Outline of the state of Florida

Bullying Policy—Definitions

Bullying Policy—Definitions

State law defines prohibited behavior and may require districts to include bullying definitions in district anti-bullying policies.

Florida Statutes 1006.147 Bullying and harassment prohibited.

(3) For purposes of this section:

(a) “Bullying” includes cyberbullying and means systematically and chronically inflicting physical hurt or psychological distress on one or more students and may involve:

  1. Teasing;

  2. Social exclusion;

  3. Threat;

  4. Intimidation;

  5. Stalking;

  6. Physical violence;

  7. Theft;

  8. Sexual, religious, or racial harassment;

  9. Public or private humiliation; or

  10. Destruction of property.

(b) “Cyberbullying” means bullying through the use of technology or any electronic communication, which includes, but is not limited to, any transfer of signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data, or intelligence of any nature transmitted in whole or in part by a wire, radio, electromagnetic system, photoelectronic system, or photooptical system, including, but not limited to, electronic mail, Internet communications, instant messages, or facsimile communications. Cyberbullying includes the creation of a webpage or weblog in which the creator assumes the identity of another person, or the knowing impersonation of another person as the author of posted content or messages, if the creation or impersonation creates any of the conditions enumerated in the definition of bullying. Cyberbullying also includes the distribution by electronic means of a communication to more than one person or the posting of material on an electronic medium that may be accessed by one or more persons, if the distribution or posting creates any of the conditions enumerated in the definition of bullying.

(c) “Harassment” means any threatening, insulting, or dehumanizing gesture, use of data or computer software, or written, verbal, or physical conduct directed against a student or school employee that:

  1. Places a student or school employee in reasonable fear of harm to his or her person or damage to his or her property;

  2. Has the effect of substantially interfering with a student’s educational performance, opportunities, or benefits; or

  3. Has the effect of substantially disrupting the orderly operation of a school.

(d) “Within the scope of a public K-12 educational institution” means, regardless of ownership, any computer, computer system, or computer network that is physically located on school property or at a school-related or school-sponsored program or activity.

(e) Definitions in s. 815.03 and the definition in s. 784.048(1)(d) relating to stalking are applicable to this section.

(f) The definitions of “bullying” and “harassment” include:

  1. Retaliation against a student or school employee by another student or school employee for asserting or alleging an act of bullying or harassment. Reporting an act of bullying or harassment that is not made in good faith is considered retaliation.

  2. Perpetuation of conduct listed in paragraph (a), paragraph (b), or paragraph (c) by an individual or group with intent to demean, dehumanize, embarrass, or cause physical harm to a student or school employee by:

a. Incitement or coercion;

b. Accessing or knowingly causing or providing access to data or computer software through a computer, computer system, or computer network within the scope of the district school system; or

c. Acting in a manner that has an effect substantially similar to the effect of bullying or harassment.

(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:

(b) A definition of bullying and a definition of harassment that include the definitions listed in this section.

Policy Type