NYC Regulations on Student Bullying
In my prior post, I discussed the lawsuit that was recently filed against the New York City Department of Education ("DOE") for failing to do enough to address bullying and violence in its schools. In this post, I'm going to discuss the Chancellor Regulations enacted to address peer-t0-peer bullying in the NYC Schools (Chancellor Regulation A-832 or "CR A-832"). Hopefully, understanding a little more about your child's right will help you better advocate for her. I divide the Regulation into 3 parts. But it's important to start with where these regulations apply:
"Discrimination, harassment, intimidation and/or bullying is prohibited in school, during school hours, before or after school, while traveling in vehicles funded by the DOE and on other than school property when such behavior disrupts or would foreseeably disrupt the educational process or endangers or would foreseeably endanger the health, safety, morality, or welfare of the school community. " The DOE seems to understand that bullying outside of school often has a huge effect on the welfare of the victim in the school and this at least gives parents a forum in which to address these behaviors.
There is a strong emphasis on reporting in CR A-832. Any staff member who witnesses peer-to-peer bullying or receives notice that an incident may have occurred is required, within 1 day, to orally report the incident to either the Principal or someone designated to handle these issues and within 2 days of that report, must file a written report. If the Principal or her designee believes the alleged conduct rises to the level of criminal, she must contact the police.
Furthermore, Complaints must be entered into the DOE's Online Occurrence Reporting System ("OORS") within 24 hours and be "promptly investigated."
The Principal/designee must start the investigation within 5 days of the report of the incident. They must interview and document the conversation with the alleged victim and ask him or her to prepare a written statement describing the behavior in question.
The Principal/designee must interview the accused student and advise her that if the conduct did occur, it must stop immediately. The Principal/designee must ask the accused student to prepare a written statement. They must interview any witnesses and obtain their written statements. The Principal/designee must then advise the parents of the accused student of the allegations as well as the parents of the alleged victim, unless the alleged victim notifies the Principal/designee of safety concerns in regard to the notification. At the end of the investigation, the Principal/designee must advise both sets of parents/guardians whether or not the allegations were substantiated. Students who are found to have violated CR A-832 will then be subject to disciplinary action.
When appropriate, both students should be referred to the school guidance counselor, social worker, or psychologist for separate counselling.
The Principal/designee must follow up to ensure that the conduct has stopped. And finally, any retaliation against the student who reported the behavior is prohibited. The issue of "Safety Transfers" is very interesting in light of this prohibition.
Feel free to contact me should you have any concerns about your child. In my next Blog Post, I will address Teacher-on-Student violence.