Arizona Anti-Bullying Required School Policies
What are the required policies that the public school and charter schools here within the state of Arizona must create to protect students from bullying? It’s state regulation and law here in Arizona that schools must create policies and procedures to protect students and stop bullying within that environment.
So, let’s first talk about what those policies must entail. The first part of that is there must be confidentiality when reporting alleged bullying. A parent, a guardian, a student, or another student who witnesses it, staff, or anyone really, within that environment can report incidents of bullying, and the school is required to keep that confidential.
What is Bullying?
What is bullying? The State Board of Education has defined bullying as when a student is repeatedly over time exposed to negative action on the part of one or more students. These students have the intent to harm the student who they’re doing the alleged bullying, and that person must be seeking power or control over the victim of the alleged bullying. So, that’s kind of how they define bullying. It must be repeated over a period, and there must be an intent to harm. And the schools must act.
Anti-Bullying Policy in Schools
So, the policies you can find for each school district are normally going to be in the student handbook and in the parent handbook. Again, we had talked about, there must be confidentiality upon reporting, and then the school must act and must comply with the procedures that they have in place.
School’s Extra Policies on Physical Bullying
Sometimes, this means separating the students and checking in with the student who is the alleged victim of the bullying. Also, there are different types of bullying, but if we’re talking about physical bullying like an assault on a student, there will be extra policies on top of that. The school may be mandated reporters and they are required to report that student to legal authorities. Parents also must be notified if their student is the alleged victim of bullying. And then also, like I said, there must be safeguards in place to stop that. The school does have to create these policies and procedures and they also must implement them.
Seek Legal Counsel
This means that these aren’t just words on a page. The school must comply, and if they’re not, parents and guardians do have lots of legal rights and remedies. You can reach out to the school and communicate your concerns. But, if you feel like you’re not being heard, you can get an attorney involved, such as myself. I’ve represented parents, guardians, and students before schools who are victims of bullying.
Right to File a Complaint
If the school still is not complying and you feel like you’re not being heard, parents have the right to file a complaint with the State Board of Education alleging that the school is not complying with their policies. Bullying is very serious, and it has a lot of repercussions for those students who are victims of bullying. Schools must create these policies and procedures, they must implement them, and must comply with them. It must be confidential, parents must be notified, and any type of physical altercation must be reported to the legal entities that they are mandated reporters for.
Arizona recognizes the seriousness of bullying and has established laws to address the problem. The first law was enacted in 2006, requiring all schools to have a policy to deal with bullying. The second law was enacted in 2009 and expanded the definition of bullying to include cyberbullying. It also required schools to report bullying incidents to the Arizona Department of Education.
The 2009 law also created the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools within the Arizona Department of Education. The office is responsible for providing school support and resources on bullying prevention. It also investigates complaints of bullying and enforces the state’s anti-bullying laws.
School Bullying Issues
Today, multiple issues affect students’ motivation when it comes to schooling. Bullying is one of the main challenges and has already been highlighted as a leading cause of school absenteeism. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics, 18.2% of Arizona high school students were bullied in 2019.
From the above data, it’s clear that Grand Canyon State is struggling to keep its students safe. Everything is made worse by the Biennial Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, which indicates that 13.4% of Arizona youths were cyberbully victims in 2019. The most unfortunate aspect is that such bullying happened on the school property.
Arizona Cyberbullying Student Protections
What are the protections for students regarding cyberbullying? Cyberbullying is a little bit more difficult in ways of protection because there needs to be a consideration of if the bullying happened on school property or on school premises or outside of school. If the cyberbullying happened on school property, at a school event, on a school computer, or anything having to do with school property or involvement in the school, the students are on the premises. If they’re using the school’s network or school’s computer, then that type of cyberbullying would be considered in the anti-bullying policy that’s mandated by state law. It can be any type of bullying that I’ve discussed in my prior blogs, which you can check out.
Cyberbullying can also be a little bit harder to define. It can be any type of bullying that I’ve discussed in my prior blogs, which you can check out. A lot of times it’s going to be more social or emotional. And what I mean by that is cyberbullying can be anything from spreading rumors or sharing embarrassing information. It can also be harassing as well if the contact is unwanted, it’s repeated over a period, and it’s harmful.
Protection for Harassment Victims
So, what protection is there for those victims? Arizona has criminal statutes that are called harassment that is codified. And cyberbullying can rise to the level of harassment. If you feel like that is rising to that level, then instead of the protection from the school, you would actually get protection from your local police department. You would report it that way. And then, you would turn over any type of information, and then they would conduct their investigation.
Contact Arizona Student Bullying Attorney
Whenever anyone is facing a legal matter that is far beyond their ability to handle on their own, it is time to look at the possibility of hiring a lawyer to help with these matters. As you can see, student bullying is a serious problem in Arizona school districts. If your child has been the victim of bullying, you should contact an experienced student bullying attorney today. The attorney will review your case and advise you of your legal options. A lawyer can also help you file a complaint with the school and the Arizona Department of Education.
At Chelle Law, we have successfully represented many students who have been the victims of bullying. We will aggressively fight for your child’s rights and ensure they receive the justice they deserve.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation.
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