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Florida Bullying Laws

Florida

 

Bullying/Harassment
Statute 1006.147 (2008) prohibits bullying or harassment of any student or employee of a public K-12 educational institution. during any program or activity conducted by a public K-12 educational institution, during any school-related or school-sponsored program or activity, or through the use of data or computer software accessed through a computer, computer system or network of a public K-12 educational institution. Specific definitions of bullying and harassment are outlined in the statute.

Statute 1006.147 (2008) provides immunity from a cause of action to a school employee, school volunteer, student, or parent who promptly reports in good faith an act of bullying or harassment to the appropriate school official.

Statute 1006.147 (2008) requires school districts to adopt a policy prohibiting bullying and harassment of any student or employee of a public K-12 educational institution. The policy must substantially conform to the model policy of the state Department of Education, and must afford all students the same protection regardless of their status under the law. Requirements of the policy are outlined in the statute.

Statute 1006.07(6) requires district school boards to provide for the welfare of students by using the Safety and Security Best Practices to conduct a self-assessment of the district's current safety and security practices. The self-assessment includes indicators for districts to develop and enforce policies regarding anti-bullying, anti-harassment and due process rights in accordance with state and federal laws. The assessment also includes indicators of schools surveying students on school climate questions related to discipline, bullying, threats perceived by students, and other safety or security related issues.

Statute 1006.07(2) also requires a student to be subject to in-school suspension, out-of-school suspension, expulsion, or imposition of other disciplinary action by the school and possibly criminal penalties for violating the district's sexual harassment policy.

State Board of Education Administrative Rule 6A-19.008 (1985) requires schools to have environments that are free of harassment and prohibit any slurs, innuendos, or other verbal or physical conduct reflecting on one's race, ethnic background, gender, or handicapping condition, which creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational environment, or interferes with student's school performance or participation or other educational opportunities.

Cyber Bullying
Statute 1006.147 (2008) prohibits bullying and harassment prohibits bullying or harassment of any student or employee of a public K-12 educational institution through the use of data or computer software that is accessed through a computer, computer system or computer network of a public K-12 educational institution. The definition of "harassment" in the statute includes 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 does one of the following: (1) places them in reasonable fear of harm or to his or her person or damage to his or her property, (2) substantially interferes with a student's educational performance, opportunities, or benefits, or (3) substantially disrupts the orderly operation of a school. The definition of "'bullying and 'harassment'" includes perpetuation of actions by an individual or group with intent to demean, dehumanize, embarass, or cause physical harm to a student or school employee by 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.

Hazing
Statute 1006.135 (2005), referred to as the Chad Meredith Act, defines hazing and makes the hazing of students at a high school with grades 9-12 a criminal offense as defined within the statute. The bill prohibits the following defenses to a charge of Hazing:

  • obtained consent of the victim
  • the conduct or activity that resulted in the death or injury was not part of an official organizational event or was not otherwise sanctioned or approved by the organization
  • the conduct or activity that resulted in death or injury was not done as a condition of membership in an organization.

Source: National Association of State Boards of Education
Last Updated: 9/2/2009

State Coordinator

For more information about violence prevention efforts in Florida, contact:

 

Mike Tremor, Ph.D.
Associate Executive Director
Florida Association
    of School Administrators
326 Williams Street
Tallahassee, FL 32303

Phone: (850) 224-3626

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