You are here


Source: “From Statehouse to Schoolhouse: Anti-Bullying Policy Efforts in U.S. States and School Districts,” GLSEN (Click to enlarge)

Despite national campaigns to combat bullying, 3 in 10 districts still do not have policies that protect students from harassment. And many of these school systems are in states that require such rules by law, according to a July report from the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, also known as GLSEN.

Nancy Willard is director of Embrace Civility in the Digital Age and author of several books on bullying.

When we talk about bullying, what do we mean? Unfortunately, the answer is far from clear.

Educators are taught one definition, while most state statutes have yet another definition. Worse, surveys are based on a variety of definitions.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the U.S. Department of Education, and Health Resources and Services Administration partnered with bullying experts to develop a uniform definition of bullying. In January 2014, the new definition was:

Alert Solutions can send notifications to parents via phone, email or text message. The communication suite also includes Speak Up!, an anonymous two-way communication platform that can be used to report bullying and to manage event safety. It also includes an automated reports module and a parent portal.


Students can report sensitive issues — such as bullying, drug abuse and depression — to school administrators or counselors via the Anonymous Alerts mobile app or web link. Administrators receive messages on their phone and email, establishing an anonymous two-way conversation about an incident. The Anonymous Alerts mobile app is available at the Apple Store and the Google Play store for Android.


TIPS (Threat Assessment, Incident Management and Prevention Services) is a set of web-based tools designed to empower students, parents, teachers and staff to report bullying or other safety concerns confidentially. Once reports are made, TIPS provides a central and secure system for school personnel to investigate the concern and objectively assess the situation. Staff can then track and document actions taken, and monitor the students involved.

Mike Ribble is technology director of Manhattan-Ogden School District in Kansas. He is also an international author and speaker on digital citizenship.

Technology has provided administrators with some great opportunities for communication and data analysis, but for our students it means so much more.

To help our students, we need to show that with all these opportunities come responsibilities. All administrators have read, or lived through, instances of cyberbullying, sexting and even suicide that have come from the misuse of technology.

Nancy Willard is director of Embrace Civility in the Digital Age and author of books on bullying.

This is the disturbing opening from a Los Angeles Times article published a year ago:

“Two students from separate schools committed suicide within days of each other this month—which is National Bullying Prevention Month—and both boys apparently had been bullied. Now, parents are asking questions not just about bullying but also about anti-bullying videos, which both schools aired shortly before the incidents.”

Author Nancy Willard is director of Embrace Civility in the Digital Age. (Image by Bruce Searl)

In a 2011 National Crime Victimization Survey, close to 1.2 million students reported that someone was hurtful to them at school once a week or more. This rate has not significantly declined since 2005. Of this number, close to 540,000 students say this happens “almost daily.”

Furthermore, over 700,000 students reported they were “fearful of attack or harm” at school “sometimes” or “most of the time.”

High schools in Connecticut and Texas have blocked a new social media app from school Wi-Fi servers after several reports of cyberbullying.

Glendale USD in southern California has taken an unprecedented step in bullying and crime prevention by paying a company to analyze students’ public posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media.