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ACT NO. 120

(S.76)

Hazing; Harassment

This act directs all public schools, all independent schools, the University of Vermont and the Vermont State Colleges to adopt and enforce harassment and hazing prevention policies. In the case of elementary and secondary schools, the policies shall be at least as stringent as those adopted by the Commissioner of Education, and are to include procedures for reporting violations within the school, training for staff, a procedure for investigation of reports of harassment or hazing, circumstances under which hazing will be reported to law enforcement, and penalties for organizations which and individuals who engage in hazing In the case of postsecondary schools, the policies are to include penalties for organizations which and individuals who engage in hazing and a description of when hazing will be reported to a law enforcement agency.

The act further establishes hazing as a civil violation, subject to a penalty of $5,000.00, to be administered through the judicial bureau; directs the State Board of Education, in its annual condition of education report, to report on the number and types of harassment or hazing complaints and responses to them; establishes that each school action plan is to address success of efforts to maintain a safe, orderly, civil and positive learning environment; establishes a school quality standard requiring each school to maintain a safe, civil, orderly and positive learning environment; authorizes the Commissioner of Education to intervene any time a school fails to meet quality standards which may potentially result in emotional harm or deprivation of equal education opportunities, if the school is not remedying the problem; directs the Commissioner of Education to develop model harassment and hazing prevention policies; and directs school boards to adopt policies by August 2001.

Effective Date: July 1, 2000