Families Against Bullying
Part of the Solution- Not the Problem
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This page is under construction.  Please visit often to see updates.
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*** At present, we are a small group of parents and students of Birdville Independent
School District (a large school district between Dallas & Fort Worth, Texas).  Our knowledge is somewhat limited to our own experience with our school district and Texas state legislature. 

Over time, we hope to expand our knowledge and publish information which will help others outside of our area.  All submissions of legitimate state resources are welcome, please submit via our "Contact Us" page.

Scott Hochberg
State Representative (Texas)
District 137 
http://scotthochberg.com/parents.html

"I believe that teachers and parents must work together to educate our children. Several years ago, I passed a Parents' Bill of Rights and Responsibilities to make sure that parents can participate in decisions made concerning their children in our public schools.

These rules, which have been modified several times since their original passage, are part of the Texas Education Code and as such, they must be observed by every Texas public school, including charter schools.

Please note that parents have other rights that are not specifically in this list. Local school boards also have policies that may include additional rights and procedures, as long they do not conflict with those listed below.

It is always best to bring concerns to the attention of local administrators and school board members before enlisting help from the state. If you have a problem with your school, talk the the principal or the person the principal designates. If you cannot resolve the situation at the school, contact the district superintendant's office. Ask how you can bring this issue to the attention of the district administration. If you still are unable to resolve the issue, your school board members are the local officials responsible for setting policy for the district. Your problem should be brought to your board member's attention.

If all attempts to resolve the problem fail, and you believe that either the Parents' Bill of Rights or another education law is being violated, you can contact the Texas Education Agency for guidance. They are the Texas agency responsible to assuring that school districts and charter schools follow Texas education laws. " 

Texas Statutes

Bullying/Harassment
Education Code 37.001 requires a districts code of conduct to prohibit bullying, harassment and making hit lists (2001).

Education Code 37.083 (1995) requires districts to adopt a discipline management program that includes the prevention of and education concerning unwanted physical or verbal aggression, sexual harassment and other forms of bullying in school, on school grounds, and in school vehicles.

Education Code 37.083 (1995) allows schools to develop and implement a sexual harassment policy.

Education Code 37.0831 (2007) requires each school district to adopt and implement a dating violence policy. The policy must include a definition of dating violence that includes the intentional use of physical, sexual, verbal or emotional abuse by a person to harm, threaten, intimidate, or control another person in a dating relationship. It also must address safety planning, enforcement of protective orders, school-based alternatives to protective orders, training for staff, counseling and awareness education for students and parents.

Education Code 25.0342 (2005) allows a parent or another person with authority to act on behalf of a student who is a victim of bullying (as defined in the code). The parent or person with authority may request to the board of trustees of a school district or the boards designee the transfer of a victim of bullying to another classroom at the campus, a different campus in the school district.

Education Code 37.123 (1995) prohibits disruptive activities on public or private school property, a Class B misdemeanor, which includes obstructing the passage of persons in a school building, with or without the use or threat of use of violence.

Education Code 37.124 (1995) prohibits the disruption of classes, including preventing or attempting to prevent a student from attending class or a required school activity on or within 500 feet of school property. Violation of this policy is a Class C misdemeanor.

Cyber Bullying
No state policy.

Hazing
Education Code 37.152 (1995) prohibits the act, the encouragement, direction, or aiding, and the reckless permitting of hazing. If any of these lead to serious bodily injury, the offenders are guilty of a Class A misdemeanor. If no serious injury occurs, the offenders are guilty of a Class B misdemeanor. If death results from the hazing, the offenders are guilty of a state jail felony. Also, if one has firsthand knowledge of the planning or occurrence of a hazing incident and fails to report it in writing to the appropriate school official, they are guilty of a Class B misdemeanor.

Education Code 37.153 (1995) prohibits organizations from condoning, encouraging, or having its members participate or assist in hazing activities. Violation of this policy is a misdemeanor offense, punishable with fines between $5,000 and $10,000. If the hazing resulted in personal injury, property damage, or other loss, a fine of at least $5,000 and up to double the amount lost or expense incurred due to injury or loss is to be assessed.

Source: National Association of State Boards of Education
Last Updated: 10/16/2008



A Dialogue with Senator Jane Nelson
Submitted by Bud Jackson
via Your Story Link

From: Alternate ID Sen. Jane Nelson <Jane.Nelson@senate.state.tx.us>
Date: Mon, Apr 26, 2010 at 3:02 PM
Subject: Re: School Bullying

Dear Lloyd:

Thank you for your e-mail about school bullying.  It seems like every day we are hearing about more, scarier incidents of bullying across our state.

Bullying is not what it was when my children were in school.  Texting, social networking, and other forms of electronic media have changed the situation for our students.  There is no longer refuge for children who are being bullied at school, because the electronic abuse can continue even at home.

During the last session of the Legislature, more than ten bills were filed to reduce school bullying.  Unfortunately, none of them received sufficient support for debate by the full Senate, so I did not have the opportunity to vote on them.  This is clearly a growing problem in our state and region.  Recent news articles concern me greatly, and I appreciate your advocacy on behalf of our students.  As we prepare for the next session, which convenes in January 2011, I will closely review related state law with your comments in mind. 

In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact me again regarding issues of importance to you.

Very truly yours,

Senator Jane Nelson
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Dear Senator, 

Thanks for the response. I know you are busy.  After reviewing your email it seems that you are somewhat lukewarm on this issue. 

I appreciate your recognition for my meager efforts on behalf our our children and grandchildren.  I understand that as a State Senator you actually have little direct power in this matter but, it seems likely that a few savvy politicians will pick up on this issue to garner voter attention. 

I understand, also, that at least some of the legislation proposed last session was blocked in committee at least partly due to some of your more vocal constituents opposition to language specifically extending protection to students with non-heterosexual gender identities.  

I hope that as a former educator you recognize the school administrative culture we are dealing with in trying to resolve this difficult matter.  This culture of indifference and aversion to accountability seems to extend all the way to Texas Board of Education and perhaps even the elected officials who are more interested in re-writing history books than protecting our children and assuring an environment conducive to teaching and learning. I'm asking you for your help and honest input, not the noncommittal response which I have received. 

I beg you to use some of your valuable time and abilities to help craft and sponsor legislation which will directly deal with this critical issue.  Also, please notify your former colleagues on Texas Board of Education that we intend to address this issue at every level possible, considering the egregious and pervasive violations of both Title IX and Title I mandates throughout the public schools of Texas.  Senator, we parents believe that this is an issue better dealt with through legislation than litigation

Please think of the parents who have lost children due to classroom bullying tacitly encouraged by administrative indifference.  Remember your own days in school as a student and in the classroom as a teacher. 

This is an excellent opportunity for you to show exactly what kind of legislator and person you are.


Sincerely,
Lloyd H. Jackson III "Bud"