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School Culture and Climate

Bullying Prevention

The HCPSS is committed to providing a safe and nurturing environment for all students. Preventing bullying is an important part of this goal.

Our schools provide a variety of initiatives to teach students, families and staff about bully prevention. Through character education programs, such as Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) and Developmental Assets, students learn conflict resolution and assertiveness skills while further developing empathy and respect. Professional development for staff and information provided for families also assist us in our efforts to keep students safe from bullying and harassment.

If you believe your child is being bullied, please refer to the Student/Parent Handbook available on the website or at your child’s school. In addition, please be sure to complete a Bullying, Harassment or Intimidation on our reporting page. By working together, we can prevent bullying.

Definition of Bullying

Intentional conduct, including verbal, physical or written conduct, or an intentional electronic communication that creates a hostile educational environment by substantially interfering with a student or staff member’s educational benefits, opportunities or performance, or with their physical or psychological well-being. Intentional conduct is also considered bullying if it:

  • Is motivated by an actual or perceived personal characteristic including race, national origin, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, ancestry, physical attributes, socioeconomic status, familial status, or physical or mental ability or disability.
  • Is threatening or seriously intimidating.
  • Occurs on school property, at a school activity or event, or on a school bus; or, substantially disrupts the orderly operation of a school or workplace.

Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports (PBIS)

"PBIS" is short for Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports. It is a nationally recognized and research based process that supports positive learning environments. PBIS is used interchangeably with SWPBS, which is short for "School-wide Positive Behavior Supports."

PBIS is a framework or approach for assisting school personnel in adopting and organizing evidence-based behavioral interventions into an integrated continuum through defining, teaching, and acknowledging behavioral expectations. By reinforcing positive behaviors, schools find that teachers spend more time teaching, as class disruptions, office referrals and suspensions are reduced.

PBIS is not a packaged curriculum, a scripted intervention, or a stand-alone strategy. PBIS is a prevention-oriented way for school personnel to (a) organize evidence-based practices, (b) improve their implementation of those practices using data, and (c) maximize academic and social behavior outcomes for students. PBIS supports the success of all students.

PBIS uses a three-tiered prevention logic that requires all students to receive supports at the universal or primary tier. If the behavior of some students is not responsive, more intensive behavioral supports, (targeted or secondary tier) or a highly individualized plan (intensive or tertiary tier) are provided. View Maryland’s Three-Tiered Instructional and PBIS Framework.

The Howard County Public School System has been involved in PBIS since the 1999-2000 school year. Currently 55 of the 74 Howard County public schools participate in the PBIS initiative. Please visit your child’s school website or contact the school for specific information about PBIS in that school. See a list of schools that participate in the program.

PBIS Maryland and Maryland Recognition Awards