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Anti-Bullying Rules

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.

Cyberbullying Laws

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.