Bullying has been part of our human existence since time began. While bullying goes by different names and takes several different forms, whether you call it intimidation or threatening, whether you do it verbally or with your body language, bullying is upsetting and unnerving behavior. Fortunately for us parents, it is completely unacceptable in most private schools, as it should be everywhere else. Most private school discipline codes have strict policies concerning bullying. Be aware that these policies are enforced quickly because students are governed by contract law. In other words, the contract which you signed with the school spells out very clearly the consequences of any infractions of the school's discipline code. Those consequences, such as suspension, or worse, expulsion, will happen swiftly.
Naturally, like just about anything else you can think of, bullying has gone electronic. If you thought that bullying was hard to detect in its analog forms, you can imagine how much more difficult electronic or cyberbullying, as it is now called, is to detect. So, where does cyberbullying fit in? As I noted, cyberbullying or bullying done electronically is extremely difficult for us adults to detect. The reason why is that cyberbullying lurks in the virtual shadows created by social media and smartphones. Unless you are following somebody and can monitor their various social media accounts or have access to their mobile device, you cannot definitively prove that cyberbullying is actually occurring. I used the term social media which itself used
1. Conduct a Rigorous Situation Assessment
Know the Board's Appetite for Change
Document the Way Things Work Today
- Prepare a detailed description of every major functional area.
- Include everything from the administrative functions through to the academic functions.
- Identify who is responsible for the functional activity, the activities being managed, the way the activities are managed, staffing, and budget.
Putting up posters and holding rallies for student council president are not generally considered a violation of the 'no politicking' provisions of the law. Internal or with in the bounds of the school community activities are acceptable. Read Rules for Exempt Organizations During an Election Year for further guidance.
In an election year where emotions are running high and record numbers of young people are being drawn into the process, you need to be very careful that your school complies with the law. Make sure you state your policy clearly in the school's handbook. Enforce that policy. The last thing you need is for somebody to file a complaint with the IRS and put your tax-exempt status in jeopardy.
Schedule A of Form 990 gives you a place to document your 'lobbying' activites or lack thereof. Remember: your school's membership in NAIS and other regional independent school organizations can be construed as 'lobbying'. Generally the amount spent on memberships is relatively insignificant when compared to your overall expenditures. Just be certain to record those memberships