Texas School District Takes Action to Prevent Identity-based Bullying in Schools

Statement by IDRA, Round Rock ISD, Black Parents and Families Collective, and Access Education RRISD

(Round Rock – May 17, 2024) Last night, Round Rock ISD acted on its commitment to ensure a safe, welcoming school climate for all students by passing a comprehensive policy to prevent and respond to bullying and harassment in its schools. The policy explicitly provides protections for students targeted for identity-based bullying, sending a strong message to students, families, and educators that all students deserve dignity and belonging in school. 

“At Round Rock ISD we are not only proactive for our students but responsive to the pressing need to enhance our current bullying policy to explicitly include identity-based bullying,” said Kayren Gray, Round Rock ISD’s interim chief equity officer. “By doing so, we reaffirm our commitment to a truly inclusive environment where every student is respected and protected.” 

The revision updates current policy to establish a clear framework for conducting and documenting bullying investigations, providing supportive measures to impacted students, increasing communication and transparency to impacted families, and incorporating restorative responses to bullying incidents.

“This policy enhancement will not only address and deter discrimination but also extend education and provide restorative support for our students and families, fostering a culture where all students thrive for simply being who they are,” Gray said.

The policy update was initiated by Board Vice President Tiffanie Harrison, who herself has experienced threats and racial harassment during her time as a trustee. 

“Our sacred duty is to ensure every student learns and grows in a safe, educational environment,” Trustee Harrison said. “Research shows that when students face threats in school, their learning suffers. We create environments where students can excel and flourish by proactively and thoroughly addressing identity-based bullying. I am proud that Round Rock ISD has passed this policy, and I encourage districts across Texas to do the same.”

The district worked closely with IDRA and community-based partners to develop the updated policy, implementing feedback from students and the community throughout the process. 

“Our children deserve to have a policy in place that truly works to keep them safe and protected,” said Ashley Walker, a Round Rock parent and co-leader of Black Parents and Families Collective. “Round Rock ISD prides itself on being a district of innovation, and at this moment we can truly say that as the first district in Texas to adopt such a policy, that they are living up to that promise.”

“This policy is essential for ensuring the safety and well-being of all students,” said Shannon Probe, a Round Rock parent and board member of Access Education RRISD. “It is crucial that our district takes proactive measures to prevent identity-based bullying and responds effectively when incidents occur, fostering trust and participation in creating a safer school environment.”

Identity-based bullying deprives students of educational opportunities and may, alone or in connection with a pattern of behavior, create a discriminatory hostile learning environment under state or federal law. Passed on the eve of the 70th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision, Round Rock ISD’s updated policy honors the legacy of the brave students, families and advocates who helped enshrine the right to equal education for all. 

“With instances of identity-based bullying, harassment, and hate crimes on the rise, efforts to prevent and respond to bullying must account for the specific ways that young people are targeted and the magnified harm that students and school communities experience when bullying is motivated by bias,” said Paige Duggins-Clay, J.D., IDRA chief legal analyst.

“We commend Round Rock ISD for taking action to prevent, recognize and end identity-based bullying before the behavior escalates into a more serious school safety threat or civil rights violation,” said Duggins-Clay.

Effectively addressing bullying and harassment is critical to ensuring school safety, supporting student well-being and mental health, and creating a positive school environment. 

This policy was developed through IDRA’s new SEEN Model Policy Shop, a resource designed for advocates and allies to implement education policy within their communities. 

To learn more or seek assistance advocating for other school communities to adopt policies to address identity-based bullying, visit the IDRA SEEN Model Policy Shop. Additional resources, including a comprehensive literature review and strategies for schools, educators, and students to identify, address, and prevent bullying and harassment, are available in IDRA’s Interrupting Bullying and Harassment in Schools – Online Technical Assistance Toolkit.


IDRA Media Contact: Thomas Marshall III, M.Ed., IDRA policy communications strategist (thomas.marshall@idra.org)

IDRA is a national non-profit organization based in San Antonio that, for over 50 years, has advocated educational justice through legal and policy advocacy, research, community engagement, and student and educator leadership development. Our mission to achieve equal educational opportunity for every child through strong public schools that prepare all students to access and succeed in college. Learn more and access resources at www.idra.org and www.idraseen.org.

My Groups

You are not part of any groups. Click here to join one.

Latest News

Translate »