School bullying and harassment has become one of the most alarming and serious issues currently facing our American schools. The Oklahoma State Department of Education reported in 2015 that 20% of Oklahoma high school students reported being bullied on school property, while 14% reported being bullied electronically.
It is important for educators, parents and students alike to realize that bullying can have some serious long-term effects on a child which includes everything from social anxiety, depression, poor grades and attendance and abandonment. If you believe your child might be a victim of school bullying and harassment it is important that you immediately reach out to school officials and strongly consider setting up a consultation with a proven and experienced Tulsa school bullying attorney.
Fry & Elder trial lawyers Katie Egan, Lorena Rivas and M. Shane Henry understand the serious and sensitive nature of school bullying and have provided answers and insight to some of the more commonly asked questions in relation to school bullying and harassment which only an experienced Tulsa school bullying attorney would know.
BULLYING DEFINIED: What is Bullying?
There are many different forms of bullying that can occur. Some of these forms include:
- Physical assault such as shoving or hitting
- Verbal assault such as name-calling or teasing
- Cyberbullying or sexual harassment
- Spreading undesired rumors
Above all bullying is unwanted aggressive behavior which can rear its head either verbally or physically. School bullying can involve one student are group of students as the perpetrator(s).
OKLAHOMA SCHOOL BULLYING DEFINED: What is the State’s Stance on Bulying?
The Oklahoma State Department of Education defines bullying as “any pattern of harassment, intimidation, threatening behavior, physical acts, verbal communication, or electronic communication directed toward a student or group of students that results in or is reasonably perceived as being done with the intent to cause negative educational or physical results for the targeted individual or group; and is communicated in such a way as to disrupt or interfere with the school’s educational mission or the education of any student.”
This definition comes from the Model School District Policy for Prevention of Bullying At School (70 O.S. §§ 24-100.4 and 24-100.5), which calls for each Oklahoma public school district to have a bullying prevention plan in place. Any plan put in place also accounts for cyberbullying.
CYBERBULLYING DEFINED: What is Cyberbullying?
With the advent of social media and rise in technology consumption, bullying has become more common online, particularly through social networking sites like Instagram. Because social media can cross so many channels and reach such a large audience, victims of cyberbullying often feel violated and overwhelmed. Cyberbullying also can take on many forms that includes posting compromising photos or video and perpetuating false and nasty rumors.
What can You do as a Parent?
If you suspect your child is a victim of school bullying or cyberbullying, it is important the you are aware of the serious nature of bullying. You should also strongly consider taking the following courses of action.
- Listen to what your child is saying and ask open-ended questions to get a deeper understanding of the issue at hand
- Set up a meeting for your child and you with the school counselor or administrator trained to handle bullying issues
- Contact the school and issue a formal complaint
- Reference the school and the school district’s code of contacts in regards to bullying prevention
- Record a detailed record of all accounts of any statements, responses and incidents
- Set up a personal consultation with an experienced Oklahoma school bullying attorney
What to Look for from a Tulsa School Bullying Attorney?
Any Tulsa school bullying attorney you seek out should be knowledgeable and experienced in handling school bullying and cyberbullying incidents with individuals, schools and school districts.
This is important because there presently is no universal bullying statute in Oklahoma. Each public-school district throughout Oklahoma, however, is expected to prohibit bullying and have a bullying prevention policy in place.
Due to the nature of bullying and victims often targeted, bullying can often fall under the criteria of a hate crime, violate the Oklahoma Computer Crimes Act and also be prosecuted as assault.
Fry & Elder’s trio of Tulsa school bullying attorneys Egan, Rivas and Henry are well versed in the complexities and seriousness of bullying and cyberbullying.
Egan grew up in Tulsa and is licensed to practice in Connecticut and New York, along with Oklahoma.
Henry also grew up in Tulsa and is a 2018 Best Lawyers® Selection. Additionally, he is an AV-Rated attorney and was the 2016 Oklahoma Family Law Attorney of the Year by the Oklahoma Bar Association Family Law Section.
The trio has helped the prominent Oklahoma law firm be named to the U.S. News & World Report’s Best Law Firms List every year since 2014 and is comprised of an experienced team of attorneys which also include:
- Two 2018 Best Lawyers® Selections
- One of only 19 attorneys in the state to be a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers
- Best Lawyers® Lawyer of the Year for Family Law in Oklahoma 2016
- Five attorneys recognized by Super Lawyers®
- Four attorneys AV® Preeminent Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®
- Three of the past five Oklahoma Bar Association Family Law Section Chairs
- A Cherokee Nation District Court Judge
- The 2017 OBA Earl Sneed Award Recipients
If you feel your child or someone close to you is a victim of school bullying or cyberbullying we encourage you to contact Fry & Elder Tulsa today to set up a personal consultation with an experienced Tulsa school bullying attorney.