SB 748 - The definition of "bullying" is modified to include intimidation or harassment that substantially interferes with the educational performance, opportunities, or benefits of any student without exception, or that substantially disrupts the orderly operation of the school. Bullying is prohibited by students on school property, at school functions, or on school buses. Cyberbullying is defined in the act.
This act requires that antibullying policies treat all students equally.
Each school district's antibullying must be included in the student handbook. School district policies must contain, at a minimum, the following components: a statement prohibiting bullying, including a definition of bullying, as described in the act; a statement requiring district employees to report an instance of bullying of which he or she has firsthand knowledge, has reasonable cause to suspect that a student has been subject to bullying, or has received a report of bullying from a student; a procedure for reporting an act of bullying; a procedure for prompt investigations; how a school will respond to a confirmed incident of bullying; a statement prohibiting reprisal or retaliation against a person who reports an act of bullying; a statement of how the policy will be made public; and a process for discussing the policy with students and training employees and volunteers, as described in the act.
School district administrations must instruct their school counselors to educate students who are victims of bullying on techniques to overcome the negative effects of bullying, including the following: cultivating the student's self-worth and self-esteem; teaching the student to defend himself or herself assertively or effectively; helping the student develop social skills; and encouraging the student to develop an internal locus of control.
School district administrations must implement programs and other initiatives to prevent bullying, respond to such conduct so as to not stigmatize a victim, and to make resources or referrals available to victims of bullying.
This act is substantially similar to SB 1029 (2016), SB 560 (2014), SB 440 (2015), SS/SCS/HB 458 (2015), HCS/HB 134 (2013), and HCS/HB 1049 (2012), and to a provision contained in SCS/HCS/HB 1583 (2016), and is similar to SB 728 (2016).