Tuesday, March 1, 2011

"School Day Security and Anti-Bullying Act" introduced in Ohio House

Representative John Barnes, Jr. has introduced House Bill 116, or the "School Day Security and Anti-Bullying Act" for consideration by the Ohio House of Representatives. The proposed Act would require school districts to be more aggressive with their education efforts on anti-bullying policies.

Under current Ohio law, school districts are required to publish their bullying policy in the student handbook and include the policy in school employee training handbooks. Under this proposal, districts would be required to, twice in every school year, provide each student with age-appropriate instruction on the board's policies prohibiting harassment, intimidation, and bullying. The first instruction must be given toward the beginning of the school year and the second offered during the second semester. Additionally, the consequences for violations must be taught and an acknowledgment of receipt must be signed by the parent or guardian and returned to the school.

The bill does not change the definition of bullying under Ohio law, which defines that intimidation, harassment, or bullying as any of the following "(1) Any intentional written, verbal, or physical act that a student has exhibited toward another particular student more than once and the behavior both:

(a) Causes mental or physical harm to the other student;

(b) Is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive that it creates an intimidating, threatening, or abusive educational environment for the other student.

(2) Violence within a dating relationship." R.C. 3313.666

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