Bullying Laws

Anti bullying legislation has only been a recent occurrence in the past few years. As bullying as become more of a focus in the media, states are doing what they can to create laws to protect the victims and establish proper punishment for those who choose to bully.

These legislation laws are not always easily passed and have faced some controversy in the past. But as states, schools and the government push forward on the issue, more reform will be made to make things fair for everyone involved.

United States Legislation

49 states have passed anti bullying legislation since 1999. Some of the stand outs over history in regards to US legislation:

  • Georgia was the first state to pass anti-bullying laws in 1999.
  • It was subsequently strengthened in 2010 with the passing of a bill allowing those who have been accused of bullying a student to be reassigned to a new school.
  • Montana is the only state without any legislation.
  • North Dakota was greatly praised for the law they passed in 2011, not only defining bullying but outlining preventative measures for public schools to take
  • New Jersey currently has the strictest laws of all states, in which each school has to report every case to the State and the State will grade the school based on policies and incidents. Each school must also have a prevention plan in place.

49 states have passed anti bullying legislation since 1999.

The Key Components of State Laws

The government website, StopBullying.gov, gives some ideas of what the key components should be when drafting a new law to pass in the state. These include:

  • An outline of exactly how vast the detrimental effects of bullying can be.
  • Declaration that any type of bullying in unacceptable, for any reason.
  • A statement of the scope of the law; does it cover just in the classroom, or school sponsored events, on school transportation or even online? This is important to make clear.
  • Providing a specific definition that includes cyberbullying, as it is often the case that when not included, the area of bullying online becomes gray in the matter of law.
  • Making clear that bullying does not have to be about any particular characteristic.
  • A procedure for investigating and responding to bullying cases.
  • A plan for prevention methods and overall training.

bullying bystanders

Federal Law in the U.S.

There are no federal laws in the United States that address bullying directly, however there are other laws about discrimination that can be looked to in these cases. In the situation where bullying and harassment overlap, federally funded organizations do have to look into the issue. This includes colleges and universities.

If it is the case that there is a bullying and harassment issue on campus, the school should take part in helping to determine the consequences for the bully, provide support to the victim, limit interaction between the two and monitor the areas where these incidents occurred.

European Legislation

America is not the only country to have anti bullying legislation in place. Head teachers are given the power here via the Education and Inspections Act of 2006. They are responsible for promotion proper behavior and self-discipline, for regulating student conduct and for deciding upon the rules in the classroom. If an incident comes up, parents and the school itself must be notified in writing.

Anti-Bullying Legislation for LGBTQ Students

National attention was brought to legislation after the suicide of Tyler Clementi, a Rutgers student who was bullied for being gay. The “It Gets Better” project, which was a huge national push to reach out to young LGBTQ students to help them find their way, was actually born of this incident. The previously mentioned strict New Jersey laws were also implemented after the tragedy.

Although there’s no specific legislation towards LGBTQ students specifically, it is hoped that the overall legislations will properly cover bullying of all kind, no matter what the reason.

Anti-Bullying Legislation for Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying can be a tricky area as it does not take place in the classroom and is harder to monitor and control. It is defined as “willful and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices.” The problem with cyberbullying is the potential for it to occur 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Right now, very few states have any legislature on this. California did pass a law directly related in 2008, that allows school administrators the right to discipline bullies whether the incidents are happening online or offline.

North Carolina has made it effective since 2012 that students cannot bully teachers, even online. A student can face jail time or a $1,000 fine if found to be cyberbullying employees.

Although there’s no specific legislation towards LGBTQ students specifically, it is hoped that the overall legislations will properly cover bullying of all kind, no matter what the reason.

Controversy

There has been some controversy surrounding the idea of any anti bullying legislation laws. Some feel that the reasons behind laws being passed are unjustified. Others feel that although the laws have some substance, they don’t help in providing schools with the financial help and the proper training to actually make an impact.

Overall, the controversy is minimal and many are trying to rectify such issues by rewriting and creating amendments to already passed laws to give more in the way of victim counseling, funded training and better definitions of bullying overall.

ageism

How to Use Anti-Bullying Law as a Parent

If you are a parent or a care-take for a child who does seem to be involved in bullying, whether the victim or the aggressor, it is important to speak immediately with whoever is in authority at the school they attend. This includes cyber-bullying; though not every school can or will get involved in the case of bullying online, you might be surprised on the off chance that they can help in some way.

It is best to use communication first before pushing towards any legislation laws, but if the problem cannot be resolved in this way or with discipline from the school then the next steps would be to bring the issue to the Board of Education. In terms of federally funded schools like college campuses, you can reach out to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, remembering that often you’ll only have a case if the bullying and definition of harassment go hand in hand in the situation.

The process of prosecution in terms of bullying cases can be long and therefore trying to work things out beforehand is often the bet answer. However, it is good to know that there are laws in place for when more drastic measures need to be taken to resolve a problem. In the end, it’ll make everyone take bullying more seriously when they realize that it’s not just fundamentally wrong, but breaking a law.

Cyberbullying and Australia– A Guide

Cyberbullying isn’t just a fad- it’s become a way of life. No longer do bullies wait until you get to school or work to torment you, they disturb you in your home, during dinner, while you sleep and even while you drive. You are unable to find safety as this type of abuse lasts all

Read more

The Truth About Bullying at School

Bullying at school occurs all around the world, and the United Kingdom is certainly no exception. While numerous steps have been taken to put a stop to bullying in school, the ugly truth is that it still exists all across the nation. Still, by taking the time to understand the bullying taking place in our

Read more

What Every Parent Should Know About Cyberbullying in New Zealand

Children and teens have been bullying each other for decades, possibly for centuries. There is always a kid who feels that he or she is superior to others and chooses to pick on the weaker or different child. In the past, bullying was restricted to the playground at school, in the classroom, or at the

Read more

First Revenge Porn Law Conviction

Remember when we told you the story of revenge porn and how it is affecting society in the modern world? Well, turn out the US and Britain government heard our prayers and there is more than one revenge porn law enforced in these countries. Here is what happened. News is breaking out that one Los

Read more

The need for Laws Against Bullying

So many questions have been raised about bullying, including the biggest question: “Is bullying against the law?” In most states, bullying is against the law. However, there is no federal law specifically designed against bullying. Because of this, many states have needed to either find loop holes in current civil rights laws or create and

Read more

Cyberbullying Laws in Canada

On December 12, 2014, Royal Assent was given to make into law, House Government Bill C-13 that was passed by the Parliament of Canada to change anti cyberbullying laws. The official title of the bill is, “An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Canada Evidence Act, the Competition Act and the Mutual Legal Assistance

Read more

Safe Haven Law: Is it Really Enough?

For many years, society struggled with the dilemma of what to do with abandoned babies.  While practically everyone agreed that these children needed to be saved, there was a lot of debate on what to do about the parents (often mothers) who would leave young children in unsafe places in the hope that they would

Read more

Discrimination in Canada

The best of us realize and fully understand that humans are all equal. There isn’t a race, ethnicity, gender, or religion that sets a group of people on a higher more superior stance than others. Others who live with such a conviction justify the abuse and the exploitation of those who are different from them.

Read more

Learn about the Harassment Act of the UK

In 1997, the United Kingdom (UK) voted by an act of Parliament to place into law the Protection from Harassment Act (c40). In honor of the most polite British traditions, this harassment law prohibits stalking, harassment at work, harassment based on race, or any attack-like behavior from neighbors. The acting Lord Chancellor for England  at

Read more

What Exactly is Ad Hominem

The Meaning behind Ad Hominem…. People can argue about everything. They debate politics and try to find solutions. They talk about TV shows they love or music they hate. Discussion can be fun and an opportunity to learn. Healthy debate challenges our assumptions. A good argument will change your mind. Even if you don’t change

Read more