Arkansas

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Arkansas Anti-Bullying Laws & Policies

Which Arkansas laws and regulations cover bullying?

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

Arkansas anti-bullying laws and regulations include the following definitions of bullying and harassment:

"Bullying" means the intentional harassment, intimidation, humiliation, ridicule, defamation, or threat or incitement of violence by a student against another student or public school employee by a written, verbal, electronic, or physical act that may address an attribute of the other student, public school employee, or person with whom the other student or public school employee is associated and that causes or creates actual or reasonably foreseeable:

    (A)  Physical harm to a public school employee or student or damage to the public school employee's or student's property;

    (B)  Substantial interference with a student's education or with a public school employee's role in education;

    (C)  A hostile educational environment for one (1) or more students or public school employees due to the severity, persistence, or pervasiveness of the act; or

    (D)  Substantial disruption of the orderly operation of the school or educational environment.

“Harassment” means a pattern of unwelcome verbal or physical conduct relating to another person's constitutionally or statutorily protected status that causes, or reasonably should be expected to cause, substantial interference with the other's performance in the school environment;

A.C.A. § 6-18-514 (2013)

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

Yes. Arkansas anti-bullying laws prohibit bullying by an electronic act that results in the substantial disruption of the orderly operation of the school or educational environment, whether or not the electronic act originated on school property or with school equipment, if the electronic act is directed specifically at students or school personnel, is maliciously intended for the purpose of disrupting school, and has a high likelihood of succeeding in that purpose.

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

Arkansas school districts are required to adopt policies to prevent bullying. District policies must contain key policy and procedural elements, including, but not limited to:

  • Definitions of conduct that constitutes bullying;
  • Statements prohibiting bullying and retaliation or reprisal;
  • Statements of consequences for violation of the policy;
  • Procedures for reporting and investigations;
  • Statements of consequences for violation of the policy;
  • Procedures determining how the policy will be publicized within the district; and
  • Requirements that a full copy of the policy will be made available upon request.

Arkansas anti-bullying laws require districts to file policies with the Department of Education and to provide the Department with the website address at which a copy of the policies may be found. The Department of Education is required to review policies and to recommend changes or improvements as needed.

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

Yes. Arkansas anti-bullying laws prohibit acts that may address an attribute of the other student, public school employee, or person with whom the other student or public school employee is associated. "Attribute" means an actual or perceived personal characteristic including without limitation race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, socioeconomic status, academic status, disability, gender, gender identity, physical appearance, health condition, or sexual orientation.

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

Yes. Arkansas anti-bullying laws require that districts implement group conflict resolution services, include programs designed to prevent bullying, as a component of their student services programs.

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

Yes. Arkansas school districts are required to provide training on compliance with the anti-bullying policies to all public school district employees responsible for reporting or investigating bullying. School districts are encouraged to provide opportunities for school employees to participate in programs or other activities designed to develop the knowledge and skills to prevent and respond to acts of bullying.

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

Yes. Arkansas school districts are not explicitly required to provide safeguards or mental health supports for students involved with bullying; however, school districts are required to implement student services programs that include a system of liaison and referrals with resources outside of the school.

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

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

For More Information

Visit the Arkansas Department of Education’s “Anti-Bullying and Violence Prevention” webpage.

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 June 20, 2017