La Joya ISD Response to Bullying
“Bullying” as defined by Texas HB 1942 is engaging in written or verbal expression, expression through electronic means, or physical conduct that occurs on school property, at a school-sponsored or school-related activity, or in a vehicle operated by the District and that:
- Has the effect or will have the effect of physically harming a student, damaging a
- student’s property, or placing a student in reasonable fear of harm to the student’s person or of damage to the student’s property; or
- Is sufficiently severe, persistent, and pervasive enough that the action or threat creates an intimidating, threatening, or abusive educational environment for a student.
This conduct is considered bullying if it:
- Exploits an imbalance of power between the student perpetrator and the student victim through written or verbal expression or physical conduct; and
- Interferes with a student’s education or substantially disrupts the operation of a school. La Joya ISD Policy [FFI Legal].
Any student, parent, or employee who believes that he/she has been subjected to bullying or retaliation has the right to file a complaint, by completing the LJISD Bullying Harassment Complaint Form , and to receive prompt and appropriate handling of the complaint. All reasonable efforts shall be made to maintain the confidentiality and protect the privacy of all parties, but proper enforcement of this policy may require disclosure of any or all information received. There are several ways to report bullying incidents. Students and parents are encouraged to begin all reports with the classroom teacher. The classroom teacher will then inform the assistant principal or supervisor. If an assistant principal or supervisor is not available, the school counselor will take the report and be responsible for notifying the assistant principal or supervisor. There may be some circumstances in which a parent or student feels that it is best to begin the process by making a report to the principal.
The safety of possible targets of bullying is our first consideration once a complaint is received. A safety assessment is immediately made and provisional accommodations, as deemed necessary are implemented by an assistant principal or supervisor. A “Stay Away Agreement” is reviewed and signed by all parties to support the safety of all involved as the assistant principal is gathering information to determine whether the infraction meets the definition of bullying.
The principal, assistant principal or supervisor is responsible for conducting a prompt investigation upon receiving a report of bullying or retaliation. The nature and duration of an investigation will depend on the circumstances, including the type, severity and frequency of the alleged conduct. The goal is to obtain an accurate and complete account of all incidents and circumstances deemed relevant to the allegations in the complaint. The investigation will generally include personal interviews with the complainant, the target/victim(s) of the complaint and others who witnessed or may have potentially relevant knowledge about the alleged incident giving rise to the complaint. Confidentiality as well as FERPA guidelines will be followed. Review of documents, videos, voice mails, emails, websites, text messages, instant messages, and other items deemed relevant may also be included.
Once a determination has been made that there will be an investigation the assistant principal will inform the campus principal as well as the subject of the complaint and their parents/guardians of the status of the investigation and estimated timing for making a determination. The assistant principal will attempt to complete the investigation in ten school days, but may go longer if time is needed to complete the investigation. If the investigation is to go longer than 10 days, parents will be informed. To the extent practicable, staff members will take steps to protect all parties from incidents or retaliation pending the outcome of the investigation. These steps may include, but are not limited to, ordering interim disciplinary action, appropriate adult supervision, reassigning classroom seating, temporarily transferring the student subject of the complaint from classes with the complainant, instructing the alleged perpetrator to avoid contact and maintain appropriate safe distance from the alleged target while on school property and at school events and monitoring compliance with any court‐ordered protective orders. All interviewees, alleged targets/victims, and alleged perpetrators will be warned against retaliation and made aware of the prohibition to speak about the matter in order to maintain the integrity of the investigation.
Information regarding any student may not be disclosed to a parent unless the information is about the parent’s own child. Disciplinary action will only be shared with parents/guardians of the student receiving such action as dictated by FERPA.
Documentation and Records:
La Joya ISD has standardized reporting and investigation protocols in regards to bullying investigations. If there are questions regarding the process or the outcome of an investigation, those questions can be directed to the Executive Director for Student Services at (956) 323-2688.