Home | School Safety Law | Anti-Bullying Policies - Part 1

Anti-Bullying Policies - Part 1

Font size: Decrease font Enlarge font

The Department of Education highlights components found in current state laws on bullying. States and local school districts can use these examples as technical assistance in drafting effective anti-bullying laws, regulations, and policies.

Anti-Bullying Policies:

 Examples of Provisions in State Laws

 

In response to requests for assistance by state and local officials, educators, and policymakers, we summarize below examples of key components of state anti-bullying laws.  This document serves as technical assistance for those stakeholders looking to develop or revise anti-bullying legislation or policies.  The Department has organized the key components into eleven categories for convenience.  We include citations to state laws that illustrate the key components we identified, but we do not endorse any particular laws.   

Additional examples are included at the end of the document, but these citations are not intended to be comprehensive.  Many other state and local laws and policies may provide helpful guidance on developing effective anti-bullying policies.  As part of our technical assistance effort to disseminate useful information on this important topic, we welcome other examples of laws and policies that may be working effectively to address bullying in schools.  States and local educational agencies (LEAs) should seek the guidance of state and local legal officials to ensure that the legislation is consistent with all applicable federal and state laws.  The Department also plans to release a compendium of all current state laws and a study of their implementation.  

The following are examples of components found in current state laws on bullying:

I.          Purpose Statement

·         Outlines the range of detrimental effects bullying has on students, including impacts on student learning, school safety, student engagement, and the school environment.

·         Declares that any form, type, or level of bullying is unacceptable, and that every incident needs to be taken seriously by school administrators, school staff (including teachers), students, and students’ families.

·         Example[i]:

o   Oklahoma:  Okla. Stat. Ann. Tit. 70, § 24-100.3 (2009):  “The Legislature finds that bullying has a negative effect on the social environment of schools, creates a climate of fear among students, inhibits their ability to learn, and leads to other antisocial behavior.  Bullying behavior has been linked to other forms of antisocial behavior, such as vandalism, shoplifting, skipping and dropping out of school, fighting, and the use of drugs and alcohol. . . .  Successful programs to recognize, prevent, and effectively intervene in bullying behavior have been developed and replicated in schools across the country. These schools send the message that bullying behavior is not tolerated and, as a result, have improved safety and created a more inclusive learning environment.”

II.       Statement of Scope

·        Covers conduct that occurs on the school campus, at school-sponsored activities or events (regardless of the location), on school-provided transportation, or through school-owned technology or that otherwise creates a significant disruption to the school environment.

·        Example[ii]:

o   Indiana:  Ind. Code Ann. § 20-33-8-13.5 (b) (2010), Disciplinary Rule Requirements:  “The discipline rules [related to bullying]…must apply when a student is:  (1) on school grounds immediately before or during school hours, immediately after school hours, or at any other time when the school is being used by a school group; (2) off school grounds at a school activity, function, or event; (3) traveling to or from school or a school activity, function or event; or (4) using property or equipment provided by the school.”

III.     Specification of Prohibited Conduct

·         Provides a specific definition of bullying that includes a clear definition of cyberbullying.  The definition of bullying includes a non-exclusive list of specific behaviors that constitute bullying, and specifies that bullying includes intentional efforts to harm one or more individuals, may be direct or indirect, is not limited to behaviors that cause physical harm, and may be verbal (including oral and written language) or non-verbal.  The definition of bullying can be easily understood and interpreted by school boards, policymakers, school administrators, school staff, students, students’ families, and the community.

·         Is consistent with other federal, state and local laws.  (For guidance on school districts’ obligations to address bullying and harassment under federal civil rights laws, see the Dear Colleague Letter:  Harassment and Bullying, issued by the Department’s Office for Civil Rights on October 26, 2010, available at http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/letters/colleague-201010.pdf.)

·         Prohibited Conduct also includes:

(1)   Retaliation for asserting or alleging an act of bullying.

(2)   Perpetuating bullying or harassing conduct by spreading hurtful or demeaning material even if the material was created by another person (e.g., forwarding offensive e-mails or text messages).

·         Examples[iii] [iv]:

o   Florida:  Fla. Stat. Ann. 1006.147(3) (2010):  “(a) ‘Bullying’  means systematically and chronically inflicting physical hurt or psychological distress on one or more students and may involve:  (1) Teasing; (2) Social exclusion; (3) Threat; (4) Intimidation; (5) Stalking; (6) Physical violence; (7) Theft; (8) Sexual, religious, or racial harassment; (9) Public humiliation; or (10) Destruction of property. . . . (d) The definitions of ‘bullying’ and ‘harassment’ include: (1) Retaliation against a student or school employee by another student or school employee for asserting or alleging an act of bullying or harassment…[and] (2) Perpetuation of [bullying or harassing] conduct … by an individual or group with intent to demean, dehumanize, embarrass, or cause physical harm to a
student. . . .”

o   Kansas:  Kan. Stat. Ann.  § 72-8256.C.2 (2009):  “‘Cyberbullying’ means bullying by use of any electronic communication device through means including, but not limited to, e-mail, instant messaging, text messages, blogs, mobile phones, pagers, online games and websites.”

IV.    Enumeration of Specific Characteristics

·         Explains that bullying may include, but is not limited to, acts based on actual or perceived characteristics of students who have historically been targets of bullying, and provides examples of such characteristics.

·         Makes clear that bullying does not have to be based on any particular characteristic. 

·         Examples[v]:

o   North Carolina:   N.C. Gen. Stat. § 115C-407.15(a) (2010):  “Bullying or harassing behavior includes, but is not limited to, acts reasonably perceived as being motivated by any actual or perceived differentiating characteristic, such as race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, socioeconomic status, academic status, gender identity, physical appearance, sexual orientation, or mental, physical, developmental, or sensory disability, or by association with a person who has or is perceived to have one or more of these characteristics.”

o     Washington:  Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 28A.300.285.2 (2010):  “Nothing in this section requires the affected student to actually possess a characteristic that is a basis for the…bullying.”



[i] For additional examples of purpose statements, see:  105 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. 5/27-23.7.a (2010); Iowa Code § 280.28.1 (2008); Md. Code Ann., Educ. § 7-424 (2010); Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 388.132 (2009); N.J. Stat. Ann. § 18A:37.13 (2010); Or. Rev. Stat. § 339.353 (2009); Tenn. Code Ann. § 49-6-1014 (2010); W. Va. Code Ann. § 18-2C-1 (2009).

 

[ii] For additional examples of statements of scope, see:  Ark. Code Ann. § 6-18-514.2 (2009); Ga. Code Ann. § 20-2-751.4 (2010); 105 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. 5/27-23.7.a (2010); 2010 Mass. Adv. Legis. Serv. Ch. No. 92-2010 (Lexis Nexis 2010); Md. Code Ann., Educ. § 7-424 (2010).

 

[iii] For additional examples of bullying definitions, see:  Del. Code Ann. Tit. 14, § 4112D.a (2010); Kan. Stat. Ann. § 72-8256 (2009);  105 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. 5/27-23.7(b) (2010).

[iv] For additional examples of cyberbullying definitions, see:  Iowa Code § 280.28.2 (a) (2008); Md. Code Ann., Educ. § 7-424.3 (2010); 2010 Mass. Adv. Legis. Serv. Ch. No. 92-2010 (Lexis Nexis 2010); N.J. Stat. Ann. § 18A 37.14.2 (2010); Okla. Stat. Ann. Tit. 70, § 24-100.3 (2009).

 

[v] For additional examples of characteristic enumeration, see:  105 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. 5/27-23.7.a (2010); Iowa Code § 280.28 (2008); Or. Rev. Stat. § § 339.351.3(2009).

 

 

  • email Email to a friend
  • print Print version
  • Plain text Plain text
Tags
No tags for this article
More from School Safety Law
Previous
Ohio School Safety Task Force Recommendations
Recommendations and resources address school safety plans and operations, training and local partnerships to manage school-based critical incidents, and mental health issues....
Pennsylvania Safe Schools Bill Signed Into Law
Senate Bill 10, introduced by Senator Scarnati, provides grants to Pennsylvania schools and municipalities to address the issue of school violence and improve school safety....
H.R. 2269: Multi-Hazard School Disaster Planning and Response
Allow funds provided under the Matching Grant Program for School Security to be used to improve information sharing between law enforcement and schools, and for other purposes...
NASRO Holds 23rd Annual School Safety Conference
The conference offers an opportunity to complete training, visit an exhibit hall with latest innovations, and interact with SROs, school administrators, sheriffs and chiefs of police from the U.S. and around the world....
National Center for Campus Public Safety
Bringing together all forms of campus public safety, professional associations, advocacy organizations, community leaders, and others to improve and expand services on the campuses of colleges and universities....
Federal Drug and Alcohol Law
Determining how to legally access information about the identity, diagnosis, prognosis, or treatment of any patient in any program regulated or assisted by the federal government requires practitioners to work through a series of questions. ...
Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act
In exchange for federal funding, IDEIA requires states to provide “free, appropriate public education” and contains provisions regarding the confidentiality of special education records....
Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA)
The PPRA requires schools receiving federal funding to obtain parental consent before requiring students to participate in any survey, analysis or evaluation funded by DOE that reveals certain information....
image
SROs and Information Sharing
The Navigating Information Sharing (NIS) Toolkit was created to help School Resource Officers and all other service providers in a school-community partnership....
Coalition Urges LAUSD to Protect Children from Sexual Abuse
Policy changes designed to protect children and expose abusers were presented by a coalition of attorneys representing 65 children allegedly sexually abused by teachers at Miramonte Elementary....
College Presidents Take Stand on Gun Violence
Since the Newtown shooting, 350 college presidents have come together to sign a letter calling for political leaders to take concrete steps to prevent gun violence. ...
Frequently Asked Questions Pertaining to FERPA
FERPA is a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all educational agencies and institutions that receive funds under any U.S. Department of Education program....
School EOPs must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act
Emergency Operations Plans must address how the school will provide auxiliary aids and services such as interpreters, captioning, and accessible information technology to ensure effective communication....
Florida Lawmakers Want Safety Alarms in Day-Care Vehicles
Florida Rep. Lori Berman filed the "Haile Brockington Act," named after the Delray Beach toddler who died in 2010 after she was forgotten for nearly six hours in the back of a hot day-care van....
Anti-Bullying Expert Offers New Book, Toolkit and Radio Show
For administrators, the Bullying Prevention Toolkit provides instructions for developing policies and procedures, how to report and investigate, sample definitions and a sample anti-bullying policy....
Next