Student safety at Hillsboro ISD is a district priority. In response to increasing concerns of bullying and student safety, Hillsboro ISD released Tip Line as a way to increase more open communication. Users can submit information, anonymously or with contact information on a variety of categories.
What is bullying?
Bullying is defined in Section 37.0832 of the Education Code as a single significant act or a pattern of acts by one or more students directed at another student that exploits an imbalance or 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;
- Materially and substantially disrupts the educational process or the orderly operation of a classroom or school; or
- Infringes on the rights of the victim at school.
Bullying includes cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is defined by Section 37.0832 of the Education Code 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.
Bullying is prohibited by the district and could include hazing, threats, taunting, teasing, confinement, assault, demands for money, destruction of property, theft of valued possessions, name-calling, rumor-spreading, or ostracism.
Is there a link between bullying and suicide?
While there is no direct link between bullying and suicide, bullying is one of many risk factors that contribute to the likelihood of engaging in suicide-related behavior.
What is David's Law?
During the 85th Texas Legislative Session, Senate Bill 179 (also known as "David's Law") was signed into Texas State law making cyberbullying a Class A misdemeanor. This bill requires schools to include cyberbullying policies in district bullying policies and to notify parents if their child has been the victim or the aggressor. Schools have the authority to investigate cyberbullying and to collaborate with law enforcement in the investigations.
How to Report Bullying
If a student believes that s/he has experienced bullying or has witnessed bullying of another student, it is important for the student or parent to notify a teacher, school counselor, principal, or another district employee as soon as possible to obtain assistance and intervention. The administration will investigate any allegations of bullying or other related misconduct. The district will also provide notice to the parent of the alleged victim and the parent of the student alleged to have engaged in bullying. A student may anonymously report an alleged incident of bullying by informing their counselor of the accusations and having the counselor discuss the accusations with the principal while withholding the student's name from the discussion. Bullying can be reported anonymously through the Tip Line.
The School's Response and What it Means for Students
The school district is required to investigate reports of 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;
- On a publically 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
- Off school property or outside of a school-sponsored or school-related activity as cyberbullying which interferes with a student's educational opportunities or substantially disrupts the orderly operation of a classroom, school, or school-sponsored or school-related activity
If the results of an investigation indicate that bullying has occurred, the administration will take appropriate disciplinary action and may notify law enforcement in certain circumstances.
Disciplinary or other action may be taken even if the conduct did not rise to the level of bullying. Available counseling options will be provided to these individuals, as well as to any students who have been identified as witnesses to the bullying.
How David's Law Affects the Parent Response and Resources for Parents
Students can be charged with a misdemeanor for online harassment or cyberbullying. Parents can seek injunctive relief from the courts to stop and/or prevent the cyberbullying of their child. Parents can be held accountable by the courts if it is found that they failed to take reasonable action to stop their children from engaging in cyberbullying behavior.
Bullying Prevention Resources:
Suicide Prevention Resources:
The National Text Line Number - 741741
National Suicide Prevention Number - 1-800-SUICIDE
National Talk Line Number - 1-800-273-8255