Referral Protocol for Suspected Bullying
Professionals who work with children may use this protocol to identify information and resources that are available to support bullied students and their families.
Step 1: Assess the Problem
Gather information about the situation and determine if bullying or harassment has occurred.
- What happened?
- Did the child experience bullying, harassment, conflict or something else?
- If bullying, what role did the child play in the bullying situation (target, bystander or perpetrator)?
- How has this experience affected the child?
Step 2: Inform and Support
What type of information and support does the child or family need?
Provide appropriate information about the bullying dynamic, safety planning and information about how adults can support and follow-up with involved students.
Step 3: Refer for Additional Support, if appropriate
Would the child or family benefit from social/emotional evaluation or support?
If the child is experiencing physical symptoms or emotional distress, an assessment may be warranted. Refer the child/family to the appropriate professional for evaluation and support.
Step 4: Inform of complaint processes, if appropriate
Does the behavior violate criminal law, civil law or professional standards of practice?
If a crime was committed, parents or school administrators may file a police report. If a child’s civil rights were violated, parents may file a formal complaint with the US ED or PHRC. PDE accepts complaints about educator misconduct. An attorney can help a family determine if a civil lawsuit is warranted.
Step 5: Provide advocacy information
Would the child or family benefit from additional support in advocating for the child’s needs?
Provide information about victim services or other advocacy options.