Bullying: What students should know and can do

Everyone has a role to play in bullying prevention and response, and to promote a culture of respect, responsibility and resiliency. All students should understand that bullying is not acceptable. There is information here for all students involved in bullying situations geared toward solutions.

​Report an incident​If you witness bullying at school, report it immediately to an adult in the school. The principal will be informed and initiate an investigation​​​. You can also use our feedback form to report an incident anonymously (we require an email address). Please indicate the school where the incident happened. The complex area/school will be notified.​​




Understand what bullying is so you can better identify it.

  • “Bullying” — any written, verbal, graphic, or physical act that a student or group of students exhibits toward other particular student(s) and the behavior causes mental or physical harm to the other student(s); and is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive that it creates an intimidating, threatening, or abusive educational environment for the other student(s).
  • “Cyberbullying” — electronically transmitted acts that a student has exhibited toward another student or employee of the department which causes mental or physical harm to the other student(s) or school personnel and is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive that it creates an intimidating, threatening, or abusive educational environment.

Be respectful of others, responsible for your actions, and resilient in adversity.

  • All students are encouraged to be respectful and empathetic.
  • Do not be goaded into behavior you don’t agree with.
  • Develop and pursue your passions, talents and skills. These confidence builders can help you avoid the many pitfalls of bullying, and be a model against it.

Talk with your teacher, principal or other trusted adult about bullying. Ask how you can be part of the solution. Student-led efforts to reduce bullying provide peer leadership that other kids may be more inclined to model and follow.


If you see bullying or are being bullied:

  1. Report it right away to your teacher, school counselor, principal or other trusted adult at the school. Reporting may be done verbally or by phone or email. Your school may also have a reporting system set up for the students in your school. You may also report an incident ​using our feedback form, which will be forwarded to the complex area/school — please indicate the name of your school, with key details: When it happened, where it happened, what happened, and who was involved. The school will use this information to follow up with the incident.
    • Additionally, if cyberbullying is involved relating to social media, connect with the resources here to report incidents directly to the application(s) being used.
  2. Be more than a bystander. Bullying happens when communities of people allow it to happen. From StopBullying.gov, here are tips​ you can use to reduce the impact of bullying:
    • Be their friend. Kids can help someone who's been bullied by simply being nice to them at another time. Being friendly can go a long way toward letting them know that they're not alone. [video]
    • Tell a trusted adult. An adult can help stop bullying by intervening while it's in progress, stopping it from occurring or simply giving the person being bullied a shoulder to lean on. [video]
    • Help them get away. There are a few simple, safe ways children can help the person being bullied get away from the situation. Do not put yourself in harm's way. ​[video]
      • Focus the attention on something else
      • A bystander can offer a way for the person being bullied to leave the scene by saying something like, "Mr. Smith needs to see you right now," or "Come on, we need you for our game."
      • Never use violence to help them get away.
    • Set a good example. If a child knows not to bully others, then other students will follow their example. To help even more, children can actively participate in anti-bullying activities and projects. [video]
    • Don’t give bullying an audience. If one of your friends or peers begins to bully someone, don’t encourage the behavior by giving it an audience. Instead of laughing or supporting it, let them know that such behavior isn't entertaining. [video]

What happens next?
When a report of bullying, cyberbullying and/or harassment has been received at the school, this is what happens:

  1. The principal or his/her designee will initiate an investigation to determine if a Hawaii Administrative Rules (HAR) Chapter 19 violation occurred. Chapter 19 is Hawaii state law that governs student misconduct. A good faith effort will be made to provide timely information to the parents involved about the school’s investigation.
  2. Upon completion of the investigation, the principal or designee shall determine whether the report of bullying, harassment and/or cyberbullying is substantiated as defined by Chapter 19:
    • Substantiated HAR Chapter 19 offenses are those that have been committed on school grounds, on Department transportation or during a Department-sponsored activity on or off school property.
    • Non-substantiated HAR Chapter 19 offenses are those that have occurred after school hours, during the weekend, on or at non-Department property or events. Chapter 19 consequences cannot be applied. However, this does not preclude the school from providing other types of consequences, interventions and supports for the offenders, victims and bystanders.
  3. If an incident is substantiated, the principal or designee will determine appropriate disciplinary actions, interventions and supports for the offender(s). Interventions and supports to the victims and bystanders are also provided based on the needs of the students.
    • In determining disciplinary actions, the principal or designee shall consider the following factors: Intention of the offender, the nature and severity of the offense, the impact of the offense on others including whether the action was committed by an individual or a group of individuals such as the gang, the age of the offender, and if the offender was a repeat offender.
    • HAR Chapter 19 disciplinary action options include the following: correction and conference with student, detention, crisis removal, individualized instruction related to student’s problem behaviors, in-school suspension, interim alternate education setting, loss of privileges, parent conferences, time in office, suspension of 1 to 10 days, suspension of 11 or more days, Saturday school, disciplinary transfer, referral to alternative education programs, dismissal or restitution. Students shall be counseled in addition to any disciplinary action taken.
    • Examples of interventions and supports include, but are not limited to, school counseling, peer mediation, conflict resolution, social skills training, parental involvement, and problem solving skills training.
  4. The principal or designee shall document the substantiated bullying, harassment or cyberbullying incident in the Department’s Student Support System database (eCSSS​), which allows schools and complexes to identify, monitor and track student concerns over time.


​Anti-Bullying Work

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Contact Information

Communications Branch

Phone: (808) 784-6200

Email: doeinfo@k12.hi.us

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