Below is the model bullying policy made available by the West Virginia State Department of Education for school districts within West Virginia 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 7, 2019
URL of Source: https://wvde.us/search_gcse/
This state does not appear to have a model policy, but state statute does require certain policy provisions. The statutory requirements are outlined below.
CHAPTER 18. EDUCATION.
ARTICLE 2C. HARASSMENT, INTIMIDATION OR BULLYING PROHIBITION.
- 18-2C-1. Legislative findings.
The Legislature finds that a safe and civil environment in school is necessary for students to learn and achieve high academic standards. The Legislature finds that harassment, intimidation or bullying, like other disruptive or violent behavior, is conduct that disrupts both a student’s ability to learn and a school’s ability to educate its students in a safe, nonthreatening environment.
The Legislature further finds that students learn by example. The Legislature charges school administrators, faculty, staff and volunteers with demonstrating appropriate behavior, treating others with civility and respect, and refusing to tolerate harassment, intimidation or bullying.
- 18-2C-2. Definitions.
(a) As used in this article, “harassment, intimidation or bullying” means any intentional gesture, or any intentional electronic, written, verbal or physical act, communication, transmission or threat that:
(1) A reasonable person under the circumstances should know will have the effect of any one or more of the following:
(A) Physically harming a student;
(B) Damaging a student’s property;
(C) Placing a student in reasonable fear of harm to his or her person; or
(D) Placing a student in reasonable fear of damage to his or her property;
(2) Is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive that it creates an intimidating, threatening or emotionally abusive educational environment for a student; or
(3) Disrupts or interferes with the orderly operation of the school.
(b) As used in this article, an electronic act, communication, transmission or threat includes but is not limited to one which is administered via telephone, wireless phone, computer, pager or any electronic or wireless device whatsoever, and includes but is not limited to transmission of any image or voice, email or text message using any such device.
- 18-2C-3. Policy prohibiting harassment, intimidation or bullying.
(a) Each county board shall establish a policy prohibiting harassment, intimidation or bullying. Each county board has control over the content of its policy as long as the policy contains, at a minimum, the requirements of subdivision (b) of this section. The policy shall be adopted through a process that includes representation of parents or guardians, school employees, school volunteers, students and community members.
(b) Each county board policy shall, at a minimum, include the following components:
(1) A statement prohibiting harassment, intimidation or bullying of any student on school property, a school bus, at a school bus stop or at school sponsored events;
(2) A definition of harassment, intimidation or bullying no less inclusive than that in section two of this article;
(3) A procedure for reporting prohibited incidents;
(4) A requirement that school personnel report prohibited incidents of which they are aware;
(5) A requirement that parents or guardians of any student involved in an incident prohibited pursuant to this article be notified;
(6) A procedure for documenting any prohibited incident that is reported;
(7) A procedure for responding to and investigating any reported incident;
(8) A strategy for protecting a victim from additional harassment, intimidation or bullying, and from retaliation following a report;
(9) A disciplinary procedure for any student guilty of harassment, intimidation or bullying;
(10) A requirement that any information relating to a reported incident is confidential, and exempt from disclosure under the provisions of chapter twenty-nine-b of this code; and
(11) A requirement that each county board shall input into the uniform integrated regional computer information system (commonly known as the West Virginia Education Information System) described in section twenty-six, article two of this chapter, and compile an annual report regarding the means of harassment, intimidation or bullying that have been reported to them, and the reasons therefor, if known. The West Virginia Department of Education shall compile the information and report it annually beginning July 1, 2012, to the Legislative Oversight Committee on Education Accountability.
(c) Each county board shall adopt the policy and submit a copy to the State Superintendent of Schools by December 1, 2011.
(d) To assist county boards in developing their policies, the West Virginia Department of Education shall develop a model policy applicable to grades kindergarten through twelfth. The model policy shall be issued by September 1, 2011.
(e) Notice of the county board’s policy shall appear in any student handbook, and in any county board publication that sets forth the comprehensive rules, procedures and standards of conduct for the school.
- 18-2C-4. Immunity.
A school employee, student or volunteer is individually immune from a cause of action for damages arising from reporting said incident, if that person:
(1) In good faith promptly reports an incident of harassment, intimidation or bullying;
(2) Makes the report to the appropriate school official as designated by policy; and
(3) Makes the report in compliance with the procedures as specified in policy.
- 18-2C-5. Policy training and education.
(a) Schools and county boards are encouraged, but not required, to form bullying prevention task forces, programs and other initiatives involving school staff, students, teachers, administrators, volunteers, parents, law enforcement and community members.
(b) To the extent state or federal funds are appropriated for these purposes, each school district shall:
(1) Provide training on the harassment, intimidation or bullying policy to school employees and volunteers who have direct contact with students; and
(2) Develop a process for educating students on the harassment, intimidation or bullying policy.
(c) Information regarding the county board policy against harassment, intimidation or bullying shall be incorporated into each school’s current employee training program.
- 18-2C-6. Liability.
Except as provided in section four of this article, nothing in this article prohibits a victim from seeking redress under any other provision of civil or criminal law.
Expected Behaviors in Safe and Supportive Schools
West Virginia State Board of Education Policy 4373
The West Virginia Board of Education recognizes the need for students, teachers, administrators and other school personnel to have a safe and supportive educational environment. The West Virginia Board of Education further believes that public schools should undertake proactive, preventive approaches to ensure a positive school climate/culture that fosters learning and personal-social development. These regulations require county boards of education to design and implement procedures to create and support continuous school climate/culture improvement processes within all schools that will ensure an orderly and safe environment that is conducive to learning. Public schools must create, encourage and maintain a safe, drug-free, and fear-free school environment in the classroom, on the playground, and at school-sponsored activities. Assuring such an educational environment requires a comprehensive plan supported by everyone in the school organization, as well as parents/guardians and the community.
These regulations also set forth unacceptable behaviors that undermine a school’s efforts to create a positive school climate/culture. These unacceptable behaviors are prohibited on all school property and school sponsored events. West Virginia’s public schools must respond quickly and consistently, in accordance with these regulations, to incidents of these prohibited behaviors in a manner that effectively deters future incidents and affirms respect for individuals.
State Code §18-2C-1 Prohibiting Harassment, Intimidation or Bullying
County boards of education must:
- Establish a policy prohibiting harassment, intimidation or bullying using a process that includes representation of parents or guardians, school employees, school volunteers, students and community members.
- Include the following minimum policy components:
- Effective on school property, school bus, school bus stop and school sponsored events;
- Procedures for reporting incidents;
- Requirement that school personnel report incidents of which they are aware;
- Requirement that parents/guardians of any student involved in an incident be notified;
- Procedures for responding to and investigating reported incidents;
- Strategies for protecting a victim from additional harassment, intimidation or bullying and from retaliation following a report;
- Discipline procedures for any student guilty of harassment, intimidation or bullying;
- Procedures to ensure confidentiality of any information relating to a reported incident; and
- Requirement that each incident be reported within the West Virginia Education Information System (WVEIS).
- Adopt the policy and submit a copy to the state superintendent of schools by Dec. 1, 2011.
- Post notice of the county policy in any student handbook and in any county board publication that sets forth the comprehensive rules, procedures and standards of conduct for the school.
- Incorporated into each school’s current employee training program Information regarding the county board policy prohibiting harassment, intimidation or bullying.
Federal Bullying Laws
The Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act is part of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. It provides federal support to promote school safety but does not specifically address bullying and harassment in schools. There are no federal laws dealing directly with school bullying. However, bullying may trigger responsibilities under one or more of the federal anti-discrimination laws enforced by the United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.
West Virginia law requires county school boards to develop and adopt a policy prohibiting harassment, intimidation or bullying on school property or at school-sponsored events. It also requires the West Virginia Board of Education to develop a model policy to assist county boards and to include a definition and statement prohibiting harassment, intimidation or bullying; reporting procedures; notification of parents; procedures for response and investigation; process for documentation of incidents; strategy for protecting victims from further harassment or bullying after a report is made; and a disciplinary procedure for students found guilty.