T.E.A. has issued its Proposed Minimum Standards for Bullying Prevention Policies and Procedures. You have until November 28, 2022 to give feedback on the proposed standards. Given the upcoming Thanksgiving break, this is a short window of opportunity.
The Proposed Standards break down to five components.
- INSTRUCTION. The standards require that “research-based content designed to reduce bullying” be integrated into instruction that is age-appropriate. This section of the Proposed Standards differentiates instruction for the early primary grades and those in secondary schools, but in all cases it calls for “explicit direct instruction” that bullying behavior is not an “immutable trait.”
- SCHOOL CULTURE. The standards call for age-appropriate surveys to measure how the school’s culture aligns with the mission, values, and vision of the school. The standards also require the designation of someone who is responsible for the implementation of action plans based on survey results.
- A COMMITTEE. The standards require a committee on each campus to focus on “prevention efforts and health and wellness initiatives.” This would not necessarily require a new committee, as the standards permit that this committee “be incorporated into an existing committee.”
- REPORTING. Schools would be required to have “an easy mechanism” for bullying to be reported, either anonymously or not. It’s customary to call for such reports to go to some designated professionals on the campus, but the standards also would require that your policy permit students to report to “any trusted staff member” and that “any staff member aware of such incidents must relay any reports to the appropriately designated staff member.”
- A RUBRIC OR CHECKLIST. The standards call for “a rubric or checklist to assess an incident of bullying and to determine the LEA’s response to the incident.”
I encourage you to discuss these Proposed Standards with key staff members and formulate a response to the Agency. How do these standards align with existing practice? Do you foresee particular problems with implementation? What do you find ambiguous? Are you clear on what “research-based content” regarding bullying prevention should form the basis of your “explicit instruction”?
Your feedback should be sent to StudentDisciplineSupport@tea.texas.gov with the subject line “Updated Minimum Standards Public Feedback.”
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Tomorrow: Toolbox Tuesday!!