California

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California Anti-Bullying Laws & Policies

Key Components

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

Discrimination, harassment, intimidation, and bullying.

Do these laws cover cyberbullying?

Yes.

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

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

  • Disability
  • Gender
  • Gender identity
  • Gender expression
  • Nationality
  • Race or ethnicity
  • Religion
  • Sexual orientation
  • Association with a person or group with one of more of these actual or perceived characteristics

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 for my school or district?

The California sample policy for bullying preventionand a sample action planare available on the California Department of Education website.

Which of the key components can be found in California anti-bullying laws, regulations, and model policies?

DEFINITIONS
Key Components Present in California State Laws and Regulations Present in California Model Policy
Purpose YES YES
Scope YES YES
Prohibited Behavior YES YES
Enumerated Groups YES YES
DISTRICT POLICY REVIEW & DEVELOPMENT
Key Components Present in California State Laws and Regulations Present in California Model Policy
District Policy YES YES
District Policy Review YES YES
DISTRICT POLICY COMPONENTS
Key Components Present in California State Laws and Regulations Present in California 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 California State Laws and Regulations Present in California Model Policy
Communications YES YES
Training/Prevention YES YES
Transparency/Monitoring YES YES
Legal Remedies NO NO

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

What are the California laws and regulations that cover bullying?

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

California anti-bullying laws and regulations include the following definitions of bullying and cyber sexual bullying:

“Bullying” means any severe or pervasive physical or verbal act or conduct, including communications made in writing or by means of an electronic act, and including one or more acts committed by a pupil or group of pupils as defined in Section 48900.2, 48900.3, or 48900.4, directed toward one or more pupils that has or can be reasonably predicted to have the effect of one or more of the following:

(A) Placing a reasonable pupil or pupils in fear of harm to that pupil’s or those pupils’ person or property.

(B) Causing a reasonable pupil to experience a substantially detrimental effect on his or her physical or mental health.

(C) Causing a reasonable pupil to experience substantial interference with his or her academic performance.

(D) Causing a reasonable pupil to experience substantial interference with his or her ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or privileges provided by a school.

“Electronic act” means the creation or transmission originated on or off the schoolsite, by means of an electronic device, including, but not limited to, a telephone, wireless telephone, or other wireless communication device, computer, or pager, of a communication, including, but not limited to, any of the following:

(i) A message, text, sound, video, or image.

(ii) A post on a social network Internet Web site, including, but not limited to:

(I) Posting to or creating a burn page. “Burn page” means an Internet Web site created for the purpose of having one or more of the effects listed in paragraph (1).

(II) Creating a credible impersonation of another actual pupil for the purpose of having one or more of the effects listed in paragraph (1). “Credible impersonation” means to knowingly and without consent impersonate a pupil for the purpose of bullying the pupil and such that another pupil would reasonably believe, or has reasonably believed, that the pupil was or is the pupil who was impersonated.

(III) Creating a false profile for the purpose of having one or more of the effects listed in paragraph (1). “False profile” means a profile of a fictitious pupil or a profile using the likeness or attributes of an actual pupil other than the pupil who created the false profile.

(iii)

(I) An act of cyber sexual bullying.

(II) For purposes of this clause, “cyber sexual bullying” means the dissemination of, or the solicitation or incitement to disseminate, a photograph or other visual recording by a pupil to another pupil or to school personnel by means of an electronic act that has or can be reasonably predicted to have one or more of the effects described in subparagraphs (A) to (D), inclusive, of paragraph (1). A photograph or other visual recording, as described above, shall include the depiction of a nude, semi-nude, or sexually explicit photograph or other visual recording of a minor where the minor is identifiable from the photograph, visual recording, or other electronic act.

(III) For purposes of this clause, “cyber sexual bullying” does not include a depiction, portrayal, or image that has any serious literary, artistic, educational, political, or scientific value or that involves athletic events or school-sanctioned activities.

Cal Ed Code § 48900 (2016)

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

Yes. California anti-bullying laws cover off-campus conduct encompassing any electronic act where the creation or transmission originated on or off the school site.

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

California school districts are required to adopt a policy prohibiting harassment, intimidation, or bullying. School district policies must contain key policy and procedural elements, including, but not limited to:

  • Statements prohibiting harassment, intimidation, or bullying;
  • Procedures for reporting and investigations;
  • Publications of antidiscrimination, anti-harassment, anti-intimidation, and anti-bullying laws;
  • Resources available to support LGBTQ and other at-risk students; and
  • Protections for complainants from retaliation.

California school districts are encouraged to maintain documentation of complaints and their resolution for a minimum of one review cycle.

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

Yes. California anti-bullying laws require districts to adopt a policy that prohibits discrimination, harassment, intimidation, and bullying based on actual or perceived characteristics including immigration status, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, nationality, race or ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics.

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

Yes. California anti-bullying laws direct the department of education to display information, curricula, and resources that address bias-related discrimination, harassment, intimidation, cyber sexual bullying, and bullying.  California anti-bullying laws encourage school districts to inform pupils regarding available information and resources on the state department of education website regarding the dangers and consequences of cyber sexual bullying.

California anti-bullying laws also direct the department of education to develop an online to assist all school staff, school administrators, parents, pupils, and community members in increasing their knowledge of the dynamics of bullying and cyberbullying. The online training module shall include, but is not limited to, identifying an act of bullying or cyberbullying, and implementing strategies to address bullying and cyberbullying.

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

Yes. California anti-bullying laws also direct the department of education to develop an online to assist all school staff, school administrators, parents, pupils, and community members in increasing their knowledge of the dynamics of bullying and cyberbullying. The online training module shall include, but is not limited to, identifying an act of bullying or cyberbullying, and implementing strategies to address bullying and cyberbullying.

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

Yes. California schools are encouraged to refer students involved with bullying to a school counselor, school psychologist, social worker, child welfare attendance personnel, school nurse, or other school support services personnel for case management, counseling, and participation in a restorative justice program, as appropriate.

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

Yes. California school districts must inform parents or legal guardian when a student is involved in an act of harassment, intimidation, cyber sexual bullying, or bullying, and must make available information on statewide resources to parents or legal guardians regarding harassment, intimidation, cyber sexual bullying, and bullying.

For More Information

Visit the California Department of Education’s “Bullying and Hate-Motivated Behavior Prevention” webpage and/or view the California sample policy for bullying preventionon 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 June 20, 2017