THE SENATE

S.B. NO.

934

TWENTY-SIXTH LEGISLATURE, 2011

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

 

RELATING TO bullying and cyberbullying.

 

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

 


SECTION 1. The legislature finds that bullying and cyberbullying among students have a detrimental effect on academic achievement as well as the psychological, social, and physical well-being of students K-12. Bullying also directly affects students' attitudes toward school, school attendance, and academic achievement. According to a June 25, 2007 report from the department of education safe schools community advisory committee entitled "Recommendations for Addressing Harassment in Hawaii Public Schools", bullying and harassment are common features of American school life. A 2003 nationally representative study of sixth to tenth grade students found that in the previous year thirteen per cent had engaged in bullying behaviors, eleven per cent had been victims, and six per cent had been victims and had engaged in bullying behaviors.

The purpose of this Act is to provide greater protection for Hawaii's children, both in and out of school settings, by:

(1) Establishing a bullying and cyberbullying policy for all public schools;

(2) Requiring implementation of the policy in all public schools;

(3) Establishing bullying and cyberbullying reporting requirements for all public and private schools; and

(4) Establishing a misdemeanor offense of bullying or cyberbullying a minor.

SECTION 2. Chapter 302A, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

"302A-   Bullying and cyberbullying; policy; reporting. (a) No student shall be subjected to bullying or cyberbullying:

(1) During any education program or activity;

(2) While in school, on school equipment or property, in school vehicles, on school buses, at designated school bus stops, at school-sponsored activities, and at school-sanctioned events; or

(3) Through the use of data, telephone or computer software that is accessed through a computer, computer system, or computer network of any public school.

(b) The department of education shall adopt rules to implement a policy prohibiting bullying and cyberbullying, as defined in subsection (f). The department shall involve students, parents, legal guardians, administrators, school staff, school volunteers, community representatives, and local law enforcement agencies in the process of adopting the policy. The department's policy shall be implemented in a manner that is ongoing throughout the school year and integrated with a school's curriculum, discipline policies, and other violence prevention efforts.

(c) The policy adopted by the department pursuant to subsection (b) shall contain, at a minimum, the following components:

(1) Notice of the policy, which shall include:

(A) A statement prohibiting bullying or cyberbullying, as defined in subsection (f);

(B) A statement prohibiting retaliation or false accusation against a student target, witness, or individual with reliable information about an act of bullying or cyberbullying;

(C) A requirement that all students are protected regardless of their status under the law;

(D) A statement of how the policy is to be publicized, including requirements that:

(i) Annual written notice of the policy shall be provided to parents, legal guardians, staff, volunteers, and students, with age appropriate language for students;

(ii) Posting of the policy in several locations in each public school, including but not limited to cafeterias, school bulletin boards, and administration offices, and the department's website; and

(iii) Inclusion of the policy in all student conduct and employee handbooks;

(E) A procedure for providing immediate notification to the parents or legal guardian of a victim of bullying or cyberbullying and the parents or legal guardian of the perpetrator of the bullying or cyberbullying;

(F) The identification by job title of school officials responsible for ensuring that the policy is implemented;

(G) A statement that the policy will apply to an electronic communication whether or not the bullying or cyberbullying originated on school property or with school equipment; provided that:

(i) The bullying or cyberbullying act can be reasonably expected to have the effect of:

(aa) Harming a student, damaging the student's property, or placing a student in reasonable fear of harm or damage to the student's property; and

(bb) Insulting or demeaning any student or group of students in such a way as to cause substantial disruption in or substantial interference with the orderly operation of the school; or

(ii) The bullying or cyberbullying act is directed specifically at students with the intended purpose of disrupting school, and the act has a high likelihood of succeeding in that purpose;

(2) Reporting and investigation procedures and requirements, which shall include:

(A) A procedure for reporting an act of bullying or cyberbullying, including a provision that permits a person to report a bullying or cyberbullying act anonymously; provided that no formal disciplinary action shall be taken solely on the basis of an anonymous report;

(B) A requirement that any school employee that has reliable information which would lead a reasonable person to suspect that a student is a target of bullying or cyberbullying immediately report the information to the principal or the principal's designee;

(C) A procedure for each school to document any prohibited incident that is reported and a procedure to report all incidents of bullying or cyberbullying and the resulting consequences, including discipline and referrals, to the board on a semi-annual basis;

(D) A procedure for reporting to law enforcement all acts of bullying or cyberbullying that may constitute criminal activity; and

(E) A procedure for prompt investigation of reports of violations and complaints, identifying either the principal or the principal's designee as the person responsible for the investigation;

(3) Penalties, remedies, and victim assistance that include:

(A) Penalties, consequences, and appropriate remedial action for a student who commits an act of bullying or cyberbullying;

(B) Penalties, consequences, and appropriate remedial action for a student found to have falsely accused another as a means of retaliation, reprisal, or as a means of bullying or cyberbullying;

(C) A strategy for providing counseling or referral to appropriate services, including guidance, academic intervention, and protection to student targets and perpetrators, and appropriate family members affected by bullying or cyberbullying, as necessary;

(D) A statement encouraging public schools to form bullying prevention task forces, programs, and other initiatives involving school staff, students, administrators, volunteers, parents, legal guardians, law enforcement, community members, and other stakeholders; and

(4) Training and assessment, including the following educational programs to prevent bullying or cyberbullying:

(A) Annual training for administrators, school employees, and volunteers who have significant contact with students in preventing, identifying, responding to, and reporting incidents of bullying or cyberbullying; and

(B) An educational program for students, parents, and legal guardians in preventing, identifying, responding to, and reporting incidents of bullying or cyberbullying.

(d) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit or prevent a teacher, official, or other employee or volunteer of the department from reporting other offenses to the principal or the principal's designee.

(e) A student, parent, legal guardian, teacher, official, or other employee or volunteer of the department who promptly reports in good faith an act of bullying or cyberbullying to the appropriate school official designated in the department's policy and who makes this report in compliance with the procedures set forth in the policy is immune from a cause of action for damages arising out of the reporting itself or any failure to remedy the reported incident.

(f) For the purposes of this section:

"Bullying" or "cyberbullying" means any written, verbal, or physical act, or any electronic communication including but not limited to a communication shown to be motivated by a student's actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry or ethnicity, sexual orientation, physical, mental, emotional, or learning disability, gender, gender identity and expression, or other distinguishing personal characteristic, when the written, verbal, or physical act or electronic communication is intended to:

(1) Physically harm a student or damage the student's property;

(2) Substantially interfere with a student's educational opportunities;

(3) Be so severe, persistent, or pervasive that it creates an intimidating or threatening educational environment; or

(4) Substantially disrupt the orderly operation of the school.

"Electronic communication" means any communication through an electronic device including but not limited to a telephone, cellular phone, computer, or pager, which communication includes but is not limited to electronic mail (e-mail), instant messaging, text messages, blogs, mobile phones, pagers, online games, and websites."

SECTION 3. Chapter 302B, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

"302B-   Bullying and cyberbullying; policy; reporting. (a) No student shall be subjected to bullying or cyberbullying:

(1) During any education program or activity;

(2) While in school, on school equipment or property, in school vehicles, on school buses, at designated school bus stops, at school-sponsored activities, and at school-sanctioned events; or

(3) Through the use of data, telephone or computer software that is accessed through a computer, computer system, or computer network of any public charter school.

(b) The panel shall adopt rules to implement a policy prohibiting bullying and cyberbullying, as defined in subsection (f). The panel shall involve students, parents, legal guardians, administrators, school staff, school volunteers, community representatives, and local law enforcement agencies in the process of adopting the policy. The panel's policy shall be implemented in a manner that is ongoing throughout the school year and integrated with a charter school's curriculum, discipline policies, and other violence prevention efforts.

(c) The policy adopted by the panel pursuant to subsection (b) shall contain, at a minimum, the following components:

(1) Notice of the policy, which shall include:

(A) A statement prohibiting bullying or cyberbullying, as defined in subsection (f);

(B) A statement prohibiting retaliation or false accusation against a student target, witness, or individual with reliable information about an act of bullying or cyberbullying;

(C) A requirement that all students are protected regardless of their status under the law;

(D) A statement of how the policy is to be publicized, including requirements that:

(i) Annual written notice of the policy shall be provided to parents, legal guardians, staff, volunteers, and students, with age appropriate language for students;

(ii) Posting of the policy in several locations in each charter school, including but not limited to cafeterias, school bulletin boards, and administration offices, and the office's website; and

(iii) Inclusion of the policy in all student conduct and employee handbooks;

(E) A procedure for providing immediate notification to the parents or legal guardian of a victim of bullying or cyberbullying and the parents or legal guardian of the perpetrator of the bullying or cyberbullying;

(F) The identification by job title of school officials responsible for ensuring that the policy is implemented;

(G) A statement that the policy will apply to an electronic communication whether or not the bullying or cyberbullying originated on school property or with school equipment; provided that:

(i) The bullying or cyberbullying act can be reasonably expected to have the effect of:

(aa) Harming a student, damaging the student's property, or placing a student in reasonable fear of harm or damage to the student's property; and

(bb) Insulting or demeaning any student or group of students in such a way as to cause substantial disruption in or substantial interference with the orderly operation of the school; or

(ii) The bullying or cyberbullying act is directed specifically at students with the intended purpose of disrupting school, and the act has a high likelihood of succeeding in that purpose;

(2) Reporting and investigation procedures and requirements, which shall include:

(A) A procedure for reporting an act of bullying or cyberbullying, including a provision that permits a person to report a bullying or cyberbullying act anonymously; provided that no formal disciplinary action shall be taken solely on the basis of an anonymous report;

(B) A requirement that any school employee that has reliable information which would lead a reasonable person to suspect that a student is a target of bullying or cyberbullying immediately report the information to the principal or the principal's designee;

(C) A procedure for each school to document any prohibited incident that is reported and a procedure to report all incidents of bullying or cyberbullying and the resulting consequences, including discipline and referrals, to the panel on a semi-annual basis;

(D) A procedure for reporting to law enforcement all acts of bullying or cyberbullying that may constitute criminal activity; and

(E) A procedure for prompt investigation of reports of violations and complaints, identifying either the principal or the principal's designee as the person responsible for the investigation;

(3) Penalties, remedies, and victim assistance that include:

(A) Penalties, consequences, and appropriate remedial action for a student who commits an act of bullying or cyberbullying;

(B) Penalties, consequences, and appropriate remedial action for a student found to have falsely accused another as a means of retaliation, reprisal, or as a means of bullying or cyberbullying;

(C) A strategy for providing counseling or referral to appropriate services, including guidance, academic intervention, and protection to student targets and perpetrators, and appropriate family members affected by bullying or cyberbullying, as necessary;

(D) A statement encouraging charter schools to form bullying prevention task forces, programs, and other initiatives involving school staff, students, administrators, volunteers, parents, legal guardians, law enforcement, community members, and other stakeholders; and

(4) Training and assessment, including the following educational programs to prevent bullying or cyberbullying:

(A) Annual training for administrators, school employees, and volunteers who have significant contact with students in preventing, identifying, responding to, and reporting incidents of bullying or cyberbullying; and

(B) An educational program for students, parents, and legal guardians in preventing, identifying, responding to, and reporting incidents of bullying or cyberbullying.

(d) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit or prevent a teacher, official, or other employee or volunteer of the department from reporting other offenses to the principal or the principal's designee.

(e) A student, parent, legal guardian, teacher, official, or other employee or volunteer of the department who promptly reports in good faith an act of harassment, intimidation, bullying or cyberbullying to the appropriate school official designated in the panel's policy and who makes this report in compliance with the procedures set forth in the policy is immune from a cause of action for damages arising out of the reporting itself or any failure to remedy the reported incident.

(f) For the purposes of this section:

"Bullying" or "cyberbullying" shall have the same meaning as in section 302A‑  (f).

"Electronic communication" shall have the same meaning as in section 302A‑  (f)."

SECTION 4. Chapter 302C, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

"302C-   Bullying and cyberbullying; reporting. (a) All private schools shall report to their respective county police departments any bullying or cyberbullying that occurs:

(1) During any education program or activity;

(2) While in school, on school equipment or property, in school vehicles, on school buses, and at designated school bus stops, at school-sponsored activities, and at school-sanctioned events; or

(3) Through the use of data, telephone or computer software that is accessed through a computer, computer system, or computer network of any private school.

(b) For the purposes of this section:

"Bullying" or "cyberbullying" shall have the same meaning as in section 302A‑  (f)."

SECTION 5. Chapter 707, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

"707-   Bullying or cyberbullying of a minor. (1) Any person who intentionally bullies or cyberbullies:

(a) A minor known by the person to be under the age of eighteen years;

(b) Another person, in reckless disregard of the risk that the other person may be under the age of eighteen years, and the other person is under the age of eighteen years; or

(c) Another person represented through electronic communication to be under the age of eighteen years,

is guilty of bullying or cyberbullying a minor.

(2) For the purpose of this section:

"Bullying" or "cyberbullying" means any written, verbal, or physical act, or any electronic communication including but not limited to a communication shown to be motivated by a minor's actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry or ethnicity, sexual orientation, physical, mental, emotional, or learning disability, gender, gender identity and expression, or other distinguishing personal characteristic, when the written, verbal, or physical act or electronic communication is intended to:

(a) Physically harm a minor or damage the minor's property; or

(b) Be so severe, persistent, or pervasive that it creates an intimidating or threatening environment.

"Electronic communication" shall have the same meaning as in section 302A‑  (f).

"Minor" means any person under the age of eighteen years.

(3) Bullying or cyberbullying a minor is a misdemeanor."

SECTION 6. Section 302A-1002, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"[[]302A-1002[]] Reporting of crime-related incidents. The board shall adopt rules pursuant to chapter 91 to:

(1) Require a report to appropriate authorities from a teacher, official, or other employee of the department who knows or has reason to believe that an act has been committed or will be committed, which:

(A) Occurred or will occur on school property during school hours or during activities supervised by the school; and

(B) Involves crimes relating to arson, assault, bullying or cyberbullying, as defined in section 302A‑  (f), burglary, disorderly conduct, dangerous weapons, dangerous drugs, harmful drugs, extortion, firearms, gambling, harassment, intoxicating drugs, marijuana or marijuana concentrate, murder, attempted murder, sexual offenses, rendering a false alarm, criminal property damage, robbery, terroristic threatening, theft, or trespass;

(2) Establish procedures for disposing of any incident reported; and

(3) Impose, in addition to any other powers or authority the department may have to discipline school officials, appropriate disciplinary action for failure to report these incidents, including probation, suspension, demotion, and discharge of school officials."

SECTION 7. This Act does not affect rights and duties that matured, penalties that were incurred, and proceedings that were begun before its effective date.

SECTION 8. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 9. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.

 

INTRODUCED BY:

_____________________________

 

 


 


 

Report Title:

Bullying; Cyberbullying

 

Description:

Establishes a bullying and cyberbullying policy for all public schools. Requires implementation of the policy in all public schools. Establishes bullying and cyberbullying reporting requirements for all public and private schools. Establishes a misdemeanor offense of bullying or cyberbullying a minor. Defines "bullying" and "cyberbullying".

 

 

 

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