Rhode Island - Bullying Policy Reporting and Investigations: Policy or Plan Requirements

Area: 
Policy Or Plan Requirements
Policy Type: 
regulation; statute
Summary: 

State law requires districts to adopt anti-bullying policies addressing some U.S. Department of Education-recommended policy requirements.

Rhode Island General Laws § 16-21-34. Statewide bullying policy implemented.

(a) The Rhode Island department of education shall prescribe by regulation a statewide bullying policy, ensuring a consistent and unified, statewide approach to the prohibition of bullying at school. The statewide policy shall apply to all schools that are approved for the purpose of § 16-9-1 and shall contain the following:

  • (2) Clear requirements and procedures for students, staff, parents, guardians and others to report bullying or retaliation;
  • (3) A provision that reports of bullying or retaliation may be made anonymously; provided, however, that no disciplinary action shall be taken against a student solely on the basis of an anonymous report;
  • (4) Clear procedures for promptly responding to and investigating repors of bullying or retaliation;

Safe School Act- Statewide Bullying Policy 200-RICR-30-10-2

2.6 Reporting.
A. The school principal, director or head of school shall establish, and prominently publicize to students, staff, volunteers, and parents/guardians, how a report of bullying may be filed and how this report will be acted upon (See attached sample Report Form).

B. The victim of bullying, anyone who witnesses an incidence of bullying, and anyone who has credible information that an act of bullying has taken place may file a report of bullying.

C. Any student or staff member who believes he/she is being bullied should immediately report such circumstances to an appropriate staff member, teacher or administrator.

D. Parents/Guardians of the victim of bullying and parents/guardians of the alleged perpetrator of the bullying shall be notified within twenty‐ four (24) hours of the incident report. When there is a reasonable suspicion that a child is either a bully or a victim of bullying, the parents/guardians of the child will be notified immediately by the principal, director or head of school.

E. Responsibility of Staff:

    1. School staff, including volunteers, who observe an act of bullying or who have reasonable grounds to believe that bullying is taking place must report the bullying to school authorities.
    1. Failure to do so may result in disciplinary action.

F. Responsibility of Students:

    1. Students who observe an act of bullying or who have reasonable grounds to believe that bullying is taking place must report the bullying to school authorities.
    1. Failure to do so may result in disciplinary action.
    1. The victim of bullying, however, shall not be subject to discipline for failing to report the bullying. Student reports of bullying or retaliation may be made anonymously, provided, however, that no disciplinary action shall be taken against a student solely on the basis of an anonymous report.

G. Prohibition against Retaliation:

    1. Retaliation or threats of retaliation in any form designed to intimidate the victim of bullying, those who are witnesses to bullying, or those investigating an incident of bullying shall not be tolerated.
    1. Retaliation or threat of retaliation will result in the imposition of discipline in accordance with the school behavior code.

H. False Reporting/Accusations:

    1. A school employee, school volunteer or student who knowingly makes a false accusation of bullying or retaliation shall be disciplined in accordance with the school behavior code.

I. Reports in Good Faith:

    1. A school employee, school volunteer, student, parent/legal guardian, or caregiver who promptly reports, in good faith, an act of bullying to the appropriate school official designated in the school's policy shall be immune from a cause of action for damages arising from reporting bullying.

2.7 Investigation/Response.
A. The school principal, director or head of school shall promptly investigate all allegations of bullying, harassment, or intimidation. If the allegation is found to be credible, appropriate disciplinary actions, subject to applicable due process requirements, will be imposed. The School Resource Officer or other qualified staff may be utilized to mediate bullying situations.
Rhode Island Department of State

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