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Synopsis: 2003 Rhode Island Acts, Chapter 213, HB 5919.  Defines harassment, intimidation and bullying and requires school boards to adopt policies prohibiting this behavior.  Stipulates that policies must be adopted through a representative process including parents, school personnel, students and community members. Directs the state department of education to develop a model policy by December 2003, to assist schools in the development of their policies by September 1, 2004.  Requires schools to provide training to employees on the anti-harassment and bullying policy and to develop a process for discussion of the policy with students.  Encourages schools to form bullying prevention task forces, programs and initiatives.  Encourages school employees and students to report any incident of harassment, intimidation or bullying and provides that they are not liable for damages arising from any failure to remedy the reported incident.     Rhode Island rates an A for their law.

RHODE ISLAND

A

2003 Rhode Island Acts, Chapter 213, HB 5919

2003 -- H 5919 AS AMENDED
STATE OF RHODE ISLAND
IN GENERAL ASSEMBLY
JANUARY SESSION, A.D. 2003
A N  A C T
RELATING TO EDUCATION -- HEALTH AND SAFETY OF PUPILS

Introduced By: Representatives Smith, Giannini, Lima, Handy, and Aubin
Date Introduced: February 12, 2003
Referred To: House Health, Education & Welfare
It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:

SECTION 1. Legislative declaration. The general assembly hereby finds, determines, and declares that bullying disrupts a school’s ability to educate students and threatens public safety by creating an atmosphere in which such behavior can escalate into violence. The general assembly therefore finds that a policy to create an environment free of bullying shall be part of each school district’s safe school plan. All students have a right to work and study in a safe, supportive environment that is free from harassment, intimidation and bullying.

SECTION 2. Chapter 16-21 of the General Laws entitled "Health and Safety of Pupils" is hereby amended by adding thereto the following section:

16-21-26. Student discipline codes. - - (1) As used in this section:

(a) “At school” means in a classroom, elsewhere on or immediately adjacent to school premises, on a school bus or other school-related vehicle, at an official school bus stop, or at any school-sponsored activity or event whether or not it is held on school premises.

(b) ‘Harassment, intimidation or bullying’ means an intentional written, verbal or physical act or threat of a physical act that, under the totality of circumstances:

(1) A reasonable person should know will have the effect of: physically harming a student, damaging a student’s property, placing a student in reasonable fear of harm to his or her person, or placing a student in reasonable fear of damage to his or her property; or is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive that it creates an intimidating, threatening or abusive educational environment for a student.

(2) The board of a school district of a public school shall adopt a policy prohibiting harassment, intimidation, or bullying at school. It is recommended that the policy shall specifically prohibit harassment, intimidation and bullying by students at school and address prevention of an education about such behavior. The policy shall be adopted through a process that includes representation of parents or guardians, school employees, volunteers, pupils, school administrators and community representatives.

(3) Each school district shall adopt the policy under this section and transmit a copy of its policy to the commissioner of elementary and secondary education and director of the department of education by September 1, 2004.

(4) To assist school districts and public schools in developing policies for the prevention of harassment, intimidation or bullying, the department of education shall develop a model policy applicable to grades K-12. This model policy shall be issued no later than December 1, 2003.

(5) A school district shall ensure that notice of the school district’s or public school’s policy under this section is included in any publication of the school district or public school policy that sets forth the comprehensive rules, procedures and standards of conduct for its schools and in its pupil handbook.

(6) A school employee, pupil or volunteer shall not nor shall said individuals solicit others with the intent to engage in reprisal, retaliation or false accusation against a victim, witness or one with reliable information about an act of harassment, intimidation or bullying.

(7) A school employee, pupil or volunteer who has witnessed or has reliable information that a pupil has been subjected to harassment, intimidation or bullying, whether written, verbal or physical, is encouraged to report the incident to the appropriate school official designated by the school district’s or public school’s policy.

(8) A school employee who promptly reports an incident of harassment, intimidation or bullying to the appropriate school official designated by the school district’s or public school’s policy, and who makes this report in compliance with the procedures in the policy prohibiting harassment, intimidation or bullying is not liable for damages arising from any failure to remedy the reported incident.

(9) Public schools and school districts are encouraged to form bullying prevention task forces, programs and other initiatives involving school staff, pupils, administrators, volunteers, parents, law enforcement and community members.

(10) Each school district or public school shall do all of the following:

(a) Provide training on the school district’s or public school academy’s harassment, intimidation or bullying policies to school employees and volunteers who have significant contact with pupils.

(b) Develop a process for discussing the harassment, intimidation or bullying policy with pupils.

(11) A school district or public school academy shall incorporate information regarding the school district’s or public or private school academy’s policy against harassment, intimidation or bullying into each school’s employee training program.

(12) This section does not prevent a victim from seeking redress under any other available law, either civil or criminal. This section does not create or alter any tort liability.

SECTION 3. This act shall take effect upon passage.

EXPLANATION
BY THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL
OF
A N A C T
RELATING TO EDUCATION -- HEALTH AND SAFETY OF PUPILS

This act would require schools to adopt policies that prohibit harassment, intimidation and bullying by students at school.
This act would take effect upon passage.


 A N  A C T
RELATING TO EDUCATION -- HEALTH AND SAFETY OF PUPILS

Introduced By: Representatives Smith, Giannini, Lima, Handy, and Aubin
Date Introduced: February 12, 2003
Referred To: House Health, Education & Welfare
It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:

SECTION 1. Section 16-21-24 of the General Laws in Chapter 16-21 entitled "Health and Safety of Pupils" is hereby amended to read as follows:

16-21-24. Requirements of school safety plans, school emergency response plans, and school crisis response plans. -- (a) School safety plans, as required by this chapter, shall include and address, but not to be limited to, the following policies and procedures:

(1) Policies and procedures for responding to violence by students, teachers, other school personnel as well as visitors to the school;

(2) Policies and procedures for responding to acts of violence by students, teachers, other school personnel and visitors to the school;

(3) Appropriate prevention and intervention strategies which are based on data to target priority needs and which make use of effective actions based on currently accepted best practice;

(4) Collaborative arrangements with state and local law enforcement officials, designed to ensure that school safety officers and other security personnel are adequately trained, including being trained to de-escalate potentially violent situations, and are effectively and fairly recruited;

(5) Policies and procedures for contacting appropriate law enforcement officials and EMS/Fire, in the event of a violent incident;

(6) Policies and procedures for notification and activation of the school crisis response team;

(7) Policies and procedures for contacting parents, guardians, or persons in parental relation to the students of the city, town, or region in the event of a violent incident;

(8) Policies and procedures relating to school building security, including where appropriate the use of school safety officers and/or security devices or procedures;

(9) Policies and procedures for the dissemination of informative materials regarding the early detection of potentially violent behaviors, including but not limited to, the identification of family, community, and environmental factors, to teachers, administrators, school personnel, persons in parental relation to students of the city, town, or region students and other persons deemed appropriate to receive that information;

(10) Policies and procedures for annual school safety training and a review of the school crisis response plan for staff and students;

(11) Protocols for responding to bomb threats, hostage-takings, intrusions, and kidnappings;

(12) Strategies for improving communication among students and between students and staff and reporting of potentially violent incidents, such as the establishment of youth-run programs, peer mediation, conflict resolution, creating a forum or designating a mentor for
students concerned with bullying or violence, and establishing anonymous reporting mechanisms for school violence; and

(13) A description of the duties of hall monitors and any other school safety personnel, including the school crisis response team, and the training requirements of all personnel acting in a school security capacity.; and

(14) The policy shall specifically prohibit harassment, intimidation and bullying by students at school and address prevention of and education about such behavior.

(b) School safety plans, as required by this chapter, shall further include school emergency response plans specific to each school building contained within each city, town, or regional school district. School emergency response plans shall include, and address, but not be
limited to, the following elements:

(1) Policies and procedures for the safe evacuation of students, teachers, and other school personnel as well as visitors to the school in the event of a serious violent incident or other emergency, which shall include evacuation routes and shelter sites and procedures for addressing medical needs, transportation, and emergency notification to persons in parental relation to a student. For purposes of this subdivision, "serious violent incident" means an incident of violent criminal conduct that is, or appears to be, life threatening and warrants the evacuation of students and/or staff;

(2) Designation of an emergency response team comprised of school personnel, local law enforcement officials, and representatives from local regional and/or state emergency response agencies, other appropriate incident response teams including a school crisis response team, and a post-incident response team that includes appropriate school personnel, medical personnel, mental health counselors, and others who can assist the school community in coping with the aftermath of a violent incident;

(3) Procedures for assuring that crisis response and law enforcement officials have access to floor plans, blueprints, schematics, or other maps of the school interior and school grounds, and road maps of the immediate surrounding area;

(4) Establishment of internal and external communication systems in emergencies;

(5) Definition of the chain of command in a manner consistent with the national interagency incident management system/incident command system;

(6) Procedures for review and the conduct of drills and other exercises to test components of the emergency response plan; and

(7) Policies and procedures for securing and restricting access to the crime scene in order to preserve evidence in cases of violent crimes on school property.

SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon passage.

LC01578
 

EXPLANATION
BY THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL
OF
A N A C T
RELATING TO EDUCATION -- HEALTH AND SAFETY OF PUPILS

This act would require schools to adopt policies that prohibit harassment, intimidation and bullying by students at school.
This act would take effect upon passage.

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