Below is the model bullying policy made available by the Washington State Department of Education for school districts within Washington 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 7th, 2019
The district is committed to a safe and civil educational environment for all students, employees, parents/legal guardians, volunteers, and patrons that is free from harassment, intimidation, or bullying. “Harassment, intimidation, or bullying” means any intentionally written message or image—including those that are electronically transmitted—verbal, or physical act, including but not limited to one shown to be motivated by race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, including gender expression or identity, mental or physical disability or other distinguishing characteristics, when an act:
- Physically harms a student or damages the student’s property.
- Has the effect of substantially interfering with a student’s education.
- Is so severe, persistent or pervasive that it creates an intimidating or threatening educational environment.
- Has the effect of substantially disrupting the orderly operation of the school.
Nothing in this section requires the affected student to actually possess a characteristic that is a basis for the harassment, intimidation, or bullying.
“Other distinguishing characteristics” can include but are not limited to: physical appearance, clothing or other apparel, socioeconomic status, and weight.
“Intentional acts” refers to the individual’s choice to engage in the act rather than the ultimate impact of the action(s).
Harassment, intimidation, or bullying can take many forms including, but not limited to slurs, rumors, jokes, innuendos, demeaning comments, drawings, cartoons, pranks, gestures, physical attacks, threats or other written, oral, physical, or electronically transmitted messages or images.
This policy is not intended to prohibit expression of religious, philosophical, or political views, provided that the expression does not substantially disrupt the educational environment. Many behaviors that do not rise to the level of harassment, intimidation, or bullying may still be prohibited by other district policies or building, classroom or program rules.
This policy is a component of the district’s responsibility to create and maintain a safe, civil, respectful, and inclusive learning community and shall be implemented in conjunction with comprehensive training of students, staff and volunteers.
The district will provide students with strategies aimed at preventing harassment, intimidation, and bullying. In its efforts to train students, the district will seek partnerships with families, law enforcement, and other community agencies.
Interventions are designed to remediate the impact on the targeted student(s) and others impacted by the violation, to change the behavior of the perpetrator, and to restore a positive school climate.
The district will consider the frequency of incidents, developmental age of the student, and severity of the conduct in determining intervention strategies. Interventions will range from counseling, correcting behavior and discipline, to law enforcement referrals.
Retaliation is prohibited and will result in appropriate discipline. It is a violation of this policy to threaten or harm someone for reporting harassment, intimidation, or bullying.
It is also a violation of district policy to knowingly report false allegations of harassment, intimidation, and bullying. Students or employees will not be disciplined for making a report in good faith. However, persons found to knowingly report or corroborate false allegations will be subject to appropriate discipline.
The superintendent will appoint a compliance officer as the primary district contact to receive copies of all formal and informal complaints and ensure policy implementation. The name and contact information for the compliance officer will be communicated throughout the district.
The superintendent is authorized to direct the implementation of procedures addressing the elements of this policy.
Cross References: Policy 3200 Rights and Responsibilities
Policy 3210 Nondiscrimination
Policy 3240 Student Conduct
Policy 3241 Classroom Management, Corrective Action and Punishment
Policy 6590 Sexual Harassment
Legal Reference: RCW 28A.300.285 Harassment, intimidation, and bullying prevention policies
RCW 28A.600.480 Reporting of harassment, intimidation, or bullying – Retaliation prohibited – Immunity
RCW 9A.36.080 Malicious Harassment – Definition and criminal penalty
RCW 28A.642 K-12 Education – Prohibition of discrimination
RCW 49.60 Discrimination – Human Rights Commission
U.S. Depart. of Education Dear Colleague Letter, 2010
Management Resources: Policy News, April 2008 Cyberbullying Policy Required
Policy News, April 2002 Legislature Passes and Anti-Bullying Bill
School District Name
Revised: 04.02; 10.07; 04.08