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WASHINGTON

A-

HOUSE BILL REPORT - SHB 1444

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON:

 

{+ NEW SECTION. +}  Sec. 1.  The legislature declares that a safe and civil environment in school is necessary for students to learn and achieve high academic standards.  The legislature finds that harassment, intimidation, or bullying, like other disruptive or violent behavior, is conduct that disrupts both a student's ability to learn and a school's ability to educate its students in a safe environment. 

 

    Furthermore, the legislature finds that students learn by example. The legislature commends the many school administrators, faculty, staff, and volunteers who demonstrate appropriate behavior, treat others with civility and respect, and refuse to tolerate or be involved in harassment, intimidation, or bullying.
 

(Dates that Requirements take effect)
    {+ NEW SECTION. +}  Sec. 2.  (1) By August 1, 2003, each school district shall adopt or amend if necessary a policy, within the scope of its authority, that prohibits the harassment, intimidation, or bullying of any student.  It is the responsibility of each school district to share this policy with parents or guardians, students, volunteers, and school employees. 

 

    {+ NEW SECTION. +}  Sec. 2.  (1) By August 1, 2003, each school district shall adopt or amend if necessary a policy, within the scope of its authority, that prohibits the harassment, intimidation, or bullying of any student, school employee, or volunteer.  It is the responsibility of each school district to share this policy with parents or guardians, students, volunteers, and school employees.

 

Definitions of bullying and harassment

(2) "Harassment, intimidation, or bullying" means any intentional written, verbal, or physical act, including, but not limited to those that are reasonably perceived as being motivated either by any actual or perceived characteristic in RCW 9A.36.080(3), or other distinguishing characteristics, when the intentional written, verbal, or physical act:
 

(a) Physically harms a student, school employee, or volunteer or damages his or her property; or

 

    (b) Has the effect of substantially interfering with a student's education; or the providing of that education; or

    (c) Is so severe, persistent, or pervasive that it creates an intimidating or threatening educational or work environment; or

    (d) Has the effect of substantially disrupting the orderly operation of the school.
 

Recommendations about how to make policy - Inclusion

    (3) It is recommended that the policy be adopted or amended through a process that includes representation of parents or guardians, school employees, volunteers, students, administrators, and community representatives.  It is recommended that each such policy emphasize positive character traits and values, including the importance of civil and respectful speech and conduct, and the responsibility of students, school employees, and volunteers to comply with the district's policy prohibiting harassment, intimidation, or bullying.  It is additionally recommended that rights of due process are guaranteed for the accused.

 

Date policy is due and duties of the State Superintendentís office

    (4) By August 1, 2002, the superintendent of public instruction, in consultation with representatives of parents, school personnel, and other interested parties, shall provide to school districts and educational service districts a model harassment, intimidation, and bullying prevention policy and training materials on the components that should be included in any district policy.  Training materials shall be disseminated in a variety of ways, including workshops and other staff developmental activities, and through the office of the superintendent of public instruction's web site, with a link to the safety center web page.  On the web site: 

 

    (a) The office of the superintendent of public instruction shall post its model policy, recommended training materials, and instructional materials;

    (b) The office of the superintendent of public instruction has the authority to update with new technologies access to this information in the safety center, to the extent resources are made available; and

    (c) Individual school districts shall have direct access to the safety center web site to post a brief summary of their policies, programs, partnerships, vendors, and instructional and training materials, and to provide a link to the school district's web site for further information.

 

Protection against reprisal, retaliation or false accusation

    {+ NEW SECTION. +}  Sec. 3.  A new section is added to chapter 28A.600 RCW to read as follows: 

 

    (1) No school employee, student, or volunteer may engage in reprisal, retaliation, or false accusation against a victim, witness, or one with reliable information about an act of harassment, intimidation, or bullying.
 

 

    (2) A school employee, student, or volunteer who has witnessed, or has reliable information that a student, school employee, or volunteer has been subjected to, harassment, intimidation, or bullying, whether verbal or physical, is encouraged to report such incident to an appropriate school official who shall enforce the official policies equally for all and by all.

 

Protection against lawsuits upon compliance to policies

    (3) A school employee who promptly reports an incident of harassment, intimidation, or bullying to an appropriate school official, and who makes this report in compliance with the procedures in the district's policy prohibiting bullying, harassment, or intimidation, is immune from a cause of action for damages arising from any failure to remedy the reported incident.

 

ADOPTED 03/06/02

 

WASHINGTON State has passed a cyberbullying law in the 2008 Session.  This brings their grade up to an A+ law.
 

Synopsis - 2002  Wash. Laws,  H.B. 1444 Relates to preventing harassment, intimidation, or bullying in schools; relates to the physical harm of a student or the students property; relates to false accusations; relates to students, school employees, or volunteers; provides that each school district shall adopt a policy that prohibits the harassment, intimidation, or bullying in schools., 
 

2001 Wash. Laws, E.S.S.B. 6153  Appropriates $500,000 from the general fund for anti-bullying and anti-harassment training at the school district level. 
 

2001 Wash. Laws, H.B. 1041, S.B. 5842  Allows parents to apply for a protection order when their child is being harassed by someone else under the age of 18, when the behavior rises to the level of unlawful harassment.   http://www.leg.wa.gov/pub/billinfo/2001-02/Senate/5825-5849/5842.pdf


Brief Description:  Requiring school districts to adopt policies prohibiting harassment, intimidation, and bullying. 

 

Effect:  Requires harassment, intimidation, or bullying policies to apply to teachers, staff, and school volunteers as well as students.  Most necessary is the extension to teachers and staff. 

 

Effect:  Sec. 1, par. 2; Acknowledgement that many, not all school administrators, etc. . . .   In fact, there is much more harassment, intimidation, and bullying against and among the school employees, mostly teachers, by administrators, students, and parents than has been publicly acknowledged, contributing directly to the increase in school violence, difficulty in the retention of quality teachers, and obstructing true school reform. 
 

Effect:  Sec. 2, (3); Recognizes the lack of due process in school investigations and discipline processes and requires that rights of due process be accorded the accused. 
 

Effect:  Sec. 3., (2); Requires not only reporting of incidents but actual enforcement of policies equally for all and by all (not presently practiced, great disparities depending on politics or if the bully is a coach).
 

 

Testified:  (In support) Representative Murray, prime sponsor; Representative Ballasiotes, co-sponsor; Christine Gregoire, Attorney General of Washington State; Ahndrea Blue, Governor's Office; Robert Butts, Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction; John Didion, Pacific County Sherif; Grover Laseke, and Lee Knight, Woodland Police; Brenda High, Parent; Dacia Beasley, Student; Michelle DiClementi, Capital High School; Carol Taylor Cann, Washington State Parent Teacher Association; Heather Smith, Student; Diana Stadden, Helping Other Parents Endure; Barry Lawson M.D., President, Washington Chapter American Academy of Pediatrics; Ralph Allen, Performance Spectrum Incorporated; Carly Rowbottom, Students Against Violence Everywhere; Doug Nelson, Public School Employees of Washington; Suzanne Brown, Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs; Anna Schlecht, Black Hills Alliance; Paul Barry, Children's Alliance; Gary King, Washington Education Association; Jamie Ware, Citizen; and Gail McGaffick, Washington State Psychological Association.

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