How do I report potential cases of bullying to the school?
If you feel your child is the victim of bullying, there are multiple ways you can report the situation. Often the most effective way to report your concerns is a call directly to the building principal. Our principals have been trained in handling bullying situations, the building staff is the closest to the situation, and the building staff will likely be conducting the investigation. Our building leaders know their students – our ultimate goal is to remedy the situation, provide immediate support and resources for the victim, and help the aggressor learn from unacceptable behaviors.
Can I file an anonymous report?
Yes, you may file an anonymous report. Our staff investigates anonymous reports, but it is difficult to reach a conclusion and take action without the opportunity for follow-up. In any investigation there are often additional questions that result from initial inquiries. Once we begin an investigation, we often need to gather additional information before we are able to proceed with disciplinary action. So yes, we accept anonymous reports, but do encourage that you provide contact information. We strive to protect individuals who file bullying reports within the extent of our policies and the law.
Why can’t I know how the aggressor was disciplined?
The most frequent question from parents reporting a bullying situation is “what was done to the bully?” I completely understand the desire of a parent to want to know how the report was handled but, we are unable to provide any information about the discipline or action taken against another student. Every student in our schools is protected by the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) even in situations where student conduct code violations have taken place. This federal law prohibits our ability to share educational records with anyone but a child’s parent, and this includes disciplinary records.
What can be done about bullying and/or cyber bullying outside of the school day?
Our district strives to maintain a safe, comfortable learning environment for all our students. We understand that there are times when activities from outside the school day can have a direct impact on the learning environment in our buildings. We will make every effort within the law to protect students from disruptive influences outside of our schools. We will provide resources, support, and assistance to students and parents who encounter bullying activities outside of school. But, and this is an often misunderstood situation, the school has limited jurisdiction in activities outside of school.
If a child is being bullied – either in person or electronically – outside of school hours, we often ask parents to work with local law enforcement authorities. In most cases, the district is not able to discipline students for activities outside of school. We will provide recommendations and support for all students. If you have questions, we are pleased to work with families to find resources.
Who are the district’s partners in this area?
The Hilliard City School District is blessed to have amazing partners in our efforts to keep students safe and healthy. In the area of safety, we work directly with the Hilliard Police Department and we have School Resource Officers (SROs) in our high school buildings. The dedicated professionals of our local police department are here to help.
Another partner is Syntero Dublin Counseling Center, Northwest Counseling Services. Syntero provides our students and families a wealth of services. We partner for parent programs throughout the school year. We are extremely concerned about mental health issues and want to make sure that parents and students are aware of these services. If you feel you need additional resources, please contact Syntero – they are here to help.