Below is the model bullying policy made available by the Illinois State Department of Education for school districts within Illinois to use when crafting their own bullying and cyberbullying policies. Each state’s policies vary when it comes to how they: define bullying, harassment, threats, intimidation, and violence; expect reporting and investigating to be carried out, specify response strategies, define penalties, and prescribe certain types of prevention programs and practices.

We recommend that you review and consider updating your own bullying policy on an annual basis with input from educators, administrators, counselors, mental health professionals, parents, and students themselves. That will optimize the likelihood that the policy you implement achieves its goals.

Last Updated: August 1st, 2019

URL of Source: https://www.iasb.com/law/ISBEBullyingPolicyRequirements.pdf

To: Public School Districts, Charter School Administrators and Regional Superintendents

From: Division of Public School Recognition, Illinois State Board of Education

Re: Bullying Policy Submissions

Date: January 28, 2015

The purpose of this communication is to provide detailed information with respect to bullying policies, the content of those policies and procedures/timelines for submission to the Illinois State Board of Education. Questions regarding the applicability, development and maintenance of bullying policies or this document may be directed to [email protected]

Background

Pursuant to Public Act 98-0349, school districts in Illinois were first required to develop and implement a policy on bullying during the 2007-2008 school year. Though no specifications in terms of the content of the policy was prescribed, such policies were required to be updated every two (2) years and filed with the Illinois State Board of Education—including each revision.

On June 28, 2010, Public Act 96-0952 created the Prevent School Violence Act (PSVA). The PSVA made several modifications to existing law: bullying in schools was explicitly prohibited, including based on any distinguishing characteristic of an individual; bullying is specifically defined; and all non-sectarian nonpublic schools are required to create and maintain policies on bullying, share them with students and families, update them biennially, and submit them to ISBE.

On June 26, 2014, the law regarding bullying in schools and policies on bullying was further strengthened through Public Act 98-0669. For the first time, law now specifically requires certain content and components in a bullying policy. Further, the provisions of the new law are applicable not only to all public school districts and non-sectarian nonpublic schools, but charter schools are also held to the same requirements. Specific policy requirements are found below.

Effective January 1, 2015, Public Act 98-0801, added “cyber-bullying” to the general prohibition on bullying in schools and added the following language:

A. Definition of Cyber-Bullying. Cyber-bullying is defined as bullying through the use of technology or any electronic communication, including without limitation any transfer of signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data, or intelligence of any nature transmitted in whole or in part by a wire, radio, electromagnetic system, photoelectronic system, or photooptical system, including without limitation electronic mail, Internet communications, instant messages, or facsimile communications. “Cyber-bullying” includes the creation of a webpage or weblog in which the creator assumes the identity of another person or the knowing impersonation of another person as the author of posted content or messages if the creation or impersonation creates any of the effects enumerated in the definition of bullying in this Section. “Cyber- bullying” also includes the distribution by electronic means of a communication to more than one person or the posting of material on an electronic medium that may be accessed by one or more persons if the distribution or posting creates any of the effects enumerated in the definition of bullying in [105 ILCS 5/27- 23.7(b)].

B. Prohibition on Cyber-Bullying. Bullying is prohibited through the transmission of information from a computer that is accessed at a nonschool-related location, activity, function, or program or from the use of technology or an electronic device that is not owned, leased, or used by a school district or school if the bullying causes a substantial disruption to the educational process or orderly operation of a school. This item applies only in cases in which a school administrator or teacher receives a report that bullying through this means has occurred and does not require a district or school to staff or monitor any nonschool-related activity, function, or program.

C. Process to Determine if an Incident is Within the Scope of the Policy. Public Act 98-0801 also instituted a requirement that a district’s bullying policy or implementing procedure shall include a process to investigate whether a reported act of bullying is within the permissible scope of the district’s or school’s jurisdiction and shall require that the district or school provide the victim with information regarding services that are available within the district and community, such as counseling, support services, and other programs.

The remainder of this communication will be devoted to the changes instituted by Public Acts 98-0669 and 98- 0801and ISBE’s policies to coordinate compliance of its provisions.

Applicability

The requirements herein apply to elementary and secondary public school districts, charter schools, and non- sectarian nonpublic schools.

Content Requirements of Bullying Policies

Through the enactment of Public Acts 98-0669 and 98-0801, each public school district, charter school, and non- sectarian nonpublic school must formally adopt a policy on bullying that includes at least all of the following components and criteria:

  1. Defines “bullying”, including “cyber-bullying”, as any severe or pervasive physical or verbal act or

conduct, including communications made in writing or electronically, directed toward a student or students that has or can be reasonably predicted to have the effect of one or more of the following:

  1. placing the student or students in reasonable fear of harm to the student’s or students’ person or

property;

  1. causing a substantially detrimental effect on the student’s or students’ physical or mental health;
  2. substantially interfering with the student’s or students’ academic performance; or
  3. substantially interfering with the student’s or students’ ability to participate in or benefit from the

services, activities, or privileges provided by a school.

  1. States that bullying may take various forms, including without limitation one or more of the following: harassment, threats, intimidation, stalking, physical violence, sexual harassment, sexual violence, theft, public humiliation, destruction of property, or retaliation for asserting or alleging an act of bullying. This list is meant to be illustrative and non-exhaustive.
  2. Includes a statement that bullying is contrary to State law and the policy of the school district.
  3. Includes procedures for promptly reporting bullying, including but not limited to, identifying and

providing the school e-mail address (if applicable) and school telephone number for the staff person or persons responsible for receiving such reports and a procedure for anonymous reporting.

  1. Consistent with federal and State laws and rules governing student privacy rights, includes procedures for promptly informing parents or guardians of all students involved in the alleged incident of bullying and discussing, as appropriate, the availability of social work services, counseling, school psychological services, other interventions and restorative measures.
  2. Contains procedures for promptly investigating and addressing reports of bullying, including the

following:

  1. Making all reasonable efforts to complete the investigation within 10 school days after the date the

report of the incident of bullying was received and taking into consideration additional relevant information received during the course of the investigation about the reported incident of bullying.

  1. Involving appropriate school support personnel and other staff persons with knowledge,

experience, and training on bullying prevention, as deemed appropriate, in the investigation process.

  1. Notifying the principal or school administrator or his or her designee of the report of the incident

of bullying as soon as possible after the report is received.

  1. Consistent with federal and State laws and rules governing student privacy rights, providing

parents and guardians of the students who are parties to the investigation information about the investigation and an opportunity to meet with the principal or school administrator or his or her designee to discuss the investigation, the findings of the investigation, and the actions taken to address the reported incident of bullying.

  1. Includes the interventions that can be taken to address bullying, which may include, but are not limited

to, school social work services, restorative measures, social-emotional skill building, counseling, school psychological services, and community-based services.

  1. Includes a statement prohibiting reprisal or retaliation against any person who reports an act of bullying

and the consequences and appropriate remedial actions for a person who engages in reprisal or retaliation.

  1. Includes consequences and appropriate remedial actions for a person found to have falsely accused

another of bullying as a means of retaliation or as a means of bullying.

  1. Contains a policy evaluation process to assess the outcomes and effectiveness of the policy that

includes, but is not limited to, factors such as:

  1. The frequency of victimization.
  2. Student, staff, and family observations of safety at a school.
  3. Identification of areas of a school where bullying occurs.
  4. The types of bullying being utilized.
  5. Bystander intervention or participation.
  6. The information developed as part of the evaluation process must be posted on the district website.

If the internet website is not available, the information must be provided to school administrators, school board members, school personnel, parents, guardians, and students.

  1. Is consistent with the policies of the school board.

L The policy or implementing procedure shall include a process to investigate whether a reported act of

bullying is within the permissible scope of the district’s or school’s jurisdiction and shall require that the district or school provide the victim with information regarding services that are available within the district and community, such as counseling, support services, and other programs.

Development, Notification and Posting

Each policy on bullying adopted pursuant to Public Act 98-0669 must:

  1. Be based on engagement with a range of school stakeholders, including students and parents or

guardians.

  1. Where applicable, be posted where other policies, rules, or standards of conduct are posted in

the school.

  1. Be posted on the district or school website.
  2. Be included in the school handbook.
  3. Be distributed annually to parents, guardians, students, and school personnel, including new

employees when hired

Reevaluation and Submission to the Illinois State Board of Education

Policies must be filed with ISBE. Although Public Acts 98-0669 and 98-0801 are already in effect, we realize that careful deliberation with all stakeholders, including students, parents and staff will take time and consideration. Therefore, through April 15, 2015 public school districts that do not have an appropriate policy in place will not be considered to be out of compliance with the law. However, effective April 16, 2015, districts that do not have a policy that meets the aforementioned specifications will be considered to be out of compliance with the law and may be subject to a reduction in the district’s recognition status pursuant to 23 Ill Admin. Code 1.20.

Policies must also be reviewed and re-evaluated every two (2) years and be updated to reflect any necessary and appropriate revisions. Acceptable documentation to satisfy the re-evaluated policy submission include one of the following, as applicable:

1) An updated version of the policy with the amendment/modification date included in the reference portion

of the policy;

2) If no revisions are deemed necessary, a copy of board minutes clearly indicating that the policy was re-

evaluated and no changes were deemed to be necessary or a signed statement from the board president indicating that the policy was re-evaluated and no changes were deemed to be necessary.

Initial policies in conformance with the aforementioned must be sent via email to [email protected] no later than April 15, 2015.

Questions or concerns may be directed to [email protected]

Legal Guidance:

(105 ILCS 5/27-23.7)
Sec. 27-23.7. Bullying prevention.
(a) The General Assembly finds that a safe and civil school environment is necessary for students to learn and achieve and that bullying causes physical, psychological, and emotional harm to students and interferes with students’ ability to learn and participate in school activities. The General Assembly further finds that bullying has been linked to other forms of antisocial behavior, such as vandalism, shoplifting, skipping and dropping out of school, fighting, using drugs and alcohol, sexual harassment, and sexual violence. Because of the negative outcomes associated with bullying in schools, the General Assembly finds that school districts, charter schools, and non-public, non-sectarian elementary and secondary schools should educate students, parents, and school district, charter school, or non-public, non-sectarian elementary or secondary school personnel about what behaviors constitute prohibited bullying.
Bullying on the basis of actual or perceived race, color, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, physical or mental disability, military status, sexual orientation, gender-related identity or expression, unfavorable discharge from military service, association with a person or group with one or more of the aforementioned actual or perceived characteristics, or any other distinguishing characteristic is prohibited in all school districts, charter schools, and non-public, non-sectarian elementary and secondary schools. No student shall be subjected to bullying:
(1) during any school-sponsored education program or
activity;
        (2) while in school, on school property, on school
buses or other school vehicles, at designated school bus stops waiting for the school bus, or at school-sponsored or school-sanctioned events or activities;
        (3) through the transmission of information from a
school computer, a school computer network, or other similar electronic school equipment; or
        (4) through the transmission of information from a
computer that is accessed at a nonschool-related location, activity, function, or program or from the use of technology or an electronic device that is not owned, leased, or used by a school district or school if the bullying causes a substantial disruption to the educational process or orderly operation of a school. This item (4) applies only in cases in which a school administrator or teacher receives a report that bullying through this means has occurred and does not require a district or school to staff or monitor any nonschool-related activity, function, or program.
    (a-5) Nothing in this Section is intended to infringe upon any right to exercise free expression or the free exercise of religion or religiously based views protected under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution or under Section 3 of Article I of the Illinois Constitution.
(b) In this Section:
“Bullying” includes “cyber-bullying” and means any severe or pervasive physical or verbal act or conduct, including communications made in writing or electronically, directed toward a student or students that has or can be reasonably predicted to have the effect of one or more of the following:
(1) placing the student or students in reasonable
fear of harm to the student’s or students’ person or property;
        (2) causing a substantially detrimental effect on the
student’s or students’ physical or mental health;
        (3) substantially interfering with the student’s or
students’ academic performance; or
        (4) substantially interfering with the student’s or
students’ ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or privileges provided by a school.
    Bullying, as defined in this subsection (b), may take various forms, including without limitation one or more of the following: harassment, threats, intimidation, stalking, physical violence, sexual harassment, sexual violence, theft, public humiliation, destruction of property, or retaliation for asserting or alleging an act of bullying. This list is meant to be illustrative and non-exhaustive.
“Cyber-bullying” means bullying through the use of technology or any electronic communication, including without limitation any transfer of signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data, or intelligence of any nature transmitted in whole or in part by a wire, radio, electromagnetic system, photoelectronic system, or photooptical system, including without limitation electronic mail, Internet communications, instant messages, or facsimile communications. “Cyber-bullying” includes the creation of a webpage or weblog in which the creator assumes the identity of another person or the knowing impersonation of another person as the author of posted content or messages if the creation or impersonation creates any of the effects enumerated in the definition of bullying in this Section. “Cyber-bullying” also includes the distribution by electronic means of a communication to more than one person or the posting of material on an electronic medium that may be accessed by one or more persons if the distribution or posting creates any of the effects enumerated in the definition of bullying in this Section.
“Policy on bullying” means a bullying prevention policy that meets the following criteria:
(1) Includes the bullying definition provided in this
Section.
        (2) Includes a statement that bullying is contrary to
State law and the policy of the school district, charter school, or non-public, non-sectarian elementary or secondary school and is consistent with subsection (a-5) of this Section.
        (3) Includes procedures for promptly reporting
bullying, including, but not limited to, identifying and providing the school e-mail address (if applicable) and school telephone number for the staff person or persons responsible for receiving such reports and a procedure for anonymous reporting; however, this shall not be construed to permit formal disciplinary action solely on the basis of an anonymous report.
        (4) Consistent with federal and State laws and rules
governing student privacy rights, includes procedures for promptly informing parents or guardians of all students involved in the alleged incident of bullying and discussing, as appropriate, the availability of social work services, counseling, school psychological services, other interventions, and restorative measures.
        (5) Contains procedures for promptly investigating
and addressing reports of bullying, including the following:
            (A) Making all reasonable efforts to complete the
investigation within 10 school days after the date the report of the incident of bullying was received and taking into consideration additional relevant information received during the course of the investigation about the reported incident of bullying.
            (B) Involving appropriate school support
personnel and other staff persons with knowledge, experience, and training on bullying prevention, as deemed appropriate, in the investigation process.
            (C) Notifying the principal or school
administrator or his or her designee of the report of the incident of bullying as soon as possible after the report is received.
            (D) Consistent with federal and State laws and
rules governing student privacy rights, providing parents and guardians of the students who are parties to the investigation information about the investigation and an opportunity to meet with the principal or school administrator or his or her designee to discuss the investigation, the findings of the investigation, and the actions taken to address the reported incident of bullying.
        (6) Includes the interventions that can be taken to
address bullying, which may include, but are not limited to, school social work services, restorative measures, social-emotional skill building, counseling, school psychological services, and community-based services.
        (7) Includes a statement prohibiting reprisal or
retaliation against any person who reports an act of bullying and the consequences and appropriate remedial actions for a person who engages in reprisal or retaliation.
        (8) Includes consequences and appropriate remedial
actions for a person found to have falsely accused another of bullying as a means of retaliation or as a means of bullying.
        (9) Is based on the engagement of a range of school
stakeholders, including students and parents or guardians.
        (10) Is posted on the school district’s, charter
school’s, or non-public, non-sectarian elementary or secondary school’s existing Internet website, is included in the student handbook, and, where applicable, posted where other policies, rules, and standards of conduct are currently posted in the school and provided periodically throughout the school year to students and faculty, and is distributed annually to parents, guardians, students, and school personnel, including new employees when hired.
        (11) As part of the process of reviewing and
re-evaluating the policy under subsection (d) of this Section, contains a policy evaluation process to assess the outcomes and effectiveness of the policy that includes, but is not limited to, factors such as the frequency of victimization; student, staff, and family observations of safety at a school; identification of areas of a school where bullying occurs; the types of bullying utilized; and bystander intervention or participation. The school district, charter school, or non-public, non-sectarian elementary or secondary school may use relevant data and information it already collects for other purposes in the policy evaluation. The information developed as a result of the policy evaluation must be made available on the Internet website of the school district, charter school, or non-public, non-sectarian elementary or secondary school. If an Internet website is not available, the information must be provided to school administrators, school board members, school personnel, parents, guardians, and students.
        (12) Is consistent with the policies of the school
board, charter school, or non-public, non-sectarian elementary or secondary school.
    “Restorative measures” means a continuum of school-based alternatives to exclusionary discipline, such as suspensions and expulsions, that: (i) are adapted to the particular needs of the school and community, (ii) contribute to maintaining school safety, (iii) protect the integrity of a positive and productive learning climate, (iv) teach students the personal and interpersonal skills they will need to be successful in school and society, (v) serve to build and restore relationships among students, families, schools, and communities, and (vi) reduce the likelihood of future disruption by balancing accountability with an understanding of students’ behavioral health needs in order to keep students in school.
“School personnel” means persons employed by, on contract with, or who volunteer in a school district, charter school, or non-public, non-sectarian elementary or secondary school, including without limitation school and school district administrators, teachers, school guidance counselors, school social workers, school counselors, school psychologists, school nurses, cafeteria workers, custodians, bus drivers, school resource officers, and security guards.
(c) (Blank).
(d) Each school district, charter school, and non-public, non-sectarian elementary or secondary school shall create, maintain, and implement a policy on bullying, which policy must be filed with the State Board of Education. The policy or implementing procedure shall include a process to investigate whether a reported act of bullying is within the permissible scope of the district’s or school’s jurisdiction and shall require that the district or school provide the victim with information regarding services that are available within the district and community, such as counseling, support services, and other programs. School personnel available for help with a bully or to make a report about bullying shall be made known to parents or legal guardians, students, and school personnel. Every 2 years, each school district, charter school, and non-public, non-sectarian elementary or secondary school shall conduct a review and re-evaluation of its policy and make any necessary and appropriate revisions. The policy must be filed with the State Board of Education after being updated. The State Board of Education shall monitor and provide technical support for the implementation of policies created under this subsection (d).
(e) This Section shall not be interpreted to prevent a victim from seeking redress under any other available civil or criminal law.
(Source: P.A. 99-78, eff. 7-20-15; 100-137, eff. 8-18-17.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Post comment