Frequently Asked Questions

  • ISD 728 adopted a revised bullying prohibition policy in accordance with the Safe and Supportive Schools Minnesota Act. We understand that meaningful bully prevention is dependent upon students, teachers, administrators, parents and the community working together in partnership. To do so it is important that a clear, common understanding exists about what bullying is and isn’t. Listed below are some answers to frequently asked questions about the policy.

    When is bullying behavior acceptable?

    Never!  Bullying interferes with a student’s ability to learn and has negative effects for all involved - the target, the student doing the bullying behavior and any witnesses.   

    Bullying of which population is addressed by this policy?
    The policy addresses student-to-student bullying only.  Bullying by staff members or other adults is addressed in other policies such as the Harassment policy.

    What is the definition of bullying?
    Bullying is objectively offensive intimidating, threatening, abusive or harmful conduct directed by a student toward one or more students;  when either:

    1. There is a real or perceived imbalance of power between those involved and the conduct reoccurs or forms a pattern.
      — or —
    2. The conduct materially and substantially interferes with the student’s educational opportunities, performance, or ability to participate in school functions, activities or programs.

    In summary, bullying behavior is:

    • intended to harm
    • repeated over time
    • between those with a real or perceived imbalance of power

    How is peer conflict different than bullying?
    Conflict occurs when two or more people on equal footing have a disagreement.  There is no imbalance of power.  Peer conflict happens frequently and is normal at all developmental stages.  It is not the same as and is addressed differently than bullying.  Students who need assistance with peer conflict are encouraged to seek assistance from a counselor, school social worker, teacher or administrator. 

    How is harassment different than bullying?
    Harassment is a legal term for specific types of behavior related to protected classes such as race, religion, gender, disability or sexual orientation.  By definition, the behavior only has to occur once to be considered harassment, yet often happens repeatedly.

    What is the definition of cyberbullying?
    “Cyberbullying” is bullying that occurs when an electronic device, including, but not limited to, a computer or cell phone, is used to transfer a sign, signal, writing, image, sound or data and includes a post to a social network, Internet website or forum.

    When can cyberbullying that happens outside of school be addressed at school?

    While most cyberbullying occurs outside of school, any case of cyberbullying reported and substantiated on or off school property may be subject to disciplinary action if it disrupts the student learning or school environment. 

    What are different types of bullying behavior?
    There are three types of bullying behavior:

    1. Verbal - saying or writing mean things
    2. Social/relational - hurting someone’s reputation or relationships
    3. Physical - hurting a person’s body or possessions

    Who must report bullying?
    Any student who is the target of bullying-type behavior or witnesses bullying-type behavior. Students are encouraged to report bullying directly to a teacher, principal or other staff member.  Students may also submit a report anonymously in the Bully box at his/her school or via the online reporting form available on the district and each school’s website. Parents may also report bullying.
    Any adult who has contact with students. This includes all staff, bus drivers, school board members, volunteers and contractors and vendors who have contact with students.  All new employees must receive training on the policy.

    In what ways can one report bullying?

    Reports of bullying can be made:

    • In person to any staff member or adult at school
    • Online via the school’s online bully reporting form
    • Anonymously with the Bully box

    What are some options for disciplining students who are bullying others? 

    Discipline must take into account the developmental and maturity levels of the parties involved, level of harm and nature of behavior, past incidences and relationship between parties involved.  Options for discipline include warning, suspension, expulsion, remediation, referral to law enforcement and one-to-one interventions with support services staff.

    What is the ultimate goal in addressing bullying behavior?
    The ultimate goal is to change the behavior so the bullying will stop.

    Who is responsible for investigating reports of bullying?
    The primary point of contact, an identified staff member at each school, or the principal is responsible for investigating reports of bullying. 

    What is the responsibility of adults witnessing bullying behavior?
    Adults witnessing bullying-type behavior are asked to intervene (if it is safe to do so), assess for safety and report the incident as soon as possible to the principal or primary point of contact.