Bullying and Cyberbullying Prevention
The purpose of this procedural directive is to foster a safe, respectful and fear-free environment for all members of the school community, minimize the incidents of bullying at schools and implement a process for schools to follow if bullying occurs. Albuquerque Public Schools shall treat instances of bullying and cyberbullying equally in terms of prevention, intervention and discipline. The term bullying shall encompass the activity of cyberbullying.
It is expected that all members of the school community experience a positive school atmosphere where all individuals are honored and respected. It is the responsibility of every stakeholder to conduct themselves in a manner that promotes and supports this commitment.
For purposes of this procedural directive, “bullying” is a way of using power aggressively in which a person is subjected to intentional, unwanted and unprovoked hurtful verbal and/or physical actions. An act of bullying results in the targeted student feeling oppressed, fearful, distressed, injured, or uncomfortable. The aggression is repeated on more than one occasion and can include: physical, verbal, emotional, racial, sexual, written, electronic, damage to property, social exclusion, and intimidation. Bullying may be motivated by actual or perceived characteristics such as race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation or identity, mental, physical or academic disability. Bullying often takes place in a social context. Cyberbullying is a form of bullying.
For purposes of this procedural directive, “cyberbullying” electronic communication that:
- Targets a specific student with intent to harm;
- Is published with the intention that the communication be seen or disclosed to the targeted student;
- Is in fact seen or disclosed to the targeted student; and
- Creates or is certain to create a hostile environment on the school campus that is so severe or pervasive as to substantially interfere with the targeted student’s educational benefits, opportunities of performance.
For purposes of this procedural directive, “members of the school community” include students, employees, parents/legal guardians, school partners and visitors.
Albuquerque Public Schools strictly prohibits bullying by all members of the school community. Albuquerque Public Schools strictly prohibits bullying by students whether on or off campus. Those who encourage bullying may be subject to corrective action. Bullying incidents shall not be tolerated by any Albuquerque Public School employee.
Albuquerque Public Schools prohibits reprisal or retaliation against any person who reports an act of bullying.
Location/Context of Bullying
Albuquerque Public Schools shall consider bullying, or behavior that displays the characteristics of bullying, which occurs in a digital or cyber environment the same as bullying occurring in a traditional or physical environment. Albuquerque Public Schools therefore prohibits bullying in a digital or cyber environment by all members of the school community with the use of district technology or personal electronic devices whether on or off campus. Those who encourage bullying in a digital or cyber environment may be subject to corrective action. Albuquerque Public Schools may take corrective action if a member of the school community has committed an act of bullying in a digital or cyber environment outside of these times/locations and that act of bullying lead to the disruption of a safe, respectful and fear-free environment for another member of the school community.
District Staff Responsibilities
- Albuquerque Public Schools shall annually notify (electronically, orally or written) all school and district personnel (including substitutes), school volunteers, students and their parents/legal guardians of the Board of Education policy on Bullying Prevention and this administrative procedural directive.
- All district personnel shall be required to immediately report alleged or suspected incidents of bullying. All other members of the school community shall be encouraged to report alleged or suspected incidents of bullying.
- Principals shall develop and implement a comprehensive written bullying prevention plan as part of a school-wide prevention plan. Each plan shall be based on specific school needs and shall include implementation of a universal, data-driven bullying prevention program, or adoption of a pre-existing evidence-based bullying prevention program. This plan shall include:
- Internal measures to strongly discourage, address and establish consequences for false reports of bullying
- An internal bullying reporting process which ensures the confidentiality of reporters, witnesses, targeted students and persons acting aggressively
- Principals shall notify all school personnel, school volunteers, students and their parents/legal guardians of this process
- Appropriate measures to protect reporters, witnesses and targets of bullying from retaliation
- Procedures for administration to investigate allegations of bullying, which ensure the confidentiality of reporters, witnesses, targeted students and persons acting aggressively
- The principal, or his/her designee, shall respond consistently and promptly to all individuals involved in every reported and suspected bullying incident
- All licensed school employees, instructional and operational administrative personnel shall participate in mandatory bullying prevention training provided by Albuquerque Public Schools at least once every three years
- Principals shall train their staff periodically about bullying prevention strategies and identifying, reporting, and effectively responding to bullying
- Staff shall be required to document attendance to these trainings and return the staff name, employee number and signature to the counseling manager within five (5) days of the training
Education for Students and Parents
Albuquerque Public Schools shall teach students the skills necessary to recognize report and respond to bullying as a targeted student or bystander. Students shall be engaged in learning activities, events and campaigns that address bullying prevention.
Albuquerque Public Schools health education courses shall include instruction about bullying prevention to comply with the New Mexico Public Education Department’s content standard with benchmarks and performance standards for health education.
Parents shall be invited to attend ongoing bullying prevention training, activities and events to assist in promoting a consistent message that bullying shall not be tolerated. Schools may collaborate with community partners for successful parental education and awareness.
Corrective action may be determined by the number of previous acts, the nature of the act, the maturity of the parties, and the context in which the alleged act occurred. Consequences may range from positive behavioral interventions to suspension and expulsion and shall include consideration of compliance with state and federal Individuals with Disabilities Educational Act requirements if appropriate. Principals, or his/her designee, shall include parents/legal guardians in the remediation of severe and/or escalating behavior.
Corrective action taken shall be by the least restrictive means necessary to address the behavior and shall be consistent with the legal rights of the involved students. Corrective action shall comply with Board of Education policy and procedural directives regarding discipline.
Albuquerque Public Schools is committed to support each school in their adoption of a evidence-based school-wide bully prevention program. The Student, Family and Community Supports Division shall provide a list of resources and sample for schools to utilize.
The district shall provide professional development regarding bullying prevention during appropriate administrator meetings.
- Assistant Superintendent for School and Community Support
- Director of Health and Wellness
Legal Cross Ref.:
- §22-2-21 NMSA 1978
- 126.96.36.199 NMAC
Board Policy Cross Ref:
Procedural Directive Cross Ref.:
- Student Acceptable use of Personal Electronic Devices
- Employee Internet Acceptable Use Policy
- APS Student Handbook
- Long-Term Suspension of a Student
- Student Expulsion
NSBA/NEPN Classification: JICK, JICD