At an April 24 school board meeting, Edith White, the district's coordinator for school leadership and support, shared the impacts of the district’s 2021-22 survey that saw 36,000 student participants share their perception of safety on campus and the prevalence of bullying.
White said 94% of the survey participants reported feeling safe on campus, but data also showed students experienced some form of unwelcome behavior that may have been categorized as bullying if reported and investigated by campus administrators.
“Of those respondents, 28% of our elementary students and 12% of our secondary students reported that they experienced bullying,” White said.
Students from fourth grade through 12th grade were also asked about the various forms of bullying—including verbal, written, physical, and cyber-bullying—and their frequency on KISD campuses, she said.
“Both our elementary and our secondary students reported that verbal bullying—such as name calling, teasing and taunting—occurred the most on their campus,” White said. “And one of the number one reasons cited was based off of physical appearance.”
Those students were also asked about various school locations and their level of safety. White said elementary students reported feeling unsafe in restrooms, at recess, and on the school bus. Secondary students reported feeling unsafe in school parking lots, on the bus, in restrooms and in hallways.
The practice of surveying students on the prevalence of bullying at their schools began after Senate Bill 2050 passed during the 87th legislative session and went into effect June 2021, White said.
District mandates per SB2050 and as outlined by White during the April 24 meeting require Texas schools to:
- provide an anonymous reporting system,
- increase awareness of reporting procedures to encourage student reporting,
- conduct annual student surveys on bullying, and
- prepare action plans to address student concerns.
“Some of the example strategies that our campuses implemented this school year include the implementation of E-Hall Pass; increased numbers of lessons on bullying and kindness; my favorite, the establishment of kindness crews; ... and a greater emphasis on reporting,” White said.
During the meeting, Board Member Dawn Champagne said the student safety survey is important work.
“The student is really the ultimate customer, and we want to make sure that they're all being served,” Champagne said.
White agreed that amplifying students’ voices is the goal.
“Student voice is huge. They're the experts on their campus,” White said. “[The student safety survey] helps us provide that safe and supportive learning environment that they need.”
Parents may choose to opt their child out of participation. Campuses will communicate with families regarding the timeline in which the required survey will be implemented and the procedures to opt their student out before the survey opens May 3.