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NO. 117.  AN ACT RELATING TO BULLYING PREVENTION POLICIES.

(H.629)

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1.  16 V.S.A. § 11(a)(32) is added to read:

(32)  “Bullying” means any overt act or combination of acts directed against a student by another student or group of students and which:

(A)  is repeated over time;

(B)  is intended to ridicule, humiliate, or intimidate the student; and

(C)  occurs during the school day on school property, on a school bus, or at a school-sponsored activity, or before or after the school day on a school bus or at a school-sponsored activity.

Sec. 2.  16 V.S.A. § 1161a(a)(6) is amended to read:

(a)  Each public and each approved independent school shall adopt and implement a comprehensive plan for responding to student misbehavior.  To the extent appropriate, the plan shall promote the positive development of youth.  The plan shall include:

* * *

(6)  a description of behaviors on and off school grounds which constitute misconduct, including harassment, bullying, and hazing, particularly those behaviors which may be grounds for expulsion.  The plan shall include a description of misconduct as listed in subdivisions 11(a)(26)(A)-(C) and (32) of this title which, although serious, does not rise to the level of harassment or bullying as that term is those terms are defined therein; and

* * *

Sec. 3.  UPDATE OF MODEL SCHOOL PLAN ON STUDENT DISCIPLINE

             TO INCLUDE BULLYING PREVENTION; COMMISSIONER OF

              EDUCATION; REPORT

(a)  By January 1, 2005, the commissioner of education shall update and distribute to all superintendents, school boards, and principals a model school plan on student discipline, as required by Sec. 15(a) of No. 113 of the Acts of the 1999 Adj. Sess. (2000), for use in addressing bullying in schools.  The model plan shall:

(1)  state that bullying, as defined in subdivision 11(a)(32) of Title 16, is a form of dangerous and disrespectful behavior that will not be permitted or tolerated;

(2)  enable students to report anonymously to teachers and school administrators acts of bullying;

(3)  enable parents or guardians of students to file written reports of suspected bullying;

(4)  require teachers and other school staff who witness acts of bullying or receive student reports of bullying to notify school administrators;

(5)  require school administrators to investigate any written reports filed and to review any anonymous reports;

(6)  include an intervention strategy for school staff to deal with bullying;

(7)  include the prohibition against bullying in the student or school handbook and otherwise make students aware of the prohibition against bullying, the penalties therefor, and the procedures for reporting bullying;

(8)  require the school to notify the parent or guardian of a student who

commits a verified act of bullying of the response of the school staff and consequences that may result from further acts of bullying;

(9)  to the extent permitted under the Family Educational Rights and

Privacy Act of 1974 (P.L. 93-380) and as amended, require the school to notify the parent or guardian of a student who is a victim of bullying of the action taken to prevent any further acts of bullying; and

(10)  require the school to collect data on the number of reported incidents of bullying and the number of incidents that have been verified and to make such data available to the commissioner and to the public.


(b)  On or before January 15, 2007, the commissioner of education shall report to the senate and house committees on education on implementation of this section.  The report shall include pertinent data such as incidences of bullying gathered by school districts.

Approved:  May 18, 2004



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us