The Board of Education recognizes the harmful effects of bullying on student well-being, student learning, and school attendance and desires to provide a safe school environment that protects students from physical and emotional harm. No individual or group shall, through physical, written, verbal, visual or other means, harass, sexually harass, threaten, intimidate, cyberbully, cause bodily injury to, or commit hate violence against any student or school personnel, or retaliate against them for filing a complaint or participating in the complaint resolution process. In an effort to stop bullying from happening, Elk Grove Unified has developed strategies for addressing bullying in all of its forms in district schools with the involvement of students, parents/guardians, and staff and depending upon the situation, we also look to collaborate with social services, mental health services, law enforcement, courts, and other agencies, and community organizations to develop and implement effective strategies to promote safety in schools and the community.
The Board of Education recognizes that suicide is a leading cause of death among youth and that school personnel who regularly interact with students are often in a position to recognize the warning signs of suicide and to offer appropriate referral and/or assistance. In an effort to reduce suicidal behavior and its impact on students and families, Elk Grove Unified has developed measures and strategies for suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention.
Bullying and Cyberbullying Prevention
The Elk Grove Unified School District has a no tolerance policy against bullying in all forms. Student safety is a top priority for Elk Grove Unified and the district does not allow any behaviors that infringe on the safety or emotional or physical well-being of any student. Elk Grove Unified has developed strategies for bullying prevention and intervention to help keep students safe and ensure a healthy learning environment. The district has an extensive board policy on bullying that covers a variety of areas, including cyberbullying, bullying prevention, intervention, complaints and investigation, discipline and enforcement mechanisms.
The Elk Grove Unified School District (EGUSD) online Incident Reporting System offers students, parents and community members a web accessible method to report incidents of bullying, discrimination and/or harassment, harm to school and/or property or harm to self. The Incident Reporting System can be accessed from anywhere online through a unique link located on every school’s website. For emergencies and/or urgent situations requiring immediate help, people will still be encouraged to call 911 or contact EGUSD’s Safety and Security office at (916) 686-7786.
When making an online report in the new Incident Reporting System, it will not be necessary to enter one’s name or identity, however, there is an option to provide identification and contact information in order to communicate with the Incident Response Team. Photos and links to video can be submitted with a report.
The types of issues that can be reported through the online Incident Reporting System are:
Bullying – Bullying includes verbal, non-verbal, physical or emotional acts against another student either in person, via electronic device or online.
Damage or Harm to School or Property – Damage or harm to school property includes intentional destruction to the school or school property in a harmful or malicious manner.
Discrimination or Harassment – Discrimination or harassment includes acts against another person on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, religion, age, or personal beliefs either in person, via electronic device or online.
Harm to Self or Others – Harm includes intent or desire to injure yourself or others.
Incident reports made on the Incident Reporting System are received by administration when they are submitted and reports are reviewed as soon as possible. All reports are taken seriously and are acted upon in a timely manner. As each incident is different, each will warrant a different reaction and timeline for action and can be as thorough as the information provided.
The Elk Grove Unified School District is committed to providing a safe, secure and healthy environment that allows every Student to be learning in every classroom, in every subject, every day. The district believes that students and staff have the right to be free of bullying, threats, intimidation and harassment while on our campuses or participating in or being associated with any school/district related activity. In Elk Grove Unified, the community is encouraged that “if you see something, or know something, to say something.”
In 2012, the Elk Grove Unified School District Digital Citizenship Task Force aligned our digital citizenship curriculum and programs to meet the updated legal mandates. The new updates require educating students about “appropriate online behavior, including interacting with other individuals on social networking websites and in chat rooms, and cyberbullying awareness and response.” In an effort to clarify what these requirements would look like in K-12 curriculum and programs, the task force identified main themes for the teaching of digital citizenship. As students step up and out onto the internet, the district wants to ensure that they understand the need to think before they post – to treat others with respect, to build and maintain a positive digital footprint, to protect their online privacy and the privacy of others, and to respect intellectual property boundaries.
#UnfollowBullying In November 2012, Elk Grove Unified School District middle and high school students decided to take a stand to challenge and eliminate cyberbullying. Today’s students live in a digital world. The “#UnfollowBullying Campaign” was a student driven movement recognizing that students are in fact the ones who can and will lead the charge in their online communities to ensure that all are treated with respect and kindness.
School-wide PBIS begins with the premise that all students should have access to supports to prevent the development and occurrence of problem behavior, including bullying behavior. To avoid stigmatizing any student, school-wide PBIS emphasizes what a student does and where it occurs. Instead of negatively labeling a student as a bully, victim, perpetrator, or aggressor, the emphasis is on labeling what the student does, for example, name-calling, teasing, intimidation, verbal aggression, and cyber- harassment. Bullying behavior is always described in the context or setting in which it occurs, for example, cyberspace, hallway, dance, field trip, bus, or other “setting.”
Bullying Prevention Program – Youth Development Office
All students have a right to a safe and healthy school environment. Our schools work hard to promote mutual respect, tolerance and acceptance, and the Youth Development Office supports our schools in this effort. The EGUSD Youth Development Office receives funding from and works in conjunction with SCOE as part of their Bullying Prevention Project. The goal of SCOE’s project is to support Sacramento County school districts and their school sites as they implement bullying prevention programs and strategies. This initial project of the countywide Student Mental Health and Wellness Plan will allow each district to focus on a school-based bullying prevention program, provide staff training, promote student mental health and provide early interventions for students and families who need them.
The Elk Grove Unified School District also has other anti-bullying education programs throughout its schools at all grades levels.
At elementary school sites, Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students) are involved in anti-bullying activities on campuses, and Kaiser Permanente’s “Peace Sign” program is presented at elementary schools for both students and parents. Elementary schools also address the issue of bullying through their character education curriculum.
Middle school students attend “Teen Truth” assemblies and create anti-bullying clubs on campus to prevent bullying. Parent University presents sessions to middle school parents about how to notice if their child is being bullied and the signs to look for if their child is a bully.
High school student associations sponsor “Unity Days” to break down walls on campus and reduce bullying behaviors, and assemblies are held where speakers present about the harmful effects of bullying. Parents of high school students receive information about bullying through School Loop and school websites, pamphlets, PTSA (Parent Teacher Student Association) meetings, principal’s forums, “Back to School Nights” and “Take a Parent to School” days.
September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, “It’s okay to talk about suicide. This campaign is aimed at building awareness of suicide and removing the fear and stigma people have when it comes to speaking about suicide. As part of the awareness campaign, EGU News interviewed two of the District’s Mental Health Therapists about strategies parents, educators and students can use to help prevent suicide in our youth. Here is a link to that interview featuring Nona Henson and Kim Rawson.
Elk Grove Unified School District has school counselors, psychologists and mental health therapists available at our schools. They have been trained to assess suicidal ideation and respond appropriately to the level of threat identified. It is the top priority of Elk Grove Unified School District to ensure the safety of the students in our schools. Please use our counselors, psychologists, and mental health therapists as resources, in addition to the information provided on this website.
You will find information about the warning signs and risk factors of youth suicide, as well as how to respond if you find out your child has suicidal thoughts or attempts. Provided are local and national crisis hotline information as well as website resource links.
Board Policy 5141.52 – Suicide Prevention
The Governing Board recognizes that suicide is a major cause of death among youth and should be taken seriously. The purpose of this policy is to protect the health and well-being of all district students by having procedures in place to prevent, assess the risk of, intervene in, and respond to suicide.
Warning signs are observable behaviors that may signal the presence of suicidal thinking. They might be considered “cries for help ”or “invitations to intervene.” We encourage our staff to follow your instincts, it is not overreacting. Please communicate with your counselor or mental heath professional on site if you observe behaviors that concern you.
Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, helplessness
Changes in sleep patterns or eating habits
Significant changes in behavior, appearance, thoughts, and/or feelings
What to Do When Faced with a Student in Crisis
Saving lives often begins with asking a question.
Ask the difficult question. “Have you had thoughts about killing yourself?” Do not offer unrealistic reassurances.
Paraphrase what you are hearing the student say. This will support your ability to monitor how accurately you are understanding what the student is saying. For example, “I understand when you say that you aren’t sure if you want to live or die, but have you always wanted to die? Well, maybe there’s a chance you won’t feel that way forever. I can help.”
Providing information about a current or upcoming life transition can help lessen anxiety. Remember, your job is not to act in the role of the mental health professional.
Connect the student with a counselor, administrator or mental health professional immediately. Maintain visual contact with student at all times.
Always provide a student with a 24-hour crisis number. Have them put the contact information into their phone if possible.
Be aware of the identified individuals on your site who are working with you to provide more long-term professional support.
What to Avoid When Helping a Student in Crisis
The student could be in a state of chaos and confusion, so how you model your emotions is key.
In an effort to provide support, be careful that you are not providing your opinions.
Avoid being impatient, judgmental or shocked.
Be careful not to minimize the student’s experience but do not overreact as it may cause the student to shut down.
Base the foundation of your relationship on honesty and trust.
Do not promise secrecy in an effort to glean information regarding the crisis.
Youth Mental Health First Aid Training
Youth Mental Health First Aid USA is an eight hour public education program which introduces participants to the unique risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems in adolescents, builds understanding of the importance of early intervention, and teaches individuals how to help an adolescent in crisis or experiencing a mental health challenge.
Be the one to make a difference and sign up for a Youth Mental Health First Aid training today:
Community Member Registration – check back soon for updated information.
EGUSD Employee Registration – check back soon for updated information.
Suicide Prevention School and Community Resources:
EGUSD Counselors, School Psychologists, and Mental Health Therapists.
The Youth Development Office has a team of dedicated staff that are charged with delivering programs, training and resources to schools, parents and the community in the areas of youth development; tobacco, alcohol and other drug use prevention.
Elk Grove Unified schools have implemented positive behavior support plans to eliminate or reduce high risk behaviors, bullying and stress at the school sites with the aim of ensuring the safety and well-being of students through a comprehensive plan that offers psychological and other counseling services, as well as strategies to educate students, parents and staff about how to live a healthy lifestyle.