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Michigan Anti-Bullying Laws & Policies

What are the Michigan state laws and regulations that cover bullying?

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

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

“Bullying” means any written, verbal, or physical act, or any electronic communication, including, but not limited to, cyberbullying, that is intended or that a reasonable person would know is likely to harm 1 or more pupils either directly or indirectly by doing any of the following:

    (i)  Substantially interfering with educational opportunities, benefits, or programs of 1 or more pupils.

    (ii)  Adversely affecting the ability of a pupil to participate in or benefit from the school district’s or public school’s educational programs or activities by placing the pupil in reasonable fear of physical harm or by causing substantial emotional distress.

    (iii) Having an actual and substantial detrimental effect on a pupil’s physical or mental health.

    (iv) Causing substantial disruption in, or substantial interference with, the orderly operation of the school.

“Cyberbullying” means any electronic communication that is intended or that a reasonable person would know is likely to harm 1 or more pupils either directly or indirectly by doing any of the following:

    (i)  Substantially interfering with educational opportunities, benefits, or programs of 1 or more pupils.

    (ii)  Adversely affecting the ability of a pupil to participate in or benefit from the school district’s or public school’s educational programs or activities by placing the pupil in reasonable fear of physical harm or by causing substantial emotional distress.

    (iii) Having an actual and substantial detrimental effect on a pupil’s physical or mental health.

    (iv) Causing substantial disruption in, or substantial interference with, the orderly operation of the school.

MCLS § 380.1310b (2016)

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

Yes. Michigan anti-bullying laws cover off-campus conduct if the behavior is committed using a telecommunications access device, or if the telecommunications service provider is owned by or under the control of the school district.

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

Michigan school districts must adopt and implement a policy prohibiting bullying. District policies must contain key policy and procedural elements, including, but not limited to:

  • Statements prohibiting bullying of a pupil and including cyberbullying as a form of bullying;
  • Statements prohibiting retaliation or false accusation against a target of bullying, a witness or another person with reliable information about an act of bullying;
  • Provisions indicating that all pupils are protected under the policy;
  • Designation of a school officials responsible for ensuring that the policy is implemented;
  • Statements describing how the policy is to be publicized;
  • Procedures for providing notification to parents or legal guardians of students involved in bullying incidents;
  • Procedures for reporting, investigation, and documentation; and
  • Assurances of confidentiality and safeguards for individuals reporting an act of bullying.

Michigan school districts must submit copies of their policies to the Department of Education.

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

No. There are no specific groups listed under Michigan anti-bullying laws or regulations. Michigan anti-bullying laws state that all pupils are protected under the policy and that bullying is equally prohibited with regard to its subject matter or motivating animus.

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

Yes. Michigan anti-bullying laws encourage districts to form bullying prevention task forces, programs, teen courts, and other initiatives involving school staff, pupils, school clubs, and other student groups, administrators, volunteers, parents, law enforcement, community members, and other stakeholders. Michigan anti-bullying laws also encourage districts to provide educational programs for pupils and parents on preventing, identifying, responding to, and reporting incidents of bullying.

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

Yes. Michigan anti-bullying laws encourage districts to provide annual training for administrators, school employees, and volunteers who have significant contact with pupils on preventing, identifying, responding to, and reporting incidents of bullying.

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

No. Michigan anti-bullying laws do not encourage or require districts to provide safeguards or mental health supports for students involved with bullying. Michigan school boards are encouraged to use restorative practices for students who bully, including counseling, as a disciplinary alternative, or in addition to suspension or expulsion.

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

Yes. Michigan school district policies must include a procedure for providing notification to the parent or legal guardian of the victim and the perpetrator. Michigan school boards are encouraged to include in the district policy a requirement for educational programs for parents on preventing, identifying, responding to, and reporting incidents of bullying.

For More Information

Visit the Michigan Department of Education “Safe Schools” webpage and/or view the Michigan state model policy on 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