SB 539 - This act modifies provisions regarding anti-bullying policies enacted by school districts. The definition of "bullying" is modified to include discrimination that causes a student to fear for his or her safety. Behavior that substantially interferes with a student's educational performance, opportunities or benefits or substantially disrupts the operation of the school is included in the definition. Bullying is prohibited by school employees or students on school property, at any school function, or on a school bus.
Currently, policies are required to treat students equally and not contain specific lists of protected classes of students. This act repeals this requirement and provided that bullying based upon race, color, gender and a number of other bases is prohibited. This act provides that a district's policy shall include certain procedures on reporting and handling incidents of bullying, as well as prohibitions on reprisal or retaliation against any person who reports an act of bullying. The state board of education shall develop model policies to assist local school districts in developing policies for prevention of bullying no later than September 1, 2008.