The Vermont Statutes Online

Title 16: Education

Chapter 9: SCHOOL DISTRICTS

Sub-Chapter 5: Harassment, Hazing, And Bullying

16 V.S.A. § 570. Harassment, hazing, and bullying prevention policies



§ 570. Harassment, hazing, and bullying prevention policies

(a) State policy. It is the policy of the State of Vermont that all Vermont educational institutions provide safe, orderly, civil, and positive learning environments. Harassment, hazing, and bullying have no place and will not be tolerated in Vermont schools. No Vermont student should feel threatened or be discriminated against while enrolled in a Vermont school.

(b) Prevention policies. Each school board shall develop, adopt, ensure the enforcement of, and make available in the manner described under subdivision 563(1) of this title harassment, hazing, and bullying prevention policies that shall be at least as stringent as model policies developed by the Secretary. Any school board that fails to adopt one or more of these policies shall be presumed to have adopted the most current model policy or policies published by the Secretary.

(c) Notice. Annually, prior to the commencement of curricular and cocurricular activities, the school board shall provide notice of the policy and procedures developed under this subchapter to students, custodial parents or guardians of students, and staff members, including reference to the consequences of misbehavior contained in the plan required by section 1161a of this title. Notice to students shall be in age-appropriate language and should include examples of harassment, hazing, and bullying. At a minimum, this notice shall appear in any publication that sets forth the comprehensive rules, procedures, and standards of conduct for the school. The school board shall use its discretion in developing and initiating age-appropriate programs to inform students about the substance of the policy and procedures in order to help prevent harassment, hazing, and bullying. School boards are encouraged to foster opportunities for conversations between and among students regarding tolerance and respect.

(d) Duties of the Secretary. The Secretary shall:

(1) develop and, from time to time, update model harassment, hazing, and bullying prevention policies; and

(2) establish an Advisory Council to review and coordinate school and statewide activities relating to the prevention of and response to harassment, hazing, and bullying. The Council shall report annually in January to the State Board and the House and Senate Committees on Education. The Council shall include:

(A) the Executive Director of the Vermont Principals' Association or designee;

(B) the Executive Director of the Vermont School Boards Association or designee;

(C) the Executive Director of the Vermont Superintendents Association or designee;

(D) the President of the Vermont-National Education Association or designee;

(E) the Executive Director of the Vermont Human Rights Commission or designee;

(F) the Executive Director of the Vermont Independent Schools Association or designee; and

(G) other members selected by the Secretary, at least one of whom shall be a current secondary student who has witnessed or experienced harassment, hazing, or bullying in the school environment.

(e) Definitions. In this subchapter:

(1) "Educational institution" and "school" mean a public school or an approved or recognized independent school as defined in section 11 of this title.

(2) "Organization," "pledging," and "student" have the same meanings as in section 570i of this title.

(3) "Harassment," "hazing," and "bullying" have the same meanings as in subdivisions 11(a)(26), (30), and (32) of this title.

(4) "School board" means the board of directors or other governing body of an educational institution when referring to an independent school. (Added 2011, No. 129 (Adj. Sess.), § 12, eff. May 11, 2012; amended 2011, No. 156 (Adj. Sess.), § 32; 2013, No. 92 (Adj. Sess.), § 72.)