Missouri Revised Statutes Title XI. Education and Libraries § 160.775. Antibullying policy required--definition--requirements--cyberbullying

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1. Every district shall adopt an antibullying policy by September 1, 2007.

2. “Bullying” means intimidation, unwanted aggressive behavior, or harassment that is repetitive or is substantially likely to be repeated and causes a reasonable student to fear for his or her physical safety or property;  substantially interferes with the educational performance, opportunities, or benefits of any student without exception;  or substantially disrupts the orderly operation of the school.  Bullying may consist of physical actions, including gestures, or oral, cyberbullying, electronic, or written communication, and any threat of retaliation for reporting of such acts.  Bullying of students is prohibited on school property, at any school function, or on a school bus.  “Cyberbullying” means bullying as defined in this subsection through the transmission of a communication including, but not limited to, a message, text, sound, or image by means of an electronic device including, but not limited to, a telephone, wireless telephone, or other wireless communication device, computer, or pager.

3. Each district's antibullying policy shall be founded on the assumption that all students need a safe learning environment.  Policies shall treat all students equally and shall not contain specific lists of protected classes of students who are to receive special treatment.  Policies may include age-appropriate differences for schools based on the grade levels at the school.  Each such policy shall contain a statement of the consequences of bullying.

4. Each district's antibullying policy shall be included in the student handbook and shall require, at a minimum, the following components:

(1) A statement prohibiting bullying, defined no less inclusively than in subsection 2 of this section;

(2) A statement requiring district employees to report any instance of bullying of which the employee has firsthand knowledge.  The policy shall require a district employee who witnesses an incident of bullying to report the incident to the district's designated individual at the school within two school days of the employee witnessing the incident;

(3) A procedure for reporting an act of bullying.  The policy shall also include a statement requiring that the district designate an individual at each school in the district to receive reports of incidents of bullying.  Such individual shall be a district employee who is teacher level staff or above;

(4) A procedure for prompt investigation of reports of violations and complaints, identifying one or more employees responsible for the investigation including, at a minimum, the following requirements:

(a) Within two school days of a report of an incident of bullying being received, the school principal, or his or her designee, shall initiate an investigation of the incident;

(b) The school principal may appoint other school staff to assist with the investigation;  and

(c) The investigation shall be completed within ten school days from the date of the written report unless good cause exists to extend the investigation;

(5) A statement that prohibits reprisal or retaliation against any person who reports an act of bullying and the consequence and appropriate remedial action for a person who engages in reprisal or retaliation;

(6) A statement of how the policy is to be publicized;  and

(7) A process for discussing the district's antibullying policy with students and training school employees and volunteers who have significant contact with students in the requirements of the policy, including, at a minimum, the following statements:

(a) The school district shall provide information and appropriate training to the school district staff who have significant contact with students regarding the policy;

(b) The school district shall give annual notice of the policy to students, parents or guardians, and staff;

(c) The school district shall provide education and information to students regarding bullying, including information regarding the school district policy prohibiting bullying, the harmful effects of bullying, and other applicable initiatives to address bullying, including student peer-to-peer initiatives to provide accountability and policy enforcement for those found to have engaged in bullying, reprisal, or retaliation against any person who reports an act of bullying;

(d) The administration of the school district shall instruct its school counselors, school social workers, licensed social workers, mental health professionals, and school psychologists to educate students who are victims of bullying on techniques for students to overcome bullying's negative effects.  Such techniques shall include, but not be limited to, cultivating the student's self-worth and self-esteem;  teaching the student to defend himself or herself assertively and effectively;  helping the student develop social skills;  or encouraging the student to develop an internal locus of control.  The provisions of this paragraph shall not be construed to contradict or limit any other provision of this section;  and

(e) The administration of the school district shall implement programs and other initiatives to address bullying, to respond to such conduct in a manner that does not stigmatize the victim, and to make resources or referrals available to victims of bullying.

5. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, any school district shall have jurisdiction to prohibit cyberbullying that originates on a school's campus or at a district activity if the electronic communication was made using the school's technological resources, if there is a sufficient nexus to the educational environment, or if the electronic communication was made on the school's campus or at a district activity using the student's own personal technological resources.  The school district may discipline any student for such cyberbullying to the greatest extent allowed by law.

6. Each district shall review its antibullying policy and revise it as needed.  The district's school board shall receive input from school personnel, students, and administrators when reviewing and revising the policy.

Cite this article: FindLaw.com - Missouri Revised Statutes Title XI. Education and Libraries § 160.775. Antibullying policy required--definition--requirements--cyberbullying - last updated January 01, 2018 | https://codes.findlaw.com/mo/title-xi-education-and-libraries/mo-rev-st-160-775.html

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