AB 2291 Is Changing California’s Approach to Bullying

As numerous legal and civil rights organizations come together with the California Department of Education (CDE) to applaud Governor Jerry Brown’s recent assembly bill signings, strong attention has turned toward one of the most powerful legislation signed: Assembly Bill 2291: Bullying Prevention.

School administrators are probing how these new laws and events impact the safety of their students and staff, as well as their day-to-day implementations.

From Support to Prevention: How AB 2291 Impacts the Approach to Bullying

In the past, school safety assembly bills merely supported students who were facing bullying, harassment, and potential suicide.

AB 2291 goes beyond simple support services and helps prevent bullying.

The State Assembly and the CDE have finally discovered that they must monitor whether local education agencies have adopted policies that prohibit discrimination and harassment. In an effort to curb bullying and harassment in schools, AB 2291 amends section 32283.5 of the Education Code to require the CDE to post its training modules on its website and annually post an updated list of other available online training resources related to bullying or bullying prevention.

So, what prompted California’s Assembly Floor to change its state’s approach to prevent bullying?

According to data revealed by a recent Biennial Statewide Student Survey, Muslim students reported significantly higher rates of discrimination and bullying compared to other students. Of the American Muslim students surveyed, 53% reported being subjected to some form of bullying based on their religious identity. Results also unveiled that 32% of California students felt their problems were resolved after reporting to an adult.

“Every student deserves an opportunity to thrive in a safe learning environment,” said Reshma Shamasunder, Vice President of Program Strategy at Advancing Justice-LA. “However, students are often hesitant to report incidents of harassment in fear that teachers are not properly trained to intervene. AB 2291 will ensure that school staff are given the training and tools they need to address and prevent bullying.”

Each year, school districts are losing close to $276 million due to student absenteeism triggered by bullying—an astounding challenge that your school cannot afford to overlook. Annually, you are already challenged with the role to (first):

  • Establish a school culture of inclusion and respect that welcomes all students.
  • Reward students when positive behavior is demonstrated.
  • Ensure that the security staff/teachers/school psychologist are fully trained and aligned with California laws concerning bullying.
  • Leverage parent and community confidence in their school security/safety plans.

A large task to fulfill—but highly achievable! It will require a closer look at your current school safety plan to ensure that your staff is not left in the dark concerning anti-bullying laws and innovative solutions.

The Main Question: How Can You Meet AB 2291 and Accomplish Day-to-Day Tasks?

School administrators can actualize a prevailing strategy that helps you effortlessly meet the new mandates stemming from AB 2291 with a streamlined, all-in-one solution that tackles the new online training requirements and helps staff easily adopt the new procedures for preventing acts of bullying.

Removing Labels—Addressing Behaviors

“Using labels may suggest that bullying is purely the ‘fault’ of the child and allow us to ignore other factors that contribute to bullying behavior,” explains Clemson University’s Susan P. Limber, PhD. Although individual differences in temperament and personality may play a role in students’ involvement in bullying, there are many factors that make bullying more or less likely, such as peer influences, family dynamics, and school climates.

“To reduce school bullying, it’s important to focus on all factors,” Dr. Limber highlights.

Additionally, data from school psychologist studies underline the expanded consequence that occurs when teachers and staff inaccurately label a student as a bully or victim.

How can your educational and clinical staff accurately identify students, involve parents, and precisely focus on all factors mentioned?

The all-in-one solution has been discovered through ABE, the Alternative Behavior Educator, by thousands of schools nationwide with nearly a million students managed with accuracy and real-time data.

Through ABE, AB 2291 mandates are met, including any future amendments and dually educates the right staff/parents and trains the student engaging in the bullying behavior. ABE helps:

  • Accurately identify behaviors (see warning signs).
  • Involve the student in their behavior/accountability.
  • Set clear and enforceable rules and expectations.
  • Reward students for successful progress for positive behavior changes.

This all-in-one solution provides interactive software that emphasizes the importance of responsible behavior. Furthermore, ABE fortifies you and your staff with the tools to combat dropout rates, disproportionality, number of referrals, and ISS/ OSS assignments.

As noted, ABE empowers California school districts to focus on student behavior—not labels.

Bullying Prevention and Monitoring Hot Spots—Will Your Staff Be Well-Equipped to Meet the New AB 2291 Training?

“Location, location, location.”—A common real estate quote that brings heavy significance to every school premise in the California education system. Whether your building is a public or charter school, you must leverage an all-in-one solution that seamlessly educates and trains your security staff and teachers on certain locations within the school premises where adult presence is less and bullying/violence may occur.

AB 2291 is changing this very approach to preventing bullying by causing school administrators to innovate their school’s anti-bullying and prevention strategies, such as:

ScholarChip’s Campus Safety all-in-one system helps you keep at-risk visitors out of those hot spot areas and lets your staff know who is in your school, in real time.

Smart card reader technology stays one step ahead of AB 2291 and recent senate bill (SB) amendments, paired with the upcoming SB 390, in which your part-time security officers will now be required to complete specialized training alongside full-time officers.

With the ABE and innovation of Smart Card readers for secure door access, many California school districts are able to closely monitor those unmanned locations in real-time and experience the ease of onboarding their school’s security staff and teachers to the various assembly and senate bill training requirements.

AB 2291 New Mandates Can Lead to a Reimbursement for Your School District

Fortunately, the AB 2291 has also influenced the rethinking of California legislation financial benefits during this anti-bullying law revitalization. More attention has turned to the proper—and timely—funding of school modernization projects.

What does this mean for your school? It means that your decision to leverage the ABE all-in-one solution may lead to other reimbursements and funding for your school security plan and actions. The California Constitution requires the State to reimburse school districts for certain costs mandated by the AB 2291 and other state laws. Consequently, your school is positioned at the top of the funding opportunities when you procure a proven all-in-one solution that already demonstrates nationwide results.

Analyze, Save, and Engage—Gain Control of Your School Climate

As more assembly bills are passed and amended, your advantage to take authority in your school climate exists right now. Through ScholarChip’s overall school safety system, your school can converge and integrate all security needs, evolve with future legislation, and securely combine these technology advancements into one scalable approach for the best results, unique to your school district.

ScholarChip’s simple and paperless all-in-one ABE system saves time and money by providing sequential and evidence-based interventions. Most importantly, ABE alleviates intensive curriculum training yet provides teachers and administration with an immediate tool for behavior correction and exceeds the AB 2291 mandates.

Are you ready to gain accurate data about your school’s population, student well-being, decision-making tools, and improve your district’s yearly progress quickly, easily, and effectively? Excellent! We invite you to contact our specialists to actualize an all-in-one solution towards a safer and more secure environment for this school year and beyond.