Bullying Information & Prevention

  • Bullying is a growing issue for schools all across the nation. Lake Travis ISD campus and district administrators encourage parents to work with us to provide a safe learning environment that encourages community involvement and engagement. Lake Travis ISD is committed to working together with parents to promote the health and well being of our students.

    Definition of Bullying
    As written in Texas Education Code §37.0832 and Lake Travis ISD Policy, Bullying is defined as:
    Engaging in written or verbal expression, expression through electronic means, or physical conduct that occurs on school property, at a school sponsored or school related activity, or in a vehicle operated by the district 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; or

    • Is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive enough that the action or threat creates an intimidating, threatening, or abusive educational environment for a student.

    Conduct escribed in the definition above is cnsidered bullying if it:

    • Exploits an imbalance of power between the student perpetrator and the student victim through written or verbal expression or physical conduct (can be a single significant act or a pattern of acts by one or more students directed at another student) and
    • Materially or substantially disrupts the educational process or the orderly operation of a classroom or school
    • Infringes on the right of the victim at school

    Areas Where Bullying Occurs
    Bullying often occurs outside of school, and some forms of bullying may be exclusively off-campus. The prevention and response information on this site may apply to all types of bullying, including:

    • Teen Dating Violence.  Defined as 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. (Section 71.0021, Texas Family Code) Teen dating violence is a pattern of coercive behavior that one partner exerts over the other for the purpose of establishing and maintaining power and control.

    • Cyberbullying. Defined as willful and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, cell phones, and other electronic devises. Although most cyberbullying is created on computers, cell phones and other devices that are not owned by the district or not located on school property, cyberbullying can still affect the school environment and the welfare of students.

    What Bullying Is Not
    Bullying does not include normal childhood behavior such as sibling rivalry or one-on-one fighting of siblings or peers with competing claims. Nor does it include acts of impulsive aggression­. In other words, spontaneous aggression or indiscriminate striking out, with no intended target would not be considered bullying. Bullying does not include criminal activities that may have begun as a conflict and escalated.

    Warning Signs
    Possible warning signs that a child is being bullied:

    • Comes home with torn, damaged, or missing pieces of clothing, books, or other belongings;

    • Has unexplained cuts, bruises, and scratches;

    • Has few, if any friends, with whom he or she spends time;

    • Seems afraid of going to school, walking to and from school, riding the school bus, or taking part in organized activities with peers (such as clubs);

    • Takes a long, “illogical” route when walking to or from school;

    • Has lost interest in school work or suddenly begins to do poorly in school;

    • Appears sad, moody, teary, or depressed when he or she comes home;

    • Complains frequently of headaches, stomachaches, or other physical ailments;

    • Has trouble sleeping or has frequent bad dreams;

    • Experiences a loss of appetite; or

    • Appears anxious and suffers from low self-esteem.

    Roles & Responsibilities
    Witnesses: Bystander or By-stander?

    The Bystander
    Bullying situations not only affect the student who is bullied or the students who are doing the bullying. Every student who is involved in or witnesses a bullying incident is affected. Bullying is a group issue. Every student who is involved in or witnesses a bullying incident is affected. Injustice over-looked or ignored becomes a contagion that infects even those who thought they could turn away.

    Encouraging All Students to Speak Up
    Bullying is challenged when witnesses stand up and speak out against the cruel acts of bullying. Establishing new norms, enforcing playground rules, and increasing supervision are policy decisions that can help reduce the incidents of bullying. Since much of the bullying goes on "under the radar of adults," a potent force are students themselves showing bullies that they will not be looked up to, nor will their cruel behavior be condoned or tolerated. Students need not be passive bystanders. They can become active witnesses, by standing up for their peers and reporting acts of bullying to parents and teachers.

    Long-Term Effects for the Bully
    U.S. Department of Health & Human Services explains that the effects of bullying extend beyond the school years. Bullying may lead to criminal behavior for those who bully and future health and mental health problems for both the bully and the victims:

    Six out of 10 kids identified as bullies in middle school are convicted of a crime by the time they reach age 24.
    Children exposed to violence either at home or at school often suffer long-term problems such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress, low self-esteem, anger, and self-destructive behaviors.

    Web Resources

    Reporting
    For the most immediate action, students and parents can report bullying to the counselor or administrator on campus. Reports can be made either in person or anonymously. All reports of bullying will be investigated.

    Elementary Bullying Incident Report Form

    Secondary Bullying Incident Report Form


    Bullying Prevention Programs in LTISD
    A number of different bullying prevention strategies and programs are used across Lake Travis ISD.

    Elementary

    Middle School:

    High School:

    About the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program
    The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program (OBPP) is the most researched and best-known bullying prevention program available today. With over thirty-five years of research and successful implementation all over the world, OBPP is a whole-school program that has been proven to prevent or reduce bullying throughout a school setting.

    OBPP is used at the school, classroom, and individual levels and includes methods to reach out to parents and the community for involvement and support. School administrators, teachers, and other staff are primarily responsible for introducing and implementing the program. These efforts are designed to improve peer relations and make the school a safer and more positive place for students to learn and develop.

    The goals of the Olweus Bullying prevention Program are:

    • To reduce existing bullying problems among students.

    • To prevent the development of new bullying problems.

    • To achieve better peer relations at school