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The Voter’s Speakeasy featuring unbiased reporting and insight into life at Vote Smart from our staff, interns, and volunteers.

Legislative Wrap-Up: Bullying in Schools

2013 January 25

Throughout the past decade there has been a national trend of legislation on bullying. In 2002, the U.S. Secret Service released a study on school shootings (in the wake of the Columbine shooting) that stated  “The prevalence of bullying found in this and other recent studies should strongly support ongoing efforts to reduce bullying in American schools.” Since then state legislatures across the country have considered, amended and proposed numerous bills on bullying. As of January 2012, 48 states had some sort of bullying legislation in effect. 

In 2012 the Arizona,  Idaho and Illinois Legislatures addressed bullying. Additionally, in the past few years LouisianaMichigan  North Carolina and Oregon have also addressed bullying in their legislative sessions. The bills have ranged from redefining bullying to include technological harassment otherwise known as “cyber bullying” to creating disciplinary actions for public school staff members who do not respond adequately in the case of bullying. State legislatures also addressed training for students and teachers on bullying prevention, required written reports on incidents of bullying, and reviewed bullying policies.

Cyber bullying has been addressed in the legislation of 38 states according to a recent study conducted by the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University in February 2012. Cyber bullying is defined in most states as bullying that takes place online, through an electronic device such as a cell phone, or computer and does not involve face-to-face interaction. Cyber bullying has had a significant amount of news coverage particularly since a  ...

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