Bullying Prevention Information and Resources

OC Human Relations has served schools across Orange County via the BRIDGES Program for over 30 years.  If your campus is not currently involved in the program, but would like to address bullying, we can help.  Please contact us for more information at 714-480-6570.

What are the facts about bullying?

  • It is estimated that 160,000 children miss school every day due to fear of attack or intimidation by other students.
  • American schools harbor approximately 2.1 million bullies and 2.7 million of their victims. Dan Olweus, National School Safety Center.
  • One in seven students is either a bully or victim.
  • 15% of all school absenteeism is directly related to fears of being bullied at school.
  • 71% of students report incidents of bullying as a problem at their school.
  • Nearly nine in ten students who identify as LGBT report being verbally harassed at school. 32.7 report missing a day of school because of feeling unsafe, the national average is 4.5%. GLSEN: The 2007 National School Climate Survey
  • In one study by “Fight Crime: Invest in Kids,” nearly 60 percent of boys whom researchers classified as bullies in grades six to nine were convicted of at least one crime by the age of 24, while 40 percent had three or more convictions.

Sources, unless otherwise noted: Education Week: August/September 1997; ERIC Digest 1997;
National Center for Education  Statistics, 1998 Bureau of Justice Statistics; Time, May 18, 1998

What are the facts about cyberbullying?

  • One in four teens in a relationship (25%) say they have been called names, harassed, or put down by their partner through cell phones and texting Only 20% of girls who were bullied online, never knew who was bullying them. 31% were bullied by a friend from school, 36% were bullied by someone else from their school. 27% of girls who were bullied decided to retaliate by bullying the person who bullied them. Only 20% informed a parent or another adult.
  • 43% of youth report that they have experienced some form of cyber bullying in the last year. The incidence of cyberbullying is most prevalent among 15- and 16-year-olds, particularly among girls
  • Teen cyber bullying victims are twice as likely to talk to a friend about a bullying incident as to talk with their parents or another adult.

Source: Webwisekids.org

How do students and teachers perceive bullying?

  • Two-thirds of victims felt that staff responded poorly when they reported bullying. Only 6% believed the report was handled very well.
  •  70% of teachers believe that adults intervene almost all the time, while only 25% of students agreed.
  • Among 9th graders, only 35% believed their teachers were interested in trying to stop bullying (only 25% for Administrators).
  • Though 80% of middle school students “felt” sorry for victims of bullying, 64% said that other students try to prevent bullying only “once in a while” or never”

Source: National Dropout Prevention Center, Clemson University

What Steps Schools Can Take to Address Bullying and Harassment?

Research indicates that creating a supportive school climate is the most important step in preventing harassment.  A school can have policies and procedures, but these alone will not prevent harassment”. 

U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights

The BRIDGES School Inter-group Relations Team reviewed a series of existing bullying prevention programs and practices; based on our findings we endorse the following steps in addressing bullying issue in school communities:

  1. Adopt an anti-bullying program that is comprehensive in its approach.  This would require the school to work together as community and should include all school stakeholders: administrators, teachers, non-teaching staff (front office staff, janitors, bus drivers, crossing guards), students and parents.
  2. Require training to enable all school staff to identify and address bullying and harassment effectively, consistently and in a timely manner.  Training about bullying should include all adults in the school environment who interact with students.
  3. Offer age-appropriate, inclusive curricula to help students understand and respect differences within the school community and society as a whole.  Effective bullying prevention requires changing the norms and climate of the school with the goal that all students are included and treated with respect.
  4. Create a safe campus for students.  Work with students to identify areas that are not well monitored and increase staff presence.  Create posters or stickers that your staff can display to designate areas on campus that have an open door policy.  Create places that are safe/monitored.
  5. Support student efforts to address bullying and harassment on campus, such as a week of Non-Violence, Mix It Up Week, Day of Silence, Unity Week.  Adults within the school system must take the lead in efforts to change the climate and set examples in this process.

More importantly, we must recognize that bullying prevention requires a long-term commitment of a school community.  None of the steps above will work unless schools dedicate the time and resources to address the issue over multiple years.
Do not be discouraged if change does not come quickly; focus on sending clear and consistent messages while your programming starts to make a difference

Adapted by OC Human Relations from GLSEN, Inc.;US-Department of Health & Human Services “Stop Bullying Now”;  Olweus Bullying Prevention Program; The Safe Schools Coalition

Additional Bullying Resources

Bullying and Hate-Motivated Behavior Prevention” published by the California Department of Education. Provides resources for parents, administrators, and students on how bullying can be prevented and addressed.

Bullying at School” This California Department of Education publication discusses methods for determining whether or not bullying behavior and/or hate-motivated behavior is present.

Cyberbullying Statistics You Need to Know (2023) As the digital age continues to grow, so does the prevalence of internet-connected devices, making cyberbullying an increasingly common form of harassment. Discover the impact of cyberbullying on preteens, teens and even adults.

How to Deal with Cyberbullying: The Ultimate Guide (2023) Understanding what cyberbullying is and how to counter it to prevent tragic outcomes.

International Bullying Prevention Association” Support materials for those preventing bullying in a school setting.

“School Bus Bullying Prevention”  school buses are a common location for bullying to take place, here’s a resource to help prevent it.

Bullying Prevention Resource Guide” Bullying information and links to additional resources from Innerbody Research.

Bullying Awareness Guidebook” The guide brings awareness to numerous types of bullying and who may be targeted, while also providing guidance to students, parents, educators and school professionals on how to prevent and stop bullying.

What Should You Do If Your Child is a Bully?” Parents who discover that their child is bullying someone else can play an important part in putting an end to the inappropriate behavior. This site offers effective strategies for parents, teachers and students to address bullying.

Stop Bullying.Gov” A federal government website managed by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services that offers information and strategies to prevent bullying in schools.

“Prevention and Wellness Promotion” Resources from the National Association of School Psychologists.

Bullying and Cyberbullying Prevention Strategies and Resources” The Anti-Defamation League has put together a list of resource links and tools.

Bullying Prevention for the Public” A podcast from the Center for Disease Control discusses the severity of bullying and provides resources for prevention efforts.  The CDC site also has a number of other resources focusing on youth violence and bullying.

Kids Against Bullying” A creative, innovative and educational website designed for elementary school students to learn about bullying prevention, engage in activities and be inspired to take action.

Teens Against Bullying” Created by and for teens, this website is a place for middle and high school students to find ways to address bullying, to take action, to be heard, and to own an important social cause.

Eliminating Bullying” A one-page tip-sheet for parents (in English and Spanish) from the National Association of Elementary School Principals.

Bullying Webinars” The National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments (NCSSLE) hosts webinars on a range of topics related to improving conditions for learning (e.g., preventing disruptive behaviors such as bullying, harassment, and violence and substance abuse).

“Suicide Prevention” Suicide Prevention Tools from Each Mind Matters

See also “Analysis of State Bullying Laws and Policies – December 2011” (U.S. Department of Education).

What California laws protect students from bullying?

1985: School Safety Demonstration Act

Established the School/Law Enforcement Partnership comprised of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Attorney General for the development and administration of safe school program Partnership was established in 1985 in an effort to make schools safer and reduce hate crimes.

2001: AB79

Requires the Department of Education to develop model policies on the prevention of bullying and on conflict resolution, makes the model policies available to school districts and authorizes school districts to adopt one or both policies for incorporation into the school safety plan.

2001: SB257

Specifies that, for school and law enforcement partnership purposes, school crime includes hate crimes and requires the comprehensive school safety plan to include development of a discrimination and harassment policy, as specified, and development of hate crime reporting procedures.

2003: SB719

The Bullying Prevention for School Safety and Crime Reduction Act  updated and enhanced 1985 School Safety Act. “The Legislature finds and declares …The children of this state have the right to an effective public school education. Both students and staff of… school campuses have the constitutional right to be safe and secure in their persons at school. It is the intent of the Legislature that all California public schools,…develop a comprehensive school safety plan that addresses the safety concerns identified through a systematic planning process.”

SB719 required the School/Law Enforcement Partnership to establish a statewide school safety cadre provide training to the cadre to enable them to initiate and maintain school community safety programs sponsor a biennial statewide conference for school districts

2007: AB 394

The Safe Place to Learn Act, provides protection for youth in schools, including those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT). It strengthens the state’s ability to keep schools safe and fight bias and harassment in schools by requiring the California Department of Education to monitor school compliance with the state’s existing anti-bias laws.  AB 394 guides school districts in adopting and publicizing anti-harassment policies and complaint procedures, updating publications on school safety and discrimination, keeping records of complaints and how they were resolved, and providing training for teachers on how to maintain a safe learning environment for all students.

2008: AB 86

This  was one of the first laws in the country to deal directly with cyber-bullying. The legislation added “bullying committed by means of an electronic communication device” to the mandate of the School/Law Enforcement Partnership and gave school administrators the authority to discipline students for bullying others offline or online.

California Education Code:

Education Code 48900
 (2008) permits a student to be suspended from school or recommended for expulsion for engaging in acts of bullying.
Education Code 48900.4 (2008) allows a student to be suspended or recommended for expulsion if the superintendent or the principal of the school in which the student is enrolled determines that the student has intentionally engaged in harassment, threats or intimidation, directed against school district personnel or pupils “that is sufficiently severe or pervasive to have the actual and reasonably expected effect of materially disrupting classwork, creating substantial disorder, and invading the rights of either school personnel or pupils by creating an intimidating or hostile educational environment.”
Education Code 48900.2 (2008) permits a student to be suspended from school or recommended for expulsion if the superintendent or the principal of the school in which the student is enrolled determines that the student has committed sexual harassment, as defined in Education Code 212.5.

Cyber Bullying
Education Code 48900
(2008) permits a student to be suspended from school or recommended for expulsion for engaging in acts of bullying, including bullying committed by means of electronic acts.
Education Code 32261 (no date available) defines “electronic act” as “the transmission of a communication, including, but not limited to, a message, text, sound or image by means of an electronic device, including but not limited to a telephone, wireless telephone or other wireless communication device, computer or pager.”

Education Code 48900.2 (2008) permits a student to be suspended from school or recommended for expulsion if the superintendent or the principal of the school in which the student is enrolled determines that the student has engaged ir or attempted to engage in hazing. “Hazing” is defined as a method of means a method of initiation or preinitiation into a pupil organization or body, whether or not the organization or body is officially recognized by an educational institution, which is likely to cause serious bodily injury or personal degradation or disgrace resulting in physical or mental harm to a former, current, or prospective pupil.” For the purposes of this statute, “hazing” does not include athletic events or school-sanctioned events.

Education Code sources: National Association of State Boards of Education and Olweus Bullying Prevention Program.  For more information on the CA bullying legislation, see an analysis at BullyPolice.