGET OF BULLYING

    It is critical that children and young adults feel safe in the educational environment. From a procedural perspective, the most appropriate course of action in addressing bullying issues is to contact the school principal. If after contacting the school principal your concerns remain, you may consider contacting the district superintendent for assistance. It is crucial that the superintendent be made aware of such issues if they continue unabated.

    Authority and responsibility to administer discipline and respond to acts of bullying rests with the local board of education, through the office of the superintendent of schools and building administration. If your concerns are still not resolved, you may consider contacting the local board of education. If, after exhausting all inquiries at the district level, your concerns remain, you may consider contacting the office of the regional superintendent of schools that holds supervisory authority over the schools in your county.

    Finally, the United States Department of Education, through the Office of Civil Rights (OCR), directs school districts to look at each bullying incident not only as a violation of bullying policy, but as a possible action of discriminatory harassment. If discriminatory harassment has occurred, the school district must take steps to end the harassment, regardless of any discipline imposed for bullying. A complaint of discrimination can be filed by anyone who believes that a school that receives Federal financial assistance has discriminated against someone on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age.

    The following is a link to the OCR complaint form:

    You may email the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) Discrimination Complaint FormPDF Document or your own signed letter to ocr@ed.gov. If you write your own letter, please include the information identified above. The person or organization filing the complaint need not be a victim of the alleged discrimination but may complain on behalf of another person or group. Before filling out the complaint form, it might be useful to read the information on how the Office of Civil Rights handles bullying complaints. You may also contact OCR at 1‐800‐421‐3481.​​​​​​​​​

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