State law requires districts to adopt comprehensive anti-bullying policies addressing all U.S. Department of Education-recommended policy requirements.
Florida Statutes 1006.147 Bullying and harassment prohibited.
(4) Each school district shall adopt and review at least every 3 years a policy prohibiting bullying and harassment of a student or employee of a public K-12 educational institution. Each school district’s policy shall be in substantial conformity with the Department of Education’s model policy. The school district bullying and harassment policy shall afford all students the same protection regardless of their status under the law. The school district may establish separate discrimination policies that include categories of students. The school district shall involve students, parents, teachers, administrators, school staff, school volunteers, community representatives, and local law enforcement agencies in the process of adopting and reviewing the policy. The school district policy must be implemented by each school principal in a manner that is ongoing throughout the school year and integrated with the school’s curriculum, bullying prevention and intervention program, discipline policies, and other violence prevention efforts. The school district policy must contain, at a minimum, the following components:
(a) A statement prohibiting bullying and harassment.
(b) A definition of bullying and a definition of harassment that include the definitions listed in this section.
(c) A description of the type of behavior expected from each student and employee of a public K-12 educational institution.
(d) The consequences for a student or employee of a public K-12 educational institution who commits an act of bullying or harassment.
(e) The consequences for a student or employee of a public K-12 educational institution who is found to have wrongfully and intentionally accused another of an act of bullying or harassment.
(f) A procedure for receiving reports of an alleged act of bullying or harassment, including provisions that permit a person to anonymously report such an act. However, this paragraph does not permit formal disciplinary action to be based solely on an anonymous report.
(g) A procedure for the prompt investigation of a report of bullying or harassment and the persons responsible for the investigation. The investigation of a reported act of bullying or harassment is deemed to be a school-related activity and begins with a report of such an act. Incidents that require a reasonable investigation when reported to appropriate school authorities shall include alleged incidents of bullying or harassment allegedly committed against a child while the child is en route to school aboard a school bus or at a school bus stop.
(h) A process to investigate whether a reported act of bullying or harassment is within the scope of the district school system and, if not, a process for referral of such an act to the appropriate jurisdiction. Computers without web-filtering software or computers with web-filtering software that is disabled shall be used when complaints of cyberbullying are investigated.
(i) A procedure for providing immediate notification to the parents of a victim of bullying or harassment and the parents of the perpetrator of an act of bullying or harassment, as well as notification to all local agencies where criminal charges may be pursued against the perpetrator.
(j) A procedure to refer victims and perpetrators of bullying or harassment for counseling.
(k) A procedure for including incidents of bullying or harassment in the school’s report of data concerning school safety and discipline required under s. 1006.09(6). The report must include each incident of bullying or harassment and the resulting consequences, including discipline and referrals. The report must include in a separate section each alleged incident of bullying or harassment that does not meet the criteria of a prohibited act under this section with recommendations regarding such incidents. The Department of Education shall aggregate information contained in the reports.
(l) A list of programs authorized by the school district that provide instruction to students, parents, teachers, school administrators, counseling staff, and school volunteers on identifying, preventing, and responding to bullying or harassment, including instruction on recognizing behaviors that lead to bullying and harassment and taking appropriate preventive action based on those observations.
(m) A procedure for regularly reporting to a victim’s parents the actions taken to protect the victim.
(n) A procedure for publicizing the policy, which must include its publication in the code of student conduct required under s. 1006.07(2) and in all employee handbooks.
Guidance Related to the Development of a District Policy Against Bullying and Harassment
This technical assistance paper provides guidance, answers to frequently asked questions, and additional resources for school districts in developing a district policy against bullying and harrassment in compliance with state statutes.
Model Policy Against Bullying and Harassment
The model policy, developed by the Florida Department of Education in accordance with state statutes, provides guidance for district school boards developing, adopting, and implementing district policies against bullying and harassment.