Rhode Island - Limits on Referrals to Law Enforcement: Prohibitions or Restrictions

Area: 
Prohibitions Or Restrictions
Policy Type: 
Statute
Summary: 

State law requires districts to refer students to local law enforcement for any offense that may be a violation of the criminal code.

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:

  • (1) Descriptions of and statements prohibiting bullying, cyber-bullying and retaliation of school;
  • (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 reports of bullying or retaliation;
  • (5) The range of disciplinary actions that may be taken against a perpetrator for bullying or retaliation; provided, however, that the disciplinary actions shall balance the need for accountability with the need to teach appropriate behavior; and provided, further:
    • (i) A parental engagement strategy; and
    • (ii) A provision that states punishments for violations of the bullying policy shall be determined by the school's appropriate authority; however, no student shall be suspended from school unless it is deemed a necessary consequence of the violations;
  • (6) Clear procedures for restoring a sense of safety for a victim and assessing that victim's needs for protection;
  • (7) Strategies for protecting from bullying or retaliation a person who reports bullying, provides information during an investigation of bullying or witnesses or has reliable information about an act of bullying;
  • (8) Procedures for promptly notifying the parents or guardians of a victim and a perpetrator; provided, further, that the parents or guardians of a victim shall also be notified of the action taken to prevent any further acts of bullying or retaliation; and provided, further, that the procedures shall provide for immediate notification of the local law enforcement agency when criminal charges may be pursued against the perpetrator;
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