Analyzing Your School Discipline Data Now . . . to Prepare for the New School Year (Part II)

Conducting “Special Situation Analyses” for Common School Areas and Peer-Related Anti-Social Behavior

Dear Colleagues,


   Later this week, I will be attending a small, interdisciplinary working conference, funded by the Spencer Foundation, that I was invited to by the Loyola University Chicago Schools of Education and Law.  The theme of the Conference is Reducing Suspensions and Expulsions of Students with Disabilities: Linking Research, Law, Policy, and Practice.

   The focus of the conference is on building a research and policy agenda centering on changes to laws, policies, and school practices to prevent and respond to the behaviors of students with disabilities through non-exclusionary means.  The overall goal is to promote greater inclusion of students with disabilities in schools, and the more successful implementation of services, supports, and interventions for students demonstrating social, emotional, and behavioral challenges.

   At the Conference, I will be presenting a paper entitled:

Increasing Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Self-Management and Improving Multi-Tiered Systems of Support:  Most Students with Disabilities have Behavioral, Not Disciplinary, Problems

_ _ _ _ _

   The Conference and my Paper fit perfectly into the three-part Blog series that we are currently in the middle of (this being Part II).  This Series is critical not just because bullying and the presence of behaviorally challenging students are increasing in schools nationwide, but because—as we have discussed many times before—districts and schools continue to use frameworks (like PBIS and SEL) and practices (like mindfulness strategies and Restorative Practice approaches) that have weak evidence-based foundations, and that sound and objective research studies have shown to be inconsequential at best.

   Unfortunately, even this week, I continue to hear that schools are sending teams this summer to PBIS and Restorative Practice trainings—with plans to implement these approaches come Fall. 

   These groups continue to believe (despite long-standing evidence) that a three- or five-day training of a representative team from a school gives this team the knowledge, skill, and expertise to implement a comprehensive, psychoeducationally-based school-wide approach that will change and sustain student, staff, and school behavior and interactions.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

A Quick DetourMax Eden Supports My Critique Above

   Before reviewing Part I of this Blog Series and introducing Part II, I want to summarize a research-rich article, Studies and Teachers Nationwide Say School Discipline Reform is Harming Students’ Academic Achievement and Safety, that was published this week (June 11, 2019) in the daily the74 newsletter.  The article was written by Max Eden, a senior fellow who specializes in education policy at the Manhattan Institute.

   Below are quotes reflecting some of Eden’s major points:

Last month, New York City Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza announced that he would soon unveil further, sweeping changes to the discipline code of the nation’s largest school district. This promises to be another big step in the wrong direction for the district’s 1.1 million students, given the data suggesting that his predecessor’s reforms to sharply curtail school suspensions have done substantial harm: from rising student perceptions of violence and disrespect, to a troubling rise in bullying, to a dramatic increase in teacher assaults, to a rise in violence and other indicators on state data
The brightest evidence (of this), which comes to us from Chicago Public Schools, is rather equivocal: One study found that decreasing the length of suspensions led to a deterioration in school climate but had no effect on academics; another study found that slightly decreasing the frequency with which students were suspended for serious misbehavior had no impact on school climate and a slightly positive impact on academics.
Philadelphia went much further than Chicago, banning suspensions for nonviolent “conduct” offenses such as using profanity or failing to obey classroom rules. Researchers found a substantial negative effect on academics: Achievement decreased by 3 percentage points in math and nearly 7 percentage points in reading after three years. And, in a perverse irony, African-American students ended up spending more time out of school on suspension because the number of suspensions for more serious offenses rose.
Earlier this year, the RAND Corporation published a randomized control trial examining the effects of restorative justice in Pittsburgh as the district aggressively reduced suspensions. The results were mixed. On one hand, teachers in schools that implemented restorative justice reported an improvement in school safety, staff morale and their classroom management abilities. But students disagreed: They said their teachers’ classroom management abilities deteriorated and that students became less supportive of one another. Perhaps most alarmingly, academic achievement for African-American students decreased.
Taken as a whole, the academic literature suggests that modest efforts to reduce suspensions may be pursued with minimal effect, that aggressive efforts pose a serious risk to academics and that restorative justice may exacerbate rather than ameliorate harm. . . (A)s I’ve documented, teachers in school districts that implemented discipline reform under pressure from federal investigations do not believe it works.
In Denver, only 23% of teachers say the new approach to discipline improves behavior. In Charleston, South Carolina, just 14% of teachers believe it is an improvement over previous discipline policies, and in Madison, Wisconsin, only 13% of teachers think that it has a positive effect on behavior. In Oklahoma City, 11% of teachers said a greater implementation of “positive behavior interventions and supports” would help them be effective, compared with two-thirds who said greater implementation of traditional discipline would help.
A recent nationwide poll of elementary educators found that more than 70 percent believe disruptive behavior has increased over the past three years.
A statewide poll sponsored by the Oregon Education Association declared a “crisis of disrupted learning” and noted that 56% of teachers reported experiencing at least one “room clear” in the past year. (A “room clear” is when teachers direct all children to leave the classroom for their own safety while a disruptive student throws a tantrum.)

_ _ _ _ _

   This article reinforces many of the discipline-focused Blogs that I have written recently and over the years.

   The “bottom line” is that policies rarely decrease school discipline problems or increase school safety or student engagement and their prosocial interactions . . . student behavior and school discipline problems are changed through integrated, multi-tiered evidence-based practices.

   In my Spencer Foundation Conference presentation this week in Chicago, I will discuss six national flaws that have slowed our progress in decreasing not just disproportionate discipline actions against students of color and with disabilities, but discipline actions with all students.

   These flaws are:

  • Flaw #1. State legislatures and local leaders are trying to change suspension and expulsion data through policies and mandates that dictate school decisions and classroom practices.
  • Flaw #2. The U.S. Office of Special Education Programs and, relatedly, state departments of education and other educational leaders are promoting one-size-fits-all frameworks that do not apply or have not addressed students with specific disabilities—especially those with the most challenging behaviors.
  • Flaw #3. Districts and schools are not recognizing that classroom management and teacher training, supervision, coaching, mentoring, and evaluation are keys to decreasing disproportionality.
  • Flaw #4. Schools and staff are using motivational strategies to change student behavior when they have not learned, mastered, or cannot apply the social, emotional, and behavioral skills needed to succeed.  That is, they are not discriminating skill deficit versus performance deficit students. 

They also are completing Functional Assessments of Behavior (FBAs) with the most challenging students when these students sometimes have biologically-based behaviors that are not (wholly) motivational in nature.

  • Flaw #5. Even when they are teaching skills, districts and schools often target constructs of behavior, rather than specific social, emotional, and behavioral skills. 
  • Flaw #6. Most districts, schools, and staff do not have the collective and comprehensive knowledge, skills, and resources needed to implement the multi-tiered (prevention, strategic intervention, intensive need/crisis management) social, emotional, and/or behavioral services, supports, and interventions needed by students.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Review Part I of this Blog Series, and Introducing Part II

    In Part I of this Blog Series, we encouraged schools to evaluate the behavioral outcomes generated by their Social-Emotional Learning (SEL), Positive Behavioral Support System (PBSS), or school safety and discipline systems for the school year that just ended.

[CLICK HERE for Part I of this Blog Series]

   To do this, we established a context by reviewing a number of recent national reports that surveyed educators about students’ behavioral problems in their schools, and other reports suggesting that bullying (including cyberbullying) is increasing in our schools nationwide.  Some of these reports focused on Social and Emotional Learning approaches and outcomes, and some on school safety and bullying.

   The Social and Emotional Learning Reports included the following:

  • Report 1. A recent survey of 800 nationally-representative kindergarten through high school principals completed by the MCH Strategic Data company and published last month as K-12 Principals’ Assessment of Education
  • Report 2. A report, Breaking Bad Behavior, published by research company EAB that validates and extends the MCH Report above relative to elementary students’ behavioral challenges.
  • Report 3. A report, Teacher and Principal Perspectives on Social and Emotional Learning in America’s Schools, published earlier this year by the Rand Corporation.  It is based on a Spring, 2018 survey of the American Educator Panels that involved 15,719 nationally-representative teacher and school principal respondents.  These educators answered questions about the importance and value of SEL in schools, how they were promoting and measuring SEL, and how they thought SEL approaches could be improved.

   Based on these reports and our research and analysis, we discussed six significant flaws in the SEL framework advocated by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL). 

_ _ _ _ _

   The School Safety and Bullying Reports included the following:

  • Report 1. Published by YouthTruth, Learning from Student Voice: Bullying Today analyzed survey responses from students during the 2015-16, 2016-17, and 2017-18 school years regarding their experiences with school climate and safety. 
  • Report 2. Published by Comparitech, this report discussed a survey on student bullying completed by over 1,000 parents.

   A primary implication of these Reports was a strong recommendation that all districts and schools analyze the discipline, school climate, and classroom management data from this past school year. . . NOW. . . to determine (a) their current student, staff, and school status; (b) what was accomplished (or not) in these important areas; (c) the school’s “return on investment” relative to, for example, their SEL or PBIS program(s); and (d) what situations need to be address for the coming school year.

   To assist here, we identified a series of analyses and questions that schools can use to evaluate the discipline data from their student information or data management systems.

   Based on the result of these analyses, we then recommended that school administrators and other leaders select one or two targets to address on the first day of the new school year, and begin the planning and preparation process.

_ _ _ _ _

   In Part II of this Blog Series, and based on the Reports above, we want to especially address the school bullying and cyberbullying problem in (and outside of) our schools.

   To do this, we will introduce our Special Situation Analysis process, and apply it to analyzing and developing systemic interventions for school bullying.  The hope is that schools will use this process now to develop and implement “prevention and early response” approaches. . . for immediate roll-out on the first day of the new school year.

   In Part III of this Series, we will use the Special Situation Analysis process to address cafeteria and bus situations.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

The Need and Components of a Special Situations Analysis

   When students exhibit inappropriate behavior in the Common Areas of a school (e.g., the hallway, bathroom, buses, playground, or cafeteria), or anti-social behavior with their peers (e.g., teasing, taunting, bullying, harassment, hazing, or physical aggression/fighting), there are a number of complex individual, small group, large group, and even environmentally-relevant psychological processes in play.  When there are problems in these areas, school leaders (and relevant members of their School Discipline and/or Behavioral Mental Health teams) need to systematically analyze these processes—in an objective, data-based way—to determine the root causes of the problems.  The results of these analyses can then be linked to strategic or intensive interventions to decrease and eliminate the problems—replacing them with appropriate student, staff, and school interactions and related processes.

   Thus, we are recommending a data-based problem-solving process to comprehensively (and effectively) address existing, persistent, and/or significant Common School Area or Peer-Related Antisocial Behavior problems.  Given the complexity of the “processes in play” (as above), we call this data-based process a “Special Situation Analysis.”

   To demonstrate the complex processes present, note that the Common Areas in a school often have:

  • A larger number of multi-aged students (than in a classroom) who are in closer proximity to each other;
  • A larger student-to-staff ratio (resulting in less adult supervision, and, sometimes, supervision by paraprofessionals who are less-respected by some students);
  • A physical lay-out that is different than a classroom with space that is often larger (e.g., a cafeteria, the playground) and with physical boundaries that are less defined; and
  • A climate that includes more noise, higher (physical) energy levels, and more external stimulation.

   Relative to the complexity of Peer-Related Antisocial interactions, note that student-to-student teasing or bullying (for example) often:

  • Occur in the Common Areas of a school (hence, the remaining characteristics below are interfaced with the Common Area characteristics above);
  • Include one or more student aggressors, some of whom are teased or bullied by other peers, and are “passing the aggression” along;
  • Include one or more student targets, some of whom lack critical social skills which either set them up as targets or undermine their ability to appropriately handle the situation—so it does not reoccur;
  • Include one or more by-standing students whose inaction (when that occurs) serves to inadvertently reinforce the aggressors’ teasing or bullying;
  • Include no adults near the incidents, or adults who observe the incidents and do not intervene (for various reasons); and, in summary,
  • Involve clear goals or intents on the part of the aggressors who, in the absence of timely and meaningful consequences, are empowered and reinforced by their anti-social acts.

_ _ _ _ _

The Components of a Special Situation Analysis

   Given the ecological nature of behavioral problems in the Common Areas of a school or as related to Peer-to-Peer Antisocial interactions, the Special Situation Analysis must be similarly ecological in nature.  This is because the root causes of the problem could exist in any one (or a combination) of the ecological components.

   Thus, like the detective in a murder case, the analysis begins by (a) identifying and functionally describing what appear to be the essential problems; and (b) systematically evaluating the characteristics and interactions within each of the components

   Then, as the data and analytic results include or exclude the involvement of specific components, the interdependencies of the remaining components are re-analyzed to objectively and validly reveal—as much as possible—the root causes of the existing problem.

   There are six components in a Special Situation Analysis.  They are briefly described below in the context of bullying that is occurring in a Common School Area. 

   As alluded to above, the peer group is a distinct part of the analysis as research has clearly established that the interactions of the peer group can independently influence Common Area and, especially, Peer-Related Antisocial behavioral situations.  Thus, analyses of the interplay between student aggressors, targets, and by-standers must occur, early on, in any Special Situation Analysis.

   Student Characteristics, Issues, and Factors.  Consideration here involves specifically analyzing the “who, what, where, when, why, and how” specific students (the bullies, the victims, and the other peers) are involved in bullying prevention, action, and response activities. 

   At a primary prevention level, part of this analysis includes evaluating students’ existing interpersonal, social problem-solving, conflict prevention and resolution, and emotional control and coping skills—as the absence of these skills may be a root cause of the identified problem(s).  In addition, student motivation, student-to-student and staff-to-student accountability, and the consistency of student and setting behavioral expectations and responses (especially to inappropriate student interactions) also are evaluated. 

   At a secondary prevention level, part of the analysis includes (a) looking at what the aggressor, target, and by-stander groups of students are doing to contribute to the problem while completing a functional assessment of their relevant interactions; (b) analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of the different groups of students and their skills and abilities, beliefs or expectations, and motivation or resistance relative to the problem situation; and (c) evaluating other situational issues or factors that, once again, are contributing to the problem or could be leveraged toward a possible resolution. 

   Teacher/Staff Characteristics, Issues, and Factors.  Consideration here involves specifically analyzing the “who, what, where, when, why, and how” administrators, staff, and other adults are involved in bullying prevention, action, and response activities. 

   Paralleling the Student component, this involves functionally analyzing the primary prevention elements above, and then such secondary prevention elements as: (a) what administrators, teachers, and/or other adults are contributing to bullying situations relative to their interactions and responses; (b) the differential strengths and weaknesses of different groups of teachers and/or staff, and how their skills and abilities, beliefs or expectations, and motivation or resistance contribute to or could help solve bullying situations; (c) how teachers or staff who are physically absent from bullying situations nonetheless contribute to the situations through their tacit encouragement or indifference, for example, when students report bullying incidents; and (d) the interactional or situational patterns, issues, or factors that, once again, contribute to the bullying problem or its potential resolution.

   Environmental Characteristics, Issues, and Factors—Physical Plant and Logistics.  Consideration here involves investigating the settings where bullying predominantly occurs, the dynamics of and conditions (both positive and negative) within those settings or environment(s), and how these conditions are contributing to or causing different facets of the problem. 

   Depending on the environment, this assessment could involve analyses of (a) the physical lay-out, condition, and organization of furnishings within the setting (e.g., the table set-up in the cafeteria, the organization of play areas on the playground); (b) how students and others move into, out of, and within the setting; (c) the organization and logistics of student and adult presence in the setting (e.g., when and under what conditions students and adults are present in the setting, what grade levels of students are in the setting and where they are positioned, how quickly students must enter and exit the setting); (d) student-staff ratios and the deployment of staff within the setting; and (e) other related and relevant factors. 

   Once again, information from these assessments must be merged with the information collected in the Student and Teachers/staff components such that a delineation of the strengths, weaknesses, problems, and potential solutions within the “ecology” begin to crystallize.

   Incentives and Consequences.  Consideration here involves analyzing the incentives, consequences, and reactions of individuals, groups (both peer and adult), and the school/district as a whole as it relates to bullying situations, their occurrence, their resolution, or their non-resolution. 

   From a primary prevention perspective, the ultimate question is: 

“What will motivate everyone (i.e., through incentives and consequences) in the school to create a positive, nurturing, and supportive environment where everyone interacts in tolerant, prosocial, and proactive ways relative to interpersonal, social problem-solving, and conflict prevention situations?” 

   From a secondary prevention perspective, the collective incentive and consequence patterns of individuals, (present and absent) groups, and others must be differentially analyzed to understand how bullying occurs in some, but not all, situations. 

   For example, do by-standing peers who, for example, do not confront a bullying or assist a targeted student to get away from a bullying situation, recognize that their inaction actually reinforces and/or strengthens a bully’s behavior—such that they may be the bully’s next target?  Or, do the by-standing students fear that their involvement will actually result in them being a future target—perhaps, because teachers or school administrators are, themselves, unwilling to confront the bully (or his/her parents)?  Finally, are some teachers indifferent to bullying situations because “it’s an administrative issue?”

   Regardless of how difficult a bullying problem may be to solve (this is often a resource issue—see below), the functional analysis of special situation incentives and consequences still must occur.  Too often, staff short-circuit the problem-solving process because they see no hope of solutions.  A more effective process, however, fully analyzes why the problem exists, what changes are needed, and then how those changes will be implemented.

   Resources.  At the school level, a consideration of resources often includes time, money, materials (e.g., books, videos, equipment), activities, people, space, and ideas or creativity.  Like incentives and consequences, assessment here involves analyzing individual, group, setting, and situational resources and how they are used.  But this assessment also identifies resources that exist, but are not being used; and other resources that are available—for example, from other schools, the district, or in the community—but have not been considered or used. 

   Thus, a resource analysis here looks at (a) what resources are available in or to the problem situation or setting; and (b) whether the existing resources are being used effectively, ineffectively, or not at all.  Critically, the “deployment” of existing resources must be part of this analysis.  For example, some student bullying occurs when certain teachers, who are supposed to monitor students as they pass through the hall between periods, do not consistently perform this responsibility.  While this does not “cause” the bullying, it certainly contributes to it, and it must become part of the global solution to the problem. 

   Similarly, some schools have teachers who are absolved of “hall duty” because of teacher contracts.  And yet, they still are impacted when students come into their classrooms not ready for immediate academic engagement—because they are emotionally or behaviorally unprepared due to a bullying incident in the hallways.  In many schools, we have seen these teachers “step up to the plate” to actively become part of the solution.  That is, these teachers decided that the “educational benefits” of their involvement were more important than not being involved because it was not contractually required.

   Peer GroupCharacteristics, Issues, and Factors.  As noted earlier, some peers passively (or actively) support some students’ bullying actions.  Passive support occurs, for example, when peers either ignore the bullying of others, or do not support others who are trying to stop a bullying situation. 

   More importantly here, though, is the fact that bullying is best addressed when student peer groups agree that bullying will not be tolerated anywhere in the school, and they take an active and concerted stand to prevent and respond immediately to such situations. 

   Given all of this, the inclusion of the peer group in the Special Situation Analysis process reinforces the reality that peer groups often directly or indirectly reinforce or support teasing, taunting, bullying, harassment, or physical aggression. 

   Assessment here, then, involves determining the presence, contribution, and impact of the peer group in these areas, as well as their willingness to become part of the solution.  If willing, a skills assessment follows to determine the peer group’s actual ability to exbibit the interactions needed to help prevent, diffuse, and/or disengage bullying and other precursor situations.  If needed, social skills training can teach these skills.  This can then be paired with activities that empower and reinforce peer leaders to use these skills in both bullying prevention and bully response situations. 

_ _ _ _ _

End of the School Year Special Situation Analyses

   As discussed earlier, a Special Situation Analysis begins by (a) identifying and functionally describing what appear to be the essential problems; and (b) systematically evaluating the characteristics and interactions within each of the components.  Then, as the data and analytic results include or exclude the involvement of specific components, the interdependencies of the remaining components are re-analyzed to objectively and validly reveal—as much as possible—the root causes of the existing problem.

   At this point:

  • High-probability-of-success services, supports, strategies, and/or interventions—that are directly linked to the interdependent root causes—are researched and identified;
  • A comprehensive Special Situation Intervention Action Plan is developed, written, and approved— specifying the goals and objectives, needed resources and training, people involved and implementation timelines, and short- and long-term success evaluations;
  • The prerequisite training and resource-acquisition activities are completed, and the services, supports, strategies, and/or interventions are implemented;
  • The short-term evaluations are completed, along with needed modifications, additions, mid-course corrections, and/or other changes; and
  • The long-term (or summative) evaluations are completed, and the services, supports, strategies, and/or interventions are faded out and discontinued, or maintained and generalized.

   In going back to the original theme of this Blog Series, if administrators and school leaders—who have analyzed their end-of-year discipline data—identify trends or results that implicate a Common School Area and/or Peer-Related Antisocial Interactions. . .

   We strongly encourage that they complete a Special Situation Analysis now, that they develop their Action Plan soon, and that they work toward implementing that Action Plan on the first day of the new school year.

   To accomplish this, the administrators and school leaders probably need to focus on only one Special Situation, and they will need to select one where the Special Situation process has a high probability of being successfully implemented at the beginning of the school year.

   The ultimate point here is that, without attention and intervention, a “true” Special Situation at the end of one school year is likely to re-emerge and continue starting at the beginning of the new year.

   Based on well-analyzed data, the summer is a perfect time to “knock one Special Situation out of the ballpark”—that is, to move in a strategic and concerted way to address (if not eliminate) one Special Situation from “re-emerging and continuing” into the next year.  Hopefully, this can then create the momentum needed for other situations to also be address. . . resulting in a cumulative effect that improves the safety and climate of the school, and the prosocial interactions of the students and staff.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

A Special Note about Cyberbullying

   Toward the beginning of Part I of this Blog Series, I described a recent consultation where I was helping three urban high schools to analyze their end-of-year discipline data and analyses.  During one conversation, it became apparent that the schools were reactively dealing with almost-daily “cyber-dramas” that were escalating into classroom disruptions, peer conflicts, and innumerable fights.  These situations were not only were negatively impacting school safety and climate, but they were necessitating time-consuming threat analyses, crisis-containment “Code Blues,” and post-incident interviews and debriefings.

   All of this was dominating the time of administrators, counselors, social workers, and school psychologists.  In fact, on some days, it was nearly impossible for these professionals to have a meeting. . . as one student “blow-up” after another created a series of constant interruptions.

   And all of this was residually impacting other students and many classroom teachers.

   As we completed our Special Situation, the Leadership Team realized that its Social and Emotional Learning program was not having “real-life” impact.  That is, it looked great on paper, but the time, staff, and process was not producing a social, emotional, or behavioral “return on investment.”  We are now in the Action Planning stage of the process with a hope that we will have definitive actions to implement on the first day of the new school year.

   Part of the Action Planning process has included a comprehensive understanding of how cyberbullying is part of the existing cyber-drama.  Below are some brief thoughts on this topic.

_ _ _ _ _

   Cyberbullying has been defined as the willful and repeated harm that is inflicted on a student through the use of computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices.  Cyberbullying includes e-mails, texts, blogs, social networking posts, videos and pictures, and other electronic messages that are intended to embarrass, ostracize, humiliate, bully, threaten, or harass one or more students.  Even though it occurs largely off campus, the vast majority of states have cyberbullying laws or policies that focus on school-aged students, and that require a written school policy and school sanctions.  This has occurred in response to a number of cyberbullying suicides, and research linking cyberbullying to low self‐esteem, suicidal thoughts, academic problems, school violence, delinquent behavior, and family problems.

   While involving elements of teasing, taunting, bullying, and harassment, cyberbullying is somewhat unique because (a) the victims often do not know who the bully is, or why they have been targeted; (b) an incident can involve entire schools, communities, states, and countries if the story, picture, or post “goes viral;” (c) the bullying may be easier—especially when the bully does not receive negative feedback, for example, from a group of by-standers; and (d) the bullying may be unintentionally more harmful given that the impact on a victim is not immediately visible. 

   Districts and schools need to have an explicit Cyberbullying section (perhaps, as a subset should of their Teasing and Bullying section) of the Student Handbook.  They also need to discuss their Cyberbullying policies and procedures with students and parents (from at least the Grade 3 level on) at the beginning of every school year.  Moreover, follow-up student training and discussion should occur in small classroom groups in this area—focusing on prevention, social problem-solving, and how to respond to direct and related acts of cyberbullying. 

   In the end, students must understand the potential effects of cyberbullying, that they will be held accountable if they are involved, that they need to inform an appropriate adult if they are targets (or know of other targets), and that the school has the right (and, in some states, are statutorily are required) to act—even if the cyberbullying occurs off-site.

   Said a different way, students need to know—relative to school discipline—that, as it relates to social media and cyberbullying in particular, they now live “in a 24/7 world.”  If their use of social media (including cyberbullying) has the potential to impact the climate and interactions within their school or district, administrators have the responsibility and right to act accordingly.

  While the ultimate goal is to prevent cyberbullying, schools still need to prepare a continuum of responses to deal with it strategically and definitively if the preventative activities are not successful.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _


   The discussion in Part I of this Blog Series focused on encouraging schools to evaluate their Social-Emotional Learning (SEL), Positive Behavioral Support System (PBSS), or school safety and discipline systems and outcomes from the school year that is now ending.

   Initially, we created a context to help schools to evaluate (with a goal of improving) their SEL programs by reviewing a number of recent national reports that surveyed educators about students’ behavioral problems in their schools, and other reports suggesting that bullying (including cyberbullying) is increasing in our schools nationwide.

   We then recommended that schools analyze their discipline data now so that they can identify large-scale school problems that have consumed significant amounts of staff time this past year. 

   To assist here, we identified a series of analyses and questions that schools can use to evaluate this year’s discipline data from their student information or data management systems.

   In this Part II of the Series, we described our Special Situation Analysis process, and applied it to analyzing and developing systemic interventions for school bullying.  The hope is that schools will use this process to develop and implement “prevention and early response” approaches now . . . for immediate roll-out on the first day of the new school year.

   In the upcoming Part III of this Series, we will use the Special Situation Analysis process to address cafeteria and bus situations.

_ _ _ _ _

   I hope that the information in this Series has been useful to you.  As always, I look forward to your thoughts and comments. 

   Please know that, even during the Summer, I am still available to provide a free hour of telephone consultation to those who want to discuss their student, school, and/or district needs. 

   Feel free to contact me at any time if there is anything that I can do to support your work.