State law requires districts to adopt comprehensive anti-bullying policies addressing all U.S. Department of Education-recommended policy requirements.
Georgia Compiled Rules & Regulations 160-4-8.15. Student Discipline
(i) Each local board of education shall approve Tribunal Training Provider(s).
(j) Each local board of education shall make available to all Qualified Student Discipline Hearing Officers and Disciplinary Tribunal or Panel Members the initial and ongoing tribunal training course prior to the individual(s) serving in such capacity. The local board of education shall ensure initially trained student discipline hearing officers and disciplinary tribunal or panel members undergo continuing education so as to continue to serve in such capacity.
(k) Each local board of education shall observe Georgia law in developing and implementing disciplinary hearings held by a disciplinary hearing officer, disciplinary panel, or disciplinary tribunal pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 20-2-751 through § 20-2-759 including the ability to honor disciplinary orders of private schools and other public schools/school systems pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 20-2-751.2.
- Disciplinary hearings shall be held no later than ten school days after the beginning of the student's suspension unless the school system and parents or guardians mutually agree to an extension.
- Any teacher who is called as a witness by the school system shall be given notice no later than three days prior to the hearing.
Official Code of Georgia Annotated 20-2-145. Comprehensive character education program
(a) The State Board of Education shall develop by the start of the 1997-1998 school year a comprehensive character education program for levels K-12. This comprehensive character education program shall be known as the "character curriculum" and shall focus on the students' development of the following character traits: courage, patriotism, citizenship, honesty, fairness, respect for others, kindness, cooperation, self-respect, self-control, courtesy, compassion, tolerance, diligence, generosity, punctuality, cleanliness, cheerfulness, school pride, respect for the environment, respect for the creator, patience, creativity, sportsmanship, loyalty, perseverance, and virtue. Such program shall also address, by the start of the 1999-2000 school year, methods of discouraging bullying and violent acts against fellow students.
Official Code of Georgia Annotated 20-2-751.4 Policies prohibiting bullying; assignment to alternative school; notice
(b) No later than August 1, 2011:
- (1) Each local board of education shall adopt a policy that prohibits bullying of a student by another student and shall require such prohibition to be included in the student code of conduct for schools in that school system;
Official Code of Georgia Annotated 20-2-751.5. Student Code of conduct; safety rules on school buses; distribution
(a) Each student code of conduct shall contain provisions that address the following conduct of students during school hours, at school related functions, and on the school bus in a manner that is appropriate to the age of the student:
- (1) Verbal assault, including threatened violence, of teachers, administrators, and other school personnel;
- (2) Physical assault or battery of teachers, administrators, and other school personnel;
- (3) Disrespectful conduct toward teachers, administrators, and other school personnel, including use of vulgar or profane language;
- (4) Verbal assault of other students, including threatened violence or sexual harassment as defined pursuant to Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972;
- (5) Physical assault or battery of other students, including sexual harassment as defined pursuant to Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972;
- (6) Disrespectful conduct toward other students, including use of vulgar or profane language;
- (7) Verbal assault of, physical assault or battery of, and disrespectful conduct, including use of vulgar or profane language, toward persons attending school related functions;
- (8) Failure to comply with compulsory attendance as required under Code Section 20-2-690.1;
- (9) Willful or malicious damage to real or personal property of the school or to personal property of any person legitimately at the school;
- (10) Inciting, advising, or counseling of others to engage in prohibited acts;
- (11) Marking, defacing, or destroying school property;
- (12) Possession of a firearm, as provided for in Code Section 16-11-127.1, and possession of a dangerous weapon or hazardous object;
- (13) Unlawful use or possession of illegal drugs or alcohol;
- (14) Willful and persistent violation of the student code of conduct;
- (15) Bullying as defined by Code Section 20-2-751.4;
- (16) Marking, defacing, or destroying the property of another student; and
- (17) Falsifying, misrepresenting, omitting, or erroneously reporting information regarding instances of alleged inappropriate behavior by a teacher, administrator, or other school employee toward a student.
With regard to paragraphs (9), (11), and (17) of this subsection, each student code of conduct shall also contain provisions that address conduct of students during off-school hours.
(b) (1) In addition to the requirements contained in subsection (a) of this Code section, each student code of conduct shall include comprehensive and specific provisions prescribing and governing student conduct and safety rules on all public school buses. The specific provisions shall include but not be limited to:
- (A) Students shall be prohibited from acts of physical violence as defined by Code Section 20-2-751.6, bullying as defined by subsection (a) of Code Section 20-2-751.4, physical assault or battery of other persons on the school bus, verbal assault of other persons on the school bus, disrespectful conduct toward the school bus driver or other persons on the school bus, and other unruly behavior;
- (B) Students shall be prohibited from using any electronic devices during the operation of a school bus, including but not limited to cell phones; pagers; audible radios, tape or compact disc players without headphones; or any other electronic device in a manner that might interfere with the school bus communications equipment or the school bus driver's operation of the school bus; and
- (C) Students shall be prohibited from using mirrors, lasers, flash cameras, or any other lights or reflective devises in a manner that might interfere with the school bus driver's operation of the school bus.
(2) If a student is found to have engaged in physical acts of violence as defined by Code Section 20-2-751.6, the student shall be subject to the penalties set forth in such Code section. If a student is found to have engaged in bullying as defined by subsection (a) of Code Section 20-2-751.4 or in physical assault or battery of another person on the school bus, the local school board policy shall require a meeting of the parent or guardian of the student and appropriate school district officials to form a school bus behavior contract for the student. Such contract shall provide for progressive age-appropriate discipline, penalties, and restrictions for student misconduct on the bus. Contract provisions may include but shall not be not limited to assigned seating, ongoing parental involvement, and suspension from riding the bus. This subsection is not to be construed to limit the instances when a school code of conduct or local board of education may require use of a student bus behavior contract.
(c) Each student code of conduct shall also contain provisions that address any off-campus behavior of a student which could result in the student being criminally charged with a felony and which makes the student's continued presence at school a potential danger to persons or property at the school or which disrupts the educational process.
(d) Local board policies relating to student codes of conduct shall provide that each local school superintendent shall fully support the authority of principals and teachers in the school system to remove a student from the classroom pursuant to Code Section 20-2-738, including establishing and disseminating procedures. It is the policy of this state that it is preferable to reassign disruptive students to alternative educational settings rather than to suspend or expel such students from school.
(e) Any student handbook which is prepared by a local board or school shall include a copy of the student code of conduct for that school or be accompanied by a copy of the student code of conduct for that school as annually distributed pursuant to Code Section 20-2-736. When distributing a student code of conduct, a local school shall include a form for acknowledgment of the student's parent or guardian's receipt of the code, and the local school shall solicit or require that the form be signed and returned to the school.
Policy for Prohibiting Bullying, Cyberbullying, Harassment and Intimidation
Bullying policy includes statement against bullying definition of terms, prohibited behaviors, reporting procedures, prohibition of retaliation, immunity statement, and training and professional development requirements.