Alabama

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Alabama Anti-Bullying Laws & Policies

Key Components

What terms are used in the Alabama anti-bullying laws and regulations?

Harassment.

Do these laws cover cyberbullying?

Yes.

What groups are listed under Alabama anti-bullying laws and regulations?

The following groups are listed under Alabama anti-bullying laws and regulations:

  • Race
  • Sex
  • Religion
  • National origin
  • Disability

Schools that receive federal funding are required by federal law to address discrimination on a number of different personal characteristics. Find out when bullying may be a civil rights violation.

Is there a state model policyI can use to create anti-bullying policies at my school or district?

The Alabama model anti-harassment policy(PDF - 123KB) is available on the Alabama State Department of Education website.

Which of the key components can be found in Alabama anti-bullying laws and policies?

DEFINITIONS
Key Components Present in Alabama State Laws and Regulations Present in Alabama Model Policy
Purpose YES YES
Scope YES YES
Prohibited Behavior YES YES
Enumerated Groups YES YES
DISTRICT POLICY REVIEW & DEVELOPMENT
Key Components Present in Alabama State Laws and Regulations Present in Alabama Model Policy
District Policy YES YES
District Policy Review NO N/A
DISTRICT POLICY COMPONENTS
Key Components Present in Alabama State Laws and Regulations Present in Alabama Model Policy
Definitions YES YES
Reporting YES YES
Investigations YES YES
Written Records YES YES
Consequences YES YES
Mental Health YES NO
ADDITIONAL COMPONENTS
Key Components Present in Alabama State Laws and Regulations Present in Alabama Model Policy
Communications YES YES
Training/Prevention YES NO
Transparency/Monitoring YES NO
Legal Remedies NO NO

NOTE:Click on the Key Components links to get more information about that component.

What are the Alabama laws and regulations that cover bullying?

How are bullying and cyberbullying defined in Alabama anti-bullying laws and regulations?

Alabama anti-bullying laws include the following definitions of bullying and cyberbullying:

“Bullying” is a continuous pattern of intentional behavior that takes place on or off of school property, on a school bus, or at a school-sponsored function including, but not limited to, cyberbullying or written, electronic, verbal, or physical acts that are reasonably perceived as being motivated by any characteristic of a student, or by the association of a student with an individual who has a particular characteristic, if the characteristic falls into one of the categories of personal characteristics contained in the model policy adopted by the department or by a local board, and implemented at each school. To constitute bullying, a pattern of behavior may do any of the following:

a. Place a student in reasonable fear of harm to his or her person or damage to his or her property.

b. Have the effect of substantially interfering with the educational performance, opportunities, or benefits of a student.

c. Have the effect of substantially disrupting or interfering with the orderly operation of the school, whether the conduct occurs on or off school property, online, or electronically.

d. Have the effect of creating a hostile environment in the school, on school property, on a school bus, or at a school-sponsored function.

e. Have the effect of being sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive enough to create an intimidating, threatening, or abusive educational environment for a student.

Code of Ala. § 16-28B-3 (2018)

Do Alabama anti-bullying laws and regulations cover cyberbullying that occurs off-campus?

Yes. Alabama anti-bullying laws cover conduct that occurs on or off school property.

What are the policy requirements for schools to prevent and respond to bullying behavior?

Alabama school districts must adopt a policy prohibiting bullying, intimidation, violence, and threats of violence. District policies should contain key policy and procedural elements that are consistent with the state model policy content, including, but not limited to:

  • Statements prohibiting bullying, violence, and threats of violence;
  • Definitions of the terms bullying, intimidation, and threats of violence;
  • Descriptions of the behavior expected of each student;
  • Statements regarding disciplinary consequences for violations of the policy;
  • Procedures for reporting, investigation, and response;
  • Statements prohibiting reprisal or retaliation;
  • Procedures for publicizing the local board policy;
  • Procedures for students to use in reporting bullying incidents; and,
  • Procedures for the development of a non-exhaustive list of personal characteristics of a student which may often lead to bullying.

Alabama anti-bullying laws require local school boards to report statistics on the number of submitted reports of violence, threats of violence, and harassment to the state for posting on the department website.

Do Alabama anti-bullying laws and regulations include protections for specific groups?

Yes. Alabama anti-bullying laws prohibit acts that are reasonably perceived as being motivated by any characteristic of a student, or by the association of a student with an individual who has a particular characteristic, if the characteristic falls into one of the categories of personal characteristics contained in the model policy adopted by the department or by a local board and implemented at each school.

Alabama schools that receive federal funding are required by federal law to address discrimination on a number of different personal characteristics. Find out when bullying may be a civil rights violation.

Do Alabama anti-bullying laws and regulations encourage or require districts to implement bullying prevention programs or strategies?

Yes. Alabama schools must develop and implement evidence-based practices to promote a school environment that is free from harassment, intimidation, violence, and threats of violence, and to intervene when such incidents occur. Schools must also incorporate information on bullying policies into civility, citizenship, and character education curricula to promote awareness and sensitivity.

Do Alabama anti-bullying laws and regulations encourage or require districts to train teachers and other school staff on how to respond to bullying incidents?

Yes. Alabama school districts must provide training on local board policies for school employees and volunteers who have significant contact with students.

Alabama schools must programmatically address the issue of bullying and school violence with students and faculty. Programs must include discussion of available resources and encourage reporting of bullying incidents. Schools must also periodically convene a committee of faculty and students to review and discuss the issue of bullying and make recommendations to school administrators regarding school climate, safety, and bullying.

Do Alabama anti-bullying laws and regulations encourage or require districts to provide safeguards or mental health supports for students involved with bullying?

Yes. Alabama school districts must make referral, crisis intervention, and other related information available for students, parents, and school personnel as part of bullying and suicide prevention efforts.

Do Alabama anti-bullying laws and regulations involve parents in efforts to address bullying behavior?

No. Alabama anti-bullying laws do not create expectations for parent involvement in addressing bullying behavior.

For More Information

Visit the Alabama State Department of Education’s “Prevention and Support Services”webpage and/or view the Alabama model anti-harassment policyon bullying and harassment.

The key component framework used in the analysis of state laws is based on the review of legislation presented in the “Analysis of State Bullying Laws and Policies – December 2011” (U.S. Department of Education).

 

Content last updated on December 7, 2017