All students have the right to be free from bullying and harassment in school ‒ whether it is verbal, written, graphic, physical, or online. All forms of bullying and harassment are not permitted and require your school to investigate and intervene to ensure that the bullying and harassment does not continue. The problem must be addressed promptly, as students who are bullied are at increased risk of experiencing health problems and academic struggles and are more likely to drop out of school.
To learn more, click here.
Students have a right to be free of bullying and harassment. Students have additional protections on the basis of protected class status such as race, gender, status as being a student who is a person with a disability, immigration status, status as a multilingual learner, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Learn more about your child’s rights here.
If your child is facing bullying and harassment, use this checklist to make a complaint to your child’s school in writing to the principal, your child’s main classroom teacher(s), and to your child’s 504 team or IEP team, if applicable. Check the code of conduct or the student handbook for your child’s school to determine to what process you should follow in making a written complaint. If your child’s school does not use a specific form, a sample complaint form can be found here.
Use the Bullying and Harassment Complaint Form Checklist to complete the specific complaint form used by your child’s school, or the sample form if none is specified, in as much detail as possible. If your child is being called names or slurs, list the specific terms being used. Be sure to keep a copy of your complaint for your records and follow up with the school if they do not get back to you within the timeframe listed in the school policy.
Check the Code of Conduct or the Student Handbook for your child’s school to determine to what process you should follow in making a written complaint of bullying and harassment. If your child’s school does not use a specific form to report bullying or harassment, use this tool. Be as specific as possible when you describe what is happening to your child at school. If your child is being called names or slurs, list the specific terms being used. Here is a checklist you can use to make sure you are being as specific as possible. Be sure to keep a copy of your complaint for your records and follow up with the school if they do not get back to you within the timeframe listed in your school’s policy.
Bullying and harassment are pervasive problems in Pennsylvania, the United States, and even globally. Students who are bullied are at increased risk of experiencing health problems, academic struggles, and more frequently drop out of school.
If the school knows that a current student is being bullied or harassed by another student at school, on school grounds, in school vehicles, at a designated bus stop or at any activity sponsored, supervised or sanctioned by the school, the school has a legal duty to investigate and take action to keep your child safe. The school should also provide your child supports and interventions when bullying or harassment occurs outside of school (including on social media) if it is substantially interfering with your child’s education or causing a threatening environment. This guide offers suggested steps to ensure the school fulfills these duties.
Read the Parent’s Guide.
This FAQ explains a law known as Act 110, which concerns students who are convicted or adjudicated delinquent of sexual assault. The law became effective on January 3, 2021, and does not apply to convictions or adjudications occurring prior to that effective date.
This state law was enacted to protect student survivors/victims of sexual assault, and it applies to all public schools. The law requires a student convicted or adjudicated delinquent of sexual assault against a student in the same school entity to be transferred to another school, placed in alternative education for disruptive youth, or expelled from the same school entity under certain circumstances.
You can learn more here.