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Updates Regarding Recent Bullying Concerns

April 5, 2021

 

En español

Superintendent Bonser shared an update regarding the first community conversations/listening rounds with elementary and secondary parents. Read update.


March 19, 2021

The Plano ISD School Board President shared a message announcing the parent, student, staff and community listening rounds. Read announcement.


March  16, 2021

Plano ISD Investigation Update and Action Steps

Exactly two weeks ago on March 2, 2021, the district was informed of an act of bullying reported to have taken place during an off-campus weekend sleepover in February. Upon receiving that report, an investigation was launched. Campus leaders and counselors took steps to ensure the safety and well-being of the student who made the complaint and informed our school resource officer of the report. The Plano Police Department launched a separate investigation, which is ongoing, and the district is fully cooperating with them in this process.

District policy mandates any internal investigation into allegations of bullying must be completed within ten business days after an initial report, absent extenuating circumstances. The district’s investigation of this off-campus event has been thorough, has been done with the cooperation of all parties involved in this incident, and it is now complete. The additional independent investigation into previous reports of bullying is ongoing.

While privacy laws prohibit us from sharing specific student disciplinary actions, Plano ISD’s anti-bullying policy and the Student Code of Conduct describe possible consequences and options for corrective action. When an incident of bullying is confirmed, the district notifies the  parents of the victim and of the student who engaged in bullying  and promptly responds by taking appropriate disciplinary action in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct.   

To date, the District has taken the following actions:

In addition to current policies and practices to prevent and mitigate instances of bullying, which include annual training for all staff and Social Emotional Learning for students, Plano ISD will take additional actions, including but not limited to:

  • Dr. Jennifer Miley, Executive Director of Student, Family and Community Services, will review all District policies and procedures regarding bullying and harassment, as well as the District Student Handbook and Code of Conduct;
  • Mr. Brian Lyons, Director of Diversity Equity and Inclusion, appointed February 3, 2021, will review all District policies and procedures regarding equity and inclusion, and training for staff and students;
  • District Diversity Advisory Committee to work with District administrators to develop a comprehensive plan to address diversity, equity and inclusion;
  • Listening rounds will be held with Administration and Board Members to address diversity, equity, inclusion, bullying and harassment to allow adequate time for District Administration and Board Members to actively listen to all stakeholders. (Board meeting public comments are limited to 3 minutes or less, which does not give adequate time or attention for the District to actively listen to our students and families, nor the opportunity to respond.);
  • Additional resources and enhanced staff training on restorative discipline, bullying, harassment, diversity, equity and inclusion;
  • Social Emotional Learning (SEL) opportunities and restorative training for all Plano ISD students; and
  • Enhancements and clarification of discrimination /bullying /harassment procedures and complaint process.

“I remain resolute in my conviction that bullying, harassment, threats or acts of racism against any Plano ISD student are unacceptable and will not be tolerated. The successful education of our students is built on a foundation of trust. Our job is to educate students, and to protect them as well,” Superintendent Sara Bonser said. 


March 11, 2021

Plano ISD is committed to providing all students with a safe and nurturing learning environment. If any student currently enrolled in our district does not feel safe and secure at school, we want to know about it. Plano ISD has resources and a communications process in place to assist families in discussing or reporting any concerns, including experiences with bullying, harassment, threats or acts of racism. We can act on these concerns when we know about them and, as a result, better serve our students and families. Read the full Parent Guide for Addressing Bullying/Harassment Concerns.


March 9, 2021

Plano ISD hosted a press conference to address bullying and harassment concerns. Read related press release.


March 8, 2021

Plano Independent School District is committed to taking swift action when acts of bullying or racism are reported. As the District reported last week, it began an immediate investigation of a parent’s concerns regarding an off-campus incident. The internal investigation process of these concerns must be thorough and timely. 

During the course of this investigation, the parent raised additional concerns regarding past allegations of bullying in the prior school year.  Out of an abundance of caution and deep concern for this student and their well-being, Plano ISD opened an additional investigation last week surrounding the parent’s allegations of bullying in 2019. The District will utilize an independent third party for the additional investigation. We look forward to any conclusions this review will provide.

Due to state and federal legal restrictions regarding confidentiality, Plano ISD is unable to release specific information, including any disciplinary actions resulting from the investigations. 

It is the District’s hope that the investigation conducted by the independent third-party will be concluded swiftly, and we will provide updated information upon completion.


March 7, 2021

The Plano ISD Board of Trustees issued a statement regarding recent bullying concerns. Read the full statement.


March 5, 2021

Plano ISD is providing the following information regarding allegations involving the off-campus conduct of students which was reported to the District on March 2, 2021. 

Plano ISD maintains detailed policies regarding bullying which have been closely followed in the investigation process throughout the week to ensure it gathered thorough and accurate information. Specifically, as required by state law and District policies, the District took the following actions:

  • Provided notice of an alleged incident of bullying to the parents or guardians of all parties immediately on the date of the report and continuing with daily communication and additional written notification.
  • The principal determined the allegations in the report, if proven, would constitute prohibited conduct and/or bullying as defined by Board policy. Therefore, the campus principal, with assistance from the District’s Administration, proceeded with an investigation beginning promptly on the date of the report. The investigation is currently pending and the District is working diligently to gather all information as quickly as possible while maintaining the integrity of the investigation process.
  • The principal also took prompt interim action calculated to support the victim and prevent bullying during the course of the investigation.
  • The District will continue to follow the required process for completion of the investigation and, if appropriate, additional action.

Due to legal restrictions regarding the confidentiality of student information, Plano ISD is unable to release specific student information, but it can confirm appropriate measures were promptly taken to protect the victim and to investigate the allegations.  

Plano ISD does not condone bullying, harassment, and/or threats against any student. It is the District’s hope and expectation that all parties work collaboratively to create a climate of mutual respect even in the midst of disagreement. 

In this regard, because District personnel have received numerous threats of violence against them personally, the District wants to clearly state that such threats will not be tolerated and will be referred to law enforcement for appropriate intervention.

It is the District’s goal and intention to work together with all stakeholders to address concerns, resolve disagreements, and move forward to serve the best interests of all Plano ISD students.


March 4, 2021

 

Superintendent Bonser
Superintendent Sara Bonser addresses recent community concerns regarding bullying. (watch video)


The Plano ISD administration is aware of recent bullying allegations, and is working with the campus and local law enforcement to actively investigate the matter. Our district does not tolerate or condone bullying or harassing behavior, and is taking prompt and remedial action to address concerns.

Campus leaders and counselors have been working closely and carefully with all involved students and their parents since the concerns regarding a non-school-related, off-campus  incident first reported on Tuesday, March 2. While we cannot discuss intervention or disciplinary measures as it relates to a specific student or students, our response to any behavioral concern is always in accordance with district policy and the Plano ISD Student Code of Conduct.

Students and families can always report concerns related to bullying, harassment, assault or other matters to Plano ISD as follows:

  • Contact the student’s teacher, campus principal, counselor or other District employee immediately. 
  • For student concerns regarding discrimination on the basis of sex, including sexual harassment or gender-based harassment, contact Title IX Coordinator Dr. Jennifer Miley, Executive Director for Student, Family and Community Service.  
  • Report concerns anonymously via the Plano ISD tip line.  
  • Anyone who has information or concerns involving a Plano ISD employee should contact Coordinator of Employee Relations James Dearing.
  • Any victim of a criminal act, such as assault, should immediately contact their local police department.   

In order to conduct a thorough investigation, it is critically important that reports include specific information regarding the allegations including, but not limited to, the name of the alleged victim(s), perpetrator(s) and witnesses; dates of the alleged events; location of the alleged events; any documents or other evidence supporting the allegations; and other information the reporter feels is relevant to the complaint. Without this information, the district’s ability to investigate and address the prohibited conduct is impaired. Plano ISD intends to fully comply with applicable state and federal laws and regulations as well as Board Policies in this regard.

Plano ISD prioritizes student safety and welfare and, in this regard, the district is taking prompt action to address the concerns and the student’s needs.