Key Points in the Bullying Laws in Washington:
Definition of terms:
“Harassment, intimidation, or bullying”
- any intentional electronic, written, verbal, or physical act, including but not limited to one shown to be motivated by any characteristic when the intentional electronic, written, verbal, or physical act that:
- 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.
“Electronic” or “electronic means” – any communication using:
- optical cable
- other similar means
Groups covered in the anti-bullying laws and policies:
- mental/physical/sensory handicap
- national origin
- sexual origin
Reporting Process for Bullying Incidents
- No school employee, student, or volunteer may engage in reprisal, retaliation, or false accusation against a victim, witness, or one with reliable information about an act of harassment, intimidation, or bullying.
- A school employee, student, or volunteer who has witnessed, or has reliable information that a student has been subjected to, harassment, intimidation, or bullying, whether verbal or physical, is encouraged to report such incident to an appropriate school official.
- A school employee, student, or volunteer who promptly reports an incident of harassment, intimidation, or bullying to an appropriate school official, and who makes this report in compliance with the procedures in the district’s policy prohibiting bullying, harassment, or intimidation, is immune from a cause of action for damages arising from any failure to remedy the reported incident.
Bullying Laws in Washington – Bullying Prevention Process
- Dissemination – In each school and on the district’s Web site the district will prominently post information on reporting harassment, intimidation, and bullying; the name and contact information for making a report to a school administrator; and the name and contact information for the district compliance officer.
- Education – Annually students will receive age-appropriate information on the recognition and prevention of harassment, intimidation, or bullying at student orientation sessions and on other appropriate occasions.
- Training – Staff will receive annual training on the school district’s policy and procedure, including staff roles and responsibilities, how to monitor common area, and the use of the district’s Incident Reporting Form.
- Prevention Strategies – implementation of different prevention strategies for individuals, classrooms, schools, and district-level approaches.
Healthy Workplace Bill in Washington
The Evergreen State was the 4th state to introduce the Healthy Workplace Bill. SB 5789 was introduced last Feb. 11, 2011. However, after deliberation, chairs of the respective committees decided not to vote on the bills.