Senate Bill 427 ■ Anti-Cyberbullying Act
In a nutshell, this bill addresses a type of bullying that existing law does not address: cyberbullying. Existing law specifically applies to schoolyard bullying. More and more, we are hearing that bullying that occurs away from school – on home computers, mobile phones and iPads for example – creates a hostile environment at school for the boy or girl who is the target of the torment. This bill says that type of off-campus bullying can be subject to school discipline.
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Current law requires school districts to adopt a policy defining & prohibiting bullying by pupils.
This bill says the definition must include bullying by electronic means.
requires the Department of Public Instruction to write a model school policy on bullying, which it did. That model school policy contains 10 required components, which are listed here
. Items 8 through 10 make reference to school-related events, school property, and school vehicles where bullying is prohibited. This bill
adds Item 11, which provides that DPI’s model school policy must contain a requirement that a school board maintain records on the number and types of bullying incidents and the discipline imposed on the offender. The school board must prepare an annual incident report and post it to its web site. This bill
adds Item 12 which (in the amendment described below) provides that DPI’s model school policy must contain a statement that a school board may discipline a pupil if the bullying creates a hostile environment at school for the pupil being bullied or substantially disrupts the orderly operation of a school or school-related event.
Current law makes it a misdemeanor to use a computerized communication system to frighten, intimidate, threaten, abuse or harass another person. The language talks about “sending” and “receiving” messages.
This bill adds “posting” and “viewing” to make sure that the law applies to messages posted on walls or bulletin boards for many eyes to view.
Senate Amendment 1 by Senator Cullen
This amendment strengthens the language relating to bullying that occurs away from school grounds, at school functions, and in school vehicles.
This amendment requires DPI’s model school policy to contain a statement that says a school board may prohibit bullying and reasonably discipline pupils who bully away from school and school activities “if the bullying creates a hostile environment at school for the pupil bullied or substantially disrupts the orderly operation of a school or school-related event.”
This amendment also makes the record-keeping of bullying incidents and disciplinary actions apply to all incidents of bullying, not just cyberbullying.