Parents can become involved in reducing violent behaviors and creating safer environments for their children at home and at school. Parents are encouraged to review school handbooks, websites or other district sources of information relating to bullying and discuss the policy and expectations with their children.
Parent – School Collaboration
A partnership between parents and the school to prevent bullying behaviors is based on a shared understanding of bullying, policies of the school and basic intervention strategies.
Schools are encouraged to provide information and resources for parents to talk with their children about bullying.
When the school and parents initiate conversations with children about bullying in general terms, children know that they also can discuss this issue
Parents and school staff are encouraged to take the issue of bullying seriously if a child has experienced bullying as a bully, target or bystander by following up with one another to have a conversation about what has been observed or reported.
It is often true that adults may not be aware of the bullying behaviors as bullying most often occurs where adults are not present. Either the school staff or a parent may be the first to know about an incident based on a report from the child or a circumstance where they happen to see, hear or become aware of bullying. Parents should not assume that the behavior has been reported or observed by adults in the school.
Concerns about bullying issues at school can generally be addressed when parents talk with the classroom teacher, school counselor or building administrator.
Parents and school staff should be familiar with the school anti-bullying policy and any related policies or programs and address bullying behaviors using the appropriate process. When making a report, it is helpful to provide a clear and detailed description of what has been observed or experienced. All reports should be taken seriously and acted on using established policy and procedures.
Refer to the school district’s anti-bullying policy and reporting procedures for guidance on the local process to make a report. If that is not available, typically the following procedure is appropriate. Generally, reporting bullying behaviors to the school begins with the classroom teacher or building administrator and proceeds to the next contacts only if the issue is not resolved.
Report to the classroom teacher, school counselor and/or the building administrator (principal)
Report to the district superintendent
Report to the district school board
Contact the Nebraska Department of Education Legal Department for professional practice complaints (402-471-0731)
If the bullying behavior involves criminal conduct (theft, assault, battery, etc), use the following reporting procedure in addition to notification to the school.
Report to local law enforcement
Contact the county attorney
Advice for parents and family members of children who engage in bullying behaviors
Consider this a serious behavior concern and let your child know in a calm manner that the behavior is not acceptable.
Attempt conversation with your child to discuss more acceptable behaviors. Give your child opportunities to practice the expected behaviors.
Often children who engage in bullying behaviors do not recognize and respond to the feelings of others appropriately. Provide opportunities to teach your child skills in empathy – recognizing and responding to another person’s feelings. Literature and movies offer resources for generating discussions about emotions.
If the school contacts you regarding the behavior of your child, be prepared to work with the school to help change the behaviors of your child. A collaborative plan that is implemented at both home and school will have greater impact on changing behaviors.
Encourage and model respectful behaviors for your child.
Advice for parents and family members of a child who has been bullied or witnessed bullying
Keep communication lines open so there is a comfort level in reporting an incident. Encourage your child, whether a target or a bystander, to report any bullying behavior to you. Acknowledge the child’s feelings and let the child know that reporting was the right thing to do.
Do not dismiss the situation by asking the child to ignore the bullying or take care of it on their own. Adult support is a key component to changing bullying situations and keeping children safe.
Explore ideas and alternatives to address the situation. Ask what the child has done to try to stop the bullying. Generate a list of additional ideas for stopping the behavior; i.e., stay in safe or supervised areas, develop and practice assertive statements, know how to make a report, identify other children or teachers who can offer support or help, etc. Fighting back and ignoring the situation are not helpful and should not be on the list of ideas for stopping bullying.
Decide if the problem should be solved in collaboration with the school. Discuss with your child how the incident could be reported to school personnel if the behavior occurs at school or impacts the learning environment. Decide who should know – consider the protocol in your local school policy and any staff members who your child can trust. Be accurate in reporting the details of the incident.
Do not confront the child or parents of the child who bullies.
Involve your child in social activities that provide opportunities to build relationships and develop pro-social skills.
Development of a local policy for bullying prevention may include conversations about bullying among staff and stakeholder groups in the school and community, review of sample policies and guidelines, and consultation with professional organizations and the district’s legal counsel.
Note: LB205, introduced in the 2007 legislative session by Senator Gwen Howard, was approved by the Governor on February 07, 2008. This bill states that ‘on or before July 1, 2009, each school district as defined in section 79-101 shall develop and adopt a policy concerning bullying prevention and education for all students.’
Components of an Anti-bullying Policy
A statement of the position of the school or district regarding bullying behaviors and/or positive student behavior.
The school or district definition of bullying.
A statement relating to the responsibilities and the rights of students, staff, and others who are associated with the school with regard to bullying behavior.
A procedure describing the process for reporting incidents of bullying and the procedures the school will follow in response to the report.
Statements regarding false reporting and immunity from retaliation.
Considerations in Policy Development
The development of the anti-bullying policy may take into consideration a review of the school policies/codes related to student conduct, discipline, sexual harassment, other harassment, acceptable use (technologies), and hazing.
Dissemination of the Anti-Bullying Policy
The anti-bullying policy and grievance procedures should be published in handbooks, on a website, or in some format that is easily accessible to all persons who may be affected by the policy. Consideration should be given to providing the policy in different languages based on needs within the school community.
Model Policies / Guidelines for Policy Development
The following state department of education websites provide guidance and/or sample bullying policies.
State and federal statutes address bullying and related issues. Districts should consult with their legal counsel for interpretation of these statutes and development and administration of local policies.
Schools have an obligation to protect students from third party harm as may occur in a bullying situation. When students have not received the benefit of this protection, a school may have to respond to litigation based on one or more of the following factors.
the behaviors affected learning or deprived someone of access to learning
the school knew or should have known of the harmful behaviors
the school acted with deliberate indifference
the school failed to follow district policy
The Nebraska Legislature passed legislation (LB205) in February 2008 requiring schools to adopt a bullying policy.
The Nebraska Board of Education – Anti-Bullying Policy was approved February, 2003, and supports the development of positive behaviors by providing physically safe and emotionally secure environments for all students and staff. The State Board policy statement is accompanied by the Nebraska Department of Education Implementation Plan.
No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, Title IV-A, Section 4114 (d) (7) requires schools receiving federal funds to establish a plan for keeping schools safe and drug free. These plans must include five elements:
appropriate and effective discipline policies;
student codes of conduct; and
a crisis management plan for responding to violent or traumatic incidents on school grounds.
No Child Left Behind provides a mechanism for students to leave chronically dangerous schools. For more information on school safety, go to the U.S.Department of Education Fact Sheet, or the U.S. Dept. of Education Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools (Title IV-A) website.
Federal and Nebraska state statutes, laws and rules address anti-social or unacceptable behaviors and provide guidance and/or regulations for schools
Sexual Harassment Sexual Harassment: Federal Title IX
Sexual Harassment Sexual Harassment Guidance (OCR)
Student Discipline – Nebraska Student Discipline Act
Student Conduct – Nebraska Student Conduct Statute §79-267
School Safety Plans – Nebraska Rule 10
Needs Assessment – Evaluation
Effective bullying prevention and intervention programs are based on established district policy and an annual collection and analysis of data that guides decision-making and the practices of the district to encourage positive conduct and address bullying and other harmful behaviors.
Data Collection Various types of data may be collected and analyzed for patterns indicating prevalence of bullying or related behaviors.
Behavior Data: Sources for behavior data include discipline referrals, anecdotal records, observation data, etc. Behavior infraction analyses might include: number of office discipline referrals, locations, times, staff involved, students involved, days of the week, months of the year, etc. Other ideas may be obtained from the University of Oregon website – School-Wide Information System (SWIS) or the Oppositional/Anti-Social Behavior Continuum (pdf) (David Wilmes).
Achievement Data: It may be helpful to notice patterns in academic achievement data for particular students or groups of students.
Perception Data: Perception data is obtained from responses on surveys, questionnaires, or focus groups and may include beliefs, attitudes, behaviors experienced or observed, feelings of safety, etc.
Program Data: Program data examines issues or impact of the various academic programs (high ability learners, special education programs, etc.) and specialized programs (after-school programs, breakfast programs, etc.)
Demographic Data: Demographic data may include enrollment, attendance, drop-out rates, ethnicity, gender, grade levels, activity participation, or other factors unique or of interest to a school district.
Data Analysis Analysis of the data is the process for reviewing data for patterns, concerns, trends, and questions which would impact bullying prevention and intervention plans. Results of the data analysis will guide decision-making for establishing or reviewing bullying prevention and intervention programs or lead to new questions to be addressed by additional data collection. Data should not be used to identify individual students or staff or compare schools. Confidentiality should be honored.
Data Reporting Clarify results with concise, factual statements so that the data can speak clearly for your intended audiences. Different data sets and formats (i.e., charts and graphs) may be shared with different audiences depending on the purpose for each audience. Confidentiality should also be a consideration in display or reporting data.
Problem Statements Problem statements are the factual statements that describe a concern(s) uncovered by the data analysis process. Problem statements form the basis for developing plans of action and programs for bullying prevention and intervention that are unique to a particular school or district.
Annual Review Annual collection and analysis of data will provide feedback on successes to celebrate and policy or program modifications that may be needed.
Sample format for data collection and dissemination
Behavior Management Evaluation Sheet (pdf) (David Wilmes)
C-SARA data collection process (pdf) (Nebraska ESU 6)
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding School Safety Requirements
Rule 10 – Regulations and Procedures for the Accreditation of Schools
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding School Safety Requirements
Nebraska Department of Education
Below are questions and responses regarding school safety considerations in Rule 10 – Section 011. The responses explain the intent of the State Board of Education regarding the school safety provisions.
As a reminder, in all areas of legal considerations or concerns, school administrators should always consult their school attorneys.
It is hoped that this document will help to clarify some of the areas that may be of interest to school administrators, and those with responsibilities with developing school safety committees, plans, or conducting annual reviews.
QUESTION: Will the State Department of Education provide a “boilerplate” plan?
NDE promotes the use of the USDOE REMSTA Center EOP planning tool. Find the step-by-step process at rems.ed.gov.
QUESTION: How does the “Nebraska Public Records Law” affect school safety plans? Are they open to the public? – AND – If the school board has to approve the plan, does it become a part of the public record and open to review?
Generally speaking, the School Safety Plan is a public record. However, Neb. Rev. Stat. §84-712.05(8) R.R.S. provides that the following type records, even though “public record,” may be withheld from the public. “Information solely pertaining to protection of the physical security of public property…” Even after the local board approves the safety plan, the district may decide that parts of the plan should be considered confidential.
If school districts choose to publish plans, but feel it is in their best interests to keep specific information confidential, they may wish to use generic terms such as: ” …by an appropriate code.” — “…to a designated site.” — “…by the assigned individual.” In those cases, the local school district and board of education are within their right to maintain the confidentiality of appropriate parts of their safety plans.
Additionally, Neb. Rev. Stat. §84-712.05(8) R.R.S. allows for closed (executive) sessions of public bodies for matters “necessary for the protection of the public” and for “discussion regarding deployment of security personnel or devices.”
(Consult your legal counsel regarding confidentiality of schools plans)
QUESTION: Does every “conceivable” danger have to be addressed in the plan?
Included in every all-hazards plan should be a current Hazard/Vulnerability Assessment. The school should develop plans for all hazards indicated by the assessment for each school.
QUESTION: Can one “Safety Plan” cover a whole school system/district, or does each building need a safety plan?
The intent is for each building to have its own plan. However, a system/district may have one master plan, with annexes addressing the specific safety and security of individual school facilities. There should be prevention, prepardeness, response, and recovery plans unique to each facility.
QUESTION: What liabilities do school safety committee members have if something they recommend or fail to recommend results in an injury?
Local safety committees are advisory to the administration and board of the local district. It is not expected that members of the local safety committee have specific expertise in school safety or violence prevention issues. The plan is approved by the local governing body, which reviews the recommendations of the Safety Committee. Therefore, the liability rests with the governing board.
(Refer to your local school attorney for specific concerns and advice, as situations vary.)
QUESTION: Can a district have a district wide committee, or is each building required to have a safety committee?
The committee can be a system/district committee, but the intent is that the safety needs of each facility to be addressed. Thus committee representation would need to be balanced enough to capture the concerns and needs of each facility within the system/district.
NOTE: The term “School System” is used as it is defined in Title 92 Chapter 10 – also known as Rule 10 – 002.14, (pg. 3)
“…a public school district or a nonpublic school or group of nonpublic schools under a governing body organized to provide education in elementary, middle, secondary, and/or high school grades as provided in this chapter.”
QUESTION: What liability does the person(s) conducting the annual review have if something they recommend or fail to recommend results in injury?
Individuals assisting in conducting the annual review of local school districts are expected to use “best judgment.” However, whatever recommendations are made by the outside individual, are for the consideration of the local board. It is the local board that retains the liability for the content of the local safety plan.
Individual liability for persons assisting with annual safety reviews relates only to claims of technical expertise in a specific area. If the individual claims no areas of “expertise”, liability remains with the local board.
If recommendations are made regarding a safety concern requiring specialized or technical knowledge, liability still rests with the school and local board as to what action will be taken.
(Refer to your local school attorney for specific concerns and advice, as situations vary.)
QUESTION: What liability does the school district have if they do not implement recommendations made by the annual review person(s)?
Recommendations carry only the weight given to them by the local governing body. It is up to the school district to determine how best to address the recommendations, up to and including disregarding certain suggestions if they deem it appropriate. These decisions should be documented to show the process used in reaching conclusion.
Generally, a government has immunity from tort liability under Neb. Rev. Stat. §13-910(1)(2) “Tort Claims act shall not apply to any claim based upon the failure to exercise or perform a discretionary function or duty on the part of a political subdivision or an employee of the political subdivision…”
(Refer to your local school attorney for specific concerns and advice, as situations vary.)
QUESTION: Is the annual review just for school plans, or is each building reviewed?
The intent in Rule 10 iis that each facility be reviewed (visited) annually, along with any safety/security plans covering that facility.
QUESTION: Can larger school districts have the annual reviews conducted on only a percentage of their facilities each year?
The intent in Rule 10 is that each facility will be reviewed annually.
QUESTION: Is the state going to provide funds to offset cost for committee members, and to hire the outside reviewers?
State funds are not available at this time specifically for the purpose of funding school safety committees, safety plans, or annual safety reviews.
QUESTION: How can parents with safety concerns, which they feel are being ignored by the current school administration, address those concerns?
Parents should work through procedures as established in local Board policies to address concerns. If a parent feels the school is in violation of any provisions in Rule 10, Section 011.01 requiring safe and orderly schools, they may contact the Accreditation Section of the Nebraska Department of Education.
For additional information please contact:
School Accreditation Information: Office of Accountability, Accreditation, and Program Approval at 402.471. 2444
Welcome to the Nebraska Department of Education bullying prevention website. This site has been developed to serve as a resource for schools, parents and community members to address the issue of bullying in schools.
Web Site Development
The format and content of this site was based on recommendations of a Bullying Prevention Web Site Design Committee representative of Nebraska educators and experts on the issue of bullying.
The Nebraska Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Project of the Nebraska Department of Education supports this website as a service. Only information that has been reviewed and cleared for dissemination will be published on web official pages. The Nebraska Department of Education makes no representations or warranties, express or implied, with respect to the document, or any part thereof, including any warrantees of title, non-infringement of copyright or patent rights of others, merchantability, or fitness or suitability for any purpose. The material contained on the website does not necessarily reflect the opinions, positions or official policies of the Nebraska Department of Education.
We cannot and do not warrant that the information on this server is absolutely current, although every effort is made to ensure that it is kept as current as possible.
We cannot and do not warrant the accuracy of these documents beyond the source documents, although we do make every attempt to work from authoritative sources.
This website is supported from the ESEA Title IV Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act funds.
Equal Opportunity Statement
The Department of Education in compliance with all applicable Federal and State laws and regulations does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, disability, or status as a veteran in any of its policies, practices, or procedures. This includes but is not limited to admission, employment, financial aid, and educational services.
Vendor Guidelines and Protocols for Anti-Bullying Website
It is important for NDE personnel to be aware of products and services being marketed to schools in Nebraska. However, it is not NDEs’ place or responsibility to endorse products unless said product(s) and/or service(s) is owned by NDE. Vendors wishing to provide information, goods, or services to NDE have access by using regular means of solicitation and sales. In the event that NDE requires the information, goods, and/or services of a particular vendor, the NDE School Safety Program Specialist or an approved and identified NDE leadership group will request the vendor to submit documentation ensuring that the information, goods, and/or services requested will strengthen, continue, enhance, and/or support the work of NDE in providing service to Nebraska schools.
Assistance is provided by the following Nebraska Department of Education staff. Contact information and a description of services available are included.
Jolene Palmer – State School Security Director
- Information on School Safety Plan requirement included in Rule 10, Regulations and Procedures for the Accreditation of Schools
Julane Hill – Director, School Health
- Institutes/Workshops/Trainings on Coordinated School Health (CSH), Health Education, Physical Education, Coordinated School Health Policy, Wellness Policy
- Standards, Curriculum mapping, etc.
The focus is on creating a healthy, welcoming school environment encompassing health education, physical education, health services, nutrition services, mental health, staff wellness, & Family/Community involvement. Bullying, safety & dating violence policies are discussed within a CSH approach along with Rule 10 requirements in regards to health and safety. Conduct 2 statewide surveys for NDE: Youth Risk Behavior Survey & School Health Profiles Survey.
Donna Hoffman – Director, School Counseling
- Counseling Program information
- Positive development standards for students
- Academic Development
- Career Development
- Personal/Social Development
- Web Page Information
- Comprehensive School Counseling Program
- Strategies for School Counselors to identify and address behaviors
Anne Oeth – Project Coordinator, PBiS Program
PBiS is a behavior based and research validated process that increases the capacity of schools, families, and communities to develop preventive, proactive, positive environments. The process focuses on building school-wide, classroom and individual systems of support general enough to assist all students, but focused enough to provide students at risk individual help.
- Benefits all students, and is not limited to any particular group
- Is based on effective behavioral practices, instructional design, and strategies
- Approaches behavior in a proactive way by teaching appropriate behaviors
- Fosters positive adult-to-student relationships
- Supports the local school continuous improvement process
Schools interested in implementing PBiS should contact the project coordinator for more information.
Brad Kreifel – Investigator, Professional Practices, Legal Office
- General safety information – bullying issues
- Concerns about staff not reacting properly & within policy/law regarding professional responsibilities.
Links to Outside Resources
(All links are offered only as information sources, not as an endorsement of the content)
Safe Schools & Spring Time (Prevention Issues by Dr. Scott Poland)
Safe&SupportedED—Ed’s Safe and Supportive Schools News Bulletin
The purpose of this listserv is to provide an information outlet for the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools Program and is available to the public. The content includes a newsletter, legislation, other Federal Programs grant opportunities.
Charter Schools and Students with Disabilities – Preliminary Analysis of the Legal Issues and Area of Concern, This topic brief was prepared by the Center for Law and Education under contract with the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA).
“Developing School Policies and Procedures for Physical Restraint and Seclusion in Nebraska Schools”, A Technical Assistance Document Version June, 2010 by Reece L. Peterson, UNL
NEMA (Nebraska Emergency Management Agency)
The U.S. Department of Education’s (ED’s) Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools, A Guide to School Vulnerability Assessments: Key Principles for Safe Schools may be accessed at http://rems.ed.gov/views/documents/VA_Report_2008.pdf.
Teen Drivers Safety
New DHS Training Course Available: Active Shooter, What You Can Do
FEMA Emergency Management Institute:
IS-100.SC Introduction to the Incident Command System, I-100, for Schools
IS-361: Multi-Hazard Emergency Planning for Schools
Ready Classroom will provide elementary and middle school teachers with resources to integrate natural disaster preparedness information into their curriculum. The program is an extension of Ready Kids, a nationwide effort designed to encourage children and families to take action and prepare for emergencies. The online resource provides teachers with activities, lesson plans and multimedia tools that teach students how natural disasters develop and inspires them to build their own emergency preparedness plans with their families. The site features grade-specific lesson plans (K-8), videos, games, puzzles and bulletin board recommendations.