Do you know what your local anti-bullying law says?

11 elements of good anti-bullying legislation, according to the US government.

How effective are your state's anti-bullying laws

The United States government through the Department of Health and Human Services has put out a very useful website – This website is filled with useful information.

One of the things I think is particularly helpful is the page – key components in anti-bullying laws which lay out what a good anti-bullying law should include. There are apparently 11 key elements they think should be included. See:

There is also an interactive map which allows you to click on your state to see what the your local law says about bullying:  Do you know what your state law says about bullying?

As well as a link to a page describing what federal laws may be invoked to help someone who is being bullied.  This is useful because it includes not only what a school is required to do under the laws but who you should contact if they don’t.

What I want to focus on here is the 11 key elements. Good anti-bullying legislation includes the following 11 elements:  1) Statement of purpose – in other words, why this law is needed

2) State of scope – where and under what circumstances do schools have jurisdiction over bullying behavior, when do they not – this is important because when it isn’t clear, cops and schools can claim they aren’t responsible leaving no one responsible. Making it clear when exactly a school is responsible helps eliminate that problem.

3) Specify prohibited conduct – If the law isn’t specific then again, it can be claimed some particular behavior doesn’t qualify or things that aren’t bullying may be considered bullying. Retaliation for reporting bullying must be included in the specification.

4) May Include – it is important that while the specified prohibited conduct is clear, the law must include leeway for the above not being limited to that, since bullying includes a lot of grey area.

5) Development of school bullying policies – School boards must be compelled to have an anti-bullying policy, otherwise many won’t.

6) What must be included in a bullying policy – the law must make it clear what needs to be included at a minimum, like who should take the reports of bullying, how to make reports, who investigates and what time frames are allowed for investigation, what written records are required, sanctions and referrals for bullying, etc.

7) Review of policies – the state DofE should have the right to review local policies for compliance

8) Communication Plan – this is really part of #6 – the policy should include how the policy will be communicated to students, staff and parents.

9) Training and Preventative Education – Laws should require training of all school personnel and students.

10) Transparent monitoring – law should require school districts to report bullying statistics and make them public

11) Statement of right and legal recourse – the law is meaningless unless there are consequences if a school district does not do this. The public must have a right to sue for redress if the local district fails to provide protection to students.

Based on the above – how does your state rank? 

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