State law addresses reporting and investigations.
Code of the District of Columbia 2-1535.03. Bullying prevention policy.
(b) Each agency, educational institution, and grantee shall control the content of its policy; provided, that each policy includes:
- (6) A procedure for reporting bullying or retaliation for reporting an act of bullying, including for reporting bullying anonymously; provided, that no formal response shall be taken solely on the basis of an anonymous report;
- (7) A procedure for prompt investigation of reports of violations of its policy and of complaints of bullying or retaliation, including the name and contact information of the person responsible for investigating reports.
Code of the District of Columbia 2-1535.05. Retaliation.
(b) An employee or volunteer who has witnessed bullying in violation of a bullying prevention policy that is consistent with § 2-1535.03(a), or has reliable information that a person has been subject to bullying in violation of a bullying prevention policy that is consistent with § 2-1535.03(a), shall report the incident or information to the person designated by the agency, educational institution, or grantee, in accordance with § 2-1535.03(b)(7), as responsible for investigating the reports.
District of Columbia Municipal Regulations 1502 Adoption of a Bullying Prevention Policy
1502.3 A covered entity’s bullying prevention policy shall at a minimum include the following elements: (g) A mechanism and procedures for staff, students, parents/guardians, and others to report bullying, retaliation for reporting bullying, or other violations of the bullying prevention policy that permits anonymous reporting, provided however, that no formal response shall be taken solely on the basis of anonymous reporting; (h) A procedure for prompt investigation of reports of bullying, retaliation, or other violations of the bullying prevention policy that identifies the name and contact information for the person(s) responsible for investigating bullying and retaliation; (i) A secondary investigation appeal process, consistent with § 1506, for a person accused of bullying or a person who is the target of bullying or retaliation who is not satisfied with the outcome of an initial investigation under § 1505;
District of Columbia Municipal Regulations 1504. Reporting Bullying or Retaliation Complaints.
1504.1 Each covered entity shall encourage youth, parents, guardians, employees, volunteers and community members to report any incidents of bullying or retaliation that they are witness to, or of which they are aware. 1504.2 Reports of bullying, retaliation, and other violations of the bullying prevention policy should be made to the Point of Contact at the covered entity, either by mail, telephone, facsimile, electronically, or through an anonymous drop box at the covered entity's site. 1504.3 If an individual is unable to report the complaint to the Point of Contact, the complaint may also be made to a member of the covered entity's management or leadership team, and those individuals shall refer the complaint to the Point of Contact for investigation. If there is some reason why the Point of Contact should not be the investigator on a particular matter, for example if there are any known or raised conflict of interests, the covered entity's management may assign another investigator. 1504.4 Employees and volunteers of covered entities shall promptly report incidents of bullying or retaliation to the entity's named Point of Contact identified in the policy when they witness incidents of bullying or retaliation, or for incidents about which they have reliable information. 1504.5 Information about reporting bullying and retaliation shall be communicated to all youth associated with the covered entity in an age-appropriate manner.
- 6 Each covered entity shall ensure that there are reporting materials available in a wide variety of languages as required by the Language Access Act of 2004, effective June 19, 2004 (D.C. Law 15-167; D.C. Official Code §§ 2-1931 et seq.) and 4 DCMR § 1205.4. 1504.7 The person designated by a covered entity to investigate bullying, retaliation, and other violations of the bullying prevention policy (the covered entity's Point of Contact) shall create a written description of each incident of bullying, retaliation, or other violation of the bullying prevention policy that was reported to him or her and where applicable, shall include the description in the annual report that is required by § 1511.
District of Columbia Municipal Regulations 1505. Investigations.
1505.1 Each covered entity shall promptly initiate an investigation into each report of bullying, retaliation, or other violation of the bullying prevention policy within two (2) business days of receiving the complaint and complete the investigation within thirty (30) days of receiving the complaint, as outlined below. If the bullying, retaliation, or other acts in violation of the bullying prevention policy involve multiple covered entities, the entities shall coordinate their investigation and response activities.
1505.2 Within two (2) business days of receiving a report of bullying, retaliation, or other violation of the bullying prevention policy, the Point of Contact shall: (a) Draft a written record of the complaint, which must be included in the final report outlined in § 1505.5; (b) Take appropriate action to protect, to the extent possible, the safety of the alleged target referenced in the report, which may include contacting relevant parties, intercepting the target or alleged perpetrator if information is received regarding a pending act of bullying or retaliation, and ascertaining the presence of teachers or other employees at a location that has been identified as the site of a pending act of bullying or retaliation; (c) Inform the target, alleged perpetrator, and if applicable, witnesses, of the alleged incident and of the initiation of the investigation; (d) Make a good-faith attempt to inform the parents or guardians of the target about the alleged incident and any planned investigation, if the target is less than eighteen (18) years of age and if the contact information for the parents or guardians is available or can be requested. If the Point of Contact determines that informing the parents or guardians may cause harm to, or endanger the health or well-being of the target, the Point of Contact shall document facts giving rise to such determination, and document the decision not to inform in writing; and (e) Make a good-faith attempt to inform the parents or guardians of the alleged perpetrator about the alleged incident and any planned investigation, if the alleged perpetrator is less than eighteen (18) years of age. If the Point of Contact determines that informing the parents or guardians may cause harm to, or endanger the health or well-being of, alleged perpetrator, as the case may be, the Point of Contact shall document facts giving rise to such determination, and document the decision not to inform in writing; and (f) Take into account whether the individuals involved have disabilities and whether the behavior is a manifestation of the disability. Where available, consider whether the individuals have legally mandated protections including an Individualized Education Programs (IEP). The United States Department of Education through its Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has provided helpful information that covered entities are to follow concerning students with disabilities and bullying. One such resource is available through OCR's 2014 Dear Colleague Letter at http://www.ed.gov/ocr/docs/disabharassltr.html.
1505.3 The covered entity shall provide confidentiality if possible to individuals interviewed as part of the investigation, including the victim, and inform them that retaliation for reporting acts of bullying is prohibited. However, if the Point of Contact learns during the course of the investigation that the reported incident involves criminal activity, the Point of Contact shall communicate such information to the Principal or the equivalent. If the reported incident or statements during the investigation indicate credible and imminent threat of harm or criminal activity, the Point of Contact shall immediately report such information to the appropriate law enforcement authorities and to the Principal or the equivalent.
1505.4 The investigation shall be completed within thirty (30) days after receipt of a report of bullying, retaliation, or other violation of the bullying prevention policy.
1505.5 The investigator or a designee of the covered entity shall issue a written report setting forth his or her findings and recommendations within thirty (30) days after receiving a report of bullying, retaliation, or other violation of the bullying prevention policy which includes the following: (a) A description of the incident(s) including the names of individuals involved and behaviors alleged, location of occurrence(s) and whether or not bullying occurred under the definitions set forth in the Act as outlined in § 1502.1; (b) Whether the incident was based on a trait that is covered in the Human Rights Act (as listed in the definition of bullying in § 1502.1(a)); and (c) The actions that were taken as a result of the findings. 1505.6 The written report shall be provided to the: (a) Target, the parents or guardians of the target if the target is under eighteen (18) years of age, the alleged perpetrator, and the parents or guardians of the alleged perpetrator if the alleged perpetrator is under eighteen (18) years of age. (b) The requirement in paragraph (a) of this subsection to send the written report to the parents or guardians shall not apply if the contact information for parents or guardians is not available after making good-faith attempt to obtain such information, or if the Point of Contact determines that sending the report may cause harm to, or endanger the health or well-being of, the target or alleged perpetrator, as the case may be, but the reasons for the determination not to send the report must be documented in writing.
District of Columbia Municipal Regulations 1506. Secondary Investigation Appeals.
1506.1 Each covered entity shall have an appeals process in place for conducting a secondary investigation where a written request for a secondary investigation is submitted within thirty (30) days after the conclusion of the initial investigation.
1506.2 The secondary investigation shall be conducted by an employee who has a higher level of authority at the covered entity than the one who conducted the investigation and who was not involved in the initial investigation.
1506.3 The secondary investigation shall be completed within thirty (30) days after receipt of the request for a secondary investigation unless the higher-level authority requires additional time to complete a thorough investigation and the higher-level authority sets forth those circumstances in writing. Under those circumstances, the deadline may be extended past the thirty (30) day period by fifteen (15) days.
1506.4 After completing the secondary investigation, the higher-level authority shall notify the parties in writing of the results of the investigation and of the party's ability to seek additional redress under the DCHRA under D.C. Official Code § 2-1402.41. Such notification must be in writing and include: (a) The name of the BPP Director; (b) The address and telephone number of the OHR; (c) The text contained in § 1513 of these regulations outlining the parties' options for appeal through OHR; and (d) Notification that complaints of violations under DCHRA and the Act must be filed within one (1) year of the incident.