Parents and Guardians,

We have started the year off with a great group of staff and students who are working hard to be very successful.  I am so proud of each of the students at Fruitvale. Our behavior issues at school are normally small compared to what students in larger schools deal with on a daily basis, but we still have issues at times.  I want to address the issue of bullying with each of you and let you know the district policy/procedures for addressing bullying issues and what you can do to help your student be successful at school.

Bullying is not a new issue for schools, but what is new is the access our children have to each other after school and at home on cell phones and social media. Our children don’t find a break from the sometimes stressful situations at school or home because of the increased access that technology provides them to each other and their parents. Please consider setting up regulations to this access especially at night, so that students may rest properly without the distraction of phones/friends/ social media. Also, please be vigilant in monitoring what your child is doing with this technology, when I was young my parents didn’t have to worry if I was home who I was interacting with, but parents today need to have that concern because of the access children have to outsiders and each other through technology.

There are several behaviors we observe at school:

  • students being mean to each other (this is not necessarily bullying because there is not an imbalance of power, this is behavior we have to redirect constantly as parents and teachers, but not necessarily bullying),
  •  multiple students picking on one student (which can be bullying, but sometimes they change individuals according to the day, one day your child may be being picked on and the next they may actually be involved in the picking on someone else)
  • A student who is picked on day in and out by another individual where there is an imbalance of power caused by either size, popularity, or other causes. (This ongoing behavior is definitely bullying)
  • A onetime incident of physical bullying or verbal bullying that is of an extreme nature that humiliates or physically harms a victim.

The district policy states that bullying occurs when a student or group of students engages in written or verbal expression, expression through electronic methods, or physical conduct against another student on school property, at a school-sponsored or -related activity, or in a district operated vehicle, and the behavior:

  • Results in harm to the student or the student’s property;
  • Places a student in reasonable fear of physical harm or of damage to the student’s property; or
  • Is so severe, persistent, and pervasive that it creates an intimidating, threatening, or abusive educational environment. This conduct is considered bullying if it exploits an imbalance of power between the student perpetrator(s) and the student victim and if it interferes with a student’s education or substantially disrupts the operation of the school.

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. In some cases, bullying can occur through electronic methods, called “cyber bullying.”

What should the student do if they believe this has occurred?

 If a student believes that he or she 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.  Fruitvale ISD has implemented an online anonymous reporting application this year, called STOP IT, if you don’t want to report in person. You may click it on the homepage of Fruitvale ISD to provide a report. If the report is not done in a timely manner, it becomes difficult for the school to investigate.

What does the district do?

The administration will investigate any allegations of bullying or other related misconduct. If the results of an investigation indicate that bullying has occurred, the administration will take appropriate disciplinary action. Disciplinary or other action may be taken even if the conduct did not rise to the level of bullying. The district will also contact the parents of the victim and of the student who was found to have engaged in the bullying. Please remember if a student receives discipline for an occurrence that this information is confidential and cannot be shared with another parent, so you may not be aware of how the situation was handled with another student.

Available counseling options will be provided to these individuals, as well as to any students who have been identified as witnesses to the bullying. Any retaliation against a student who reports an incident of bullying is prohibited.

Upon the recommendation of the administration, the board may, in response to an identified case of bullying, decide to transfer a student found to have engaged in bullying to another classroom at the campus. The parent of a student who has been determined by the district to be a victim of bullying may request that his or her child be transferred to another classroom or campus within the district. If the students involved are transfer students to the district, this could be cause for their transfer to be revoked.

This year the Fruitvale ISD board of trustees has set aside funds to provide additional speakers for our students to address bullying. Our counselors have purchased several programs and hired several age appropriate speakers to come into the district to speak with students.  They also have started a weekly video to be shared with all students in district that addresses how students should interact with others. We are sharing the video on our face book page for parents to view as well. Our counselors also work with small groups of students or individual students as we see the need for support in these areas, but please call if you see a need for your child to meet with the counselors.

In January, the counselors and I are going to do a parent training called, “Surviving parenting in the 21st Century”; we play to address several issues including bullying, social media, cyber bullying, cell phones, self harm behaviors and more. We also will be providing a check out of videos from Brooks Gibbs, student behavior speaker that will help parents with building resiliency in our kids today.  As a district we are doing all we can to educate students on appropriate behaviors, and we need your help to reinforce what we are teaching them at school. It truly takes a village that wants to love and care for our students to help them grow into wonderful productive adults.

Thank you for your continued support, and if you have additional questions please let us know.  We are here to help all children be successful.

Sincerely,

Rebecca Bain
Superintendent
Fruitvale ISD