Pflugerville ISD has always taken a proactive approach to address bullying and ensure that all students are provided with a safe environment for learning. Over the next few weeks, campuses across the district are hosting events as part of a Bullying Awareness campaign, which promotes an inclusive environment where students from all walks of life are given the opportunity for a quality education.
“Pflugerville ISD has historically taken a strong stance against bullying,” Superintendent Charles E. Dupre said. “We know that students can’t learn if they don’t feel safe, and our top priority is to provide a secure environment for our students.”
Many campuses are participating in Bullying Awareness Week, Sept. 24-28. During the week students are invited to dress in fun ways such as wearing pajamas for “Dreaming of a Bully-Free School” or wearing hats for “Put a Lid on Bullying Day.” Some campuses will end the week with a Community Walk on Friday at 2 p.m. where students and staff will wear white t-shirts and parade through nearby neighborhoods to spotlight bullying awareness.
Wieland Elementary kicked off the week last Friday with a pep rally and special guest University of Texas Longhorn football player Alex Okafor who told kids the importance of respecting their elders and treating their classmates with respect. Okafor, a Pflugerville High School graduate, said he was happy to come back and speak to the students from the community that helped develop the man he has become.
The district and many of its campuses have earned the No Place for Hate designation from the Anti-Defamation League and continue to work toward the designation on an annual basis. The No Place for Hate initiative provides educators and students with the resources to ensure that anti-bias and diversity education are an integral part of the school curriculum. No Place for Hate also helps to create and sustain inclusive school environments where all students feel valued and have the opportunity to succeed by promoting respect for individual difference while challenging bigotry and prejudice.
In the past legislative session, Texas lawmakers approved the country’s most stringent law on bullying. The law defines bullying as written, verbal, or physical action that physically harms a student or her property or causes a reasonable fear of injury. It further stipulates that the actions be “sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive enough” to create a seriously hostile education environment for the victim.
The PISD Board of Trustees recently refined the district’s local policy on bullying due to the legislative changes. The district’s bullying policy has been in place for a number of years. Additionally, the district provided training to all campus administrators, counselors, nurses and social workers during the summer on how to conduct investigations and document complaints of bullying, as well as how to offer support to all parties affected by bullying. The training will help campus administrators to prevent bullying before it starts.