While nearly all states currently have laws that prohibit bullying, there is still much work to be done to ensure the safety of all children in the school environment. That’s the conclusion in the Analysis of State Bullying Laws and Policies, the U.S. Department of Education’s report of a yearlong study to assess the status of current state legislation regarding this important issue.
According to the report, only 16 states have enacted legislation specifically aimed at protecting children with disabilities, a segment of the student population that is at high risk for being bullied.
Other key findings as stated in the report’s Executive Summary are:
- Forty-six states have bullying laws and 45 of those laws direct school districts to adopt bullying policies. However, three of the 46 states prohibit bullying without defining the behavior that is prohibited.
- Thirty-six states include provisions in their education codes prohibiting cyberbullying or bullying using electronic media. Thirteen states specify that schools have jurisdiction over off-campus behavior if it creates a hostile school environment.
- Forty-one states have created model bullying policies, 12 of which were not mandated to do so under law. Three other states, including Hawaii, Montana, and Michigan also developed model policies in the absence of state bullying legislation.
- Among the 20 school district bullying policies reviewed in this study, districts located in states with more expansive legislation produced the most expansive school district policies. However, several school districts in states with less expansive laws also substantially expanded the scope and content of their policies beyond the minimum legal expectations.
For more information, access the full report at http://www2.ed.gov/rschstat/eval/bullying/state-bullying-laws/state-bullying-laws.pdf