Friday, May 4, 2012

Arizona's Anti-Bullying Statute

Arizona has an anti-bullying statute that explains the obligations of each school district in regard to developing and enforcing policies and procedures to prohibit students from harassing, intimidating and bullying other students.  The policies are to cover school grounds, school property, school buses, school bus stops, school sponsored events and activities, and cyber bullying (electronic technology and electronic communication on school computers, networks, forums and mailing lists).  You should be familiar with your school district's policies.  Often the school district has a form for the parent to fill out, but unless you are aware of the policy, you might not be told about the policy when an incident occurs.  So what should you do now -- before any bullying incident?  Read your student/parent handbook AND ask the school principal or assistant principal for a complete copy of the school district's anti-bullying statute AND the forms that are to be filled out to report bullying and inappropriate incident.  It is extremely important to put the school and school district "on notice" (inform them, in writing) of any and all bullying, harassment, intimidation.  While bullying is defined as repeated events, don't wait until a second incident of inappropriate behavior to make a report.     

The policies and procedures must include the following components:

(a) A procedure for pupils, parents and school district employees to confidentially report to school officials incidents of harassment, intimidation or bullying. The school shall make available written forms designed to provide a full and detailed description of the incident and any other relevant information about the incident.

(b) A requirement that school district employees report in writing suspected incidents of harassment, intimidation or bullying to the appropriate school official and a description of appropriate disciplinary procedures for employees who fail to report suspected incidents that are known to the employee.

(c) A requirement that, at the beginning of each school year, school officials provide all pupils with a written copy of the rights, protections and support services available to a pupil who is an alleged victim of an incident reported pursuant to this paragraph.

(d) If an incident is reported pursuant to this paragraph, a requirement that school officials provide a pupil who is an alleged victim of the incident with a written copy of the rights, protections and support services available to that pupil.

(e) A formal process for the documentation of reported incidents of harassment, intimidation or bullying and for the confidentiality, maintenance and disposition of this documentation. School districts shall maintain documentation of all incidents reported pursuant to this paragraph for at least six years. The school shall not use that documentation to impose disciplinary action unless the appropriate school official has investigated and determined that the reported incidents of harassment, intimidation or bullying occurred. If a school provides documentation of reported incidents to persons other than school officials or law enforcement, all individually identifiable information shall be redacted.

(f) A formal process for the investigation by the appropriate school officials of suspected incidents of harassment, intimidation or bullying, including procedures for notifying the alleged victim on completion and disposition of the investigation.

(g) Disciplinary procedures for pupils who have admitted or been found to have committed incidents of harassment, intimidation or bullying.

(h) A procedure that sets forth consequences for submitting false reports of incidents of harassment, intimidation or bullying.

(i) Procedures designed to protect the health and safety of pupils who are physically harmed as the result of incidents of harassment, intimidation and bullying, including, if appropriate, procedures to contact emergency medical services or law enforcement agencies, or both.

(j) Definitions of harassment, intimidation and bullying.

1 comment: