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Bullying, harassment and hazing are detrimental to the well-being of students and greatly hinder them from reaching their true academic potential. The DeKalb County School District's Bullying/Harassment/Hazing Awareness Campaign endeavors to stop bullying, harassment and hazing in schools. This comprehensive approach to addressing these issues seeks to educate, not only students, but the entire community of stakeholders. Students and local school personnel are asked to sign an Anti-Bullying/Harassment/Hazing Pledge. Students pledge that they will refrain from participating and/or supporting bullying, harassment or hazing. Additionally, local school personnel pledge to immediately address bullying, harassment and intimidation, assist in its prevention and to model appropriate behavior for their students. In this ongoing campaign, schools focus each month on training staff, students, parents, and the community on topics related to bullying, harassment and hazing. Topics include cyberbullying and cyberethics, bystander response, reporting incidents, kindness, friendship, bias, and respect.
Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose ( www.stopbullying.gov [ http://www.stopbullying.gov ]). No single act of bullying, harassment or intimidation will be ignored. Please note that bullying is not mutual conflict between students. There must be a real or perceived imbalance of power whereby the bully seeks to impose authority and harm on an innocent student. Per the policy and procedures, principals will ensure that their schools investigate all reports of bullying and follow established protocols to document compliance with the law. Board Policy Descriptor Code JCDAG [ https://eboard.eboardsolutions.com/epolicy/policy.aspx?PC=JCDAG&Sch=4054&S=4054&RevNo=1.11&C=J&Z=P ]
Harassment and bullying are terms that tend to be used synonymously. However, harassment, by federal definition involves uninvited behavior that is severe, pervasive or persistent based on a belief or perception regarding a person's race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability or sexual orientation. Additionally, harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests and/or sexual misconduct. Harassment Fact Sheet OCR [ http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/www/documents/bullying/harassment-fact-sheet-ocr.pdf ]
Hazing is thought by some to be a college fraternity/sorority "thing". To the contrary, incidents of hazing occur in K-12 schools throughout the country and can be equal to or more harmful than what happens on university/college campuses. As institutions of higher learning are stepping up enforcement on this type of behavior, it is prudent that we partner together to eradicate hazing in our schools. The difference between hazing and bullying is subtle. The same power dynamics are involved. The same intimidation tactics are used. The same second-class citizenship issues arise. The only real difference between bullying and hazing is that bullying can happen to anyone, anytime and is used as a means to exclude someone. Hazing is an instrument of including people by having them earn their way into a group or to raise their level or status in the group. Bullying is about exclusion; hazing, inclusion. Hazing can occur in any school organization; including, but not limited to athletic teams, band, student clubs, cheerleading, dance teams and other extracurricular student organizations.
Georgia Hazing Law [ http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/www/documents/bullying/hazing-law-ocga-16-5-61.pdf ]
Important: Bullying, harassment and hazing may also be a violation of state/federal laws, which may subject a student to criminal prosecution. Please talk with your child and caution him/her to refrain from these types of actions.
Bullying, harassment and hazing must be addressed immediately. However, it cannot be addressed if it is not reported. Students, parents and stakeholders are urged to report these incidents to school personnel. Familiarize yourself with the policy and procedures and know what steps to take.
bullying/harassment/hazing flowchart [ http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/www/documents/bullying/bullying-harassment-hazing-flowchart-(2013-2014).pdf ]
Visit our Additional Resources page [ http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/bullying-awareness/index/additional-resources ] for more on the campaign, the Board policy, reporting form, flowchart and student/stakeholder information and tips on what you can do.